If you're one of the many women who suffers from dry or sensitive skin, then check out our top ten tips to combat irritation.
The first step to protecting sensitive skin and preventing flare-ups, is to know your ingredients. Look for hypoallergenic products containing Vitamin E or Pro-Vitamin B5 – particularly good for combating very dry skin complaints – while aloe vera, camomile, coconut oil and canola oil-based products are great for replenishing, softening and smoothing skin. Superdrug’s new Simply Pure range is dermatalogically approved and developed specifically for sensitive skin, while being fragrance and paraben-free – plus, the light moisturiser is a steal at just £2.49.
BUY Simply Pure light moisturiser, £2.49
Always, always, always test new products before applying liberally to your skin. Place a small test patch on your skin at least 48 hours before using to check for any redness, irritation or inflammation. This is particularly important when experimenting with a new hair dye, moisturiser or foundation which is an unfamiliar brand to you.
Moisturising every morning or evening helps to lock in water and prevent sensitive skin from drying out. Having a good daily moisturising routine also helps to prevent premature ageing of the skin - and let's face it, no one wants to look older than their years. Purity's Regenerating overnight moisturiser contains Ceramide 3 - renowned for its ability to reinforce the moisture barrier - and is entirely organic and fragrance-free.
It might sound like an old cliché, but the saying is true. You really are what you eat. All the obvious applies here: a diet containing plenty of oily fish, vegetables, nuts and seeds will work wonders for dry skin, while drinking plenty of water helps to flush out toxins and keep skin sufficiently hydrated.
Minimise the damaging effects of the sun by using products that contain dermatologically recommended sun protection. Sufferers of sensitive skin should ideally wear a minimum of SPF 15 at all times, all year round - not just when sunbathing. Olay's Complete Care Daily Sensitive UV fluid is ideal.
Hydration is key. Try to wash your face twice a day to remove surface dirt and unclog pores - but no more regularly, as overwashing can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Pat skin dry (don't rub!) and then apply a moisturiser within three minutes to lock in hydration.
Eyes require special attention when it comes to preventing flare-ups, as the skin is considerably thinner than on the rest of the face. And this doesn't just apply to creams and cleansers, but make-up, too. No7's Sensitive Eyes mascara is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, to help protect those peepers.
There are many external factors which can serve to trigger and irritate sensitive skin, so take a good look at your lifestyle if you're suffering from a flare-up. Lack of sleep, stress or exposure to excessive heat can have an adverse effect - so early nights, relaxing pamper sessions and staying in the shade all round! Sunbeds, saunas and overly hot baths can cause broken capillaries, while smoking is a definite no, no.
Be gentle! Always pat skin dry after washing, and don't ever rub or scrub your skin unecessarily - particularly when taking make-up off. Using a make-up remover specifically formulated for delicate skin is vital. Johnson's 3 in 1 Dry/Sensitive face wipes work to cleanse, moisturise and remove make-up in one step, and are gentle enough to use around the eyes.
When thinking about sensitive skin, it's all too easy to focus on facial care products - but don't forget that the rest of your body needs a splash of TLC, too. Expand your skincare regime to the shower with Imperial Leather - which has released a set of brand new shower gels, specifically formulated for skin of a more delicate nature. The SkinKind range is entirely hypoallergenic and dermatalogically tested, while also formulated to your skin's natural pH, and created with oh-so subtle allergen-free fragrances. It really is designed to be kind to your skin...