I have sensitive skin. What does this mean? Well for me it means that my skin has an inflammatory response to almost everything I put on it. Essentially the little protective barrier soldiers on my skin don't know the difference between safe substances and unsafe ones.
My skin can develop itchy hives after showers, when I'm stressed or use a product that it doesn't like. It is currently almost always a red tone across my cheeks (my true skin tone has a yellow undertone) and when I drink alcohol or am in the sun it gets very angry, redder and hot (a type of rosacea). It's not much fun.
For some people having sensitive skin means avoiding certain ingredients that might trigger a histamine response in their body. For others it means taking antihistamines every day to suppress their symptoms. For me it means trying both of those methods and also booking into an Allergy Clinic so I can find out exactly what my body is so opposed to (finally!).
It also means that I've done a bunch of research on which are the most common triggers for topical skin sensitivities (vs. eating a trigger and seeing a skin reaction). Many people think they're sensitive to all fragrances (highly unlikely as there are hundreds used), even I used to think that was my issue. But it's worth testing what you have behind your ear before using it or getting rid of it. Then take note of what ingredients are on the back to add to your research.
These are the most likely triggers (please note that the majority of people have no issues with these products/ingredients):
- Soap (as in bar soap)
- Metals (gold, nickel etc.)
- Washing powders
- Face creams with ascorbic acid, paraban preservatives, and alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, malic acid, and lactic acid. As Cassandra Banks says; 'Turn & Learn' everything you're putting in or on your body! Information is key.
Recently my skin got so angry all the time that I went to a dermatologist. She recommended I pair my routine way down, stay completely out of the sun (good thing I look amazing in a sunhat) and see how my skin reacts.
I'm currently doing a FODMAP diet for my skin;
Morning: I wash with warm water (keep your face out of the hot shower water and opt to wash it in the sink - I learnt that from no bs skincare guru, Caroline Hirons). Then give my skin some hydrating love with my Skin Brightening Moisturising Cream and finish with my new favourite SPF50, Invisible Zinc Sunscreen for sensitive skin.
Evening: I wash with warm water in the sink, with my washcloth I use an oil-based cleanser to remove the SPF gently (you don't want that on your skin all night), then finish my double cleanse with my Manuka Honey & Propolis Cleanser and finish off with my Skin Brightening Overnight Mask.
I'm sticking to just the basics, pairing everything way back and seeing how my skin feels after 4-6 weeks. That's how long it takes for your skin to complete a full cycle of regeneration so that's how long you need to wait to see results of any changes.
I'll keep you posted on my skincare journey - in the meantime, I'd love to hear your journeys/any tips or tidbits you've learnt along the way!