Having sensitive skin is like trying to babysit a toddler.
Day 1 your toddler is miss-independent, has no care their parents are MIA and is in love with your play skills.
Day 2 your toddler is grumpy, wants food and has decided only daddy or a real life toy dinosaur can feed it to them.
Day 3 your toddler thinks you’re their best friend in the whole-wide-word like ever-ever-ever.
Day 4 your toddler has woken up with 1000% energy and if you don’t do something with it now, their I-look-so-sweet-butter-wouldn’t-melt face will paint your white walls with a shade of i-will-never-rub-out red paint.
Having sensitive skin is unpredictable.
Something you’ve been using for years can suddenly sucker punch you in the face.
What does sensitive skin look like?
Yes, you got it – a sucker punch in the face.
Fact: While your skin may always be sensitive, sensitivity doesn’t have to show (!)
Double fact: Sensitive skin can be managed with the right sensitive skincare tips aka you can graduate as an expert in toddler tantrum management and prevention. Darn awesome job title ‘eh.
How to stop sensitive skin – are you ready for it? Let’s get going dear skin savvy in the making…
1. How to Stop Sensitive Skin: Know Your Sensitive Skin Calming Actives
Aka stop your sensitive skin in its toddler tantrum tracks by memorising a short list of calm-the-heck-down skincare actives.
Some sensitive skincare is like minimalist art. There’s not much in the formula other than water and a bit of oil. It stops your sensitive skin shouting… because there’s nothing to shout about, but it also struggles to calm down what’s already happened. Aka your skin’s still pink, red, tight, itchy, stingy, hot or flaky.
But other sensitive skincare is like dipping your whole face into a refrigerated pot of cooling-calming, bioactive yogurt. Because these formulas have key ingredients proven to help proactively calm and soothe your sensitive skin.
The kind of skincare which knows exactly how to stop sensitive skin.
What can I use for sensitive skin?
The best skincare for sensitive skin will use actives like;
- Bisabolol – the ingredient which makes soothing chamomile extract famous
- Colloidal oatmeal
View this post on Instagram
Psst! Find a fantastic dose of bisabolol in this you won’t believe the price tag face oil. You can also try our own Honesty Soothe Facial Comfort Cream (find it in our store here) which contains an FDA recognised skin protecting dose of allantoin.
2. Sensitive Skincare Tip: Cleanse Only With Oils/Balms
Which if you’re a newbie in the world of skincare will I’m not going to lie to you – feel very strange at first. And this is because face washing with something which foams and leaves your skin feeling oil-free and sometimes a bit squeaky is as much of a habit as brushing your teeth.
Newsflash – your skin should never feel oil free.
Oil free means dry.
Oil free means your skin’s in need of help.
Oil free means your skin’s security team are on tea break.
Here’s the deal. Your skin needs oil. The roof of your skin aka your skin’s top layers are almost 100% oil made. There are ingredients like ceramides, fatty acids, sebum and cholesterol. Aka kinds of oils and fats.
Washing your skin with face wash – demands these healthy oils disappear down your plug hole.
Imagine them trying to hold on like they were being inched towards the open door of a plane thinking why-oh-why did I sign up to sky dive!? Face wash is the strapped to your back pro who makes you say yes (no-yes-no-yes-no-yes) and finally pushes walks you off the edge.
Irritants and allergens easily dissolve into your skin (also – some well-known irritants are found inside face wash!)
Your skin’s immune function becomes over activated aka you get hypersensitive skin.
Skin becomes flaky, dry, red, irritated… screamy.
How to stop sensitive skin now. Use a skin barrier protecting oil or balm cleanser. Try our own award-winning Honesty Protect Nourishing Cleanse Balm.
“I had no idea a cleanser could be so effective and nurturing at the same time. A joy to use. Skin is left feeling deeply nourished and indulgently softened. Gorgeous :)”Lucy P, Honesty Protect Nourishing Cleanse Balm lover
3. Wash Your Face Only Once a Day
We’re brought up to believe washing is like sleeping, you must do it as often as possible and if you don’t – be warned – stuff will go wrong. Your brain will get screwed-up/your skin will be dirty and stink. Yikes. Hand me the water and soap NOW.
Here’s what we didn’t know then;
- Bacteria can be good
- Your skin needs bacteria
- Your skin needs oil
- Your skin’s pretty good at looking after itself when it’s not having all its special powers scrubbed or washed away
Here’s a few reasons why you might be told to wash your skin twice a day and psst – why you shouldn’t, especially because you have sensitive skin;
- Don’t be dirty: You must wash your skin
- Truth: Your skin collects dirt over a day, if you have clean bed sheets, you’re not going to be dirty when you wake up
- Bacteria are bad: Wash them away now
- Truth: Your skin needs bacteria, unhealthy and dry/sensitive skin has an upset bacteria balance – something washing too much causes
- Your skin’s oily: you need to wash it to stop it
- Truth: Washing removes oil from skin but doesn’t stop your oil glands making more oil, your skin will be just as oily in an hour or 2 – instead use oil reducing skincare actives
Having sensitive skin means you’ll likely see huge difference by switching to once a day washing.
