I had an interesting conversation with a friend a few weeks ago. Said friend has very sensitive skin that reacts strongly to all sorts of skincare products, so we were having a discussion about what could be done, or where to find fragrance-free products.
I went off and did some quick research to find out that sensitive skin:-
- Turns red easily and may even break out in rashes when exposed to the sun
- Has redness or blotchiness in the skin – and when you rub it, it doesn’t dissipate
- Has a stinging or itching sensation when you use certain skincare products especially fragranced products, and in severe cases, may cause you to break out in hives
It has been found that sensitive skin can be caused by harsh climates, pollutants in the air and water, hormones, stress, and the use of cosmetics. These are just some of the irritations that aggravate sensitive skin and according to a Project Omnibus Report in 2014, more than 50% of women in Asia claim to experience sensitive skin in their entire year.
While I don’t generally have sensitive skin, there are times when my skin reacts to weather, products or hormones and stress. When I was undergoing a very stressful period recently, I’d have an unexplainable itch and little bumps on my neck and legs, and horribly dry skin on my hands. Drove me mad! My face was fortunately spared, but well, hello breakouts!
So in my research on how to address, or at least alleviate the uncomfortable conditions experienced by sensitive skin, here are 3 tips I came across.
1. Use a gentle cleanser
So often, cleansers out there strip away our skin’s moisture barrier, without our realising it. Growing up, every ad for face wash talked about getting your skin squeaky clean with lots of foam! Boy, how far we have come! These days, the only things I want to get squeaky clean are my dishes :P
So what I have done is switched to a gentle cleanser (and this applies for everyone, whether or not we have sensitive skin) that does not strip our skin of its natural oils and break down its lipid barrier. When skin is weakened, it gets inflamed and irritated much more easily, hence resulting in what is popularly termed “sensitive skin”.
Cream cleansers are usually fairly gentle. I used the Physiogel Calming Relief Gentle Cream Cleanser (RM49) in a 14 day trial recently, and liked it quite a lot. I used it in the evenings, as my first cleanse. It removed makeup well (waterproof makeup needs a separate remover though) and cleansed my skin without drying it out. I used a warm washcloth to remove, as it doesn’t rinse off well. If you prefer, you can tissue off before rinsing. It left my skin feeling cleansed and comfortable, and when you have drier skin like I do, it feels comforting.
2. Go fragrance free
Often, people pick their skincare for how lovely it smells. But fragrance in skincare can irritate skin, which is why some people react badly to highly fragranced products, like my friend. Her skin is like a fragrance detector, because even a tiny hint of fragrance in any product will set her skin off, and cause her to break out in hives.
So, with skin that sensitive, going fragrance-free is the best way. I think said friend will benefit from my suggestion for her to check out the Gentle Cream Cleanser, since the range is fragrance-free, anyway! ;)
3. Boost hydration and strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier
To protect sensitive skin, it is important to strengthen the skin’s lipid barrier, which helps keep moisture in and stops it from drying out and turning flaky. Skin that is prone to redness or getting inflamed may benefit from products that repair, protect and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier by bringing in essential lipids, a function performed by Physiogel’s Biomimic Technology (found in Physiogel products). This technology has been clinically tested by dermatologists to provide immediate and long lasting moisture relief, and as such, Physiogel products are designed to repair and strengthen the skin lipid barriers, helping to keep moisture in and irritants out, to make skin less sensitive.
I tried the Physiogel Calming Relief Face Cream (RM69) in their 14 day challenge. and found that the product was fairly gentle, albeit a little thick. So, it will be best served for those with dry, or in the case of the Rich Face Cream, very dry skin. You can get an idea of the texture in the short video below.
The Face Cream sits well on my dry skin without turning greasy throughout the day, and even fared decently under makeup. With its gentle ingredient list, it will likely sit well with those who have skin that is dry, taut, flaky and prone to redness.
Do you have any other tips for caring for sensitive skin and do you have sensitive skin?
These are a few off the top of my head, but if you have sensitive skin, I’d love to hear how you address it :)