Sensitive skin can be one of the trickiest skin types to deal with, as it can happen in combination with dryness, oiliness, and even breakouts. Tell-tale signs of sensitive skin include being prone to redness, rashes and bumps, dry patches and itchy areas, and irritation caused by things like bad weather, fragrances, other beauty products, and touch.
So how do you start a skincare routine without getting flare-ups? The key is to focus on products that soothe and condition the skin and skip on products that can irritate or are too harsh.
Firstly, cleansers are a must to wash away any bacteria or irritants, but should not strip your skin of its natural oils. Ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) are common foaming agents in cleansers, but it can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Instead, opt for products infused with bisabolol or honey, which have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
To further condition the skin, you’ll need the right toner. A lot of commercial toners contain alcohols and additives like sulfur or benzoyl peroxide meant to address oiliness and help with acne treatment. Sadly, these are no good for sensitive skin since they can cause further redness and irritation. Toners with green tea, chamomile, and white tea extracts can provide the soothing and calming effects your skin needs.
Moisturizers for sensitive skin should have no synthetic fragrances and dyes that can trigger flare-ups or essential oils that can clog the pores instead of providing hydration. With colloidal oatmeal or lecithin, your moisturizer should provide ample moistness and manage irritation on sensitive skin.
Sunscreen is a must, given that exposure to harsh UV rays can be harmful to any skin. Chemical sunscreens often have more active ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin. Mineral sunscreens, which contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, work by creating a physical barrier from the UV rays. This is more suitable, as these ingredients are least likely to irritate and will provide the protection you need.
Dealing with breakouts? Stick to your usual mild cleanser and then spot-treat any blemish with salicylic acid products. This allows you to unclog your pores and address your acne without having to expose your whole face to the product.
To top it all off, facial masks are also a great way to manage sensitive skin regularly. Look for masks with naturally hydrating and soothing ingredients like aloe vera, cucumber, and chamomile.
Lighter formulations that are either water or gel-based are better for people with combination or oily skin as these provide much-needed moisture and reduce inflammation without clogging up the skin. For those with sensitive dry skin, overnight masks once a week can help address the dryness.
Sensitive skin is manageable as long as you pay close attention to it. A general rule to have is to watch out for products that most likely can cause irritation, such as artificial dyes and colorants, surfactants, and astringents.
It’s also important to avoid products that use chemicals and additives that are too harsh on the skin. Keeping your skincare products on the mild side with soothing and moisturizing ingredients is a step in the right direction.