If you asked anyone I know to describe me, the word sensitive would probably make its way onto all of their lists. I really can't help it. I'll get teary-eyed about a good song or an emotional Apple commercial. I just find it really easy to care super deeply about a lot of things. It's a trait I've learned to love about myself except when it comes to my skin...which is also highly sensitive. While I've come to embrace my sensitivity as a human being, my sensitive skin, on the other hand, is a bit harder to find the silver lining in. Sensitive skin is not the most forgiving, and any slight deviation away from the center can cause my skin to have its own full-on mental breakdown.
Or, more realistically put, sensitive skin is more prone to flare-ups, which can manifest in any number of ways. Small bumps, red spots, dry patches, acne, uneven tone, and texture. These flare-ups can be caused by the weather, your environment, your diet, the amount of stress you're dealing with or the products that you're using.
That last one is a big one and is why creating a consistent routine that works is so important when trying to manage easily irritated skin. So we're going walk through exactly how I built a routine that works for me, which products to use and which ones you might want to avoid,
Building a Routine
A harsh cleaner is definitely going to strip your skin of essential oils and moisture, effectively freaking your skin out. Using the wrong face wash or even just over washing sensitive skin can lead to a flakey and dry mess, which is then more prone to breakouts and uneven texture. In the mornings, it's recommended to either forego a cleanser altogether, using a simple cleansing water instead or to use a cleansing lotion. At night, use micellar water to remove your makeup instead of face wipes, which can dry out sensitive skin. And follow with a light and soothing face wash. You can still keep your skin clean and clear without harshly scrubbing away at easily irritated skin.
Here are a few good choices when it comes to a light cleanser…
Toners may make you shiver if you have sensitive skin, flashbacks of red, burning, tight skin. So it probably seems counterintuitive to reach for one. This makes sense as a lot of toners can include harsh fragrances and alcohols, both of which will dry out sensitive skin. But finding a toner that's tailored to sensitive skin can actually help balance your skin's pH level, soothing irritation, and redness. Ingredients to look for? Rosewater, tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe, and hyaluronic acid.
Here are some toners free of alcohol and harsh fragrances…
Serums and oils are such an essential product in getting your glow on, but you just have to make sure that you're tailoring the one you choose to your skin type to see the desired results. Sensitive skin serums ought to soften, soothe, and hydrate. They should calm down red, irritated skin, and leave you feeling glowy and supple.
Down below are a few of the ones we recommend…
Light-Weight Moisturizer (AM/PM)
Sensitive skin can become dehydrated very, very quickly, so keeping your skin moisturized is a crucial step. Whether your skin is prone to breakouts, eczema flare-ups or being dry to the bone, having a light, hydrating moisturizer will help. It'll protect and repair your skin's protective barrier. Soothing ingredients to keep your eyes out for are green/white tea, Centella Asiatica, or oat.
Check these out for inspo…
Because sensitive skin isn't just impacted by the products we use but by our environment, it's a good idea to take preemptive measures in protecting it. I would recommend a zinc oxide sunscreen as they're not going to be as irritating as sunscreens that have chemical UV blockers, which can cause a stinging sensation.
Our faves are down below…
Never really knowing when your skin is going to freak out or what's going to cause your next flare-up can be a major pain. But having a foundational routine that your skin can depend on can really help create balance in an otherwise 'sensitive' situation. I hope the guide was a good start in you fine-tuning your beauty cabinet. Building a routine takes time, especially when your skin is so easily offended, so be patient and really pay attention to what makes your skin feel best. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @paradox for more tips. And if you liked this article, you'll probably like these as well… 10 Clean Beauty Dupes For Not-So-Clean Cult Classics and The Benefits of Topical Caffeine Products For Your Under Eyes.