Sensitive skin can be a bummer, because you can’t use just any consumer product out there. But thankfully sensitive skin isn’t a medical condition. It’s a groups of symptoms – and it can be managed, simply by paying attention to what comes into contact with your skin, and it starts at home.
First of all, how can you tell if you truly have sensitive skin? In fact, it could even be possible that we did not start out having sensitive skin, but we made our skin more sensitive by overdoing it – exposing it to the wrong types of materials too much, or too often.
When you use certain products, if you notice your skin often:
- getting easily irritated
- becoming red
- feeling itchy and tight
- becoming more dry, or leading to flaking and peeling
then there’s a high chance that you have sensitive skin.
And unfortunately, this could be in response to certain triggers from everyday products like soaps, detergents, perfumes, fragrances, skincare products and household products. How can you avoid suffering sensitive reactions from these common products then? Here’s what you can do:
1. Simplify your skincare routine
Start with the basics. Go for gentle and mild cleansers and moisturisers that do not contain detergents, alcohol or fragrances. If you’d like to introduce a new product to the routine, try out only one at a time, and give yourself enough time to see if your skin reacts to it. This goes for body products as well as face products.
2. Always do a patch test
If you frequently get sensitive reactions when trying out new products, always remember to do a patch test. Put a little of the product onto a small part of your forearm, and wait 24 hours. Only proceed if you do not experience any reactions.
3. Go with natural beauty
Cutting down the number of products you use on your face and body can go a long way to preventing further sensitive reactions. Try keeping your makeup simple by leaving out primers, bronzers, and heavy eye makeup. After all, the natural look is always beautiful – and safer, because you put less chemicals onto your skin! Same goes for the body – skip perfumes and colognes altogether. If you’d like to spritz a little something to smell nice, try light and natural rose water.
4. Take a close look at labels
As with most commercial products, the shortest ingredient list is always the best. Try to opt for products that say “fragrance-free” or “unscented”, “plant-based”, “hypoallergenic” or “for sensitive skin”. Try to avoid those that contain colouring, dyes, acids, and alcohols. You’ll also want to steer clear of products that make “antibacterial” claims but which mean the harsh chemicals they throw in to kill bacteria could also strip your skin of moisture, natural oils and beneficial bacteria.
5. Pay attention to your hands
We do so many chores in the home, sometimes we lose track of just what our hands have come into contact with. But so many triggers to sensitive skin come from dish soap or laundry detergent, which could contain a mix of toxins that gets absorbed by our skin and enter our bloodstream directly without any filtering. Make sure you avoid these ingredients (amongst many!): phosphates, sulfuric acid, ammonium sulfate, silicate salts, formaldehyde, SLS, methylisothiazolinone, and phthalates.
You can easily avoid this list of harsh chemicals by opting for dish wash and laundry washes from Ecover’s ZERO collection, with 0% colouring, 0% fragrance and 0% phosphates, and specially formulated for the most sensitive skin, even safe enough for babies (most important when it comes to washing those baby clothes!). Ecover only uses naturally derived, bio-degradable ingredients, and plant-based ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil and sugar.
6. Swap out chemicals for safe food ingredients
Instead of using chemical toners, you can actually use milk, which just happens to be an excellent toner. Dip a cotton pad into some milk and dab it on your face before rinsing. If some face masks are too strong for you, try making your own face mask with some honey, combined with coconut oil or yogurt – you’ll get all the benefits of a face mask with zero irritation.
7. Heal with nature
Aloe vera gel is one of the best natural ingredients for sensitive skin. Not only does it soothe your skin but it can also tone down redness and provide relief from itchiness. Cut open a blade from the aloe vera plant, or buy a bottle of pure aloe – the closer the percentage to 100%, the best!
8. Keep yourself hydrated
Making sure you drink enough water each day helps your skin stay hydrated and moisturised. More importantly, for sensitive skin, it helps flush out any toxins that might have been absorbed into your skin, thus minimising the degree of your reaction should you have one.
Remember, you don’t have to feel despondent if you have sensitive skin. With a little tender loving care, and an informed choice when picking out products, you can have glowing, healthy skin too!