Is your skin easily irritated? Do new skincare products and different routines trigger itchiness, dryness, redness, or stinging? Can certain perfumes, soaps, or detergents leave your skin screaming? If you answered yes to any of the following questions, chances are you have sensitive skin.
The term “sensitive skin” generally refers to skin that is more prone to irritation or reactions to specific products, practices, or environmental factors. Sensitive skin can sometimes be a sign of an underlying skin condition, like rosacea or eczema, but, for some, it may just mean that your skin gets a little extra moody in response to certain irritants. Whatever the case may be, when it comes to nurturing your sensitive skin, it’s important to know some of the common mistakes to avoid as well as the right steps to take to leave your skin soothed, satisfied, and smiling!
Using Products with Irritants
Some products may seem harmless, when in reality they are secretly the source of your skin’s suffering. When picking a skincare product, make sure to watch out for irritating ingredients like alcohol, retinoids, artificial fragrances, dyes, or alpha-hydroxy acid (found in most exfoliating products). These ingredients can be harsh and aggravating, particularly to those with easily irritated skin. For the sake of your skin, it’s best to stick with labels that use terms like gentle, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
For more on how to choose cosmetics and personal care products with care, check out our guide to sensitive skin!
Using Too Many Products
When it comes to sensitive skin, less is always more. Overlapping ingredients can be too much for the skin to handle at once, leading to redness, itching, or painful irritation. Combining harsh exfoliants like retinol and acids can also aggravate sensitive skin or even worsen your skin’s sensitivity overall. To avoid this issue, we recommend keeping it simple. This means finding one to two gentle products that work for you and using them sparingly (dermatologists typically recommend once in the morning and once at night.)
Using an Irritating Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent can be another common culprit behind irritated skin. Many laundry detergents contain potent chemicals, perfumes, and dyes that inflame sensitive skin. Similar to your skincare products, it’s important to seek out detergents that are labeled fragrance-free, dye-free, and hypoallergenic to avoid a reaction.
Washing Too Often with Hot Water
A common symptom of sensitive skin is dryness, which results from a lack of production of the skin’s natural oils and lipids (aka sebum) that damages the skin barrier function. Long, steaming showers or washing your face too frequently with hot water can strip the skin of its natural oils, causing it to become drier. To protect your skin, try washing your face and showering with warm water rather than hot. It can also help to limit your shower time to around five to ten minutes, when possible.
Exfoliation is great for removing dead skin cells, helping cell turnover, and all-around revitalizing your skin. However, over-exfoliating can do more harm than good for sensitive skin. Using exfoliation products too frequently or too vigorously can damage the outermost layer of your skin. This can cause inflammation, stinging, redness, and even breakouts. This doesn’t mean that exfoliants should be ruled out entirely. Rather, look for a product with smaller grains that also contains soothing ingredients like glycerin and limit your exfoliating to once or twice per week.
Sensitive skin can often feel frustrating and unmanageable! That’s why it’s important to know the key mistakes to avoid to keep your skin feeling its best and brightest! And when it comes to soothing damaged, dry, or sensitive skin, we’ve got you covered! Our best selling Honeybutter balm is a fragrance-free blend of natural ingredients designed to deeply hydrate and soothe irritation and dryness.
And for more on the science behind sensitive skin and guidance on how to best manage it, make sure to check out our blog!
Healthgrades: 9 Signs of Sensitive Skin | Medical News Today: Sensitive Skin - Home Remedies and Prevention | Healthgrades: 6 Mistakes People Make with Sensitive Skin | Everyday Health: Sensitive Skin? 5 Common Beauty Mistakes to Avoid | Refinery: Am I Using Too Many Skincare Products | Healthline: Are You Over-Exfoliating? How to Tell & Reverse the Damage