OVERDOING YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE
Over cleansing, over exfoliating and over pampering our skin can strip away our skin’s protective oils and the lipids that sit in between our skin cells forming skin’s protective barrier.
When this happens, moisture can more easily escape from our skin and bacteria, irritants and allergens can more easily penetrate skin, causing skin sensitivity.
This can lead to skin looking and feeling – dry, red, irritated, flaky or itchy.
INSTEAD TRY: Simplifying your skincare routine – Do less.
Wash only once or twice a day with lukewarm water. Gently pat skin dry after cleansing, don’t rub or over dry your skin.
Try using less products – work out your bare minimum of products and trial taking a break from various products to give your skin a chance to rebalance.
Try using products that replenish skin’s oils and lipids. And don’t go overboard with scrubs and exfoliators.
Using SKINCARE PRODUCTS WITH LONG INGREDIENT LISTS - INCLUDING 'FRAGRANCE' or 'PARFUM'
An Environmental Working Group Study found that the average woman uses 12 products, containing 168 different ingredients daily. This is a lot for sensitive skin to handle!
Products with less ingredients have less potential for skin irritation.
Fragrances are among the top 5 allergens in the world and are found in almost everything.
The words ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ are a catch-all for 1,000’s of undisclosed chemicals that can cause skin irritation, sensitisation, allergies, skin reactions.
INSTEAD TRY: Simpler products with shorter ingredient lists.
Essential oils can be better alternatives than synthetic fragrances for sensitive skin, but be careful! ‘Natural’ doesn’t always mean ‘good for sensitive skin’ – less is more.
Take extra care with citrus-based essential oils like lemon, lime, orange, mandarin and bergamot as well as jasmine, rose, geranium and sandalwood.
USING FOAMING OR 'SOAPY' FEELING CLEANSERS or 'ANTI-ACNE' PRODUCTS
Foaming cleansers and cleansers containing detergents like sodium laurel sulphate or coco betaine can strip skin of it’s protective oils contributing to redness and irritation.
Avoid ‘anti-acne’ cleansers, wipes and spot treatments that contain alcohol or benzyl peroxide. These strip natural oils and damage skin’s protective barrier function.
INSTEAD TRY: Gentle cleansers with gentle detergents like yucca extract.
You could also try one of our Konjac Sponges. They’re super gentle and no cleanser is needed.
Charcoal products can be helpful for removing ‘excess’ skin oils for oily and acne prone skin.
Always remove makeup at night time, a super soft microfibre cloth is suitable for dry skin.
USING 'ANTI-AGEING' products or a moisturiser that contains water or aqua
‘Anti-Ageing’ products often contain a LOT of active ingredients that can be overwhelming and irritating for sensitive skin, including retinols, AHA’s, BHA’s and other acids.
And ‘Big Brand’ moisturisers that contain water, aqua or aloe as their first ingredient are typically 50-80% water… meaning there’s only 20-50% left over for the ‘skin soothing’ ingredients.
Not only that, when there’s water in a formulation, preservatives and emulsifiers are needed to stabilise the product. Many preservatives and emulsifiers can be both drying and irritating to skin, especially sensitive skin.
INSTEAD TRY: A rich moisturiser containing skin replenishing ingredients like grass-fed tallow, emu oil, lanolin, butters like shea and cocoa butter, olive oil, jojoba oil and beeswax.
Natural fats like grass-fed tallow and emu oil contain lipids (fats, oils and cholesterol) found naturally in healthy looking skin. These lipids help to fill in ‘gaps’ and replace missing components in your skin’s barrier that could be letting moisture out (leading to dry skin) and letting allergens and irritants in (leading to redness and irritation).
These lipids also soften the look of fine lines.
OBSESSING ABOUT YOUR SKIN
When our skin is ‘playing up’ with redness, itching, irritation, flaking and breakouts we tend to spend more time in front of the mirror obsessing about it. But stressing about our skin and stopping to pick, scratch or squeeze will only make sensitive skin worse.
INSTEAD TRY: When you notice you’re doing this, try stopping and tuning into your thoughts, your feelings and what’s going on in your body. Try naming your thoughts, feelings and sensations in your body when you have the urge to scratch or touch your skin. When we do this it increases our awareness and takes away their power.
Try some of the other mindfulness techniques we suggest in ‘Natural Skincare Secrets for Women with Sensitive Skin’