Saying that you have sensitive skin is a bit of a generic term, and can apply to a whole range of people with different types of skin and sensitivities.
You may have sensitive skin that reacts to many kinds of common skincare ingredients which aren’t normally a problem, you could have excess skin inflammation left over from a rosacea flare-up, or, you can have sensitive skin because sometimes you go a bit overboard with harsh exfoliants or stripping skincare products.
No matter the reason why your skin is asking for a little extra TLC, we have you covered.
Below, we will go over 9 tips to help keep even the fussiest skin less red, irritated, dry, and bumpy.
UV rays can be irritating to the skin even when they don’t cause a “sunburn”. Excess UV exposure can leave skin red, irritated, dry, and sensitive to skincare products.
So, even if you are trying to put fewer things on your skin these days, skipping out on sunscreen isn’t an option. Find a sunscreen that is made for the face to help prevent pores from getting clogged, and use a 30+ SPF daily to help keep sensitive skin happy.
Avoid touching your face
Touching your face is something that almost everyone should work on doing less. But, for those of us with sensitive skin, doubling down on not touching your face so often is even more important.
While you may be taking the utmost care picking out gentle skincare products, if you are constantly dabbing on random dirt, grime, and chemicals from your hands, you will likely still have spots of sensitivity.
Your hands pick up all kinds of things throughout the day from computers, handles, switches, steering wheels, other people, you name it. And, while these bacterial, chemical, and oily residues may not be a problem for the thicker skin on your hands, if you are a big face toucher — you may have skin irritation when you inadvertently touch your face.
Choose a gentle cream-based cleanser
When people have sensitive skin, sometimes they think that means they need to wash their face more, or use more stripping cleansers to “get off” whatever is causing the irritation.
In actuality, nothing can be farther from the truth. When you have sensitive skin, you actually need to use more soothing, moisturizing, cleansers to help protect the skin and its natural protective barriers.
Choose cream-based facial cleansers, or sensitive skin beauty bars packed with soothing ingredients to clean your skin (not punish it).
And, stick to a once or twice daily washing, as anything more than that is likely overboard and can cause even more skin irritation.
Don’t skip the moisturizer
Sometimes, people with sensitive skin try to apply less and less to their skin in order to get it back to a healthy state.
But, when you are pulling back on the products, moisturizer isn’t one that should fall to the wayside.A twice-daily moisturizer is a must for every kind of skin, including very sensitive skin.
Moisturizers help lock in facial moisture and preserve your skins natural defensive barriers. Without moisturizers you are likely drying out your skin, making more cracks and a less strong defensive barrier to protect your skin from the irritants of the day.
Avoid fragrances and alcohol-containing products
You may love the way some of your skincare products smell, but unless the scent is coming from a natural product that is contributing to its function, you are likely not doing your skin any favors.
Synthetic fragrances (and some natural ones) can be extremely irritating, especially for those with sensitive skin. Alcohol-containing products should also be avoided as they can be overly stripping, irritating, drying, and breakdown your natural skin barriers.
Get treatment for rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and other common skin issues
Untreated skin issues can spill over into more inflammation and irritation of your skin. Common skin ailments like rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis may be uncomfortable to bring up with a doctor, but addressing the skin issue with a proper treatment may help your overall skin sensitivity improve too.
If you are especially shy about discussing skin issues with a doctor in person, some telemedicine sites are able to help you get online treatment for common skin issues like persistent acne and rosacea.
Less is more
If you are struggling with persistent skin sensitivity, it may be a good idea to reign in your skincare process. For sensitive skin sufferers, less can be more.
Take your beauty routine down to the non-negotiable basics of cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen for a while to see if sensitive skin issues get better.
Look for “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin” products
Since you can completely get away from skincare products, even with the more basic of beauty routines, you need to know how to pick out good ones.
Look at the labels and try to find products that say “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin” on them.
Even though there are no exact rules for what these labels must entail, it can help point you in the right direction for finding products that take skin sensitivity seriously. Reading the ingredients list is also a must.
Try out “spot tests” for new products
Even some of the most thoroughly reviewed products that check all of your sensitive skin boxes could possibly lead to a sensitive skin reaction.
Your best bet for adding a new product into your skincare routine is to start with a “spot test”, also known as a patch test, or a use test. Apply a small amount of the product to your inner arm, then leave it there and see if any irritation develops in the next 72 hours.
If you see redness, bumps, or feel swelling, inflammation, or itchiness, this may not be a good product for you. But, if the skin looks clear, smooth, and totally normal, this may be a good choice to use on your face.