The 101: While factors such as age, gender and ethnicity can play a role in how sensitive your skin can be, most commonly skin sensitivity is caused by factors such as sun exposure, frequent changes in temperature or extreme temperatures, hard water or harsh products causing dryness and dehydration and even hormonal changes such as during your menstrual cycle or pregnancy, medications or illness.
Your skin will feel and look sensitised when the skin’s natural barrier function (The Acid Mantle) is weakened causing the nerve endings in the top layer of the skin to become irritated.
Severity of sensitivity can vary from occasionally reacting to one or two different triggers to extreme sensitivity to many triggers on a daily basis.
If you are the latter of the two then ensuring you are keeping your skin calm, cool and collected is your number one priority. You still need to cleanse your skin so the trick is to find the right balance between what your skin needs and what it can handle.
The How To: Ensuring that you are using a super gentle, non-stripping, hydrating creamy cleanser that does not scratch or scrub at your skin is a great place to start. Avoid soaps, oils, AHA/Acid Cleansers, scrubs and even facial brushes.
Cleanse morning and night if your skin can handle it. If this still triggers your sensitivity then just cleanse once a day (in the evening) to remove any make-up or dirt and pollution build-up from the day and skip the morning cleanse.
Use gentle, slow and large circular movements. Don’t rub vigorously when cleansing. The trick is to not over stimulate your skin by creating heat causing friction. This can cause broken capillaries.
You can try a double cleanse and see how you go, especially if you are wearing make-up, rinsing with very tepid water and gently patting your skin dry before applying your skincare treatment serums and creams.
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