How to Properly Care For Sensitive Skin

a woman without makeup with a little bit of lotion on her face

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Sensitive skin can be tricky to deal with. You never know what products will cause your skin to become red or irritated (or both). Sometimes you can figure out what skin care ingredient is causing your problems and sometimes it is just a matter of guessing. Keep reading to find out which products work well for sensitive skin and how to care for your skin so it stays calm and feels good all the time.

What Is Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is not actually a skin type; it is a skin condition. Anyone can have sensitive skin. For example you could have oily, acne prone skin that is also sensitive. You can actually cause your skin to become sensitive. When you have sensitive skin your skin will easily burn, sting, turn red, be tight and dry, and become bumpy upon contact with certain skin care products and ingredients or even household products such as fabric softeners or cleaning products. 

Sensitive skin can come from a skin condition like eczema , atopic dermatitis, or rosacea. It can also happen because your skin becomes dry and/or injured and cannot properly protect itself from other elements. A very cold or even a very hot environment can damage skin and cause it to become sensitive. If you exfoliate your skin too often or with very strong products you can damage your skin barrier, the very top layer of your skin that protects what is underneath, and cause your skin to become sensitive. Once your skin barrier is damaged your skin will remain sensitive until you manage to restore and renew your skin.   

Tips for Caring for Sensitive Skin

People with sensitive skin can find it hard to figure out which products will soothe and hydrate their skin instead of making it become red, tight, itchy, and uncomfortable. Before you put a product all over your face test it in a small area first. A good place to test a new skin care product is on the skin behind your ear. Avoid fragrance in all your products including laundry detergent. Fragrance is the number one skin irritant so be sure to avoid it as much as possible in both your skin care and household products.

Be sure to wash your face and body with lukewarm water since hot water can strip your skin of moisture and make it even more sensitive and dry. Do not go overboard when it comes to the number of products you are using. If you have sensitive skin less is more when it comes to your skin care routine. You can still exfoliate, but only use very gentle products and don't exfoliate too often. Always use sunscreen even on overcast days and during the winter. The sun can dry out skin and that is the opposite of what you want to happen to your skin if it is already sensitive.  

Also keep in mind that the words "for sensitive skin" or "hypoallergenic" actually don't really mean anything. These terms are not subject to government regulation so there are no standards that need to be met when a company uses these terms on their product labels. You are better off looking at the ingredients in the product to figure out if it is right for you than going by the words on the front of the label. 

Great Products for Sensitive Skin 

As mentioned above, when your skin is sensitive you want to keep the products you are using to a minimum. Here's what to look for in the essential products you should have on hand if your skin is sensitive and product recommendations as well:

Facial cleanser: Look for a cleanser that does not contain SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate which can be very irritating for people with sensitive skin. Look for a cleanser that includes added soothing ingredients like Eucerin Redness Relief Soothing Cleanser with licorice root or Garnier Clean+ Makeup Removing Lotion Cleanser Sensitive Skin with moringa.

Facial Mists: Facial mists are a great way to hydrate, soothe, and revive skin throughout the day since you can use them over your make-up. Try Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater or even make your own.

Exfoliants and Anti-Aging: While it is true you should be gentle when exfoliating or using anti-aging products if you have sensitive skin, you still do need to exfoliate and you don't have to give up on anti-aging. Try RoC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream for anti-aging and use your favorite cleanser with Eve Lom Muslin Cloth once or twice a week to gently exfoliate.

Moisturizers: If your skin is sensitive it is essential to find a moisturizer that works for you, one for the face and one for the body, and to use it at least twice daily. For the body think about using Vanicream Skin Cream and for the face consider Eau Thermale Avène Xeracalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cream or First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream.

Sunscreen: Finding a sunscreen that doesn't irritate sensitive skin can be a challenge. Products to try include Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen Lotion or La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Daily Tone-Correcting Facial Primer with Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 for Sensitive Skin.

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