If you have sensitive skin, you know how difficult it can be to find skincare products that work for you and won’t cause breakouts or irritation. Figuring out a suitable sensitive skincare routine can be a long process of trial and error. Popular products that many swear by for glowy skin tend to trigger flare-ups and worsen skin problems.
The good news? You can avoid potential irritants and keep inflammation to a minimum beforehand.
Sensitive Skin Care—According to A Trusted Dermatologist
We conducted a survey among 6,000 people with sensitive skin and consulted a trusted dermatologist—Chang Yu, Tsai, about sensitive skin care. We learned that there are several products commonly found in a skincare routine that can cause potential risks to sensitive skin.
Here’s a roundup of 3 popular skincare products that may do more harm than good:
3 Skincare Products to Avoid If You Have Sensitive Skin
Sheet masks might sound like a good way to give your skin an instant boost of hydration and radiance. They are quick, convenient and easy to apply. But for those with sensitive skin, the use of sheet masks may be more trouble than it’s worth.
What we found: 70% include sheet masks in their skincare routine.
Why you should be extra careful with it: Sheet masks work by blanketing the skin to lock in and absorb more ingredients intensely. During the process, your skin not only absorbs active ingredients, but also soaks up more unnecessary ingredients. For sensitive or damaged skin, this may cause irritation or discomfort more easily.
Sloughing away dead skin cells through exfoliation might sound like a quick and easy way to get that natural glow you’re looking for. However, if you have sensitive skin, you should approach it with more caution.
What we found: 49% consider exfoliation an essential step in their skincare routine.
Why you should be extra careful with it: Compared to most, the stratum corneum of sensitive skin is often thinner or damaged. Whether you’re exfoliating chemically with acids or enzymes, or physically with scrubs or cleansing brushes, it is highly likely that you’re causing more irritation to the already-weakened stratum corneum barrier and making the skin even more sensitive and temperamental than before.
If you are suffering from dull complexion and enlarged pores, you might think deep cleansing is the solution to your problems. However, it is not exactly sensitive skin-friendly.
What we found: 40% deep cleanse their face. In fact, 26.1% regularly use detox clay masks, and 14.2% use high pH cleansers/soap bars to wash their face.
Why you should be extra careful with it: Strong cleansing products such as detox clay masks or high pH cleansers/soap bars have a higher oil-removing capability than other cleansing products. When you “deep cleanse” your skin, you may “over-cleanse” the skin’s natural barrier and strip away its ability to lock in moisture, leaving the skin feeling dehydrated and uncomfortable.
You might want to know: Here's How to Tell You Might Be Over-Cleansing Your Face
Formula for Sensitive Skin Care: Simple, Few, Gentle
According to dermatologist—Chang Yu, Tsai, “Skincare should be about simplifying your routine and protecting your skin, not about applying more products and overloading it."
Tip 1: Keep your skincare routine as simple as possible
As water and oil is what the skin truly needs, all you need to do is to make sure your skin gets enough hydration and moisture, and that can be done within just 3 steps with 3 products:
Step 1: Cleanse (Gentle Cleanser)
Step 2: Hydration (Toner or Serum)
Step 3: Moisture (Face Oil)
Know more about minimalist skincare: Why Minimalist Skincare Routine Could Be the Answer to Healthy Skin
Tip 2: Keep the ingredients as few as possible
Look for products that have a shorter ingredients list as they will help reduce the risk of sensitivity or irritation. Keep in mind that fragrance, PEGs, parabens or dyes could all be potentially irritating, so make sure to watch out for them.
Tip 3: Keep cleansing as gentle as possible
Cleansing, if not done properly, could damage your skin barrier and make it more sensitive. Try a 3-step gentle cleansing process to minimize damage:
1. Wash once a day (usually at night after removing make-up)
2. Use lukewarm water as hot water can strip your skin of moisture
3. Use a gentle cleanser like Greenvines' Know More Clarity Cleanser
Dive Deeper Into Sensitive Skin
Learn more about what sensitive skin actually is and how to take care of it: Sensitive Skin Care: 3 Tips for soothing sensitive skin