With so many textures, fragrances and finishes on offer, the sensorial experience of skincare can be a moment of pure indulgence. But for women who have sensitive skin, with its fragile barrier and reactive nerve endings, the cosmetics aisle can feel like a minefield!
Countless brands lay claim to ‘no nasties’ formulations, yet products can fail to live up to expectations, triggering sensitive skin to react with prickling, stinging and redness.
Vulnerable to external aggressors, sensitive skin lives by the mantra “less is more” and truly requires the most expert care. Read on for a practical guide on how to navigate through the choices and find the right products to help your sensitive skin stay in its safety zone.
3 steps to choosing skin care products for sensitive skin
To care for her sensitive skin, every woman should have certain products, such as a gentle cleansing milk or micellar water, a high-tolerance moisturizer and broad-spectrum sun protection. But when your skin reacts to even the most basic products, where do you start?
Step 1: screen for known irritants and sensitizers
When reading product labels, make sure they include certain claims, like ‘tested on sensitive and allergic skin.’ They should also be free from the commonest ‘nasties’ that can provoke sensitive skin’s symptoms:
In make-up and nail varnish, always check products are ‘nickel controlled,’ since this is another sensitizing agent which only a few brands address.
Step 2: be demanding when it comes to packaging
Even the purest of formulas risks triggering skin’s sensitivity if it is not protected. The reason why? A phenomenon called retro-contamination, where particles in the air – potential irritants or allergens – enter the pack after it has been opened. These microscopic irritants and allergens have the potential to contaminate your carefully chosen daily care products.
Packaging compatible with sensitive skin should ideally be hermetic, in other words airtight, with protective valves to avoid contamination or oxidation. Plus, there should be no contact between the product and any metal components, since metal ions can sensitize skin.
Step 3: perform a patch test
The only way to be 100% sure of your tolerance to a product is to test it out. Apply a small amount to your forearm and cover with a waterproof band-aid. Check for a reaction after 48hrs – if the area is free of redness, you can use the product on your face in confidence.