For those of us with Sensitive Skin (of which I know there are many) finding the right products can be a lot of trial and error. Most of us have found a few basic products which keep our skin in reasonable balance. I know I survived on QV cleanser for years before I created evolve. If you’re wanting to branch out and try some more sophisticated products, with higher levels of anti-ageing actives but are too nervous I’ve put together a list of things to avoid, and also some tips and tricks I picked up along the way to look after my skin and keep it calm.
Ingredients to avoid:
A good thing to know is that ingredients lists are written in order of product percentage in the product, so the higher up the list, the more of that ingredient there is in the product.
Start by avoiding all sulphates (also spelt sulfates), there are many variations of these, but the most common is Sodium Laurel Sulphate. Other ingredients to avoid include: Glycolic Acid and Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s), Propylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Which Hazel, Menthyl Acetate, high fragrance levels, Oxybenzone (found in suncreens).
Good ingredients: milk extracts, licorice extract, lavender, feverfew, bisabolol, oatmeal and yeast extracts.
There are also a few things you can do at home to help protect your skin from irritation and reduce redness. Try to use luke warm water not hot water when washing, don’t exfoliate more than twice a week and use a gentle exfoliator if it feels like it’s scratching… it is.
Don’t scrub at your skin with a face wash or towel, wipe gently to clean, and pat your skin dry.
Try a wet clay mask (always take it off before it dries on the skin) to remove any impurities and dead skin cells without using an exfoliator.
Use a Mineral-based sunscreen, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are usually gentle on sensitive skin.
Avoid cigarette smoke as much as possible.
For many of us, our skin sensitivity is exacerbated by our diet. Dairy products (while fantastic applied to the skin) can be very irritating when ingested. Wheat, high levels of refined sugar and the nightshade family (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergine) could also be adding to your skin irritation.
There is no overnight fix for sensitive skin, but by reducing the chemical load on the skin, strengthening the skin with good products and then supporting it with the right care and diet can make a big difference.
For more information on different ingredients, visit the ingredients database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/