Very few people have truly sensitive skin – the kind that frequently itches, goes red and mildly burns, but many people suffer from occasional irritation, or build up an increased sensitivity over time caused by an overload of ingredients that compromise the skin’s barrier.
In order to treat ingredient sensitivity, you first have to figure out which ingredients you are actually sensitive to.
Start by temporarily abandoning anti aging and acne products with high concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic acid), retinol, vitamin C or benzoyl peroxide. You may be having a reaction to that specific ingredient, or it may just be that the concentration of it in the product you are using is too intense for your skin type.
Removing these products from your daily skin care regimen, and then slowly adding them back in once your skin has completely cleared up should give you an indication of what it is that you are reacting to.
Another key area that is the frequent culprit when it comes to irritated skin is the choice of cleanser.
Don’t ever use regular bar soap on your face, especially if you are experiencing irritation or sensitivity.
Change out your current cleanser for a mild cleanser with dimethicone or glycerin that is labeled “fragrance free”. Products marked “unscented” frequently have a masking fragrance in them, and fragrances are frequently the cause of the irritation.
Re-analyze your skin type, or have a professional do it for you. Often you’ll find that your skin care needs have changed, or that you are using the wrong product for your skin type. Most commonly women will have a shiny nose, or have a small area that is prone to blackheads or mini breakouts, and they will assume they have oily skin and start using a cleanser that is too severe for them, and starts stripping their skin, thus making it irritable and sensitive.
Stop using exfoliants for a while, especially abrasive scrubs. These can really irritate the skin, and keep it feeling sensitive.
Be super gentle with your complexion! Dont use hot water – use tepid/luke warm water when washing your face.
Don’t scrub with a rough washcloth, instead rinse with water.
Look at the makeup products you are using. Have they past their best by date? Sometimes it can be the foundation or the powder you are using that is setting your skin off.
Are you keeping your makeup brushes and sponges clean? Using dirty tools, or storing your makeup products in an unclean area can also lead to skin issues.
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Are you using a daily moisturizer? Skin needs hydration and protection every day. Use a moisturizer that is fragrance free, has a broad spectrum SPF 30 and is designed for sensitive skin.
If you are prone to redness use one that contains fever few, bisabolol (derived from chamomile) or licochalcone (derived from licorice) to calm skin.
If your moisturizer doesn’t contain a good sunscreen, apply a facial sunscreen that has zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (less likely to irritate skin) over your moisturizer.
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At night time apply a moisturizer to clean skin. Look for a lotion with ceramides, which help repair the skin’s barrier.
If you are fighting breakouts apply a topical solution that contains no more than 2% salicylic acid to the affected area only.