To choose the right moisturiser for your sensitive skin, you must address your complexion's unique needs.
If you struggle with breakouts, irritation, and redness, it's easy to feel that sensitivity defines your complexion. But all types of skin can be sensitive: oily, acne-prone, mature, dry, or the unpredictable double whammy of combination skin.
Know Your Skin Type
Sensitivity doesn't define your skin. It's just one of your skin's behaviours. You can't grab any product that's labelled 'for sensitive skin'.
Instead, choose a moisturiser designed for sensitive skin AND for your specific skin type. Review the characteristics of the basic skin types below:
Oily skin is more prone to blackheads and acne, and tends to be very greasy as the day goes on. Oily skin may be more sensitive during the summer months, when hot weather increases oiliness and the frequency of breakouts.
If you have oily skin, try a moisturiser that conditions your skin without leaving it greasy. Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Oil-Free Lotion is an excellent choice.
Dry skin may itch, peel, feel tight, or develop rough patches if you don't moisturise frequently enough. It's a myth that dry skin cannot develop acne. Sometimes, dry flakes actually trap oil and debris in the pores, triggering breakouts.
If you have dry skin, you need a nonirritating moisturiser that lavishes your skin with rich emollients. Apivita Queen Bee Mild Exfoliating & Rejuvenating Cream gently smooths dry patches while hydrating sensitive dry skin.
Combination skin blends the frustrations of two skin types. A combo complexion is often dry along the cheeks and temples, but oily in the T-zone of the forehead, nose, and chin. Alternatively, some people with combination skin find that their complexion changes with the weather.
You may need to use a mix of products and treat only the affected areas. For example, in winter, you might apply a highly emollient moisturiser to your cheeks and an oil-free option to breakout-prone areas.
Avoid Irritating Ingredients
Sensitive skin is especially vulnerable to irritating product ingredients. Avoid ingredients to which you have a known allergy, and consider keeping a skincare log to monitor reactions to various products.
Every sensitive complexion is a little different. But many people with sensitive skin find the following ingredients particularly irritating:
- Glycolic acid
- Salicylic acid
- Fragrances, either artificial or natural
- Benzoyl peroxide
Drying acne treatments can be especially problematic for people with dry, sensitive skin.
Proceed With Caution
Having sensitive skin can feel a bit like having a ticking time bomb attached to your body. Sooner or later, it's going to erupt into irritation or acne. But your moisturiser doesn't have to be the next thing to ignite a reaction.
Before trying any moisturiser, no matter how promising it seems, patch-test the product on an inconspicuous area of your face, such as:
- On your forehead (if you have bangs)
- Just in front of your ear
- On the underside of your jaw
Facial skin tends to be more sensitive than the skin on your body, so it's ideal to test the product on your face or nearby, such as behind your ear.
If you don't see a reaction within 24 to 48 hours, give the product a try on your entire face. To further reduce the risk of a reaction, try cutting other products from your regimen for the first couple of days. Then gradually reintroduce your favourite items, one at a time, after a week or so.