Natural Beauty Care Guide

Sensitive Skin Care

This skin is delicate and difficult to look after. It is usually easily irritated, and reacts to adverse weather conditions, changes in temperature, sunshine, perfumed products, and harsh ingredients such as detergents. The resulting dryness, blotches and rosy patches require careful management. If in fact you do have sensitive skin, you’ll have to be especially careful about what products you use on your skin and how you treat it. Here’s to avoid or use on sensitive skin only under a doctor’s direction.

Clensers containing alcohol, lanolin, fragrance, benzoyl peroxide, salicyclic acid, and glycolic acid
Toners or astringents containing alcohol
Products containing essential oils (concentrated oil extracts from plants)
Witch hazel
Moisturiser containing fragrance, lanolin, dye, vitamin E
Sunscreen containing fragrance, oil, PABA
Makeup containing oil
Alphahydroxy acid or retinol products (Retin-A)
Acne medications
Bleaching creams
Detergents and fabric softeners containing fragrance or preservatives

To protect your sensitive skin, shop for products and makeup with labels that say “alcohol free,” “fragrance free,” “sensitive skin,” or ”non-comedogenic”.

Wash once or twice a day with a soap free cleanser, or super-fatted, or unscented bar to prevent sensitive skin becoming irritated and blotchy. Soap makes delicate skin more sensitive by removing oils and moisture. Super-fatted cleansers are less drying but can leave behind a residue that blocks pores. Steer clear of toners, and simply rinse off excess cleanser with warm water, or cucumber water. While washing hair in the shower, tilt your head back to avoid getting potentially irritating shampoo or conditioner on your face. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently throughout the day and try not to touch your face. Your hands will transmit to your face the residue of all types of irritating products.

Avoid harsh skin care-products like abrasive facial pads or grainy face and body scrubs, which can strip away the protective top layer of skin-your defensive armor against heat, cold, pollution, irritants and other antagonists.

If you have sensitive skin, the eyes require extra vigilance to avoid nasty reactions. “Your eyelids are so thin and so sensitive to irritants that they often become dry, scaly and itchy.” So avoid using harsh soap and alcohol-based astringents and toners. Cleanse away eye makeup with an oily remover rather than oil free product. Whatever product you use, gently stroke away eye makeup with a cotton swap or pad. Scrubbing with tissue or wash-cloth can irritate your lids.

Choose a light (water-based), non perfumed moisturisers formulated for sensitive skin. Use sunscreen during the day. Avoid products formulated with chemical sunscreen like PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid) or the cinnamate or oxybenzone families of sunscreens, all of which can irritatate sensitive skin.

Optional: Exfoliate weekly with a gel mask containing very mild ingredients, such as aloe.

© Copyright Natural Beauty Care Guide 2006 - 2009