Sensitive skin can be challenging to deal with and requires special care. Interestingly enough, sensitive skin is a description, not a diagnosis – so there’s no real test for it. Because of this, knowing which ingredients to avoid, and what can trigger a reaction is key.
Generally, skin sensitivity increases during the winter months, resulting in inflammation, redness and discomfort. Cold wind, the dry Gauteng air and our body’s natural inclination to produce less moisture in winter, all contribute to a change in the skin’s appearance.
Even if you don’t suffer from sensitivity, you should consider adding more nourishing and hydrating products to your regime.
How to tell if you have sensitive skin
- Sensitive skin tends to be dry, flaky and very easily irritated.
- Symptoms such as redness, blotchiness, tingling, itching or stinging may indicate sensitivity.
- Skin disorders like Rosacea and Eczema are often an underlying cause of sensitivity.
- Those with sensitive skin typically have a tendency towards blushing and skin flushing.
What causes a skin reaction?
Triggers are wide and varied. Alcohol consumption and certain hot and spicy foods can be triggers. Sun and wind exposure, stress and chemicals used in certain products can all cause skin to react.
How to deal with red, sensitive skin
- Avoid using products that contain fragrance, alcohol and artificial colourants.
- Choose soap free cleansers.
- Look for products that are specially formulated for sensitive skin with soothing ingredients like Aloe, Chamomile and Vitamin E
- Avoid harsh, granular facial scrubs and rather opt for a chemical exfoliator – preferably one that uses gentle fruit acids.
- Be gentle with your skin – don’t rub it with a towel, rather blot it dry.
- Avoid very hot water as it can dry out & irritate skin.
- Choose a fabric softener that’s organic & free from colour or fragrance – remember, you sleep on a pillow every evening that contains remnants of that softener.
- Always make sure your skin is well moisturised. Dry, dehydrated skin is more vulnerable to sensitivity.
Ingredients to avoid if you suffer from sensitivity
- Vitamin A
- Retinol / Retinoid
- Alpha-Hydroxy Acids
- Antibacterial ingredients
- See here for a more comprehensive list of ingredients you should avoid if you have sensitive skin.
Soothing treats for sensitive skin
1. Eucerin AtoControl Face Care Cream, R149.99
Perfect for skin that’s tight, rough, prone to itching, scaling and reddening. This formula contains Omega fatty acids and soothing licorice extract. It’s so gentle, it can even be used on babies skin.
2. BioNike Defence Hydra 5 Radiance – R150, available at Dis-Chem
Even very sensitive skin types can use this formula that beautifully illuminates, hydrates, protects and strengthens the skin. It also contains an SPF 15 and is free of fragrance, gluten & preservatives.
3. Gatineau SERENITE Multi-protective cream, R625
This soothing balm-like cream can be used morning and evening to treat easily irritated, red or patchy skin. It strengthens the skin barrier thus reducing reactivity.
4. The Body Shop Aloe Gentle Facial Wash, R99 – Buy it here
This rich, yet mild soap-free cleansing foam gently removes make-up and impurities and has an instant soothing and calming effect on sensitive skin. It’s been dermatologically approved and clinically proven as suitable for sensitive skin. Go read the review on Makeupalley.com – women with sensitive, reactive skin rave about this formula.
5. Garnier Hydra Match Ultra Nourishing Cream Dry & Very Dry Skin, R69.99
This nourishing moisturiser is enriched with Camellia oil, Omega 3 & 6 and Shea butter. Upon application, skin is instantly soothed and comforted.
6. Bioderma Sensibio AR BB Cream, R239.95
All the beauty gals love this formula – even those without sensitive skin. This BB is specially formulated for those that suffer with rosacea and sensitivity. It evens the complexion, hydrates, protects with an SPF30 all while soothing sensitive skin. If you skin is very dry, apply a moisturiser first. The coverage is light yet it gives the skin a lovely, even toned complexion.
7. Gatineau SERENITE Soothing Concentrate, R595
This serum should be applied to clean skin morning and evening. It has a soothing effect on reactive, very sensitive skin and contains anti-ageing technology.