Have you got sensitive skin? Here’s the Wow Beauty Guide to how to build a skincare routine for sensitive skin.
Beauties, as you know, everyone’s skin has different needs. What works for one person may not work for someone else… so a lot of the time, it’s about safely experimenting and seeing what works best for you.
There’s a lot of information out there right now, and it can be a little overwhelming, we are creating these Wow Beauty Guides of where to start when building a skincare routine based on your skin type, aided by tips and advice from experts in the industry. This guide will be divided into sections… so let’s get going… we’re starting with SENSITIVE SKIN.
In the words of Dr Pauline Hili, a renowned organic skincare expert and Founder of Nourish London skincare, “The main issue that we see with sensitive skin is unpredictability. Many of the issues which cause redness and lead to excess moisture loss are a result of damage to the protective lipid layer of the skin.”
Sensitive skin is often red, flaky and can easily become irritated by products and materials on the skin. The skin may feel sore, tight, itchy and is unpredictable.
“Fact: we are not born with sensitive skin, skin becomes sensitive because of what we apply on it and what we eat (or don’t eat).” Lucia Mencarelli, nutrition adviser and founder of Casa Mencarelli
Often, skin becomes sensitive due the damage to the protective outer layer of the skin. So a lot of what you need to do with sensitive skin, is find products that rebuild and protect your skin from outside aggressors.
What you may also find that sensitive skin comes hand in hand with something like dry skin due to this damage, so using products to treat both skin types whilst being mindful of the impact of both is essential. So where to start?
Ingredients to look for…
“Balms and oil serums which do not contain water, and possibly no fragrance and no essential oils. Look for ingredients like rosehip oil, sea buckthorn oil, Vitamin E, rice bran oil, tomato seed oil, carrot seed oil, all very nourishing, moisturising and repairing.” Lucia Mencarelli, nutrition adviser and founder of Casa Mencarelli.
To help regenerate the skin, find products rich in antioxidants including Vitamin C, Chia Seeds. You should also look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like Liquorice Extract, Green Tea, Turmeric, Oatmeal and arnica. You should also look for ingredients rich in Omega-3s and -6s.
Other great ingredients include Aloe Vera, Calendula Extract, Chamomile Extract, Shea Butter and Squalane.
Ingredients to avoid…
Avoid heavily scented products, particularly those with essential oils as they can be irritating for the skin. “The first thing is to avoid harsh ingredients, for example fragrances, alcohol, exfoliating acids, soaps, synthetic ingredients and preservatives,” says Lucia Mencarelli, nutrition adviser and founder of Casa Mencarelli.
If you still want to try exfoliating acids (which could be better than physical exfoliants) then Lactic Acid is a good place to start. It’s gentler than Glycolic Acid but avoid Salicylic Acid as this might be too strong.
Retinol is an amazing ingredient – but for those of you with particularly irritated skin, this hero ingredient may be too strong for you. When you’ve repaired the skin barrier, you could look at this ingredient again. A gentler alternative is Bakuchiol if you still want to try something with similar benefits to Retinol.
Products to look for when…
Cleansing: Use mild but effective cleanser such as a balm or cream cleanser that is fragrance and sulphate-free.
Try Alpha H Balancing Cleanser with Aloe
It has a nice clean scent and the cream texture has enough slip to glide across the skin, but thick enough that it feels like a cleanser and not just a face lotion. I like to use this if my skin is feeling a little sensitive or after I’ve been wearing makeup as a second cleanse. It’s a soft cream and doesn’t leave the skin feeling stripped or dry, just soothed and clean.
Formulated without these ingredients and more: Parabens, Sulphates SLS and SLES, Phthalates, Mineral Oils, Formaldehydes, Formaldehyde-releasing agents, Coal Tar, Hydroquinone, Triclosan, and Triclocarban.
Buy the cleanser for £25 from Cult Beauty
Toner: “Acid toners provide lightweight hydrations. The skin is naturally acidic so they also balance the skin’s PH levels as well as exfoliating to help decrease pore visibility and treat breakouts.” Cosmetic doctor Dr Rekha Tailor of Health & Aesthetics www.healthandaesthetics.co.uk
Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist
This refreshing mist is formulated to hydrate and soften your skin and is great for all skin types. It has a lot of lovely ingredients to hydrate and strengthen the skin.
Buy the balancing mist for £30 from Look Fantastic
Eye Cream: your delicate under-eye area deserves some TLC, particularly when your sensitive skin is even more susceptible to irritation. Opt for a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free eye cream to calm stressed out skin.
S5 Skincare Renew Eye Cream
The eye cream is designed to reduce dark circles, puffiness and the appearance of wrinkles. The founder Laura is very respectful of sensitive and sensitised skin, which is something that you can really see in this eye cream. It’s gentle, which is perfect for the particularly delicate area of the eye, while still feeling like it’s doing something.
Buy the eye cream for £42 from S5 Skincare
Serum: This is where you can pack in your anti-oxidant rich ingredients to repair the skin.
Casa Mencarelli Serum
I’m loving this stuff. It’s a serum, but it looks like a rich oil because of the gorgeous colour. Love how it makes my skin feel – it sinks in beautifully and makes the skin glow without looking greasy or oily. It is rich in antioxidants like Beta Carotene, vitamins E and essential fatty acids Omega 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, to help repair and regenerate damaged skin.
Buy the Casa Mencarelli serum from the D.O.R. Beauty Edit
AM Moisturiser: Something light and fragrance-free is perfect for your morning routine, something that will protect and balance the skin.
Naya Face Cream
If you’re looking for a day cream that delivers on hydration whilst being gentle on the skin? You’ll love this day cream from Naya. It’s supercharged with bioactive antioxidants, Omegas and abundant levels of vitamins that hydrate, protect and soothe your skin.
The cream works on multiple levels to protect the skin including creating an anti-pollutant barrier, an antioxidant barrier, a UVB, blue light and infra-red barrier, a water barrier and a lipidic barrier giving your skin time to heal as it protects your skin from external aggressors… beautiful!
PM Moisturiser: Aesthetic Nurse Anna Baker recommends the NeoStrata Restore Bionic Serum – ‘This fragrance-free formula contains Vitamins A, C, and E to provide intense nourishment to the skin, whilst being gentle enough for sensitive skin. The serum is designed to create a protective layer to help restore skin’s youthful appearance. It also contains Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA), a potent antioxidant to help replenish skin’s moisture barrier and protect against environmental factors.’
Buy the Neostrata Face Serum for £35 from Neostrata
And finally, sensitive skin also be impacted by what you put in your body as well as what you put on your skin. Your skin may be reacting to food intolerances or too much inflammatory food. Look to increase food that support gut health, are rich in essential fatty acids and have anti-inflammatory compounds.
Some ingredients include broccoli, summer berries, tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, avocado, green tea, cacao and leafy greens.
Keep it simple and introduce new products slowly to see how your skin tolerates them.
Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash