You’ve probably heard the term “sensitive skin” a million times. Either you use it, or someone you know does. An estimated 50% of women and 40% of men say they have sensitive skin. But what does that mean exactly? The short of it is: sensitive skin in a lay term (not a medical diagnosis) that could refer to a plethora of medical skin conditions, from rosacea to eczema to contact dermatitis, or a seemingly random allergic reaction to something.
Another term that might be better to explaining sensitive skin, is “reactive skin”. Meaning the dermis reacts to different products and environmental factors in different ways. One thing that frustrates so many people with sensitive skin, is that it’s often hard to pin point what exactly your skin is “reacting” to. You just know it’s angry!
The good news is, there are some simple and easy steps you can take to try and get your cranky skin to calm down.
1/ Wash your face at night! Twice!
Ok, the first wash is obvious. But the second wash is crucial. The first wash will get off our products from the day: makeup, sunscreen, environmental pollutants. But the second wash will actually cleanse our skin and leave it better prepared to absorb our moisturizer. Once we began doing a nightly double cleanse, we couldn’t believe how much softer our skin felt, and less red and blotchy it looked.
2/ Toss your products after 12 months.
Just like food - skin, beauty and hair products go bad. And those expired products can reactivate that angry skin. Because we go through some products quicker than others, we like to take a sharpie and mark the opening date as an easy way to keep track of it all.
3/ Use fragrance free products for EVERYTHING, but especially detergents.
Often it’s the little things that add up to make one bigger problem. This can definitely be the case when it comes to sensitive skin. Fabrics we wear on our bodies - and especially our sheets - can trigger larger reactions on the rest of our skin. So ditch that lovely smelling lavender detergent and embrace your natural fresh scent.
4/ And while we’re on the topic of sheets, make sure you’re washing them weekly.
If you are an especially hot and sweaty sleeper, change your pillow case twice a week. Keeping things clean is an important part of combating skin irritation.
5/ Unsure if you have sensitive skin? See a dermatologist or trusted esthetician.
Because sensitive skin encompasses a myriad of skin conditions it’s important to figure out what exactly you’re dealing with. This can be a frustrating process (trust us, we’ve been there), as skin conditions can present similarly but are treated differently. But avoiding the above triggers will certainly help regardless of your specific condition.
6/ Finally, keep it #supersimple.
There is nothing worse for reactive skin than constantly trying new products, over exfoliating, or using too many products. Less is definitely more when your skin is sensitive sally.