For those of us with sensitive skin, trying to keep our sensitivity at bay can be quite the challenge. But first, it’s important to recognise what actually constitutes sensitive skin, and the common misconception that Reactive Skin and Sensitive Skin are the same thing. Although both Sensitive and Reactive skin types might be caused by similar underlying issues (like eczema, dryness, rosacea, pollution, oxidative stress, a weakened epidermis) the way the conditions differ is how they manifest on the skin. Reactive skin usually shows itself in the form of hive like rashes on the surface of the skin which is triggered by external aggressors. Whereas sensitive skin might appear as redness, eczema, rosacea, broken capillaries and thin/delicate skin. Another significant difference between the two conditions is that reactive skin (as indicated in the name) both reacts quickly and calms down quickly to whatever the aggressor might have been. In comparison, sensitive skin does not simply disappear within a matter of minutes, but instead can surface over long stretches of time. Now that we know what it truly means to have sensitive skin, we can better tackle how to treat our sensitive skin with the care it most definitely needs.
1. Sensitive skin and alcohol don’t mix well
It’s easy to be swayed by the way a product has been marketed as ‘all natural’ and supposedly ‘suitable for sensitive skin’, but the reality is if alcohol is included in the ingredient list – the product will always be limited in its ability to perform well, particularly on sensitive skin. As alcohol is an astringent, and as astringents are known for their over drying abilities – products containing alcohol can end up stripping the skin of its natural oils, and in turn destabilising the moisture barrier. The impact on sensitive skin, which often means the skin lipid barrier is already compromised, is that the epidermis is damaged, leading to a breakout. So, to treat your sensitive skin well, always check the ingredient list for any form of alcohol, and especially avoid if it is high up on the list!
2. SPF, SPF, SPF!
It goes without saying that each and every one of us need to be wearing sunscreen on a daily basis – rain or shine, SPF is an absolute must – but when it comes to those of us with already sensitive skin, it becomes that much more important. In order to prevent free radical damage and oxidative stress induced by UV rays, we need to have our SPF as our armour, shielding our sensitive skin from the possibility of damaging our skin barrier and further exposing it to a domino effect of skin concerns. So, to keep our mind and skin stress free, keep the sunscreen topped up.
3. Cleansing oils and balms might be your best bet to start your routine
When it comes to sensitive skin, avoiding dryness is essential in order to prevent the whole host of problems that can come with this skin condition. As cleansing is the most stripping part of the skincare routine (depending on the products used) the type of cleanser you use is crucial. Gel cleansers might not be the best option for sensitive skin, as they can often lead to the natural oils being stripped from the skin, rendering the rest of your skincare routine a lot less effective. Instead, a cleansing balm, like the Vemel Vitamin Boost Cleansing Balm; pure, potent and brimming with a blend of nourishing oils and hydrating ingredients works effectively to clean the skin of stubborn SPF and makeup (or just the days grime!) whilst also injecting a boost of restorative ingredients to heal and repair. Alternatively, cleansing oils also work to nourish and soothe the skin, while breaking down products which are difficult to remove – the Vemel No.1 Cleansing Oil is the perfect example of an oil that gently emulsifies, so no rubbing, stinging or face cloth is involved, meaning it works well for even the most sensitive skin.
4. Avoid products which contain artificial fragrance
Whilst we’ve all probably heard that synthetic fragrances added into skincare can be damaging to the skin, what we’ve likely not heard is the extent of the damage it can cause. It’s important to remember, not all fragrance is created equal. Artificial fragrance has been said to be one of the most damaging ingredients in our entire skincare routine – whilst they may cover up a not so pleasant smell, the toxins they bring into the product do little to better the health of our skin, and far more to worsen it. Some of the known reactions caused by artificial fragrance, most apparent in those with sensitive skin includes skin irritation, allergies, asthma, hives, and even eczema. The appeal of artificial fragrance to many manufacturers lies heavily in the fact that it is a lot cheaper to buy than the natural, plant derived, lightly scented extracts included within the Vemel range. Opting for products like the Intense Age Repair Eye & Lip Cream, which is naturally scented with a sweet blend of coconut and amaranth – offers a delicate aromatic experience, all the while treating your sensitive skin with the care it deserves.
5. Include soothing and calming products in your routine
Lastly, a great way to ensure your sensitive skin is calm and not reacting negatively to harsh products, is by ensuring you have included known soothing and nourishing ingredients in your routine. Arctic oat extract helps soothe skin by working as an anti-inflammatory agent to regenerate and repair the skin – which is why it was a must have ingredient in the Vemel Wonder Balm, the skincare saviour for life’s little emergencies. Another gentle yet nourishing ingredient is aloe vera, included in the Vemel Intense Age Repair Eye & Lip Cream for its ability to moisturise, yet soothe damaged skin. Ultimately, the focus remains just as much on ingredients we should include in our routines, as it does on ingredients we should avoid, in order to find the sweet spot where our sensitive skin feels cared for, and we reap the rewards through soft, supple and radiant skin.