Fundamental Guide to Your Sensitive Skincare

Sensitive skin is an increasingly common skin condition experienced by many. This is thanks to the more stressful lives many of us lead in addition to the increase in environmental pollutants that act to weaken our skin’s natural barrier. Sensitivity is often characterised by the skin turning red and irritated at the slightest change in environment or skincare. Though it is endlessly frustrating to deal with, let Porcelain Skin unearth its root causes and discover ways to manage our sensitivity.

What is Sensitive Skin?

Before we delve into how we can manage our sensitive skin, let us first understand the root of the problem.

There are generally two types of sensitive skin: Sensitive skin vs Sensitised skin. While both share the same symptoms and appearance, they are each a result of different factors.

Sensitive skin is a condition that is part of your DNA and often comes paired with other skin conditions like Eczema, Dermatitis and Rosacea. This form of sensitivity is often experienced from a young age and usually can be triggered by environmental changes (i.e. temperature). This sensitivity requires products and treatments that work to strengthen the skin’s inherently weak barrier to reduce reactiveness.

Sensitised skin shares the same visible symptoms as sensitive skin (redness, inflammation, reactiveness) but often is a result of poor products and improper usage that lead to a weakened natural barrier. The improper use often results in damage to the outermost layer of the skin. This weakened barrier inhibits the skin’s natural ability to defend itself against environmental aggressors like free radicals and pollutants. All in all, it makes the skin more reactive to skincare products. Unlike sensitive skin, sensitised skin is easier to manage – once the skin’s natural barrier is restored, the sensitivity experienced will drastically decrease.

Credit: Cottonbro

How to Manage Your Sensitivity

Now that we understand the root differences between sensitive and sensitised skin, let’s work towards establishing a skincare routine that works to minimise it!

1. Balance Your pH:

Your skin’s pH determines the strength of its natural barrier. An optimal pH would be between 5.5 to 6. However, not everyone has a proper pH testing kit at home. Thus, we use our skin types as an indicator instead. This is because our natural barrier thrives when there is an optimal balance of oil and water content in the skin. Any imbalances would be revealed through the skin’s type and symptoms. For example, oily skin types have an imbalance in their pH thanks to the over-production of sebum to compensate for a lack of hydration. Sebum is your skin’s way of retaining moisture and hydration. When there is a lack of hydration, the skin produces more oils to prevent further loss of hydration.

Therefore, to minimise the reactiveness of your skin, you to determine your skin’s pH through your skin type. Not sure which skin type you have? Grab a tissue and find out here.

Once you have discovered your skin type, it is time to work on rebalancing your skin pH.

Oily Skin:

As mentioned earlier in the example, your skin over-produces sebum to compensate for a lack of hydration. Thus, focus on rehydrating the skin and controlling oil production with these products:

Balance Sebum Control Essence:
With a high percentage of Sodium Hyaluronate, Horse Chestnut Extract and Tea Tree Extract, excess sebum production is well controlled whilst skin remains deeply hydrated. This treatment essence also has effective anti-inflammation, rejuvenation and repairing properties to help reduce redness and itching for sensitive and sensitised skin.

Balance Hydraclear Gel:
This clear and weightless gel works hard to balance the skin and keep it healthy. Combating bacterial growth, reducing inflammation, hydrating, and regulating sebum & skin pH levels, this gel is specially formulated to providing moisture to the skin while balancing its pH levels.

Dry Skin:

Dry skin’s imbalance lies in an under-production of sebum. Since sebum is your skin’s way of retaining moisture and hydration, a lack of it causes your skin to experience a lot of hydration and moisture loss.  

Thus, focus on moisturising and hydrating your skin with these products:

Soothe Deep Hydrating Lotion:
A concoction of natural Jojoba Seed and Rose oils, Vitamin E and B5, Sodium Hyaluronate and Hyaluronic Acid, this lotion deeply hydrates, moisturises, and stimulates regeneration in our skin. Damascena Rose extracts also help deeply hydrate the skin and improve its natural resilience.

