20 Steps To Heal Sensitive Skin
Chances are, whatever your skin type, you may have experienced sensitive skin at some point in your life. But, what exactly is sensitive skin? Is it something you're born with? How do you know you have it? And most importantly, how should you take care of it?
Sensitive skin is generally skin that has a higher tendency to react to substances such as the sun, wind, cold, lotions, or fragrances. It is easy to irritate and can experience redness, stinging, burning, itchiness, flaking, or discomfort after coming into contact with a specific ingredient or an environmental trigger. The first step is to identify what is causing sensitive skin. Once the cause is established, steps can be taken to prevent it from reappearing. However, working out the cause of sensitive or easily irritated skin is not simple. Since everyone has a unique skin type, it may be difficult to gauge the trigger or treatment that can be applied to all skin types. But, not to worry! Here are some of the simplest things you can do to heal sensitive skin;
1. Go back to basics- cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen. Remove all fancy products from your skincare cabinet and eliminate them from your routine for at least a week or a month, depending on the severity of your condition. This includes acne treatments, antioxidant creams, serums, fermented essences, acids- everything.
2. In order to avoid drying out your skin, skip the cleanser in the morning. Instead, wash your face a couple of times with water. Make sure that the water temperature is not too hot or too cold.
3. Foam cleansers are meant to deep clean the skin by getting rid of excess oil and sebum and uprooting any form of debris that may be stuck to the pores. These cleansers often use an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate that tends to irritate sensitive skin. Instead, switch to gel or milk cleansers that provide a milder cleanse and help soothe inflammation.
4. Avoid using heavy makeup that dries out your skin. Instead of liquid foundations, use a mineral powder if you must. You can also switch to tinted sunscreens or moisturizers so that your skin remains hydrated while giving you the look you need for a night out!
5. Your fingertips are your new best friends- instead of using cotton pads to remove makeup or to clean your face, switch to an oil or water-based cleanser if you must. On regular days, use your finger pads to wash the day off your skin.
6. Say no to any kind of abrasive scrubs or tools that will irritate the surface of your skin.
7. Eliminate mud, clay, charcoal, and peel-off masks.
8. Touch your face as little as possible. Do not pick on scabs or rub your face unnecessarily.
9. Don't rub or massage makeup into your skin. Instead, swipe it across the surface and use patting motions to achieve your dream look. This also wastes less product.
10. Despite what people say, don't use steam on your skin.
11. Completely ditch DIY masks including honey, pure aloe vera, and yogurt. Let the food stay in the kitchen.
12. If you opt for a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid, ensure that it has a high molecular weight so that the serum sits on top of your skin and binds water. Don't use more than a few drops or half a pea-size amount on your skin.
13. Forego AHAs (glycolic, lactic, mandelic acids), BHA (salicylic acid), retinoids, vitamin C, and other active ingredients for at least a week. Sometimes, sensitive skin is a result of the overuse of acids.
14. It is time to stop using products that contain the following; fragrance/ perfume, linalool, citronellol, limonene, geraniol, cinnamon, and peppermint. While fatty alcohols such as cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol etc are compulsory in moisturizers, simple alcohols like alcohol denat, SD alcohol, etc need to be avoided.
15. While you may reintroduce fancy products into your skincare routine once your skin has healed, it is a good idea to go product-free every few days and stick to basics so that your skin gets a much-needed break every once in a while.
16. Notice how your skin reacts to certain products. For example, if your skin feels dry and hot, avoid using products that contain pure plant oils as coupled with the lack of exfoliation, this can cause micro comedones, which can turn into pimples.
17. Red skin (rosacea-like), when heated, needs to be dealt with immediately. Wet a tissue with cold water before your evening routine and let it lay on your face for a couple of minutes. Don't ice your face or spritz it with water during the day, no matter what anyone tells you! If you notice your skin heating up occasionally, consult your dermatologist and ask for an alginate mask- this will be effective in bringing down redness and skin temperature.
18. When your skin is inflamed, it tends to heat up faster. Hence, never skip the sunscreen. Look for one that contains SPF 30+ to avoid UV radiation from further breaking down the skin components.
19. Stress can have a direct impact on our physical health. A report by the Psychiatric Times shows that 70% of patients with stressful life events develop atopic dermatitis- a condition that makes your skin red, itchy, and inflamed. Hence, it is a good idea to meditate every morning and seek cognitive-behavioral and talk therapy if needed.
20. Diet has a huge impact on your skin. Excess sugar, salt, and junk food will increase inflammation. A diet rich in nutritious foods will help keep the skin hydrated, smooth, and irritation-free. Make sure to also check your vitamins!