If you don’t already know, I pretty much have the world’s most sensitive skin. I’m super light and pretty much everything I do to my skin has an immediate effect. This can go either in my favour, or really, really not. After a love-hate relationship with it over the years, I feel like I’ve learnt what to do – and definitely what not to do. Sensitive skin is a funny thing: treat it nicely and it will glow, but treat it badly… and you will suffer, my friends.
So what do I do to keep my sensitive skin happy?
First of all, don’t over cleanse! Your skin will react to any and everything, and if it is cleansed too thoroughly, it will dry out and get really irritated. This is not what you want. Instead, find a gentle cleanser that does the trick but leaves enough moisture on your skin. I like to use creamy cleansers these days, instead of the harsh, oil-stripping acne cleansers of yore. Fun fact: if you have acne on sensitive skin, using a harsh cleanser will generally just make it worse. You need to keep moisture on your skin – this is not what’s causing your acne, people.
My preferred cleanser these days is the su:m37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick as it is creamy and gentle but still lathers nicely and leaves you feeling fresh. Another way to gently cleanse your face is to use cleansing oils or balms, as these give a lot of moisture but also remove makeup and grime easily and quickly. My faves? I really enjoyed using the Holika Holika Gonyak Soft Moisture Cleansing Balm and also the Nature Republic Chamomile Cleansing Oil. Of course, I’m trying to find cruelty-free alternatives these days and so will report back if any new findings emerge.
Next, you need to protect your skin. The thing with sensitive skin is that it will show every little flaw and blemish quickly and often angrily. If you are light-skinned like me, that is magnified to the nth degree. Basically, I can’t get away with anything, whether it is a spot, a scratch, sun damage or even if I am just flushed from the heat. Everything shows. But the good thing is that this encourages you to take care of your skin better than perhaps you otherwise would. Of course, my top tip here is SUNCARE (yep, it warrants a shouty caps title). The sun is not your friend, people! Well, maybe it’s more your friend than it is mine, but still… you gotta be on your guard.
Since moving to Malaysia, I have at the very least been applying SPF moisturisers in the morning, and usually following that up with a full sunscreen. I couple this with staying out of the sun between 11-4 (air con is my friend, as are shopping malls). When the UV level is extreme, you need to be careful, and if you have sensitive skin, this is doubly important. Some of my favourite low-grease, high-function sunscreens include the Chanel UV Essentiel Lotion, Natio Aromatherapy Daily Protection Face Moisturiser and Avene Very High Protection Lotion for Children (yep… I use kid’s products, what of it?!). I talked about these here, so have a click if you want to read more.
I also like to use a spray for light coverage (ie. if I’m not really in the sun too much), and my preferred one is the Aveeno HydroSport Wet Skin Spray. However, I wouldn’t recommend this for direct, bright sunlight. I just don’t trust sunscreen sprays! If you are going in hard sun, use a cream, please!
What else? I believe that good skin comes from the inside out, so drink loads of water! I’ve started using this eplas BPA-free water bottle that Gav bought for me, as we need to boil the water before drinking here, and you can put hot water directly into this. On top of this, I’ve gotten back into drinking green tea, which is full of anti-oxidants and is just generally amazing. Honestly, I know sometimes it’s annoying to drink lots of water (bathroom breaks, what up), but it’s really worth it. Don’t get parched! Do whatever it takes – add lemon, or cucumber, or ice… just get your 2-3 litres a day.
And of course, you need to watch your diet. I find that what I eat has a direct and quite dramatic impact on my skin. Most important for me is fruits and veggies, as these give you loads of nutrients and also lots of fibre to keep your insides clean and fresh (yep). In addition to this (this just sprung to mind now), do some exercise. I’ve just started going to the gym, and the effects I see after my short visit are pretty astounding. I literally roll out of bed and go down, do 5 mins on the elliptical trainer, some leg presses and then squats with weights – and I’m out of there in about 15 minutes. It doesn’t need to be long, but it does need to be consistent. Once you get that blood flowing, you’ll be glowing and your skin will thank you for it.
How about you? What do you do to make your sensitive skin glow? Let me know!