Understanding how to take care of a sensitive skin and products to use that won’t aggravate the skin is a common concern among many clients and customers researching skincare products. Having a sensitive skin brings a feeling of self-conscious and cautiousness about how your skin will respond to a new product. I have Rosacea and have experienced skin sensitivity for as long as I remember. I am the true fair skin tone that burns easily when in the sun and that gets flushed cheeks when I get hot so I understand this condition so very well. Sensitive skins require some careful consideration about what we use, how we take care of it and what can be done to protect the skin, however, it doesn’t mean we need to shy away from active ingredients either.
Here are my 10 ways to help soothe and keep a sensitive skin calm:
1. Learn your triggers
Triggers are things that cause our skin to respond with flushing, redness or itchiness etc. For example, someone's cheeks may become flushed when consuming a glass of wine, or if they eat spicy food. A trigger may also be an ingredient or ’type’ of product that has been applied to the skin. By understanding your skin and what triggers it, you can then learn to manage the situations to help keep onto of the responses. We are here to help you too in understanding what things may be causing your skin to respond and how we can support your skin in staying strong, healthy and calm.
2. Avoid hot water directly on the face
Our face consists of many tiny delicate capillaries and hot water directly on the face does rick damaging these capillaries, for any skin.
All skins need to avoid hot water directly on the face however if we have redness in our skin already, then putting our face under the hot shower is only going to keep the skin stimulated for longer. When our skin is stimulated and red, our body has to work hard to try and calm this down plus the hot water creates more dehydration on the skin which then leads to an increase in inflammation. When cleansing and exfoliating the skin, opt for lukewarm water and a gentle face cloth to remove the products from your skin.
3. Avoid chemical SPF
Chemical SPF is absorbed into the skin and the UV rays are dispersed as heat. When this happens, sensitive skins can feel warmer and can often feel a tingling’ sensation on the skin. This can often be uncomfortable so, we want to use a ‘Physical’ SPF. Physical SPF reflects the UV rays so they aren't absorbed into the skin however provide fantastic protection from the harmful UV rays.
Dermalogica’s Invisible Physical Defense is a sheer, lightweight and zinc oxide-based sunscreen which is a perfect option for the more sensitive skins.
Offers critical protection against UV and Blue Light rays. Sheer, lightweight and absorbs evenly into all skin tones
4. Cooling solutions on hand for those 'warm' moments
There are times during the day you may feel your cheeks flushing- it might be in an enclosed room, when you are rushing around and also going from the cold environment can fluctuate how your skin feels. If your cheeks are flushed and feeling very warm, a cool cloth pressed onto the skin if you can as its a great option to help take some of the heat away from the skin.
I like to have on hand the UltraCalming Mist as I can spritz this onto my skin throughout the day as needed...and it can even go over make-up!
5. Diet- sugar intake, alcohol
If you experience redness or sensitivity on the skin then reducing sugar in your diet is a real positive. Sugar causes an increase in inflammation in the body so when we are already stimulated, this can exacerbate the skin's response. I know that if I have indulged in a little too much chocolate, I guarantee the next day and the day after, my skin looks and feels bumpier across the cheeks and more pink in appearance. Alcohol also brings a warm feeling to our bodies and this can create a little flushing on the skin as well and common areas are the cheeks and the neck area. Alcohol also dehydrates our bodies and make our skin look a little on the dull side. It is not all gloom and I dont want you to give these up entirely, just being aware of what changes it can do to the skin is important.
6. Opt for products that help to keep the skin barrier healthy, strong and calm
Sensitive skins can have a predisposition to barrier damage. Our skin barrier helps protect our skin from the environment and also to help prevent water loss from the skin. When our skin's barrier is compromised we can start to see itchiness, irritation and an increase in inflammation so keeping this protected daily should be a priority. The Dermalogica UltraCalming range consists of the UltraCalming Complex where Lavender, Ginger and Oatmeal all protect the skin and strengthen in from the inside to prevent the sensitive fluctuations we can experience. Here are my personal favourites in the UltraCalming range:
7. Gentle exfoliation
Just because your skin is on the more sensitive side, doesn’t mean you can't enjoy the benefits of exfoliation. We recommend if you have a sensitive skin to exfoliate about 1-2 per week. If your skin is feeling good and not responsive in any way, depending on the type of exfoliant, you may be able to increase the frequency with which you use it.
A great exfoliant we recommend for the more sensitive of skin is the Daily Milkfoliant. If you need advice as to which Dermalogica exfoliant is best for you, please let us know .
8. Keep the skin hydrated
Hydrated skin is radiant and supple and when it becomes dehydrated, our skin can be more susceptible to inflammation, leading to an increase in pinkness and redness on the skin and even irritation. All the Dermalogica products target hydration in some way however to target specifically the hydration, I recommend the Skin Hydrating Booster morning and night and the Skin Hydrating Masque 1-2 per week (link and product box)
9. Always use SPF
Predominantly sensitive skins are of the fairer skin tone side and the sun loves this skin because we burn easily. We must always have our SPF applied every single day, all year round! Not to mention, SPF is also our best anti-ageing cream because the UVA rays (the daylight rays) are our ageing rays and break down our collagen and elastin. The UVB rays are our burning rays and we tend to feel this in the summer months during the middle parts of the day. Dermalogica's Invisible Physical Defense SPF 30 is a great option for the sensitive of skins.
10. Vitamin C great for sensitive skins/serums
Vitamin C has so many benefits to the skin like firming, hydrating, evening out skin tone and for sensitive skin is can help with calming redness....it really is the best antioxidant to tackle fine lines, pigmentation and wrinkles caused by skin ageing.
Dermalogica's BioLumin-C Serum is a hero product in my cupboard and targets brightness, firmness and protecting the skin from further damage.
If you need any guidance or support with your skin, please reach out to us. We offer Complimentary Online Skin Consultations via email, zoom or phone.
About the Author
My name is Sarah and I am the founder of GLO Skin Body. With almost 20 years experience, I believe a professional relationship with your skin therapist is crucial in helping you to achieve your skin care goals and to ensure your skin is always looking and feeling its best. Whether it's in person or through our online support, Im here to guide and support you towards your healthiest skin ever.
On a personal note, I am a Mum of 3 so I understand completely the juggles and balancing of life and family commitments . My goal is to help everyone have an effective and enjoyable home care routine that gets you the results you want...no matter how busy you are!