Honestly, I’m not sure if I know any females (myself included) who don’t have sensitive skin. In fact, according to Blithe, Korea’s leading urban skincare line, up to 93% of women in major cities consider their skin to be sensitive. But can there really be so many ladies with sensitive skin? It turns out, probably not.
So, I think I have sensitive skin – am I just being precious?
No, but you may think you have sensitive skin when it is actually just sensitized. The symptoms are super similar, but truly sensitive skin is a genetic predisposition – you’re probably more susceptible to blushing, allergies and other conditions like rosacea or dermatitis.
Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is a result of your environment and lifestyle. For instance, do you live in a heavily polluted area? Have you been drinking a little too much rosé this summer? Or, maybe you are using products with large amounts of fragrance? The reasons are endless.
Whatever it is, it’s important to know if your skin is sensitive or just sensitized. Why? Because if it is the latter, you can work back toward having healthy, non-reactive skin (yay!). Unfortunately, sensitive skin isn’t really fixable but it is manageable if you keep your regimen simple and clean.
The easiest ways to spot if your skin is just sensitized is if:
-it’s dry in patches
-there’s tightness following application of skincare products or washing of skin
-there’s a presence of small, non-pustular acne
Okay, so turns out my skin is sensitized. What can I do about it?
Cut the Foam
Let’s start from the very beginning. And by beginning, I mean your cleanser. If your skin is indeed dry and tight, I’d stay away from foaming cleansers and opt for a gel cleanser instead. I would highly recommend the very much beloved Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, which has the added benefit of being pH-adjusting, thus being less hospitable to yucky bacteria.
Take it Easy with the Exfoliants
In addition to binning your foaming cleanser, it can be useful to take a few steps back with your exfoliants. Physical exfoliants can make your skin raw so it’s better to opt for chemical ones if your skin is already a little tender. If you’re already using a chemical exfoliant, how about cutting down the frequency?
Add some Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 is reparative and if your skin is sensitized, your face will love the healing properties of vitamin B5. One of my favourite Vitamin B5 babies is La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5. It’s a cult favourite and even celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge swears by this.
Load up on Antioxidants
Antioxidants are skincare gospel. Sensitized skin is usually inflamed and pollution only makes it worse so make sure your routine has enough of these free radical fighters (here’s more information if you’re unsure where to start).
Don’t Blow Hot and Cold
If your skin is sensitized (or sensitive), use lukewarm water to wash your face as it is the least likely to cause irritation or broken capillaries.