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The worst fate that could be dealt to a beauty editor is to have sensitive skin. In a role where I literally have access to all the products, it’s no fun being overly cautious about what I can actually put on my face. Sensitive skin isn’t officially a medical diagnosis, but this does not take away from the seriousness of the issue. A recent study found that over 71% of the population identify as having a sensitive skin type. While it’s comforting to know that I am not the only one, finding skincare products and building a routine that works with your sensitivity rather than against it can be tricky to navigate.

With constant innovation in skincare technology and formulation of potent ingredients, it’s difficult to say no and not go overboard with the products, even when it seems you’re working towards healthier skin. I have definitely been there, and it’s been no feat but my time as a beauty journalist, and one with sensitive skin, I have picked up product recommendations and tips specifically for my skin type from some of the best dermatologists and experts in the industry.
The key in handling sensitive skin is in the approach, and the advice from dermatologists across the board is always the same. These are the three tips I hear time and time again when it comes to what is best to do when creating a skincare routine for your sensitive skin.

1. Always Keep It Simple

I have always thought of myself as relatively measured when it comes to my skincare routine. In today’s world where skincare knowledge, what we are led to believe is skincare knowledge, is at our fingertips, it’s tricky not to overdo it and go down a road to bad skin health. When it comes to sensitive skin, the experts agree simple is the way to go. You may think your routine is simple, but think of basic necessities. While it may not seem fun, it’s actually what your skin craves. Start off by streamlining your routine to a cleanser, serum, moisturiser, and SPF, and excluding the extra triggers, whether that is ingredients, products, or even tools that may irritate your skin. Opt for gentle ingredients that will soothe and calm your skin while still performing effectively.


Best Skincare Basics for Sensitive Skin:

Epionce | Milky Lotion Cleanser

ZO | Gentle Cleanser

Alumier MD | Calm R

Neostrata | RESTORE Bionic Face Cream

ALLSKIN | MED SUN Mineral Fluid SPF50


2. Look After Your Skin Barrier

There is a reason why the skin barrier is a hot topic in the realm of skin health at the moment, with over 140 million views on the search term “skin barrier repair” on TikTok, and with searches for “how to repair the skin barrier” going up by over 150% in the last 3 months; we’re becoming increasingly aware of the impact of a robust skin barrier in maintaining good skin health. Our skin barrier acts as a shield against external factors; it’s made up of oils and water. When compromised, it can manifest in a number of different ways, from itchiness to redness to extra sensitivity and dryness. Those with sensitive skin are more likely to suffer from instances of impaired skin barrier, and thus need to be extra cautious when it comes to looking after the skin barrier. Seek out skin barrier repairing ingredients such as ceramides, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, and fatty acids that will aid in repairing and strengthening the barrier while restoring moisture in the skin.

Best Products for Strengthening and Repairing Your Skin Barrier

SkinCeuticals | Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2

Dr.LEVY | R3 Cell Matrix Mask

IS Clinical | Sheald Recovery Balm


3. Ease off the manual exfoliation

This one may be obvious, but I am prone to a little exfoliation action, when in reality, this could be one of the worst things you do for your sensitive skin, especially if your skin barrier is not intact. Harsh and gritty ingredients can lead to more irritation and weaken the skin barrier; and the more you do it, the more you work at weakening your skin barrier. A better option is to incorporate liquid exfoliates and use them less frequently as part of your skincare routine for a more gentle approach to exfoliation.

Best Liquid Exfoliators for Sensitive Skin

Medik8 | Press & Glow Tonic

SkinCeuticals | Equalizing Toner


For expert advice, speak to a Skin Pharmacy expert. Book an appointment here.

“There are several reasons why someone might have sensitive skin, even if you’ve had ‘normal’ skin before, it’s not uncommon to develop sensitive skin at a later life stage, lifestyle and dietary changes can be the cause, stress is also a recognised factor that can induce skin sensitivity."

Mahmoud Metwally - Chief Pharmacist, Skin Pharmacy

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