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5 tips for caring for sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is caused by irritation in the nerve endings in the top layer of your skin and happens because its natural barrier function has been weakened for one reason or another.

Some of the things that are known to trigger sensitivity include:

• Exposure to sunlight and air pollution

• Temperature fluctuations (going from a hot office to cold

outdoors for example)

• Cold, windy and wet weather

• Using water with a higher mineral content

• Cleaning your skin with very hot water

• Not getting enough sleep

• Hormonal changes – pregnancy, menstruation and menopause

• Stress

• Late nights

• Chlorine in swimming pools

• Dehydration

• Naturally dry skin

A recent European study found that up to 52% of people surveyed reported that they had a skin sensitivity of some kind. This can be

anything from an occasional flare up to the kind of extreme sensitivity that can make life (and skin care) difficult.

An everyday sensitive skin can leave you with dry, flaky patches, itchiness and discomfort, blemishes and redness, and this can be serious enough to affect your confidence and selfesteem.

Sensitive skin:

• Can feel tight and uncomfortable a lot of the time

• May be sore or sensitive

• Needs extra hydration, especially in winter

• Dries out easily but tends to be oily in summer

• Often flushes after drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods

• Tends to have red patches that may not fade

• Has uneven texture, dryness and flakiness in places

• Reacts to some skincare products

• Is often itchy or develops a rash after contact with certain substances

• Itches after contact with some types of fabric

• Dries out quickly after a hot shower or bath

Tips for looking after your sensitive skin

To keep sensitive skin happy, you need to treat it carefully.

1. Treat your skin kindly

Always look for products that are gentle and designed to not irritate your skin. Avoid higher concentrations of strong ingredients like niacinamide, retinol, vitamin C, BHA (salicylic acid), or AHA (glycolic or lactic acid). If you have sensitive skin, always read the label before using a new product.

2. Stay moisturised

Moisturising is even more important for you if you have sensitive skin. Ask your esthetician for advice, or as a general rule, opt for a gentle, long-lasting moisturiser that’s designed to keep sensitive skin hydrated throughout the day. Make sure that it doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients or ingredients that you know will cause your skin to react.

3. Keep it simple

Most dermatologists recommend a simple three-step regime for sensitive skin: Cleanse, Moisturise, Protect. Don’t get stressed about the latest 10-step skincare menus and multi-tasking products; with sensitive skin less is more.

4. Always stay protected

Keep your skin protected at all times, from sun and environmental damage. Wear gloves to protect your hand when you are doing the

laundry and household tasks. Always wear a sun screen suitable for sensitive skin and use extra hydration when you expose your skin to harsh weather and temperatures.

5. Stay away from the perfumed products

Don’t use perfumed products. Research has shown that fragranced beauty and skincare products are one of the most common causes of negative skin reactions, so while the unscented skincare products may seem a little dull, you know that your skin will thank you for using them.

If in doubt – ask your esthetician for advice on the perfect products and treatments for your sensitive skin.

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