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Reactive & Sensitive Skin - how to manage your skin

November 01, 2018

Reactive & Sensitive Skin - how to manage your skin

Is My Skin Sensitive or Reactive?

Do you have a drawer full of ‘reject’ skincare products that sent your skin into a tailspin? They are rejects because they irritated your skin, caused stinging, redness, burning or itching? Then you may have sensitive or reactive skin, which means you need a very specific skincare range and routine.

What is Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin tends to be dry. It can feel tight and dull, with more visible wrinkles and fine lines. This includes skin on your face and body.

What is Reactive Skin?

Sensitive skin is more prone to also being reactive, but not always. Reactive skin is easily irritated and reacts to environmental triggers. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Stinging
  • Burning
  • Itchiness
  • Acne Breakouts
  • Rashes

Basically, general discomfort and irritation.

Reactive Skin – Common Triggers

Reactive and very sensitive skin can be triggered or aggravated by skin treatments and ingredients as well as environmental factors. The most common are:

  • Fragrances (even naturally derived essences)
  • Abrasive exfoliants: hard scratchy microbeads that cause tiny micro tears in your skin
  • Sulphates, dyes, preservatives, emulsifiers and alcohols (found in many soaps and skincare products)
  • Extreme temperatures
  • Air pollution (like car exhaust or pollens)
  • Spicy food
  • Alcohol

Reactive/ Sensitive Skin – or Skin Condition?

Skin symptoms can overlap and be confusing.  If you have severe, ongoing skin reactions no matter which product you use then you may have a skin condition that needs professional advice.  Definitely see a doctor if you have blistering, rashes, scaling, or infected bumps.  It could be a skin condition like contact dermatitis, eczema, rosacea or psoriasis.

Skin Sensitivity – Bricks n’ Mortar  

Think of your skin like a brick (cells) wall, with ‘mortar’ holding it all together. The mortar here are lipids: they are your skin’s natural fats. There are many different kinds of lipids, from wax esters to ceramides, and they all work together to protect and moisturise your skin.

Sensitive Skin Restoration

If your skin is sensitive or damaged, the lipid ‘mortar’ is missing or damaged in some areas. This makes the skin barrier more permeable and vulnerable. Trigger substances like pollution or fragrances are absorbed more quickly and deeply into the skin. It is also easier for moisture to escape. To maintain plump, healthy and calm skin you need to fill in the ‘mortar’ gaps.

Skincare for Sensitive Skin – Things to Avoid

The key to beautiful skin is to moisturise, protect and restore without aggravating ingredients.

Follow these simple guidelines to calm sensitive and reactive skin while reducing redness, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles. Stop filling your drawer with ‘reject’ skin products by looking out for key ingredients.

Best Moisturiser for Sensitive Skin

Your skincare needs to be absolutely fragrance free. This includes natural essences like lavender or rosemary which can be just as irritating as synthetic fragrances.  Look for labels that say “fragrance-free,” not simply “unscented”. “Unscented” products can still contain fragrances or other chemicals. This is because it’s common to add chemicals to skincare to masks or cover-up its smell – basically adding chemicals to a product to make it seem unscented. 

Sensitive Skin Products – Hypoallergenic

Skincare ranges should be suitable for sensitive skin. The key ingredients should be hypoallergenic. Also look for anti-inflammatory properties to calm skin and natural healing vitamins.

Jojoba and Argan Oil for Skin

Check labels for these sensitive skin hero ingredients. All natural, pure jojoba and argan oil contain essential fatty acids omega-3,6, 9. They help regenerate skin cells and repair damaged skin tissue. These oils are also high in Vitamin A, E and D, which are known as skin healing vitamins.

Jojoba Perfect for Hypersensitive Skin

Jojoba has the added advantage that it’s not only hypoallergenic, but is the only oil that perfectly matches our skins own natural sebum or coating. As the perfect match it’s quickly absorbed to fill in those broken ‘mortar’ gaps in our skin. It penetrates deeply to repair your protective ‘brick’ wall – locking moisture in and reactive skin triggers out.

Sensitive Skin Anti-Aging  

As we age our skin produces less lipids. Skin becomes drier and easily irritated. That’s why products that you used without a hitch for a long time can trigger a skin reaction as you age.

You should still include anti-aging products but they need to be very gentle. A key ingredient in many anti–wrinkle ranges is Vitamin A, listed as Retinol A or a version of this name. As an exfoliator it smooths out wrinkles by shedding surface skin cells to reveal the smoother layers beneath.

Naturally Gentle Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is a natural gentle alternative for sensitive or reactive skin.  It contains the powerful antioxidants lycopene, beta-carotene and a naturally occurring Vitamin A, all which improve your skins texture and add moisture without the harsh synthetic chemicals.

Pregnancy Safe Vitamin A

Pregnancy and hormonal changes can cause sensitive or reactive skin. It’s important to check that ingredients are safe for pregnancy. Oils like jojoba and rosehip are naturally rich in vitamin A (tretinoin.) It helps soothe, repair and moisturise skin. Most importantly, unlike synthetic formulas, the natural vitamin A found in jojoba and rosehip oil are safe through pregnancy and for baby’s skin.

Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Over exposure to sun and UV rays is the number one cause of skin damage.  Photoaging or sun damage changes collagen in the deep layers of your skin resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, skin pigmentation and age spots. Find a SPF sun cream that works for your skin and wear it every day.

Mineral Based Sunscreen

There are lots of gentle formulas that won’t irritate or trigger skin. Look for mineral based products with sunscreen agents like zinc and titanium. They provide good coverage and protection against harmful UVA/UVB rays without feeling greasy, stinging or clogging pores.

Sensitive Skin Daily Routine

Before using a new product on your face try testing it on your inner arm first. If after using it every day for a week there’s no irritation then try it on your face.

Morning:

Evening: 

  • Use a Gentle Cleanser (rich cream or balm). Rinse in lukewarm water. Pat dry. Never, ever use soap or hot water.
  • Apply Night Treatment (nutrient rich oils, intense repair creams) Restores skin barrier, keeps irritants out and locks in moisture.
  • Eye Cream (protect and plump-up this super delicate skin area)

Extra Weekly Boost:   

  • Exfoliation (rosehip oil contains naturally occurring Vitamin A, a form of retinol)

Special Eye Care 

The skin around our eyes is much thinner that the rest of our face, with fewer oil glands, collagen and elastin fibers to provide natural moisture and lift.  And these too decrease as our skin matures.

  • Use a specially formulated fragrance-free eye cream daily
  • Formulas designed for face and neck are too heavy and will make puffiness worse

Sensitive Skin Made Easy

With good basic sensitive skin products, you will reduce the irritation and general discomfort of sensitive skin. The right skincare range will also break the reactive skin cycle, ending acne breakouts and red skin flare-ups. There are lots of safe, gentle, natural alternatives that will bring out the best in your skin. Beautiful, calm and healthy.




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