Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin occurs when the nerve endings in the outermost layer of the skin become irritated, which happens when the skin's natural protective barrier is compromised by various triggers. These triggers can include environmental factors, hormonal changes, as well as certain foods, drinks, and products that come into contact with your skin, resulting in ICD (irritant contact dermatitis). Now, let's take a look at some frequently asked questions about sensitive skin.

When it comes to skin sensitivity and irritation, reactions can happen suddenly and to a variety of triggers. To identify these triggers, it’s helpful to consider the location of the reaction on your body and what recently came into contact with it. If there are no obvious factors and the weather is not harsh, internal causes such as dietary factors, medication, or hormonal changes may be at play. Stay vigilant and explore potential causes to better understand and manage your skin’s reactions.

Make-up is generally not the cause of skin sensitivity, although certain ingredients in make-up products can trigger irritation or allergic reactions. It’s important to note that even “sensitive” skin can react to ingredients that are typically considered safe. To minimise the risk of irritation, it’s advisable to avoid common irritants like fragrance, including essential oils. Additionally, make-up can potentially exacerbate existing skin irritation by trapping the irritants.

That being said, most sensitive skin types can still tolerate a small amount of make-up, especially mineral-based options. Products labeled as “hypoallergenic” are less likely to cause irritation, but it’s not a guarantee.

Having sensitive skin can make it challenging to find suitable facial products. However, with the right approach, you can improve skin comfort and restore its natural balance. Alongside minimising triggers to prevent flare-ups, here are some helpful ideas to support your skin:

Hydrate: Infuse extra moisture into the upper layers of your skin using a hydrating mask. Proper hydration enhances skin well-being and functionality.

Seal in Moisture: Use skin-friendly lipids and emollients to lock in the moisture. Lipids, such as ceramides, essential fatty acids, and cholesterol, act as the mortar that surrounds the skin cells, keeping them healthy and retaining moisture. Emollients like shea butter, lanolin, and plant oils sit on the skin’s surface, creating a protective barrier.

Soothe with Niacinamide: Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, possesses soothing properties that counter inflammation and stimulate the production of ceramides. Ceramides aid in reducing water loss and reinforce the skin’s natural barrier.

Address Inflammation with Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid is known for its ability to alleviate inflammation, particularly for conditions like rosacea.

Calm Redness with Green-Tinted Primers or Concealers: Use a calming, green-tinted primer or concealer to soothe and alleviate the appearance of redness. These products are designed to be compatible with sensitive skin, providing both coverage and calming benefits.

Consider Aloe Vera Gel: If you prefer ‘natural’ options, aloe vera gel is renowned for its soothing and healing properties. While having an aloe plant for a homemade solution is ideal, well-formulated cosmetic products also deliver the benefits of aloe vera in a skin-friendly manner.

By following these tips, you can nurture and care for your sensitive skin effectively.

The use of the word ‘heal’ may be misleading in this context, particularly for individuals with sensitive skin. It’s important to acknowledge that complete prevention of reactions may not be feasible. However, there are proactive steps you can take to understand and avoid triggers as much as possible. Treating your skin gently is crucial, which includes keeping it hydrated, protecting it from the sun, and avoiding excessive exfoliation. The key is to prioritize the maintenance of your skin barrier’s integrity by utilizing suitable skincare products that moisturize and strengthen the barrier using ingredients such as essential fatty acids and ceramides. By following these strategies, you can better care for your sensitive skin and promote its overall well-being.