How Do I Improve My Sensitive Skin?
Recognising Sensitive Skin?
An increasing number of people report to have experienced sensitivity with their skin at some point. Rather than a clinical term, sensitivity relates to skin that is easily irritated.
The skin’s outer, fatty, layer keeps moisture in and protects from the sun, wind and harsh chemicals. For those with sensitive skin, this lipid barrier tends to be thinner and allows irritants to penetrate and cause inflammation.
The condition can be affected by emotional and environmental factors. Your skin could be fine most of the time and then react to one of these factors. Think of a small child throwing a tantrum or an adult experiencing a sudden bad mood!
Persistent sensitivity could be the result of a condition such as eczema, rosacea, psoriasis or contact dermatitis. See specific information on our blog on Rosacea.
If you aren’t sure if sensitivity is affecting your skin, here are some signs to look for:
- Visible red patches that may increase or decrease in intensity
- Feels itchy and irritated after exposure to certain factors (see below)
- Turns red and feels uncomfortable following a hot bath or shower
- Flushes easily after consuming alcohol or spicy food
- Can be uncomfortable, sore or sensitive to touch
- Reacts to certain skincare and products
- Can feel tight
Factors that cause issues for sensitive skin
UV rays and sun exposure Extreme heat
Extreme cold Wind
Harsh astringents Hard water
Chlorinated water Pets
Tips for Improving Sensitive Skin
Where possible, avoid the factors shown above and keep hydrated.
If you have other skin concerns, always address the sensitivity first. Once this is achieved, you can work on the other issues.
Don’t over-wash your skin. It is great at taking care of itself and the more you wash, the more protective oils you remove, the drier and more irritated it becomes. Avoid harsh chemicals and rough wash cloths that can irritate the skin, and pat skin dry rather than rubbing with a towel.
Keep your skin moisturised to protect it from those environmental factors we mentioned earlier. Use a good moisturiser morning and night to reduce water loss from the skin and provide a protective barrier from irritants. After showering and with your skin still a little damp, apply moisturiser to look the moisture in.
Steer clear of skin scrubs with those rough little bits in them. Apricot kernels and walnut shells are natural, but they can be abrasive and can actually leave your skin with tiny cuts. Look for products with exfoliants such as fruit-enzymes instead.
Check your products and their ingredients. Fragrances and alcohol in skincare can cause irritation. See our blog on avoiding alcohol for further details.
When introducing a new product to your skincare regime, test it first. Buy a sample size initially or, even better, visit your local salon and try out the therapist’s recommendations. Pop a little of the product on the skin behind your ear and check for any reactions over the next 24 hours. If all remains fine, try another patch of skin, this time on the side of your face, near to your eye. Still clear? Then you’re ready to apply as directed.
Everyone should be using SPF protection throughout the year. This is even more important for those with sensitive skin where extra protection is needed from UV rays. Choose products with SPF30 or higher. If chemical sunscreens cause problems for your skin, opt for products with physical sunscreen instead. Titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide are less likely to cause an issue.
When it comes to your make-up bag. Throw out old products that could have deteriorated or become contaminated over time. Again, check the ingredients in your cosmetics and choose those free from artificial colours and preservatives. Mineral make-up tends to be gentle on sensitive skin.
Keep your make-up brushes clean by washing them in a solution you know won’t adversely affect your skin and air drying them. Gentle soaps and shampoos work well, or use a specialist face brush cleaning product.
Some Ingredients to Look for in Skincare
Allantoin (from comfrey root) – soothes, heals, reduces irritation
Aloe vera – skin soothing
Azulene and Chamomile– skin soothing
Calendula – skin soothing
Glycerin – preserves moisture
Horse chestnut – soothes and diffuses redness
Lavender – calms, soothes and heals
Oatmeal – skin repairing
Propolis – soothes, calms and heals
Rose oil – soothes, calms, reduces irritation
Products from Pevonia
A gentle cleanser that can be used on the most sensitive and allergic skin. Light in texture, it is rich with the best calming, healing and desensitising ingredients; Chamomile and Calendula blend with other ingredients leaving skin soothed and cleansed. Water soluble.
Contains: Chamomile flower extract/flower oil; Horse Chestnut extract; Calendula Officinalis flower extract; Allantoin
Formulated with natural plant extracts, the Sensitive Skin Lotion is an important secondary step to a perfect cleansing. It is soothing, decongesting, calming, hydrating and reduces irritation. Chamomile, Azulene and Aloe leaves skin soft, smooth and decongested. Suitable for any sensitive and allergic skin.
Contains: Chamomile flower extract; Calendula Officinalis flower extract; Horse Chestnut extract; Aloe Vera leaf extract; Azulene (from Roman chamomile);
This delightfully smooth triphase cream is rich in natural propolis, from the Jura Mountains of France. This propolis is drenched in natural antibiotic Flavonoids, Minerals and Polysaccharides. The Soothing Sensitive Skin Cream boosts the skin’s healing process by accelerating tissue regeneration. Decongesting and desensitising, it effectively strengthens capillary walls. Recommended for sensitive skin. UV Protection.
Contains: Propolis extract; Glycerin; Aloe Vera leaf extract
Found in the Jura Mountains of France, the Propolis is a natural ingredient collected by the bees from Poplar trees. Rich in natural antibiotics, Propolis is a great healer; it desensitises skin and controls breakouts. Propolis and Lavender extracts ensure that sensitive and problematic skin is well cared for. A micro-emulsified gel with a light texture. Recommended for all skin types, especially sensitive.
Contains: Propolis extract; Lavender flower oil/extract; Glycerin
Providing environmental protection, this cream is ideal for soothing and delivering relief to super sensitive skin. Shea Butter, Calendula and Micronised Titanium Dioxide combine to heal, protect and provide immediate relief to skin irritations. Recommended for Retin A users and Post-Op care following laser resurfacing and dermabrasion. Helps restore skin's suppleness and tone, promoting a healthy, smooth texture and radiant glow. UV Protection.
Contains: Calendula Officinalis flower extract; Horse Chestnut extract; Rose oil
This cream delivers cutting-edge technology. Pineapple and Papaya enzymes are encapsulated in sphérides to ensure they do not become active until applied to the skin. When worked into the skin with warm water, the micro-sphérides break and deliver the enzymes which become immediately active, digesting impurities, sebum, toxins, blackheads and dead skin cells. Skin is rendered silky-smooth and bright through the use of this effective high-tech product. Recommended for all skin types including sensitive.
Contains: Oat amino acids; Calendula Officinalis flower extract; Horse Chestnut extract
Silky-smooth in texture, this easy to apply greaseless emulsion provides immediate protection. Its dual-phase protective action both reflects and absorbs the sun’s harmful rays. Additionally, it completely safeguards the skin from burning and ageing rays (UVA & UVB) as well as infra-red rays. Hydrating and soothing, this multi-function sunscreen effectively counteracts sun and ageing damage. Recommended for all skin types.
See also the Rosacea line.
Pevonia spas and salons offer a range of facials designed for specific skin concerns. Speak to your therapist about the most appropriate one to address sensitivity along with any other skin concerns you may have.