I’ve always had sensitive skin; so somehow I became an expert on dealing with it. Don’t get me wrong, I still get the occasional zits and rash. I’ve also had numerous trials and errors and love-hate relationships with a great deal of drugstore, natural and organic products. I’ve learnt it the hard way and it’s true when you’re dealing with skincare problems that less is always more.
According to my dermatologist, sensitive skin can have hundreds of causes. The most likely culprits are alcohol in toners and astringents, surfactants in soaps and cleansers, chemical preservatives like paraben and propylene glycol, PABA and benzophenone in sunscreen preparations, the list goes on. And it could be internal as well like food, alcohol or hormonal and external like sun, wind, pollution, air conditioning or detergents. There’s also stress. Constantly being on stress slows skin cell renewal making our skin look sallow that emphasises under-eye circles (in short, haggard!).
But here’s what you can do give your sensitive skin its well deserved TLC:
Look for hypoallergenic and allergy tested products. Always do a patch test when planning to buy any cosmetic and facial product. A great and cheaper alternative to VMV is Physiogel Hypoallergenic. Their skincare line is pretty basic. All their products are non-comedogenic, contains no colourants, perfume and preservatives (except their cleanser which has paraben). It’s widely available and works just as well.
Don’t use soap. It strips off your skin’s PH balance leaving it susceptible to irritation. Stick to cream cleansers as they have a rich consistency and leave a light moisturizing film.
Steer clear of exfoliants (i.e.: toner, facial scrubs) and high-concentrated AHA creams. AHA are natural chemicals found in fruits, wine, milk and sugar cane. AHA, especially in high amounts is a no-no if you have sensitive skin. If you can’t avoid using products with AHA (like me ‘cause I use organic facial products), choose the lowest concentration you can get (from facial wash and toner) and use it occasionally. You can alternate it with your regular creams or cleanser.
Avoid the sun as much as you can and protect your face with a physical sunscreen containing titanium dioxide instead of a chemical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens, especially if you have sensitive skin, can cause allergic reactions. We have a lot of organic sunscreens on the market, BB creams and tinted moisturizers that have ample amount of SPF as well. Look for make-up that has SPF to amplify your sun screen protection. Just make sure you’re using a sunscreen no less than SPF30 for everyday use and SPF50 if you’ll be out in the sun for a long time.
Stop using any product at once if it’s causing your skin to breakout- regardless of how much you want it to work and how expensive it is. Ask around and do your research. Not because a product is high-end, means it’ll work wonders for your skin. You’ll be amazed of the choices we have on the market that are cheaper, efficient and works just as fine. Be smart on your choices.
If your skin is in bad condition visit a dermatologist immediately. Don’t always rely on website information and advices of family and friends. What works for them might even harm your skin.
Still, the best prudent solution to dealing with skin breakouts is to reduce stress, get enough sleep, stay hydrated and eat sensibly. In the long run, you’ll save a lot of money from buying skincare products you don’t actually need and your skin will thank you for it.