True or False? All you need to know about sensitive skin
Ruddy, itchy and tight... Your hyper sensitive skin is driving you nuts and you don't know what to do. Fortunately for you, we do!
Sensitive skin is a specific skin type - just like oily or dry skin.
False: Sensitive, reactive and irritated skin is not a skin type. It's a symptom that can affect all types of skin and, contrary to belief, isn't limited to dry skin. Oily, acne-prone and mature skin can also be affected by a highly sensitive epidermis.
False: 'Genetic' sensitivity does exist. This means that we may have a genetic predisposition that increases our skin's sensitivity. Most of time it's fair skin that's affected. So nothing to do with getting old! The good news is that sensitive skin often improves over the years, as the corneous layer of the epidermis thickens and becomes less permeable.
My beauty products are making my skin become more sensitive.
False: Skin can become intolerant to skincare treatments and end up red, hot and itchy. But climate (cold weather, heat, rainy days), pollution, sun and cigarette smoke also play a role. Sensitive skin should not be confused with allergic skin, which doesn't flare up when faced with these external factors.
True: It's best to avoid extreme climates and smokey environments. Pile your plate with foods that contain plenty of omega 3 and 6, as these will keep your cutaneous blood vessels in shape and restore your skin's hydrolipidic layer. Sensitive skin loves a serving of oily fish, eggs, lamb's lettuce and vegetable oils! And avoid spicy food, if at all possible. You should also drink lots of water - beauty's more than skin deep!
Aloe vera's the only thing that will soothe my skin.
False: There are loads of active ingredients that can soothe skin. Oatmeal can, for example, increase skin's tolerance - it's a superb anti-itch remedy that reduces inflammation. Finally, olive oil can be applied to skin - it rapidly soothes the epidermis and restores its hydrolipidic layer.
If your skin feels tight and stings, it's because the chlorine and limestone in tap water is too harsh for it to handle. Obviously we're not going to stop washing, but we can avoid spend ages with our faces under the shower - it's bad for both our skin and planet! You're better off spritzing your face with thermal water, which will clean and freshen up your skin. You can always install a water softener, which will purify your tap water by filtering out chlorine and limestone.
True: Sensitive skin has a rough ride during winter, due to temperature changes, wind and damp weather. It needs to be wrapped up in a protective cocoon! It's best to swap your 'summer' day cream for a product that contains anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory active ingredients. If your sensitive skin is really playing up, you can slather on a comforting, oil-rich cold-cream. If you work in an air-conditioned or centrally heated office, try to apply your cream several times a day.
I just need to swap my usual moisturiser for a sensitive skin cream to avoid ruddy patches.
False: Obviously applying a cream designed for sensitive skin will help, but it's more a question of adapting your entire beauty routine. Opt for hypoallergenic creams, soothing/calming cleansers, dermatological and lipid-rich soaps, alongside thermal water. Bin (or donate!) products that contain alcohol and essential oils. Avoid foamy treatments and anything abrasive - peeling treatments, exfoliating creams, scrubs...
I should only apply make up designed for sensitive skin.
True: A truth if ever the truth was told! Avoid cotton pads when applying treatments to sensitive skin - opt instead for products, such as face oils, which you can apply with your fingertips. Massage rather than rub them in. This will dissolve any grime, which you can remove with an absorbent wipe rather than a flannel.
If I use the right cleanser, it won't matter what make up I apply.
False: Your entire beauty routine - make up included - should consist of natural, hypoallergenic products. Products containing alcohol will wreak havoc with your skin! Go easy on the war paint - your sensitive skin needs to breathe.