A person struggling with sensitive skin tends to have negative responses towards environmental stimuli such as the sun, wind, cold, or even non-environmental stimuli like topical products. These reactions come in the form of stinging, burning, peeling, dryness, tightness, or redness; essentially, the telltale signs of sensitive skin are usually painful. Anyone can react poorly to a product, but if you notice a recurring pattern of irritation, then you probably have sensitive skin. Our skin has a protective fatty layer on its outer level; it works to maintain the skin’s natural moisture level and to fight off things such as UV and wind. People with sensitive skin tend to have a weaker, thinner fat-based layer, aiding the skin in reacting more strongly to products and environmental occurrences. If you struggle with symptoms of sensitive skin and want to achieve a brighter, more even complexion, then keep on reading!
Foaming cleansers dry and strip the skin of its natural moisture barrier. I suggest trying something that’s cream, oil, or jelly based if you tend to struggle with dryness or heightened skin reactivity. Below you will find some of the best cleansers and makeup removers for individuals who struggle with sensitive skin!
Pro Tip: Use Micellar Water to remove your makeup; it is a great option for people with sensitive skin since there are few additive ingredients. It’s essentially just water and oil.
Over using soap and hot water can diminish your skin’s outer lipid barrier. Thus, it is extremely important that individuals with sensitive skin don’t over-wash or exfoliate too heavily as a way to preserve the skin’s outermost layer. Abrasive scrubs and mechanical exfoliants, like walnut shell powder and microbeads, can damage & break your skin. I advise against using electronic cleaning tools, like the Clarisonic or anything else with an abrasive brush mechanism, as it will irritate and over shed the skin’s outer barrier. If you struggle a lot with dryness or any other sensitive skin symptoms, then I suggest only cleansing once a day prior to rest.
Pro Tip: If you wake up feeling oily or gross, then it’s totally okay to cleanse twice a day, but you have to make sure you’re layering up with a toner, moisturizer, and sunscreen!
Regardless of whether or not you have sensitive skin, I am a firm believer in creating a base for your more abrasive products. Layering toner and then moisturizer is essential before applying aggressive, irritation-provoking products. By doing this, you ensure that your skin’s moisture barrier is replenished, small & dry cracks are made supple and smooth, and irritants are prevented from absorbing too deeply.
Pro Tip: Always keep your skin moisturized with a fragrance free moisturizer or hydrating spray.
Niacinamide is a form of B3; it boosts ceramide production – an essential part of the skin’s structure – which makes the skin more tolerant of irritants such as retinol. In addition, it has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps minimize redness and skin sensitivity. This is essential for someone with sensitive skin looking to try retinol for the first time, as it will minimize reactions such as peeling, inflammation, and redness!
Pro Tip: Scan product ingredients carefully.
Whether it’s the number of products in your skincare routine or the amount of ingredients in each product, you want to keep it simple. Doing too much can easily irritate sensitive skin. In order to keep your skin’s PH in balance and moisture barrier protected, you must limit the number of products you use and the types of ingredients you’re applying to your skin. You should steer free of ingredients such as sulfates, dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers, alcohols, acids, certain botanical oils like lavender, and fragrances.
Pro Tip: Look out for ingredients like emollients and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid, as they retain moisture in the skin. Also keep an eye out for ceramics and fatty acids like linoleic or alpha-linoleic acids since they actively replenish the skin’s lipid barrier. Pro-tip: Only use fragrance-free products & beware of “unscented” labels.