Help, My Sensitive Skin's In A Mess!
Your skin is composed of several layers of tissue that protect it from the elements. It's your body's first line of defense - the wall that prevents enemies from crossing its boundary. Once your epidermis can no longer fulfill its protective function, your skin will flare up, becoming red, hot, itchy, and tight.
The causes? Your skin becomes hyper-sensitive and reactive when its protective barrier is harmed. Environmental factors (cold, sun, damp) and irritating substances (pollution, allergens, cigarette smoke) are able to penetrate your epidermis, sending your already sensitive skin into crisis mode. Here are a few problems that people with sensitive skin and what you should and should not do if you have sensitive skin.
1. Cleansing hurts your sensitive skin
Don't panic! There are plenty of cleansers designed for reactive, sensitive skin. Treat yourself to a cleanser for super sensitive skin that doesn't contain surfactants - these will only further harm your epidermis. Opt for gentle treatments - milks, creams, or cleansing oils with rich, emollient textures that will dissolve any make up or grime without the need to rub your fragile face. For example try the Hydra Fresh Anti-Ox Grape Seed Creamy Foam by L’Oréal Paris. This gentle foaming cleanser gently cleanses skin, thoroughly removes make up, and leaves your skin feeling soft, fresh, and moisturized. Rinse off with thermal water to soothe and hydrate your skin. Avoid tap water as its limescale will only dry out your already parched epidermis. Gently mop up any excess with a tissue or cotton pad. And feel your skin breathe a sigh of relief!
2. Your sensitive skin can't bear to be washed
Don't wash or cleanse your skin in the morning. A morning cleanse does get rid of toxins accumulated during the night, but sensitive skin needs a break if it's to preserve its protective hydrolipidic film. Simply spritz it with a calming thermal or floral water (chamomile, rose, orange flower water) to give it a gentle, refreshing wake up call.
3. Your sensitive skin hates creams
If your skin can't handle day or night creams, it means its hydrolipidic film is no longer able to protect the epidermis. Your skin will dry out or feel unbearably irritated and itchy. But don't give up on creams, as your skin still needs hydrating, nourishing, soothing and, most of all, protecting from the elements. All you need to do is select a suitable product! Go for creams designed for sensitive skin that contain emollients (such as glycerin) to leave it feeling comfy, calming ingredients (such as panthenol) to soothe irritations, moisturising ingredients (such as shea butter) to compensate for water-loss and filmogenic ingredients (such as paraffin) to provide a protective sheath.
Our tip? Apply creams that contain as few ingredients as possible, so as to avoid unnecessary flare-ups.
4. Even makeup feels horrid on your sensitive skin
You want to cover up red, irritated patches but your skin wants to run a mile. Don't worry, we won't make you go out bare-faced! Having sensitive skin doesn't mean you have to go down the no makeup route. Quite the opposite - a bit of war-paint can provide an additional, protective barrier. You just need to choose products suited to your skin.
Just like cleansers and creams, there are loads of makeup products designed for reactive and sensitive skin. They're hypo-allergenic and dermatologically tested. Choose products that let your skin breathe, won't clog your pores, are mineral-based (kinder to skin), and non-comedogenic. Added tip: to camouflage red patches, apply a green colour corrector before your foundation.
5. How can you prevent flare-ups?
To avoid flare-ups, you'll need to take some simple measures. These will all help to protect your skin:
Protect your skin from the elements (cold, heat, sun)
Avoid polluted areas (inside and out)
Don't overheat rooms and keep them at the right humidity level
Eat a balanced diet, with plenty of omega 3 and 6
Take quick, warm (not hot!) Baths and showers
Drinks lots of non-alcoholic beverages and/or 1.5l of water a day
Religiously moisturise with treatments suited to sensitive skin
Dealing with sensitive skin is not easy, and using the wrong methods and products during skincare and makeup will only make matters worse. Pay close attention to how you treat your face and what kind of products you use. Be gentle on your skin and follow the tips mentioned above to prevent your sensitive skin from getting aggravated.