What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive, unbalanced skin may be characterised by red spots, rashes or a tight feeling. These symptoms are not just restricted to facial skin but can occur on other parts of the body as well. The symptoms usually worsen when your body is weakened by fatigue or stress. The skin is generally less sensitive during the summer period than during winter. During summer, the daily temperature fluctuations are less significant, and we tend to spend more time outdoors. The indoor air quality improves when central heating is not used during the summer months, resulting in a higher atmospheric humidity.
Your skin forms a protective barrier, guarding the body against external influences. These influences include impurities, radiation, micro-organisms and other harmful components. The skin decides which substances or stimuli to allow, and which to block. Sensitive skin is less capable of making these decisions effectively, resulting in a disrupted defence mechanism. As a consequence, the upper layer of the skin (known as the epidermis) becomes more porous and less resistant to irritants, allowing external stimuli to penetrate easily.
What causes sensitive skin?
Heredity often plays a role in sensitive skin. However, many people suffer from sensitive skin as a result of environmental factors or lifestyle exposure. The following factors may contribute to disruption of the skin’s delicate balance:
- Impure or polluted air
- Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, menopause)
- Use of medication
- Weather conditions
- Certain substances used in cosmetic products and makeup
- Temperature fluctuations
- Ageing: as the skin ages, it becomes thinner and more sensitive. However, young children often suffer from sensitive skin as well.
Skincare tips for sensitive skin
Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Stop smoking and excessive use of alcohol. This will benefit your entire body as well as your mind, which will translate into a healthy, well-balanced complexion.
Choose natural care products
Choosing the right care products is crucial when it comes to sensitive skin. Mild, natural products are the most suitable choice. These products do not contain synthetic additives that can unnecessarily irritate the skin. Cleanse your skin with mild cleansing milk and do not use facial exfoliators. Be careful with makeup and apply sparingly. Cosmetic products may contain irritants, making the skin react more sensitively. If you wear makeup on a daily basis, choose natural products where possible.
Watch your diet
Drink plenty of water to help keep your skin well hydrated and support the organs that purify your body. The liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, thyroid and intestines all play an important role in keeping your skin healthy and radiant. Choose healthy, and if possible organic, foods that contain vegetable oils, proteins, vitamins (antioxidants A, C and E) and minerals.
Naturally, the weather has a major impact on your skin. Exposure to excessive sunlight and heat, strong wind and cold temperatures can be demanding and disrupt the balance of your skin. Make sure to apply sunscreen daily to protect against harmful UV rays. Extreme temperature fluctuations may also negatively impact your skin, comparable to how your skin reacts stepping from the freezing cold into a nice, warm home during the winter months.
Do you want to make your own mix for sensitive skin?
Of course, that’s possible. Using pure essential oils and a good carrier oil, you can restore your skin’s natural balance and radiance. The recipe below shows you how to make your own essential oil mix, suitable for every skin type:
# 20 ml peach kernel oil: peach kernel oil is a soothing base oil. This oil is extremely suitable for normal and (very) sensitive skin, as well as delicate babies’ skin.
# 2 drops of mandarin oil: mandarin oil has a strong soothing and hydrating effect.
# 2 drops of lavender oil: lavender oil has a calming and protective effect.
Preparation of your own essential oil mix:
1. Pour the base oil into a bowl or dish. Make sure it is clean to ensure good hygiene. Use a ceramic or glass dish, not a plastic one since essential oils can affect plastic. An even better choice is to purchase and use a dark glass bottle with a dropper or a pipette, for more accurate dosage.
2. Mix the essential oils together with the base oil using a clean spoon. 20 ml equals about 4 teaspoons.
Usage: After gently cleansing your face each morning and evening, gently massage a few drops of the oil mixture into your skin. Apply extra if needed. Be mindful – the less the oil comes into contact with your hands or is exposed to the air, the better. This will benefit the quality of the oil and is much more hygienic.