The list of abuses we inflict on our skin is long–harsh weather, lack of sleep, stress, sun exposure, alcohol… So what’s a girl/guy to do when our skin has gone through the wringer and we find ourselves feeling a little worse-for-wear, with telltale redness, dryness, flakiness, sensitivity (or any combination of the above)? Well, I can share my strategy with you, anyways.
Revise your routine: Pare things down for the moment, take a break from your usual products that contain active ingredients (retinoids, vitamin C, etc.) and avoid any products with unnecessary fragrance added. While fragrance can be lovely, the essential oils and ingredients used to provide that scent can be irritating on skin that is hyper-sensitive. Whether it’s a temporary sensitivity or the regular state of things for you, I’d suggest reaching for fragrance-free options in the interim to avoid the potential of exacerbating reactivity.
There are several great skincare ranges that are specifically formulated with sensitive, reactive skin in mind. I think that the French pharmacy brands do it especially well–my personal favorite is the Avène range. Another fabulous fragrance-free range is the Korean brand CosRx–they have a refreshing no-fuss approach to skincare, and cater particularly to all of us who are acne prone.
Address dehydration. Any time that the skin is upset for whatever reason, there is a greater potential for a compromised lipid-barrier (the skin’s natural, protective layer, which prevents the water content in the upper layers of the skin from evaporating, as well as providing an extra layer of defense against external aggressors). This means that our skin will have a harder time than usual retaining sufficient water content.
To combat dehydration, I suggest reaching for products that have hyaluronic acid, glycerin or a similar humectant near to the top of the ingredients list.
Pick a good, occlusive cream. Now that we’ve addressed our dehydration issue, we need to make sure that we’re sealing all that goodness inside. An occlusive, reparative cream will create a barrier on the surface of the skin, and will help to restore a healthy lipid-barrier.
Some personal faves: Avène Skin Recovery Cream – Rich and Dr. Jart+ Cicapair™ Tiger Grass Cream (Bonus! This one contains Centella Asiatica (“Tiger Grass”), an ingredient which is said to have calming, healing benefits), and CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask.
What do you do to give your skin a little TLC? Share your strategy in the comments below!