Genetics play a role in what type of skin we have, therefore some of us are destined to experience sensitive skin through no fault of our own. While others can develop sensitivity due to medication, illness, allergic reactions, lifestyle choices, infection, hormonal changes, exposure to the sun, wind and extreme changes in temperature (such as now).
The good news is that regardless of the cause, there are ways to help calm and treat sensitive skin.
The 3 signs of sensitivity:
There are 3 key signs to look out for that may indicate you have skin sensitivity: irritation, inflammation or stimulation.
Irritation can affect the skin in a number of ways - you can experience tightness, flakiness, dryness, itchiness, swelling, bumps and/or hives.
Skin can become prone to irritation due to an allergic reaction or an impaired barrier function. This barrier, also known as the microbiome, is the skin’s first line of defence and protects it from moisture loss, physical trauma and irritation.
A broken barrier will cause the skin to dry out and become inflamed and one of the most common ways it can become damaged is by cleansing the face. Many foaming or ‘suds up’ cleansers strip the protective oils from the skin, leaving it vulnerable to skin conditions such as Dermatitis and Eczema, while Rosacea can also develop.
Inflammation is visibly recognised as redness and can look bumpy and swollen. The skin can also feel hot and irritated.
Inflammation is an essential part of the body's healing process. It occurs at the cellular level when the immune system tries to fight irritation and repair damaged skin. Ongoing inflammation can accelerate the formation of fine lines, wrinkles and enlarged pores, as well as puffiness, sagging, blotchiness or reddening of the skin. Treat inflamed skin kindly and stop using granulated exfoliants and other harsh treatments or stimulants on the skin.
Sensitive skin can become hot very quickly, and therefore it’s important to keep the skin cool and reduce stimulation.
Reduce stimulation both outside and inside by protecting the skin from heat such as hot drinks, hot showers, sun and extreme weather conditions. While sensitive skin does need protection, we must also allow the skin to breathe. Many heavy or highly emulsified creams coat the skin and won’t allow the temperature to regulate. It’s important to use natural, breathable, plant-based oils, balms and creams. Ditch any products that contain irritating PEG based emulsifiers.
Healing and Treating the Skin
A great place to start to help calm sensitivity is to introduce Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) into your life. As the skin doesn’t produce its own EFAs they need to be consumed and/or applied to achieve these benefits.
EFAs protect delicate and irritated skin by helping it retain moisture, soothing dryness and reducing irritation. They create a seal that keeps the skin nourished and protects it from both pollution and extreme weather conditions such as the sun, cold and wind, that can strip the skin’s natural oils. Maintaining these healthy oils on the skin’s surface increases hydration, softness and elasticity, while protecting it from harmful bacteria.
A deficiency of EFAs can lead to various skin conditions such as Dermatitis, Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea. Essential fatty acid rich oils work together to reinforce the protective membrane lining our skin’s living cells to stop inflammation in its tracks. EFAs also help with the absorption of other nutrients within the skin which will also aid the skin’s ability to heal.
Hero Skin Savers For Sensitive Skin
Smudge Budge - This unique eye and face cleansing balm is packed with essential fatty acids and will gently dissolve make-up and toxins, to leave the skin feeling soft, fresh and calm.
Bio Juice – A soothing smoothie drink for your skin to quench thirsty, dehydrated skin. This rich antioxidant skin drink should be used in place of a toner and will help calm redness and irritation. Bio Juice contains Fucogel, an ingredient that relieves the spread of inflammation and/or allergic reactions.
Quench - This is the perfect breathable day cream and will help replenishes hydration, calm redness and irritation while leaving the skin feeling protected and strong. This soothing blend is created using essential fatty acid rich macadamia, rosehip, raspberry, pomegranate and cranberry oils.
Green Juice - This healthy skin saver balm is a multitasking star performer. This super concentrated skin-fix is your emergency go-to, leaving an all-natural moisture glow. It will help to sedate allergic reactions and calm overstimulated, congested or reactive skin. You can read more about Green Juice and its uses here.