Sensitive skin is skin that is prone to inflammation, irritations, and reactions. And because sensitive skin is more prone to inflammation and irritation, people with sensitive skin have to be particular about what goes on their skin. While a person with normal skin can get away with using damp near anything on their face, a person with sensitive skin can not. Curating even the simplest skincare routine for sensitive skin requires the utmost care and attention to details.
Even the most common skincare ingredients can be a trigger if your skin is sensitive. This is because sensitive skin is a condition of subjective hyper-reactivity to environmental factors. And substances that are generally not considered irritants are involved in this abnormal response according to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.
How to Tell If You Have Sensitive Skin
The first step in creating a skincare routine for sensitive skin is recognizing if you have sensitive skin in the first place. You don’t want to be going super gentle on your skin because you suspect it may be sensitive whereas it is not. Unfortunately, there isn’t a checklist that can be used to determine if one’s skin is sensitive or not but there are a few guidelines that can be followed.
Does your skin turn red or blotchy when exposed to harsh weather conditions? Do you find some ingredients sting or burn your skin even though others use them perfectly well? Is your skin easily irritated? Does your skin itch and sting when it shouldn’t? Congrats! You may have sensitive skin. If it is still unclear to you at this point you may see a dermatologist for help in determining if you have sensitive skin or not.
Creating a Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin
For the perfect skincare routine for sensitive skin, certain ingredients should be avoided while others should be embraced. Drying alcohols and fragrances should not be found in any products used in a skincare routine for sensitive skin. Non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores should be used to avoid irritation and inflammation.
The first step of a skincare routine for sensitive skin is cleansing. Gentle, hydrating, cream cleansers are best for sensitive skin. Using foaming cleansers can be irritating because the ingredients used in those cleansers to achieve that foaming effect is a common trigger for sensitive skin. Not cleansing your skin will also clog your pores and lead to more irritation.
If you wear makeup, double cleansing is a must. The use of an oil cleanser enables makeup and oil to be removed gently and effectively. After which a water-based cleanser will be used. This may not seem like much but you will find oil cleansing eliminates the need for that over scrubbing that would have been done using a regular cleanser.
You would think a skincare routine for sensitive skin will only contain basics but that doesn’t mean you won’t need a toner. Among the functions of toner is its ability to return the skin to its original pH after cleansing. Any toner used for skincare routine for sensitive skin has to be super gentle, fragrance-free, alcohol-free and non-comedogenic.
While this option can be skipped, serums are still very essential if you’re looking to target some skin concerns. Wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, are some of the issues that can be improved upon with the use of the appropriate serum. Serums should be free of comedogenic ingredients and alcohol as well.
Water-based moisturizers are best for sensitive skin types. Moisturizers help to seal in other preceding steps of your routine. Skincare routine for sensitive skin should or any skin type for that matter should have moisturizer that is non-comedogenic and free of any essential oils. Calming ingredients to look out for include Centella Asiatica, Panthenol, Ceramides, Green Tea etc.
Sunscreen is non-negotiable for sensitive skin and all other skin types. Skipping sunscreen exposes the skin to harsh UV rays that will trigger the skin further. You will find you do not want this. Mineral sunscreens are usually best for sensitive skin because they contain physical filters which do not disrupt the skin in any way.