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How to Care for Dry, Sensitive Skin

Does your skin tend to experience redness, itchiness and dry patches?

Or perhaps you finally purchased and applied that new skin care product, only to wake up with a massive breakout the next morning?

We’re sorry to break it to you, but you are likely suffering from dry or sensitive skin.

People with this type of skin are more prone to inflammation and adverse reactions, while the inability to retain moisture can cause flakiness and dry patches.

The good news is that you can still build a nourishing and effective skin care routine that will keep the irritation and dryness at bay.

Stick around and find out how to achieve a healthy-looking, irritation-free complexion.

Start Off with a Clean Face

A thorough cleanse should be the first step of every thought-out skin care regimen.

And while some people can get away with run-of-the-mill face washes, this step can be a bit more challenging if you suffer from dry or sensitive skin.

For example, if your cells constantly feel thirsty, then the last thing you want to do is clean your face with one of those harsh formulas that will strip your face off its natural oils and cause even more dryness.

Instead, maybe you should give cleansing oils or balms a go.

These thick, hydrating formulas are incredibly effective at dislodging all the dirt, makeup and other product on your face, all while keeping your skin intact.

Cleansing balms are thicker and usually come in tubs. To prevent contaminating the container with bacteria, use a spatula to scoop out a pea-sized amount of product. Then, begin rubbing it onto your face in circular motions. 

Once the product gets into contact with the warmth of your fingers, the balm will transform into oil that will melt away all the makeup and grime on your face.

Once you’ve finished cleansing, rinse your face with lukewarm water and pat it dry with a soft towel.

If your skin is on the more sensitive side, perhaps you’re not feeling too enthusiastic about slathering something that’s so thick and gloopy all your face.

While it’s not true to say that oil and balm cleansers will inevitably cause a reaction on your skin; you might want to go for something more gentle, just to stay on the safe side.

In this case, try micellar water – this cosmetic invention is formulated using micelles, tiny oil molecules that are powerful in removing all the pollutants from your face while remaining super-gentle on the skin. It’s great for breaking down even the toughest layers of makeup, including waterproof mascaras and super-pigmented lipsticks.

Woman cleansing face with micellar water

And if you feel like you’re in a mood for a double cleanse, you can always follow up your micellar water with a delicate face wash designed for sensitive skin.

Ditch Drying Toners

In skin care, cleansers are usually followed by toners.

And yet, many people skip this step – especially those with dry or sensitive skin.

The reasoning varies: some think toners are completely pointless, while others have been burned thanks to those astringent formulas that have long been associated with this skin care product.

However, toners can be incredibly beneficial for the overall appearance of the skin.

Their role is to balance out your skin’s pH levels and prep your cells for all the moisturizing product that you will layer on top of it.

However, not all toners will be suitable for easily irritable or dehydrated skin types.

That’s why it’s important to go for formula that will not only balance out your complexion, but also boost your skin’s moisture levels.

In recent years, many brands have started producing hydrating toners; however, if you don’t feel like experimenting, perhaps you should go for tried and trusted brands which have been reigning the market when it comes to these skin care super-chargers.

Your hydrating toner should be applied immediately after you’ve cleansed, preferably while your skin is still damp.

You can apply it with a cotton round or even with your fingers if you don’t want to waste the product.

Learn to Layer Your Moisturizing Products

When it comes to skin care, everyone knows moisturizers are the star of the show.

However, if you’re skin is on the dryer side, having just one moisturizing product on your face won’t always do the trick.

This is especially true during frigid winter months, when your face is exposed to cold wind, rain and low temperatures.

An increasingly popular method of boosting the H2O levels in the skin involves applying three, four or more layers of hydrating products on the skin.

Perhaps you’ve heard about the layering technique, but are still confused about which products to get or what order to employ.

To help you out, some of the most popular hydrating products are: essences, serums, masks, mists and creams.

To make the most out of all these nutrient-packed goodies, layer them starting with the most liquid consistency and working your way to the thicker formulas.

After you’ve toned your skin, you can apply a skin-pepping essence. These watery formulas contain high concentrations of active ingredients that are especially beneficial for their anti-aging properties.

Essences can be followed with serums, another water-boosting product that will also infuse your cells with a number of repairing ingredients which can do wonders for dry and irritated texture. If your skin is prone to irritation, look into serums enriched with anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as:

Whenever your skin needs an extra pick-me-up, you can treat it to a nourishing sheet mask. This skin-drenching innovation is great for those days when your complexion feels irreparably sullen and grey. Sheet masks are also life savers for people with dry skin, and can be used to prep the skin before applying makeup for a more dewy, natural look.

