For beginners and seasoned connoisseurs both, discovering skincare can be a wonderful experience. There are always new techniques to learn about, interesting scientific findings about ingredients to discover, and new products to try. One thing that can dampen enthusiasm and leave you feeling dejected instead of confident is having skin that tends to react adversely to a lot of the products you try. Having to stick to a certain category of “safe” products or reusing the same ones over and over again can be a bit boring, which can make your routines feel a little lackluster.
I know that I tend to look forward to completing my regimen when there’s a new product in the mix. Before I learned how to care for my sensitive skin, I’d get frustrated by the way my skin would get irritated by products that looked fine at first glance and offered a promising solution for the goals that I was trying to accomplish. I learned what sensitive skin mistakes to stop making, and now I’m sharing them with you in the hopes that they will help you get more out of your routine, and avoid wasting money on products that you have to abandon after a few uses.
Before I learned what sensitive skin mistakes to stop making, I’d get frustrated by the way my skin would get irritated by products that looked fine at first glance.
1. First Things First, Sun Protection
Skin that’s exposed to UV rays without adequate protection can become inflamed and painful to the touch, stinging when products are applied over the irritated areas. You might be under the impression that the irritation you’re suffering is being caused by a new addition to your beauty bank, when in reality, the issue is that you’ve been applying products containing ingredients that are unsuitable for treating a sunburn and only irritate the area further. To prevent this, make sure to apply the recommended half teaspoon’s worth of SPF 50 sunscreen to your face and neck every day without fail.
2. Less Is More
In a bid to speed up the transformative effects of the active ingredients designed to meet your skin’s needs, you might be making the mistake of overwhelming the sensitive skin on your face, piling on way too many products at once. For instance, if you have incorporated a niacinamide serum in hopes of fading dark spots and brightening your overall tone, you might be tempted to add even more niacinamide-laden products, to accelerate the process. The result of that gamble might be the opposite of what you were hoping for, as high levels of niacinamide can increase histamine levels, causing an allergic reaction in people who are predisposed to allergies. More steps in your routine do not automatically equal faster results. Be patient, trust the process, and believe that the changes you seek will come in due time.
3. Be Gentle
Your face is one of the most delicate patches of skin on your body and requires gentler handling. This means properly formulated low-pH cleansers, moderate friction and temperature when washing the area, and avoiding overly abrasive scrubs and those made from irritants like fresh lemon juice and sugar. When using chemical exfoliants, introduce them slowly, and cease use as soon as any signs of overexfoliation appear. For sensitive skin, mandelic acid is the most well-tolerated among alpha hydroxy acids (AHA)s. Polyhydroxy acids (PHA) like lactobionic acid are another good choice for exfoliating sensitive skin.
4. Take a Closer Look
If your skin keeps flaring up again and again, no matter how careful you are, it may be time to scrutinize your products’ ingredient lists to see what elements they contain. This error is harder to spot most times because the culprit might be one that is widely promoted as a must-have for discerning enthusiasts. Some people are allergic to ingredients like alcohol, fragrance, nut extracts, bee products, and certain emollients but may be ignorant of the fact until care is taken to properly test each product in existing use. Sensitive skin demands closer attention, but the extra time and diligence pay off in the form of healthier, calmer skin.
5. A Goose For Each Gander
Skincare isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of thing, and proper care must be taken to ensure that each individual’s skin is receiving the sustenance it requires to thrive. For drier types, the focus should be on hydration and moisture retention above all; for oily types, non-comedogenic moisturizers, keeping pores clear, etc. As an example, a gel moisturizer may seem like a perfectly suitable choice for dry skin because it contains hyaluronic acid. In truth, the amount of hydration derived from the lighter cream might not be at all sufficient for that skin type, especially not during the colder months. It’s also essential to adjust according to the seasons, switching out lightweight lotions for more substantial creams at the start of the winter season and relying on watery layers in more humid climes.
Do you have sensitive skin, and if so, what sensitive skin mistakes have you learned from?