If you’re someone who diligently skims through the ingredient list of every beauty product before buying it because ‘sensitive skin’ has plagued you all your life, you’re not alone. Most women believe their skin is sensitive but a lot of them are unaware as to why. Just a reaction to strong ingredients doesn’t necessarily put it in that bucket.

Sensitivity is caused by irritation in the nerve endings present in your skin’s topmost layer, a result of its natural barrier weakening and breaking down. And along with it your confidence, mood, and self-esteem! Relatable? Read on.

How to identify sensitive skin?

While we are all prone to some level of sensitivity, you’re tilting more to the sensitive side if exposure to something specific or an environmental trigger damages the skin (read: dry, cracked, and flaky) which escalates into skin irritation manifesting in telltale signs like redness, stinging, burning, itching and utter discomfort.

Got sensitive skin? Beware of...

woman-picking-cosmeticsAnything harsh! So, your skin is giving your BFF a run for her money when it comes to being dramatic? Then keep it simple. Even though it’s difficult to gauge which exact ingredients in your beauty products may anger your face (it varies from person to person), a general rule of thumb would be to avoid common irritants like alcohols, sulfates, emulsifiers, dyes, preservatives,  fragrances and yes, even some essential oils! Ditch those abrasive scrubs and exfoliants—they do more harm than good for sensitive skin. Microbeads and walnut shell powder which deceive you into thinking they’re scrubbing dead skin off your face are actually causing tiny tears in your skin’s protective barrier.

What works?

Essentially, be it the number of products in your regime or the list of ingredients in your cosmetics—less is more. As for the latter, look for emollients and humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid that lock in moisture along with ceramides and fatty acids like linolenic and alpha-linolenic acids (ALA) which replenish and strengthen the skin’s exterior so that it can effectively keep moisture in and irritants out.

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Building the ideal regime

Sensitive skin is often misconceived as acne-prone or oily, instead of one that is prone to redness and irritation. Your daily skincare routine has to be non-aggressive, and that’s a no-brainer.

Start your day with a gentle, sulfate-free cleansing lotion sans irritants, with soothing botanicals like feverfew and oatmeal to cleanse your skin without disrupting your skin’s natural barrier.

White tea extract, green tea, pomegranate, and chamomile are the calming, anti-inflammatory ingredients to look for in toners and moisturizers. Opt for a fragrance-free moisturizer or even a travel-size stick with jojoba oil, grapeseed oil, and rose hips seed oil to not only hydrate but also repair and reinforce the moisture barrier and reduce your skin’s sensitivity over time.

No skin care routine is complete without sun protection, and a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide SPF is a good buy to prevent UV-induced inflammation.

Just because you have sensitive skin doesn’t mean you have to skip exfoliation and weekly-treatments. In fact, a gel-based mask with a naturally cooler temperature is a handy treatment for inflamed skin. Lactic acid-based peels and serums are the derm-recommended milder alternative for those who find glycolic acid too harsh. Get your anti-aging and anti-redness game strong by loading your skin with serums infused with vitamin C and antioxidants.

You may be dealing with sensitive skin courtesy your genes, but external triggers caused by the environment are the culprit behind sensitized skin. Knowing and understanding your skin deeply and caring for it appropriately will go a long way in keeping it glowing and healthy.



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