“Sensitive skin” is one of the most common skin concerns, and also one of the most frequently used skincare terms. But what actually is sensitive skin and what causes it? Maybe you think you have it even though you’re not quite sure what this actually means and then, how can you care for something you don’t really understand?
Our skin is constantly changing in response to fluctuations in our hormones, lifestyle (for example, your diet) and environment (whether it's hot or cold, windy or humid), this might explain why your skin feels more sensitive in winter. Because of this, most of us have experienced our skin being sensitive at one point or another. Due to a lack of knowledge surrounding this skin concern, more people are suffering with sensitive skin than ever! Understanding how minor tweaks in your life can impact your skin’s behaviours is step number one to taking back control of your skin.
Are There Different Types Of Sensitive Skin?
Is your skin sensitive or just sensitised? The majority of those who think they have sensitive skin do not, they are actually experiencing sensitised skin.
Sensitive skin is usually genetic, whereas sensitised skin is triggered by the environment. Sun exposure, air pollution, smoking, harsh winds, or anything else that comes into contact with your skin, may be the cause of your flare ups.
Both sensitive and sensitised skin cause similar reactions like red blotchy, irritable and inflamed skin. Not exactly ideal! That’s why we’re here to debunk sensitive skin and provide you with the ultimate comprehensive guide and a skin care routine for sensitive skin.
Skin Care Routine For Sensitive Skin
Finding the right skincare can be a never ending cycle when you have sensitive skin. It’s a dangerous game, trying and testing a new product on your unpredictable skin. The last thing you want is a flare up!
Your skincare game could be a whole lot easier if you can identify what triggers your sensitive skin. By avoiding these triggers and utilising skincare to your advantage, it might just be the answer to all your skin questions.
Best Skincare Ingredients To Look Out For
- Shea butter - Deeply hydrating and conditioning. Rich in Vitamins E & A, Oleic acid Stearic acid, it helps smooth and soften and firm the skin. Find Shea butter in our Daily Base™ Wonder Cream.
- Bisabolol - A natural active botanical from chamomile. Traditionally used for its healing properties, it is renowned for its anti-irritant, soothing and calming benefits. It can help reduce UV induced redness and protects the skin from daily stresses. Find this in our Power TonIQ™ Anti-Redness Essence and our Power TonIQ™ Intense Hydrating Essence
- Aubergine Plant Stem Cells - Plant extract derived from Solanum melongena stem cells. Helps soothe, calm and smooth irritated skin reducing sensitivity. It restores skin barrier and rebuilds skin's own natural protective layer helping to reduce TEWL (Trans-Epidermal Water Loss). Found in: Power TonIQ™ Anti-Redness Essence
- Squalane - Derived from olives is a natural skin emollient providing a barrier helping to prevent moisture loss and restores skin suppleness and flexibility. Find this in: Power TonIQ™ Intense Hydrating Essence
Ingredients To Avoid
As everyone has different triggers to what causes their sensitive skin, this may vary for everyone.
- Fragrances - In general, we’d recommend avoiding products which are scented with harsh fragrances. Our Power TonIQ™ Anti-Redness Essence and Power TonIQ™ Intense Hydrating Essence are fragrance free so you don’t need to worry about how these might irritate the skin!
- Retinoids - These can cause the skin to become sensitive, retinoids are exfoliants and can cause irritation, redness and dryness. Retinoids only give any benefit if you use them consistently so if you have sensitive skin, this ingredient is a big no no for you.
- Preservatives - Some preservatives (specifically the ones used in makeup wipes) can irritate sensitive skin. Our products come in a monodose format, this means less preservatives are needed as the contents don’t oxidise easily or go ‘bad’.
Skincare Tips For Sensitive Skin
It’s not just certain ingredients you should avoid, you have to play your part as well! Scrubbing at your face with harsh cleansers will strip your skin of its natural oils and cause irritation and dryness. Instead, gently massage a mild cleanser into the skin for a better result. Not sure what cleanser is right for your sensitive skin? Take our Skin Diagnostic, it will consider your DNA, skin reactivity, lifestyle and environment to recommend you a cleanser that's tailored to your needs.
Throw out any old skincare and cosmetic products that have been sitting around too long. Make sure to check the expiry dates on your products. Anything that has been opened and closed too many times may have lost efficacy and started to go ‘bad’, the contents of these products are more likely to have been contaminated or spoiled.
Remove the trial and error when finding your skincare routine. There’s nothing worse than trying out a new skincare product recommended by a friend or one that Google says will be ‘perfect for you’ and then feeling that awful stinging sensation on your face. There’s no one more perfect for tailored skincare than you. Use a Skin Diagnostic, ours is free and takes less than 5 minutes to complete; It will take a look at your skin holistically and recommend you a 2 step routine, tailored to your unique needs.
Is a ‘little tingle’ on your skin ok? A common myth is that you should be able to feel your product or its not working. This is wrong, you shouldn’t be able to feel your skincare products and if you do, it means it is disrupting your skin barrier. Why’s this so bad? Your skin barrier is what protects your skin, like your skin’s house, it keeps moisturise in and irritants out. When you use a product that disrupts this, the wall gets broken down, as a result, the skin can become red, blotchy, dry or even break out. In a nutshell, your skin becomes more sensitive.
Make some lifestyle changes. Hot showers can inflame the skin and strip it skin of its natural oils making it dry and even itchy. Turn down the heat to keep your skin healthy and to prevent those frustrating flare ups.
Cover up exposed skin with a hat and scarf when you’re out in the colder weather. Dry, cold environments draw moisture away from the skin and harsh winds can disrupt the skin barrier, burning the skin and making it appear red and blotchy. Make sure to add hydration back into the skin using a moisturiser for sensitive skin to protect the skin barrier.
The Best Skincare Set For Sensitive Skin
Our Skin Restore Trio has the perfect combination of products that work like magic for sensitive skin. Save 15% when you buy as a set rather than the products separately! It will hydrate and protect the skin against environmental stressors.
Daily Base™ Wonder Cream - 2ml x 28 doses
Power TonIQ™ Intense Hydrating Essence - 1ml x 14 doses
Power TonIQ™ Anti-Redness Essence - 1ml x 14 doses
The Key Takeaway
Remember, sensitive and sensitised skin can be managed with the right products, find ones that are tailored to your needs for the best, most efficient results. Don’t just ignore that pesky irritated, red skin. The quickest way to understand your skin's behaviours is to learn about the skin concern. Use our Skin Diagnostic and stay up to date with our Journal to discover the answer to your skin's questions.
Author - Lily Scales