Skincare: Living with sensitive skin

Forty per cent of women are believed to have sensitive skin, ie skin which is easily irritated, by products or the environment. So how do you take care of it?


* The more you use the more likely you are to suffer a reaction, so keep everything to a minimum, including ingredients. Always check the label and go for the products that contain the least. Certainly avoid added fragrances, colourings and alcohol. Other common irritants include lanolin, PABA, and sorbic and benzoic acid. Even then, test new products on your neck for a few days before allowing them to graduate onto your face. If the skin around your hairline or on the scalp is inflamed, there is now a hairspray available for sensitive skin, from Silvikrin.


* Even physically, treat skin with care. Wash with creamy, soap-free products, use warm, not hot, water and pat rather than rub dry. And exfoliators are highly likely to cause a reaction so try a little on the jawline first and then just a tiny amount on the most sensitive parts of your face – or avoid altogether if you can. Use masks instead.


* Use moisturiser to help act as a barrier on your skin – especially in winter when central heating dries out skin further which compromises the lipid barrier, allowing irritants in. Go for creams that contain fatty acids and ceramides to buffer skin.