Written by AnnaMarie Jones
Prone to fast-acting breakouts after a single sweet treat or irritation when trying a new collection of skincare products? I’m right there with you and feel your frustration. Sensitive skin is a tricky trait to master. Knowing what’s best for your skin type, where to even start when building a skincare routine and what to maybe steer clear of are just some of the tips and tricks within the five main steps of our very own Survival Guide for Sensitive Skin. These five steps can assist anyone struggling with their current routine or looking for the right first steps towards what’s best for their delicate skin. I don’t plan on skipping out on any donuts anytime soon, so neither should you.
If you know you’re someone with sensitive skin, reading all product labels should be the first step in any new purchase. Keeping an eye out for ingredients such as fragrance, harsh exfoliants, alcohol and excessive essential oils can impact the health of your skin significantly. Components such as these can cause reactions like breakouts from added scented products, irritation from topical essential oils that are too potent for some skin types, dry patches from the alcohol and even more sensitivity and rawness to already sensitive skin if over exfoliated.
Whether it’s shopping at Sephora, looking through this month’s Macy’s catalog or scrolling through social media, it seems like there’s almost always a new product hitting the market. And I’m not just talking about skin care. Makeup products are rapidly evolving and brands are fast to give their consumers the newest and hottest collections. Before you collect your Beauty Insider points, slow things down to see if this purchase is actually a good fit for you. Aside from taking our first survival guide step and reading all the labels for any alarming ingredients, get a sample first. You’d be surprised how many retail locations will give you a sample of a new product before you make your final purchase. Giving your skin the time it needs to feel out a new moisturizer, liquid foundation, primer, toner or concealer could very easily be just the key step in getting to know your skin even better. With skin care products, start with a small patch somewhere that can easily be covered in the case of a reaction, such as the underside of your jaw or behind the ear. Give the product a day or two to see how it works with your skin. If all is well, start slowing working the new product into your skincare routine and keep an eye on how it works with any other products you may include before or after it. With makeup, the same rules apply. Testing out a new liquid product on your jawline and then slowly adding it in with any other prep or set products will ensure this new purchase is a good fit for you.
Being someone who’s had sensitive skin nearly my whole life, through trial and error, I’ve found that out of all the gentle ingredients out there, the “greens” are my personal Holy Grail. Ingredients that are in the green group should come as no surprise, as they are aloe, green tea, cucumber, cucumber seed oil, avocado and so on. These ingredients are equally soothing as they are gentle. They are also great stepping stones for someone branching into the skincare world who’s aware of their sensitive skin type. Trying out products with greens as their main ingredient is an easy way to prep your skin for new additions to your routine and figure out what direction to go in from there. Green ingredients are also great for soothing any irritation your skin may already have. A small amount of aloe on a burn or green tea on puffy and red skin can go a long way.
People may think the way to better skin is to lather on the product and wait to watch the results. For some, that works. For others, less is more. A small amount of both, makeup and skincare, can make more of a positive difference than over applying. In some cases, excessive product can clog pores, irritate the skin or cause unwanted skin texture, among other side effects depending on skin type. Specifically to sensitive skin, which is prone to these skin reactions more than other skin types, it would be a good call using only the recommended amount of product per use.
The last step of our survival guide should also be the last step in your skincare routine. After the toner, eye cream, moisturizer and oil, lock it all together with a healthy layer of SPF. Protecting your skin from UV rays and the damage overexposure to direct sunlight can cause will help any skin type keep its outer and inner health much longer. Though it’s a great tip for those of us whose skin is extra sensitive in general, using a sunscreen or other SPF product is beneficial for any skin type and any age.
There you have it. Five quick ways to get started or add to your skincare routine if you’re someone who’s starting to notice your skin becoming more sensitive or even if you’ve had it your whole life. Although our survival guide to you only consists of five steps, take these tips into your own hands to see what works best for your skin type, routine and lifestyle. It will take some patience and trials but with every conscious move, you’ll be closer to mastering your skincare while still indulging in all things sweet treats.