How to treat sensitive skin

How to treat sensitive skin

Reactive, inflamed, delicate – call it what you will but for those with it, sensitive skin is no laughing matter. As someone with a typically fine, English Rose skin type, I actually have to be careful what I do to my skin, although funnily (and luckily I guess) I don’t tend to have problems with products.

If you can relate to this too, read on as the very knowledgeable and results-driven Hannah Orchard, Aesthetic Nurse and owner of The Orchard Rooms skin rejuvenation clinic ( has some brilliant tips and advice to share:

What is sensitive skin?
Skin that easily becomes inflamed, red, angry or irritated. This can be hereditary, but environmental factors or irritating skincare products may trigger or worsen flare-ups.  It can be rather challenging to keep sensitive skins looking healthy as they react to many of the usual ‘over-the-counter’ lotions and potions that would normally be used as part of a skincare regimen.
In order to soothe and improve the appearance of sensitive skin, I recommend a highly advanced skincare routine.  Think of your skincare as a ‘treatment’ rather just basic moisturising to see best effects.  An effective approach should include three main steps every day:  Prevention, Correction and Protection. These steps help to address and protect against the negative effects that environmental aggressors can have on a sensitive skin’s appearance.
Prevention is better than cure!  
Using a daily topical antioxidant formulation will strengthen the skin and help reduce any inflammation caused by damaging free radicals such as UV light and pollution. They also have fantastic anti-ageing properties, helping to prevent sun-spots, lines and wrinkles. My favourite anti-oxidant serum for a sensitive skin is C Tetra by Medik8 (below, middle).  It has a very gentle vitamin C and vitamin E formulation that shows quick and noticeable  improvements in a sensitive skin’s health.  £35.
Sensitive skins are often prone to redness and flushing.  This stage seeks to reduce this tendency and improve the skin’s moisture barrier to soothe and calm. My favourite for this is Redness Neutralizer by SkinCeuticals (below, right). It is formulated with ‘NeuroMed’ complex to reduce redness flare-ups by controlling hyper-reactivity to environmental triggers. It interferes with the skin’s ability to become inflamed and cools the skins temperature.  £75.
The sun is known to be one of the worst aggressors on a sensitive skin as it triggers inflammation. In order to help prevent this damage, it’s essential to use a non-chemical sunscreen. Some SPF’s have a chemical filter which can irritate sensitive skins so choose a more gentle mineral filter. My favourite is Mineral Radiance, an SPF50 by SkinCeuticals (below, left). It even has a gorgeous tint to even out skin tone, giving it a dewy sheen. £35.
When choosing ‘over-the-counter’ products for sensitive skin look for these words:
Gentle (harsh ingredients have been omitted)
Hypoallergenic (low risk of allergy to ingredients)
Fragrance-free (synthetic perfumes can cause allergies and inflammation)
Sulfate-free (harsh detergents like Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate strip the skin’s moisture barrier and irritate)
Soap free (soap is very alkaline and strips the skin of moisture)
Last word
Sensitive skins can be tricky, I always advise a visit to a skin clinic to have your skin professionally assessed. Once you understand your skin’s needs, this can be translated into product ingredients. A bespoke blend can be tailor made to suit your individual skin type, you can then expect to see some real improvements in your skin.
Rebecca Barnes
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