FIVE WAYS TO SOOTHE, HYDRATE AND PROTECT YOUR HARD-TO-PLEASE SKIN
KEEP HYDRATED TAKE COVER
Whether you’re born with sensitive skin (redness, itchiness and flakiness) or you’ve developed it over time, it’s important to use the right products and practices to avoid worsening the condition.
“Many people will claim to have a sensitive skin type,” Tracey Beeby, Ultraceuticals skin expert, says. “Most of the time, the skin is sensitive due to the barrier being impaired. This means the outermost layer of the skin, also known as the epidermis, isn’t healthy.”
Beeby says to keep the skin at optimum strength, ensure your basic essential products, including your cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen, are suitable for your skin type and not damaging this highly exposed area of skin.
While cleansing morning and night is important to ensure your face is clear of pore-clogging dirt, sweat, make-up and pollutants, it’s also essential you use a product that doesn’t strip the skin.
“Never use soaps, as these are alkaline and will damage the skin’s surface,” Beeby says. She also recommends avoiding products with sodium laureth sulfate ( SLS) or sodium lauryl ether sulfate ( SLES), as these surfactants can strip the skin and create sensitivity.
Mineral make-up can work well for sensitive skin because it’s often low in irritating ingredients. Try (1) Jane Iredale Corrective Colours Kit ($ 54, 1300 850 008).
How you wash your face is as important as what product you apply. Never use hot water, as it’s too irritating; a cool-to-tepid temperature is best. You also want to reduce the amount of friction you’re creating, so just rinse with water rather than using a facial cloth or cleansing brush. Aim to massage a cleanser gently; never scrub skin clean. For irritated skin, try ( 5) Trilogy Sensitive Very Gentle Cleansing Cream ($ 35.95, 1800 651 146), which has soothing ingredients like camellia oil. Using a moisturiser morning and night helps keep the skin barrier healthy and protected. But Beeby notes that many people with sensitive skin have issues with dehydration. So she recommends using a hydrating serum, such as (4) Ultraceuticals Ultra B2 Hydrating Serum ($ 85, 1800 355 890), underneath your moisturiser for an added boost of hydration.
Opt for moisturisers formulated for sensitive skin with beneficial ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. Also look for antiinflammatory licorice extract and turmeric as well as soothing ingredients including aloe vera. Excessive sun exposure can cause sensitive skin to flare up, so protecting it with a broad spectrum sunscreen is a must. “Generally, mineral sunscreens (zinc and titanium dioxide) are more suitable for sensitive skin, as they’ve been shown to be soothing on reactive skin,” Beeby says. ( 3) Billie Goat Soap Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 ($ 24.95, ( 02) 4389 3455) is a lightweight sunscreen with zinc oxide to protect the skin and aloe vera to calm any irritation. When it comes to treatment products, take it easy. “Don’t use scrubs and don’t exfoliate too often,” Beeby advises. She’s found that many people think that if their skin is red and a little flaky, they need to exfoliate more, but this isn’t always the case.
Need to soothe red skin? ( 2) Aveda All-Sensitive Moisturizer ($79.95, 1800 706 377) gently calms and moisturises the skin with ingredients such as coconut emollient and organic jojoba oil.