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What is a good skin care routine for sensitive skin?

Your skin’s natural barrier function is weaker than those with normal skin (whatever ‘normal’ is!) and so needs careful handling. Sensitive skin needs products that are carefully chosen to avoid irritations and break-outs.  Always choose products that are free from synthetic chemicals, harsh preservatives and perfumes. Do not use soap on your face as it will strip your skin's natural oils and this will encourage your skin to over-produce sebum.  It is best to avoid hot water (warm is better) and do not soak in the shower or bath for too long as this will strip your skin of its natural moisture.  Excessive heat, cold and sun should also be avoided.  When in the sun, use a strong factor sun cream with natural minerals. Keep hydrated.

You may also have some allergies to specific skin products or food products.  The main things to avoid putting on your skin are:

  • Formaldehyde (and formaldehyde releasing preservatives like: urea, quaternium-15, and DMDM hydantoin)
  • Dyes
  • Soaps
  • Preservatives such as parabens
  • Propylene glycol and ethanol
  • Perfumes
  • Bismuth oxychloride and mica (light-refracting ingredients found in makeup)
  • Lanolin
  • Rubber latex
  • 4-tert-butylphenol in cosmetics (lip liners)
  • Menthol and peppermint

In fact it is best to avoid all synthetic chemicals and use natural and organic skin products.  It is also a good idea to avoid products containing paraffin or mineral oil, as these can irritate the skin and can also cause fires under certain conditions. Coconut oil can make a good cleanser and shea butter a good moisturiser, or choose natural products that contain these ingredients.

If your skin is very sensitive you may want to consider a water filter on your shower (easy to fit), which will filter out the chlorine, aluminium, and other additives put into our water.


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