Are you dealing with sensitive skin? Sensitive skin is often genetic and can react to many different variables, from hormonal imbalances and poor diet to changes in the weather and specific chemicals or ingredients. It’s vital to maintain a consistent skin care routine to keep your sensitive skin calm and clear. We’ve gathered some tips on how to relieve your symptoms as well as a skin care routine for sensitive skin to help your skin behave.
You may not be able to change your sensitive skin type, but there are several tips you can follow to keep your sensitive skin symptoms under wraps:
It’s time to swap your long, hot showers for shorter, lukewarm ones. Why? Sensitive skin often reacts negatively to heat exposure which breaks down the skin’s lipid barrier. Melissa Piliang, MD tells SELF: “Think about it like butter on a knife. If you put it under cold water, the fat on the knife doesn’t go anywhere. But if you put it under warm water, those lipids will melt away. It’s the same kind of issue with the lipid layer in our skin. If you put your skin in hot water or use harsh soaps, then it tends to wash that outer protective fatty layer away.”
One of the best ways to manage your sensitive skin symptoms is to be aware of the environmental and lifestyle triggers that cause your skin to react. The more you know, the better you can identify them and take precautionary measures. Triggers differ from person to person, but often include:
Harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances are two of the biggest contributors to lipid barrier damage. To keep your skin’s health intact, Women’s Health advises: “Look for skin care products free from fragrances and paraben preservatives, two common causes of irritation and flare-ups.” Choose natural skin care brands like Eminence Organics that do not use parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals and phthalates in their formulations.
In addition, reach for products that contain calming ingredients. “It's important to choose natural ingredients when possible, no matter your skin type, but for sensitive skin it is extra important,” explains Dr Hooman Khorasani, Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgeon. “These products may be described as hypoallergenic, mild or gentle and can contain natural ingredients like coconut oil, aloe vera, chamomile, vitamin E and shea butter,” says Dr. Khorasani.
Ingredients should be chosen for their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to enhance your skin’s lipid barrier. In summary, these include:
We’ve all been there after a skin care purchase haul. Excitedly trying all the new products at once is something nearly everyone has done at one time or another. But this can lead to an unwanted reaction, particularly for sensitive skin types. Instead, always perform a patch test before adding new products to your skin care routine. As Women’s Health advises: “Do a test run on a small, inconspicuous patch of skin (like behind your ear) before applying. Wait at least 24 hours for signs of irritation, redness, or other skin freak-outs. If your skin is hypersensitive, repeat this test run on a patch next to your eye. All clear? You’re safe to apply with abandon.”
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy lipid barrier is to moisturize - day and night. An effective moisturizer will replenish skin’s outer layer and prevent water loss, helping to prevent penetration by potential irritants. When choosing a moisturizer, we recommend looking for ingredients that are high in fatty acids (like shea butter, jojoba oil and coconut oil), as well as humectants (like hyaluronic acid) that work to increase hydration and lock in moisture.
Sensitive skin is extra-responsive to the sun’s rays - and UV protection is a must. However, as dermatologist Shari Marchbein tells Allure: “People with sensitive skin can have a hard time finding sunscreens, as most are made with chemical UV blockers that can cause stinging, burning, irritations and redness when applied to the skin.” We suggest using a mineral sunscreen that contains physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to shield your skin from damaging UV rays.
Sensitive skin is easily overwhelmed by an abundance of products. Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz tells Refinery29: “I always suggest patients with sensitive skin to simplify their skin care routine. Strip it down to the basics by using gentle cleansers and moisturizers without lots of detergents and fragrances. Then, slowly introduce other agents one at a time.” As always, perform a patch test before adding additional products to your routine.
When it comes to sensitive skin, less is more. We recommend starting with some sensitive skin care products in conjunction with these essential skin care steps for best results.
Dermatologists recommend using a gel or cream cleanser that removes impurities without causing irritation or unnecessary dryness. When cleansing, use your fingertips rather than a washcloth or brush, rinse with cool water and gently pat your face dry. Most importantly, don’t overdo it. Washing the face once per day should be enough to keep your skin healthy.
We recommend: Stone Crop Gel Wash
This gel cleanser gently washes away excess dirt and oil without over-stripping the skin. Stone crop deeply hydrates, while chamomile and shea butter calm and restore dry skin.
Say goodbye to alcohol-based, astringent toners that can leave your face feeling tight and itchy. Instead, use a toner or facial mist with skin-soothing ingredients that will help improve the appearance of redness and inflammation.
We recommend: Stone Crop Hydrating Mist
Refreshing Stone Crop Hydrating Mist is infused with stone crop juice and aloe to hydrate and heal dry skin on the face, revealing a soft and fresh complexion. Meredith says in her 5-star review: “I mist this on my face after cleansing and before I apply my nighttime moisturizer or daytime sunscreen and LOVE it! I have pretty sensitive skin that gets easily irritated and itchy and this always calms, hydrates and smooths my skin. It is amazing how much better my skin looks and feels after misting this on! I can't be without it! Thank you, Eminence!”
For sensitive skin, look for moisturizers that not only replenish your skin’s moisture barrier but also contain soothing ingredients that will calm and comfort your complexion.
We recommend: Calm Skin Chamomile Moisturizer
Chamomile, calendula and arnica combine in this moisturizer to soothe chapped cheeks and reduce redness due to dryness. If your skin is both sensitive and oily, our expert estheticians recommend the lightweight Rosehip Whip Moisturizer, which helps reduce discomfort and even the appearance of easily irritated dry skin.
Now that you’ve mastered the essentials, it’s time to let the fun begin. We recommend introducing these extras one at a time to your skin care routine.
Sensitive skin can still be exfoliated, gently. Keep exfoliation to one or two times per week. It can help remove dead skin cells and freshen up your skin, without leading to over-exfoliation.
We recommend: Calm Skin Chamomile Exfoliating Peel
This peel uses lactic and mandelic acids to gently exfoliate sensitive skin without irritation. It is formulated with soothing ingredients like chamomile, calendula and arnica flower that relieve redness due to dryness and leave skin feeling soft, smooth and revitalized.
Face masks are one of the best ways to soothe sensitive skin. They not only offer the ultimate pampering experience but also deliver calming ingredients to the skin.
We recommend: Calm Skin Arnica Masque
Eminence Organics Product Support Team Lead Alicia Hawthorne says this gentle mask “helps to diminish signs of redness while relieving and softening dry skin. Arnica, marigold and shea butter all work together to soothe dry, sensitive skin.” Allure is also a fan of this soothing treatment, calling it one of the best face masks for reducing redness.
We recommend: Facial Recovery Oil
This award-winning facial oil is formulated with the purest Biodynamic® ingredients to tone and hydrate skin sensitive skin. Alicia says: “Amazing to hydrate, soothe and reduce redness due to dryness. It can be applied under your moisturizer, worn on its own or simply used by adding a couple of drops to your moisturizer. It also has beautiful oils in it to help soothe dry skin: ylang ylang, clary sage oil and sage leaf extract.”