How To Look After Sensitive Skin
Updated: May 5, 2019
Sensitive skin is a common complaint and is caused by nerve endings in the skin becoming irritated. This happens because the skin’s barrier function is compromised and has broken down due to factors such as cold weather, sun exposure, stress, lack of sleep, very hot water, harsh skincare and pollution.
A lot of clients I see think that they have sensitive skin but a little redness when using skincare products or massaging the skin is normal! Signs of sensitive skin include itchy skin, stinging when skincare is applied and persistent flushing of the skin when water and/or products are applied. Extreme itching or burning it is more likely to be an allergic reaction to something rather than sensitivity and you should put a cold compress on the area and see a doctor pronto.
If you have sensitive skin, it is important to focus on keeping your skin barrier healthy. A great way of doing this is to reduce the amount that you wash your face and don't put your face under hot water in the shower. Incorporating ceramides into your skincare routine is a great way of repairing the skin barrier. Ceramides are lipids found naturally in the skin and I have found that they have made a huge difference to my skin since I started incorporating them earlier this year.
The overuse of AHAs, such as glycolic acid, and retinol can weaken the skin barrier and increase sensitivity so make sure not to go overboard with these. It is also important to avoid common irritants that are found in a lot of skincare to minimise the risk of sensitivity e.g. fragrance, essential oils, drying alcohols and SLS (aka anything foaming).
Sun exposure can exacerbate sensitivity so using a broad spectrum SPF can help minimise any irritation. A lot of people have a sensitivity to chemical sun filters (they make my skin itchy and my eyes sting) so it best to stick with mineral sunscreen if you can.
I have put together some of my favourite products that are brilliant for sensitive skin:
Bioderma Sensibio Light Soothing Cream: https://www.lookfantastic.com/bioderma-sensibio-light-soothing-cream-40ml/11450897.html
Cerave Hydrating Cleanser: https://www.feelunique.com/p/CeraVe-Hydrating-Cleanser-473ml
Cerave Moisturising Lotion: https://www.feelunique.com/p/CeraVe-Moisturising-Lotion-473ml
Simply Pure Hydrating Serum https://www.superdrug.com/Skin/Face-Skin-Care/Face-Serums/Superdrug-Simply-Pure-Hydrating-Serum-50ml/p/342700
La Roche Posay Toleriane range: https://www.boots.com/la-roche-posay/la-roche-posay-toleriane
Superfacialist Sensitive range: https://www.feelunique.com/p/Super-Facialist-Pure-Sensitive-Skin-Recovery-Day-Cream-75ml
The Alex Steinherr x Primark range is fragrance and essential oil-free (not available online)
Thanks for reading!