Caring for sensitive skin can pose a challenge. The chemical ingredients in many skin care products can leave delicate skin feeling dry and itchy, even if they work great for consumers with normal skin. The only way to know for sure whether a product will work is to try it out, but there are a few ways that consumers can make more educated guesses as to whether a product will cause them problems. Read on to find a few tips that can help.
Look for All-Natural Ingredients
Natural ingredients chosen specifically for their ability to soothe irritation and inflammation are almost always better for sensitive skin than harsh chemical cleansers, exfoliators, and lotions. Veritas Farms makes a line of all-natural hemp-based products that are great for delicate skin. Since hemp contains ingredients known to reduce inflammation, it makes a perfect base for skincare products. There are plenty of other natural moisturizers, cleansers, and exfoliators that are similarly well-suited for use in specialized skincare products. Those who don’t want to buy hemp-based products should look for ingredients like aloe vera, which is also a natural anti-inflammatory, and jojoba oil, which has a composition very similar to that of the natural oils produced by the skin.
Most chemical cleaners and exfoliators increase inflammation. This may be a non-issue for most women, but those who already struggle with sensitive skin will find that it leaves their skin dry, tight, and red. Some women accept these side effects as inevitable and try to combat them with anti-itch creams and skin repair solutions, but it’s better to avoid them, to begin with. Consumers who don’t want to deal with these unpleasant side effects of chemical cleansers can try switching to soap-free varieties or applying small amounts of new products to their necks to test for irritation before completing full applications.
Fragrances are one of the primary causes of contact dermatitis and skin irritation. Most people with sensitive skin avoid even natural fragrances, finding that it’s just not worth the hassle of dealing with itchiness and dryness just to smell good. If possible, it’s also wise to avoid products that contain alcohol, alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids, and antibacterial agents. All of these ingredients can also irritate sensitive skin. Instead, look for fragrance-free soaps and lotions, and check the company’s website to see if it has any products specifically formulated for sensitive skin.
Keep It Simple
The products best-suited for sensitive skin tend to have only a few carefully chosen ingredients. Try to find ingredient lists online before purchasing new skincare products or check the labels when they arrive. When in doubt about a particular ingredient, look it up before assuming that the lotion or cleansing product won’t be a good fit.
Bear in mind that some ingredients sound more intimidating than they are. Glycerin, for example, sounds like a harsh chemical agent, but it’s actually just a basic emollient that softens the skin without causing irritation. Too much of it can still be a problem, but a little glycerin diluted in other soothing substances can go a long way toward improving the skin barrier function.
Try Not to Layer Products
Sometimes, layering products is unavoidable. Careful shoppers may be able to cut down on layering by purchasing products that serve multiple purposes, though. Try finding skincare products that also contain ingredients known to protect against sun damage or moisturizers that are also designed to function as brighteners. It won’t just make getting ready to greet the day each morning much easier. It will also help women avoid the skin irritation that tends to accompany excessive layering of skincare products.
Be Careful with Cosmetics
While any chemical skin care product can have a damaging impact on sensitive skin, cosmetics are by far the worst. That doesn’t mean women who struggle with contact dermatitis can’t wear makeup. It just means they have to check the ingredients before buying new foundations, eyeliners, mascaras, and other products.
As a general rule, foundations with silicone bases are safer for use on sensitive skin than most options. Try to avoid latex, not just in foundations, but in all cosmetics. Liquid eyeliners almost always contain latex, a known skin irritant, as well, so they’re best avoided. Go with a wax-based pencil liner instead. Those with sensitive skin should also avoid waterproof makeup, which requires specialized makeup remover to get off. Harsh chemical makeup removers can do more damage to the skin than the cosmetics, themselves, so avoid them at all costs.
Look for Keywords in Marketing
Look for products that are advertised as being “calming” or “soothing.” These keywords usually indicate that it was designed with sensitive skin in mind. When in doubt, read reviews of the product on a third-party site, if possible, to see how other women feel about it. Look specifically for reviews or testimonials from women with sensitive skin to compare apples to apples, or reach out and ask the manufacturer whether it would be a good fit.
Be Careful About Trying New Products
When trying out a new product, even one well-known for providing extra protection for sensitive skin, don’t jump straight in the deep end. Instead, try a patch test first. Apply the product to a small patch of skin somewhere on the neck and leave it in place for a full day to see what it does. If it doesn’t produce any itchiness, dryness, redness, or bumps on the neck, it’s unlikely to have these negative impacts when applied to the face. It’s still important to pay attention to how the skin responds after each application, but a patch test should prevent any major disasters.
The Bottom Line
Buying skincare products shouldn’t have to be stressful, regardless of what skin type consumers have. Looking for all-natural, unscented products that contain ingredients known to soothe inflammation and avoid irritation is the best way to go, but women who don’t want to limit themselves to these options can try conventional cosmetics and skincare products as long as they are careful. Read the ingredients and perform a patch test first to avoid trouble.