The other day I decided to see what the sensitive skin community was chatting about, so I plugged in #sensitiveskinproblems on Twitter.
What I saw left me a bit surprised and perplexed.
For those of us getting a little older, trying to combat wrinkles, bumps and fine lines can seem impossible for sensitive skin types. While we have to choose gentler options, we still have options. Ask your dermatologist to recommend anti-aging products for sensitive skin, like *Tretinoin, (retin-a) retinoic acid - which can diminish fine lines and smooth out superficial wrinkles. While it is slower acting, it is much more suitable and tolerable for sensitive skin.
I hate to repeat myself, but the key to caring for sensitive skin really is simple and gentle. Moisturizers are essential to healthy skin because they lock in much needed moisture. Choose products without fragrances, dyes, or added chemicals that can irritate. I use *Vanicream's lite moisturizer because it is a basic, gentle product, just like the cleanser, and keeps my skin moisturized without causing redness, even when used after topical medications.
Cleansing your skin gently is a basic principal to keeping your skin healthy and calm. While choosing a gentle cleanser that doesn't smell like a tropical island may seem boring, a huge source of irritation to sensitive skin is fragrance. According to Dr. Tony Nakhla, author of, The Skin Commandments 10 rules to healthy, beautiful skin, the best skin care products are those with no aromas, no bright colors, no irritating preservatives, and are gentle on your skin.
I, personally, use *Vanicream gentle cleanser recommended by my dermatologist. It is free from fragrance and other chemical irritants commonly found in cleansers. Best of all, it works beautifully paired with Fairface Washcloths. All gentle, leaving my skin clean, soft and calm.
The most common complaint among those with sensitive skin problems, was that the products they were putting on their faces were totally irritating their skin. Okay, that's understandable. But when I dug a little deeper, I found that those same people were often knowingly putting questionable products on their faces, while rolling the dice to see how much their skin could tolerate. I could hear my mom's voice in the back of my head, "If everyone else is jumping off the bridge, does that mean you should too?" a.k.a., "If everyone else is plastering their faces with goop, masks and clay, are you going to do it too even if you know it might melt your face off?"
I tried for a long time to do what everyone else was doing. Back in the 80's, if you didn't come back from your high school spring break with a tan it meant you obviously weren't cool enough to have gone anywhere. So I laid out in the sun like everyone else, but instead of getting a copper tone tan, I got heat rash and a royal sun burn. But I justified it, at least I got some color.
And a little more recent? I'll admit it, I browsed the skin care mask section at Marshalls after seeing a million photos of #masknight on Instagram, showing friends slathering friends with clay, mud and plastic masks, even though everything inside of me was yelling, "run away from this aisle!" But it just looked so fun!
So all this nonsense got me thinking, what does our skin really need? Do we really need to be coating our faces with charcoal, seaweed and turmeric?
The first step to caring for your sensitive skin is to be real with yourself. Yes, the pajama parties with face masking look super fun, but the truth is, your face just can't take it.
Cleanse Gently | Touch Softly | Moisturize
Protect | Rejuvinate
Disclaimer: *These are my personal opinions and I am not receiving any compensation from Vanicream, Eucerin, or Tretinoin products or from the references used in the article. Always seek the councel of a certified skin care professional for your personal skin care needs.
Shannon Sorensen is the founder and owner of Fairface™ , the home of the best washcloths for gentle cleansing. As a sensitive skin type herself, she loves sharing her expertise and opinions about sensitive skin care. Contact her with your questions or ideas!
What sensitive skin really needs is TLC = Treat it Like a Child
Would you slather a seaweed mask all over a 3-year-old? I hope not. Sensitive skin needs TLC, that's just how it is. To keep sensitive skin clean, calm and healthy, we have to go back to the basics of skin care.
Dr. Nakhla states that you don't need to scrub your face to get it clean, "The skin on your face is extremely delicate and sensitive. If you scrub your face with anything rough, you may end up with irritation and redness. You don't need a high-powered electric face brush or a cleanser with mini crystals. Use a soft, open-weave (smooth-textured) clean washcloth for the face." (see Fairface Washcloths Delicates for our softest option) After cleansing your face, it should feel clean, smooth and soft, not tight and red.
Sunscreen is a vital part of any skin care routine, but finding a sunscreen that protects without irritating can be tricky for sensitive skin types. I, personally, use *Eucerin daily protection SPF 30 on my face every day under my make-up. While I love the *Vanicream sunscreen for days at the beach, it is very thick and a bit too much to use daily. I like Eucerin because it is lightweight but still protects and doesn't irritate my skin. According to The Skin Commandments, look for sunscreen with avobenzone, oxybenzone, mexorylsx, menthyl, anthranilate, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avoid sunscreens with irritants: PABA (para-aminobenzeic acid aka padimateo oxybenzone or cinnamates). Source: The Skin Commandments 10 rules to healthy, beautiful skin
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