Many people suffer from sensitive skin, whether it be due to products or environmental factors. Research has shown that most women will have an episode of skin sensitivity at one point in their lives, while the condition affects about 50 per cent of men. For most, sensitive skin often feels tight or sore to touch, has areas of uneven texture, reacts to skincare, turns red and dries out after a hot shower, or could become prone to redness, oiliness and blemishes.
When seeking to tackle the problem, consultant dermatologist Dr. Justine Hextall insists that it's not necessarily the best idea to discontinue using skincare products entirely, but to call on a GP, skincare expert or dermatologist for advice. Interestingly - she also reveals that water on its own is not the best option when it comes to cleansing.
It is recommended to avoid using skincare products with preservatives
"It's interesting because quite often by the time clients come to me they've stopped using anything on their skin; no moisturiser, no cleanser," she told Cover Media during a Q+A session at the launch of La Roche-Posay Lipikar Stick AP+. "Clients often tell me that they just using water. But as it's water in a hard water area – which is alkaline – that water is going to be using your own fats as a soap to remove dirt from the skin, so actually it's worse to use just water, than something hydrating which will put some nourishment back into the skin."
Dr. Hextall recommends avoiding shower gels, shampoos and wipes with preservatives, as they can lead to irritation. But she shares that it is possible to repair the skin and keep the complexion smooth and hydrated.
"I often say to patients of mine, the best moisturiser you have is your skin barrier. There's nothing I can give you that's better than your skin barrier," she explained. "And the way you repair the skin is by using really gentle washes that hopefully put something back into the skin- be it humectant, ceramide, moisturiser, one that's not going to change the natural microbiome of the skin and is not going to change your skin pH."