Skin Care Routine for Sensitive Skin

Those of us with sensitive skin can feel like we spend our entire lives seeking “normal” skin and buying the skin care products that promise to cure redness and irritation. But its important to remember that sensitive skin is often the symptom of a larger trigger that, sometimes, can be controlled.

When our skin is healthy, it prevents dehydration and infection, and helps regulate body temperature1. But when we experience sensitized skin, it’s an indicator that our skin’s naturally protective barrier function has been compromised.

The Causes & Aggravators of Sensitive Skin

• Skin disorders like eczema and rosacea2
• Overuse of or allergic reaction to products with harsh ingredients
• Prolonged exposure to skin-damaging environmental factors (sun, wind, excessive heat or cold)
• Overly dry or injured skin
• Stress and lack of sleep3
• Very hot water

The Symptoms of Sensitive Skin

• Skin reactions such as pustules, bumps or skin erosion1
• Very dry skin that can itch, flake or peel
• A tendency toward skin redness: blushing and flushing
• Stinging or burning feeling when applying products4

The Key to Healing Sensitive Skin
To bring your sensitive skin back to healthy, you need to improve your skin’s damaged barrier function. This means taking a hard look at the ingredients in your products.

You’ll want to make sure any product you choose is soothing, strengthening and protective. But what does that really mean?

Soothe: For sensitive skin, soothing means anti-inflammatory. Ingredients like rice, aloe and eyebright will help reduce inflammation and irritation.

Strengthen: Your skin needs vitamins, nutrients and essential fatty acids to help repairs its protective barrier function—like cotton extract, shea butter and sugar.

Protect: Antioxidants like beet extract will help protect your skin from environmental toxins and free radical damage.

Along with the right ingredients, you’ll want to avoid the wrong ones. Ingredients that may exacerbate sensitive skin include:

• Fragrances
• Harsh preservatives such as parabens
• Sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate
• Anti-aging ingredients such as glycolic acid and retinoids5

Your Sensitive Skin Care Routine
The best skin care practice for sensitive skin is to focus on minimalism. Avoid surprising your skin with specialty products, and be sure not to over-wash. The point is to restore healthy skin, not strip your skin of its natural oils. Use only the gentlest fragrance-free and allergy-tested products with soothing, strengthening and protective natural ingredients.

Cleanse
• To truly combat sensitive skin, use a soap-free cleanser. Rinse your face clean with warm water, not hot! If you wear a decent amount of makeup, consider using a gentle foaming cleanser instead.
• Use gentle micellar cleansing water to remove any lingering oil, dirt or makeup.

Treat
• Facial serums packed with antioxidants will give you a heavy dose of protection against free radical damage. But if you’re worried that any new ingredient may cause a flare-up, you can skip topical treatments altogether and use something like a jade roller instead. See below.
• Use a jade roller 30 seconds after moisturizing to help cool the skin (pro tip: stick it in the fridge for extra cooling!). Jade is also said to help the skin’s lymphatic drainage process, which can reduce puffiness.

Moisturize
• Since synthetic fragrances can cause irritation and allergic reactions, use a fragrance-free day, night and eye cream with soothing ingredients like aloe.

Sensitive skin can feel hard to control, but committing yourself to a minimal skin care routine with gentle and clean ingredients will help you discover healthy, happy skin. Just be sure to opt for products that are truly formulated for sensitive skin!

1 https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-skin
2 https://www.webmd.com/beauty/sensitive-skin-20-questions#1
3 https://bioeffect.co.uk/thebuzz/the-top-5-causes-of-skin-sensitivity/#
4 https://healthguides.healthgrades.com/soothing-your-sensitive-skin/9-signs-of-sensitive-skin