Our Beauty&YOU community regularly receives questions about the care of sensitive skin. Beauty Advisor Evelien answers all your questions and gives you the best tips!
What gives you sensitive skin?
Beauty Advisor Evelien: “Some people naturally have sensitive skin. They were born with it, and that genetic predisposition won’t change for the rest of your life. But your skin can also be sensitive. The cause for this may be different. The cold outside air or dry air indoors can make your skin sensitive, which is why sensitive skin is more common in autumn and winter than in summer. By using the wrong care products, your skin can become (temporarily) sensitive. You won’t be surprised that smoking and air pollution also contribute: they strain your skin and reduce skin resistance. And did you know that stress also affects your skin condition? Prolonged stress causes free radicals in your body, and those harmful particles unbalance the skin barrier. Consequence: a skin that reacts sensitively.”
How do you recognize sensitive skin?
“Sensitive skin quickly feels triggery, dry and irritated. After cleaning, you can suffer from this and if it is cold outside or when you use a care product that works just as hard. Redness is also something that really belongs to sensitive skin, especially on the cheeks. Moreover, you can get rough spots here and there.
Sensitive skin is something other than hypersensitive skin. In the latter case, there is an allergy to certain substances. If you contact the substance you are allergic to, it gives redness, a painful, burning or stinging sensation and often itching. With ordinary sensitivity, the symptoms are much less severe. I’m glad you did!
Are you unsure if you have sensitive skin? With our online Skin Advisor, you can discover which skin type you have and which products are best for your skin.”
Is sensitive skin always dry skin?
“No, oily or combined skin can also be sensitive. With oily skin, you may feel like you need to clean extra well, but that stimulates your skin to make more sebum. So that very quickly results in shiny places again. Besides, it can make your skin restless and show red spots or flakes. Sensitive, oily skin, therefore, needs mild cleansers and light moisturizers.”
How do you take care of sensitive skin?
“The answer to that is: avoid as many stimuli as possible. Cold, heat, bright sun, over-active ingredients in cosmetics: they can all run your skin and worsen the sensitivity. Sensitive skin should, therefore, be treated with softness. Here are the most important things to look out for:
- Do not shower too long and use lukewarm water (definitely not hot!). Showering with warm water can dry out your skin, and that only makes your skin even more sensitive.
- Do not use aggressive scrubs with granules. Your top layer of skin is already a bit porous; for that, a scrub is really way too coarse.
- Always use sun protection. Sensitive skin is less likely to protect itself from UV rays, so an SPF is really a must.
- Choose skincare products that calm your sensitive skin. Go for calming and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as algae extract, chamomile, green tea or liquorice. Recommended for sensitive skin are Lancôme Hydra Zen Moisturizing Anti-Stress Day Cream, Kenzoki Lotus Blanc Melt-In Moisturizing Lotion and Clinique Comfort on Call Allergy Tested Relief Cream.”
How do you clean sensitive skin?
“Because the skin barrier is out of balance with sensitive skin, you really have to opt for extremely mild cleansing products. Of course, you don’t want a product to clean so well that the skin barrier is further affected! Sisley Cleansing Milk with White Lily and Clinique All About Clean All-in-One Cleansing Micellar Milk + Make-Up Remover are fine for sensitive skin. You massage the cleansing milk with your fingers and remove it with a tissue or cotton pad. That’s milder for your skin than cleansing with water. To rebalance and soothe your skin after cleansing, use Clarins Soothing Toning Lotion or Lancôme Tonique Confort.”
Can you exfoliate sensitive skin?
“As mentioned above: scrubbing with a grain cream is not a good idea if your skin is sensitive. But exfoliating is certainly possible! Choose a super mild exfoliant, such as Sensai Silky Purifying Silk Peeling Powder or Clinique Clarifying Lotion Skintype 1. By exfoliating regularly, you improve the skin structure, and your skin can also retain moisture better. That helps reduce sensitivity.
After exfoliating, just like after cleansing, calm your skin with a calming lotion. Do you notice that your skin feels uncomfortable after exfoliating? Then it is better to skip this step in your routine for a while.”
What can you do about that redness?
“When sensitive skin is stimulated, histamine is released. Histamine triggers a reaction in the skin that widens the blood vessels. You can see that through your skin: red spots appear. Of course, stimulating your skin as little as possible is the best way to combat redness, but calming skincare products can also help. Try Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream. After a few weeks of using this day cream, you notice that the redness is really reduced.
To instantly obscure the red colour, you can use Bye Bye Redness from It Cosmetics. This soft green day cream camouflages the capillary and soothes your skin. If you only want to get rid of some redness locally, you can use Clinique Instant Relief Mineral Powder or BE Creative Make Up Ideal Colour. This colour-correcting makeup neutralizes the red tones in your skin.”
How do you give sensitive skin more resistance?
“Fortunately, there are quite a lot of active substances that we know strengthen the skin barrier and thus increase skin resistance. Lavender, liquorice, soy and avocado, for example, and vitamins, minerals and lipids (fats). Once your skin is stronger, it can better ward off external stimuli. Clarins Skin Beauty Repair SOS Treatment for Sensitive Skin, Biotherm Life Plankton Sensitive Emulsion and Indeed Labs Calming 10 Balm are especially suitable for sensitive skin.
Besides, you can also increase your skin resistance by putting more essential fatty acids on your menu. The body converts these fatty acids into substances that prevent inflammation, and with that, you also inhibit the inflammatory reaction in sensitive skin. Essential fatty acids can be found, for example, in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, but also walnuts, avocado and flaxseed oil. Mmm, you make a delicious salad with that!”
Can you have sensitive skin in the sun?
“You may not want to hear it, but with sensitive skin, it is better to stay out of the sun. The infrared rays that make the sun so nice and warm and the UV rays that give your skin a touch are neither good for your sensitive skin. If you do get in the sun, make sure that your skin is well protected. The best is a sun product with a high SPF that protects against infrared, such as Lancaster Sun Sensitive Delicate Fresh BB-Cream SPF 50. If your sensitive skin reacts to a chemical solar filter, try a mineral filter, such as Clinique Sun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion for Face SPF 30. The chance of a skin reaction is, therefore, much lower.”