Mists are a convenient way to replenish your skin with moisture in those moments when you’re out and about or already wearing makeup. A couple of spritzes and your skin will instantly feel supple and rejuvenated.

Finally, lock in all your hard work with a nourishing face cream. If you have hyper-sensitive skin, look for products free of parabens, sulfates, fragrances and silicones. Don’t forget to cover your neck and jawline area. 

On the other hand, if dryness is what you are looking to tackle, then keep your eye out for the following nutrients:

Not only will these powerful agents charge your cells with moisture, they will also help form a protective barrier that will shield your skin from environmental pollutants.

Research the Ingredients

When you have sensitive skin, testing out new products always feels like a nightmare in the making.

While you can’t guarantee that your skin will agree with a certain formula, you can at least attempt to avert the catastrophe by focusing on the ingredients.

Once you identify the agents that are aggravating your skin condition, it will be easier to build an effective, soothing regimen that will make your skin healthy and glowing.

Different people are susceptible to different irritants; however, there are definitely some well-established skin care baddies you should avoid at all costs.

For example, we have all heard about the sulfates and parabens, whose negative effects on the skin have long been established.

Moreover, any harsh abrasive exfoliants are a big no-no for people with sensitive skin. This includes face scrubs with physical exfoliants, like nut shells or beads. Face cleansing brushes and other tools are also out of the question.

Dry skin types can benefit greatly from ditching any skin care products that contain alcohol.

It’s also advisable to steer clear from highly fragranced formulas. Synthetic fragrances (i.e. perfumes) are a definite no-go, but plant extracts and oils such as peppermint, lavender, lemon, rose and eucalyptus should also be avoided.

On that note, you should also throw away anything that contains essential oils, as these ingredients can only exacerbate your irritations.

Avoid Makeup Irritants

If your skin is showing visible signs of dryness or irritation, you might feel prompted to cover up the imperfection with a touch of makeup.

However, sometimes these measures of correction can only end up emphasizing the not-so-flattering areas on your skin or, even worse, cause more irritation and flare-ups.

If you want to avoid makeup-caused skin disasters, you should stay away from product laden with potential irritants.

Certain primers, foundations and other base products can clog up your pores, dry out your skin and bring out all those dreadful dry patches and rough textures you were desperately trying to cover up.

Furthermore, setting powders and other finely milled formulas can contribute to even more dehydration and flaky skin.

To maximize on the correcting powers of makeup without the risk of exacerbating your conditions, opt for soothing, hydrating formulas.

For example, you might want to trade in your heavy-duty foundation for a lightweight BB cream or tinted moisturizer.

Not only will these products help camouflage your redness and blemishes, they will also replenish your skin with moisture. Some of these products are also infused with SPF, so you will be protected from sun’s harmful UV rays, as well.

Same goes for concealers – instead of the thick, cakey consistency, go for a watery, light-reflective formula that will hide those under eye circles without drying out the delicate skin found in that area.

Also, ditch your heavy powdered blushers and opt instead for a liquid formula. Not only will this type of product keep dryness at bay, they will also give a more natural, dewy finish to your look – which is always a plus for dry and sensitive skin types.

Finally, instead of setting your makeup with compact powder, trying doing so with a setting spray. Your maquillage won’t budge and you’ll avoid that unnatural, over-mattified look.

Tweak Your Everyday Habits

Good skin care is important for relieving dry and sensitive complexions, but it can only go so far.

Sometimes, those dehydrated patches or flare-ups will be caused by external factors.

In order to minimize damage caused to your skin by everyday factors, you might want to introduce a couple of changes in your daily routine.

For example, if your skin is on the drier side, or prone to redness, consider the water temperature when you’re taking a shower. Is it scorching hot? Then you might’ve found the answer as to why your skin capillaries go bananas once you leave your bathroom.

If you’re skin tends to get dry no matter what, maybe the culprit lies in your surroundings. For example, the air in your office or apartment might be robbed of moisture, causing your complexion to look sullen and dehydrated. To mitigate effects of dry living space, invest in a small humidifier that will retain water in the air and help your skin remain hydrated throughout the day.

Food is an often overlooked factor when it comes to irritation-prone skin. If your skin tends to act up on the regular, perhaps you’ll want to look into your diet. Foods with high concentration of salt and processed sugars, as well as spicy ingredients, boost the circulation, which may cause your face to turn red and irritated.

To avoid diet-induced flare-ups, go instead for treats packed with skin-soothing ingredients like Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E. These will help restore the skin and make it look more balanced and healthier.

Now that you know all the tips and tricks on how to prevent your dry or sensitive skin from acting up, you can make the first steps towards achieving healthy, glowing skin. Good luck!