How do you take care of sensitive skin? Wash it once a day and wash it right.
4. Use Sunscreen Like It Were Chocolate
Unprotected sun exposure is to your skin what exams are to your mind. Stress. Even though you might like a bit of stress/your skin might like a bit of sun – it’s still stress.
Sensitive skin hates stress.
Sensitive skin reacts to stress.
Sensitive skin screams at stress.
…now here’s the super sensitive skincare tip not many know. UVA light aka the kind with lots of skin hurting energy is the same strength in winter as summer.
How to stop sensitive skin: Use sunscreen (or more importantly a mineral sunscreen) 365 days a year.
View this post on Instagram
5. How to Stop Sensitive Skin: Avoid Fragrance AND Essential Oils
But aren’t essential oils natural and therefore good for you? Great question my friend. Natural ingredients can be great for your sensitive skin but all natural ingredients aren’t great for your sensitive skin.
Case and point;
Fact: Essential oils contain allergens.
Fact: Allergens are bad for your sensitive skin.
Double fact: 26 EU recognised allergens legally have to be labelled on your skincare ingredients list.
Here’s what I mean;
Example: Green People skincare – who are by the way a fab pick for your sensitive skin. But not all of their skincare is perfect for you.
See those bolded ingredients at the end? The one’s I’ve highlighted like limonene?
Those guys are allergens. Those guys are in the serum because the serum uses essential oils.
View this post on Instagram
How do you take care of sensitive skin? Use 100% fragrance and essential oil free skincare always.
P.s. If designing yourself a sensitive skincare routine which works is boggling your mind, I can help – find out more here.
6. How to Stop Sensitive Skin: Avoid Alcohol in Skincare
Aka don’t let your skin get drunk. Aka don’t go near skincare when it has the word alcohol high on its ingredients list.
Alcohol is to your skin what alcohol is to your body.
You drink it. It tastes yum. It hates you the next morning.
Alcohol is a solvent meaning it can dissolve away grease and oil fast.
Guess what your skin barrier’s made from?
…and alcohol loves to whisk oil away.
Alcohol can make skincare feel good.
- Alcohol can make skincare lighter aka easier for your skin to absorb
- Alcohol can make sunscreen less tacky and thick
- Toners with lots of alcohol can give you the feeling your skin is tightened (very bad!)
- Alcohol can help active ingredients penetrate your skin faster (by dissolving away your skin barrier)
Your sensitive skin hates alcohol because your skin guards aka your skin barrier are already prone to break taking. Give them alcohol and they’ll be a permanent party to tempt them away.
How do you take care of sensitive skin? You avoid skincare with the word alcohol high on the ingredients list.
7. Stop Your Sensitive Skin: Learn Your Food Triggers
Why is my skin so sensitive all of a sudden? I’ve not changed A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G (!) my best sensitive skin moisturiser is the same, my cleanser’s the same, my serum’s the same. Why oh why does my sensitive skin feel like the surface of the sun?
Most overlooked sensitive skin/rosacea/redness trigger; your food.
Food is fuel for your skin.
Food gets munched up, turned into individual Lego blocks, gets absorbed into your blood stream and then circulated all over your skin.
Some foods are can cause allergic type reactions on your skin.
Some foods can make your blood vessels widen (vasodilate) and therefore make your skin prone to redness.
Some foods can kill off healthy gut bacteria causing your immune function to trip off its high alert siren.
Food is enormously overlooked as a sensitive skin trigger.
If your sensitive skin flares even when you’re doing everything you know your skin normally loves – a quick look at your diet could hold answers. And even better – educated changes to your diet could get you back control.
Ever had a curry to find your skin red, hot and bothered? Ingredients in curry’s like capsicum switch on your skin’s pain receptors – the ones which trigger your skin to get hot and red. Because you have sensitive skin, your skin’s already extremely prone to this kind of reaction. Aka your sensitive skin will act like a toddler, getting redder, hotter and more radioactive.
Foods to consider trial eliminations of: curry, hot foods, common allergy group foods like dairy and nuts, high sugar foods.
8. How to Stop Sensitive Skin: Have A Soothing Face Mask on Standby
Time to train-up your skins health and safety team. We know you have sensitive skin, now it’s time to sort out plan A and plan B aka a sensitive skincare routine and an SOS give me help now, sensitive skin savior.
The more you learn about your sensitive skin, the fewer sensitive skin flares you’ll have.
And… the more prepared you are for sensitive skin flares – the less red, hot, tingly, itchy, flaky and reactive they’ll be.
Having unannounced flare ups is a strong sign of sensitive skin. Using your standard sensitive skin friendly skincare on flaring skin is like trying to sleep after having 10 double espressos. Not happening.
Skin in flare needs extra.
This don’t wash it off face paste will help give your skin the boost it needs. It’s a great choice.
How do you know when your skin’s about to have a sensitive skin flare up? What does sensitive skin mean to you? Have questions about how best to maintain sensitive skin? Come chat to me in the comments below…
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.