My second blog post in my new series called Beauty School. To learn more about this new series & oily skin, head over here.
As mentioned in my previous blog post, there are 5 basic skin types: oily (we’ve already covered this one), normal, combination, sensitive and dry. Your skin type is determined by how much (or how little) oil your skin produces. Genes, stress levels, diet, hormonal fluctuations, medication and even your current skincare regimen all determine how much oil your skin produces.
Here’s a quick test you can do to determine which skin type you have: Cleanse your face at night but don’t apply any skin care products after cleansing the skin (no toners, serums, moisturisers, eye creams) and make sure you sleep without air-conditioning on. When you wake up in the morning, pat your face with a tissue, the result will tell you which skin type you have. If you have sensitive skin, typically you will not see oil on the tissue. You’ll know you have this type if your skin is very dry & tight and it becomes irritated quite easily. It may also be scaly, itchy and breaking out. Since this is the most problematic type of skin, it required special products to treat the different areas.
Another simple test is to ask yourself if majority of the products you place on your skin cause a stinging / burning sensation or redness (this includes everything from face washes, to moisturisers, to foundations and blushes).
Most skin experts and Dermatologists say sensitive skin is a term that gets thrown around too often. The truth is that most people who claim to have sensitive skin actually don’t because the sensitivity might be caused by overuse of products, leading to irritation.
Causes Of Sensitive Skin
There are many theories as to why some people suffer from sensitive skin. These theories vary from the increase in environmental pollution, to common allergies and even the popularity of harsh treatments such as skin peels and microdermabrasions.
Other causes of sensitivity could be attributed to fragrances in cosmetic products (usually listed in the ‘Ingredients’ section as ‘parfum’), soaps and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) which is a foaming agent found in most shampoos, shower gels, bubble baths and toothpastes.
How To Take Care Of Sensitive Skin
♥ Reduce the number of products you are using & keep your skincare regime as simple as possible.
♥ Use products that contain calming ingredients like Chamomile, Aloe or Green Tea extracts. Remember, however, products with few ingredients are best.
♥ For super sensitive skin (and I mean even tap water causes redness), make your own ultra-gentle cleanser using Chamomile tea mixed with Almond Oil.
♥ Wash your face with lukewarm water, steer clear from hot water.
♥ To keep skin calm, stop using soaps (which is drying). Use gentle cleansers that are suitable for sensitive skin.
♥ Stop using scrubs (exfoliation will only worsen the sensitivity of your skin), Retinoids and Alpha Hydroxyl Acids (AHA). Retinoids and AHAs are non-abrasive exfoliators often used for cell turnover but can still cause redness and irritation.
♥ A mild, alcohol-free toner can be used but don’t overdo it with the product. Also, pat the cotton wool on the skin, don’t rub.
♥ It is very important to apply an SPF to sensitive skin to protect it from damage & irritation caused by the sun. Zinc-oxide based sunscreens are best as they are anti-inflammatory.
♥ Apply an ultra-gentle cream-based moisturiser while skin is still damp to hold in moisture & calm redness.
♥ Use a mask that is specially formulated for sensitive skin, the above rules apply i.e. fragrance-free & containing calming ingredients.
♥ As mineral oil also cause skin sensitivity and breakouts, read the labels of your moisturisers and serum before purchasing a product.
♥ Remember, the term hypoallergenic indicates that the manufacturers of a product have done their best to remove common allergens and irritants. So it’s less likely that hypoallergenic products will irritate your skin, but not impossible.
Makeup For Sensitive Skin
♥ Number 1 rule: Test a product on a small section of your face. If you experience no discomfort within 24 hours of applying it, it’s good news! Ask the sales consultants at a beauty counter to provide you with a sample of a product before purchasing a full-sized product (this will definitely save you from spending money on a product you discover you actually can’t use).
♥ When choosing makeup products, opt for those containing 10 ingredients or less.
♥ Check the labels of your makeup products and familiarise yourself with ingredients that may be harmful.
♥ Fragrance (‘parfum’) of any kind is a big no-no, even if it’s the last item on the ingredients list (meaning there is only a tiny amount).
♥ Cinnamates can cause skin irritation. SPFs and lipsticks usually contain Cinnimates.
♥ Lanolin and mineral oil can also cause skin reactions so try to steer clear from products that contain these.
♥ Use a silicone-based foundation for less irritation and when applying a foundation to your face, avoid rubbing in too deeply.
♥ Another good foundation for sensitive skin is a powder formula, due to the fact that it has a lighter, more delicate and will help protect your skin from the sun and pollutants without clogging your pores.
♥ Opt for pencil eyeliners and eyebrow colours, rather than liquid or cream products.
♥ Earth-toned eyeshadows & blushes are less irritating to skin than vibrant shades (as they contain less colourants).
♥ Another important rule is to ensure your products remain in the best shape possible. Store them in a cool, dry place and don’t leave them uncovered (in contact with air).
♥ Clean your makeup brushes and tools as often as possible (preferably after each use).
I suffered from super sensitive skin last year when I was on Roacutane (what an experience!). So I feel for all you girls who have this skin type, it’s not easy to work with. I’ll load my MIY (Mix / Make It Yourself) skin mask recipe for sensitive skin in the next few days, so hopefully that will calm and nourish your temperamental skin.