Pure Botanical Soothing Gel: Made from a special blend of Aloe Vera and herbal extracts such as Peach, Peony, Yoshino Cherry and Mountain Pepper. This anti-inflammatory, healing gel is rich in antioxidants, moisture and offers extra anti-bacterial benefits. Effectively treating skin that is dry, irritated, acne-prone, or suffering from eczema and/or other skin problems.

Combination Skin:

Combination skin often requires a more tailored approach as there are often two different imbalances existing on the skin simultaneously. Though it may seem cumbersome to tackle two imbalances on top of the sensitivity, simply hydrating the skin deals with a commonality between the two imbalances.

Soothe Aloe Recovery Gel: Formulated with pure Aloe Vera Extract, this gel moisturises provides intense hydration to heal dry and stressed skin. Not only does it repair skin, it also increases skin’s resilience over time. Our use of stabilized aloe vera gel helps extend the benefits of aloe vera for ongoing results. This restorative gel is also suitable for even sensitive skin and any epidermal ills ranging from blemishes to open wounds after dermatological procedures.

Bonus Product for All Skin Types:

Soothe Botanical Sensitive Care Toner:
Formulated with medicinal herbs like Korean Mint, Honeysuckle Flower Extract and Chamomile Flower Extract, this gentle toner possesses strong anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Experience soothed, moisturised and more resilient skin with each use.

2. Look Out for These Ingredients

For both sensitive and sensitised skin, there are a handful of skincare ingredients to look for as they help the skin strengthen its natural barrier. Additionally, there is another handful of ingredients to avoid as they have track records of irritating the skin.

To Look For:

Ceramides: This ingredient is a lipid that is naturally found in high concentrations in the uppermost layers of the skin. They act as the glue that holds your skin cells together. They also form a protective layer that controls moisture loss and protects against environmental aggressors.

Allantoin: Extracted from the Comfrey plant, Allantoin helps to soothe and protect the skin. It helps the skin heal and stimulates new tissue growth. Plus, it softens and helps to protect the skin over time.

Niacinamide: Known as Vitamin B3, it works to strengthen the skin’s surface while improving skin tone, minimising pores and diminishing dullness. Additionally, when paired with moisturisers, it can boost the skin’s healing ability and retain greater moisture.

Apart from the good stuff, keep an eye out for these known irritants.

To Avoid:

Drying Alcohols: Though not all alcohols are bad for the skin, drying alcohols are as they cause the skin to be dry and more sensitive. Drying alcohols include SD alcohol, ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol.

Phthalates & Fragrances: Several Phthalates DEHP & DBP have been classified as a reproductive toxicant by the European Chemical Agency.  Additionally, they are common components in synthetic fragrances found in products. Synthetic fragrances are known to sensitise the skin over time. Furthermore, it is not a requirement for brands to list the individual ingredients that make up fragrances, making them an unknown danger.

3. Treatments are Your Friends

Often when products are insufficient, and your sensitivity requires more, facial treatments are the best way to go. While not every treatment may suit you, look for ones that focus on stimulating the skin’s natural healing process and aid in its repair.

Created with a three-pronged approach of calming, repairing and hydrating to provide restorative care, the Sun Rescue Treatment is the perfect option for reducing the skin’s sensitivity. Contrary to its name, you do not need to be sun damaged to experience the soothing ability of this treatment. It’s combination of Oxygen and Cryo-therapies gently calms the skin, stimulates its repair, shortens recovery time and boosts skin resilience.

Still unsure of what to do to help your sensitive skin? Book yourself a 30-minute Virtual Skin Education Session with our highly trained Skin Educators as they guide you through your sensitivity and make tailored recommendations based on your needs. Plus, it’s now complimentary because of COVID-19!

We hope this guide to sensitivity helped you better understand your skin and what you can do to achieve healthier skin! Need more tips, trick and nuggets of knowledge? Join our mailing below and let us navigate sensitivity together!