The beauty market is constantly evolving. It seems almost daily a new product or ingredient is being hailed as 'the next big thing' that promises to restore and repair our complexions back to the dewy, bouncy skin of our youth.
But for those with sensitive skin, a more cautious approach is needed. Sensitive skin is described as reactive skin that is more prone to inflammation or adverse reactions like itching and redness.
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Sadly, genetics has a big role to play, but allergies, stress, hormones and certain environmental factors can also cause sensitive skin and redness.
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Some people may even experience sensitised skin due to over-cleansing or poor product selection which can leave skin more prone to irritation. That's why choosing the correct products is so important if you suffer from any sort of sensitivity.
And just because your favourite YouTuber has a 12-step routine, doesn't mean you have to. "A consistent and simple regime is the best way to avoid irritation and keep sensitive skin well balanced," Faye Purcell, Development Chemist and Skincare Expert at Q+A, told HELLO!
"Being gentle with your skin is key, ensure you're not over-exfoliating or using products that contain strong actives."
Best skincare products for sensitive skin 2021
Best face masks for sensitive skin
Formulated with black rose extract, pavonica extracts and vitamin B5, the Sisley Black Rose Mask soothes and repairs skin leaving it looking youthful and glowing.
Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask, was £119 now £107.10, Liberty
Clarins' SOS Comfort Mask has been described as "just the tonic" for irritated skin, whether it's dehydrated, oily or acne prone. Not only does it soothe skin, but it plumps and hydrates just where it needs it, too.
SOS Comfort Nourishing Balm Mask, £30, Clarins
The REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask contains Albatrellus Extract and Arnica that work in harmony to rehydrate and calm any redness or discomfort. It also protects against environmental aggressors.
Hemp Face Oil, £27, Hey Bud
Two celebrity fans who endorse CBD skincare are Gwyneth Paltrow, who dubbed cannabis ‘the hero ingredient of the future' and Kristen Bell, who was introduced to the ingredient’s superpowers via her hairdresser. Hey Bud's skincare range, including the Hemp Face Oil is super hydrating and contains high levels of Omega 3 and 6, making it perfect for sensitive skin.
REN Clean Skincare Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask, £34, Cult Beauty
Best moisturisers for sensitive skin
Keeping your skin hydrated is essential if you suffer from sensitivity. Moisturisers "also create a protective barrier between your skin and environmental stressors like harsh weather conditions and pollutants which can sensitise the skin," says Faye.
Darphin's Intral Redness Relief Cream is a dream for anyone who suffers from rosacea. It soothes and protects your skin, while also reducing the appearance of redness, blotchiness and irritation.
Intral Redness Relief Cream, was £50 now £30, Darphin
Embryolisse, the cult French skincare brand, launched the Lait-Crème Sensitive back in March. It has all the benefits of the classic Lait-Crème Concentré, which sells one tube every 20 seconds, in a formula for sensitive skin. Unscented and developed using 98% ingredients of natural origin, it's a great choice for those with reactive skin and can be used in several different ways, including as a moisturiser, primer and intensive masque.
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Sensitive, £24.99, Cult Beauty
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA contains amino acids, fatty acids, ceramides and hyaluronic acid, among others, to protect and hydrate the outer layer of skin.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors +HA, from £4.75, Beauty Bay
The Q+A Ginger Root Daily Moisturiser is perfect for stressed-out skin. It blends renewing ginger root extract with soothing aloe vera, which is rich in polysaccharides, a molecule that hydrates while also adding protection against pollutants.
Q+A Ginger Root Daily Moisturiser, £8.50, Feelunique
Best makeup for sensitive skin
Looking after sensitive skin doesn't stop at your skincare products – makeup plays an important role too. As dryness can be an issue for those with sensitivity, you should look for formulas that focus on hydrating and moisturising the skin, while also keeping ingredients as natural as possible to minimise allergic reactions.
bareMinerals Original Foundation contains just five mineral ingredients and claims to be so pure you could sleep in it. It diminishes the appearance of imperfections without drying skin out, giving you flawless coverage with a naturally luminous finish.
bareMinerals Original Foundation, £23.54, Feelunique
It's not just your base you should consider when dealing with sensitivity, but your eyes too. Clinique High Impact mascara is ophthalmologist and allergy-tested, which means it's safe and non-irritating for anyone with sensitive eyes. It also gives you voluminous and fluttery lashes!
Clinique High Impact Mascara, £16, LookFantastic
Best exfoliators for sensitive skin
Chemical exfoliants like Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) (e.g. Glycolic acid) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) (e.g. Salicylic acid) can be too harsh for sensitive skin and overusing them can cause more irritation.
But Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) – such as Gluconolactone – are sensitive skin's new best friend thanks to their ability to gently break down dead skin cells with very minimal irritation.
Medik8 Press & Glow is a hydrating acid toner that uses PHAs to gently exfoliate the surface of your complexion for a noticeable everyday glow. The brand also offers a Calmwise range which is specifically formulated for sensitive skin types and helps to reduce redness, smooth out uneven texture and soothe surface heat and irritation.
Medik8 Press & Glow, £25, Face The Future
The Inkey List's PHA Toner is formulated with the incredibly nourishing and gentle aloe Barbadensis leaf juice to prevent dryness, plus a 3% niacinamide solution to help minimise pores and improve texture.
The Inkey List PHA Toner, £9.99, Cult Beauty
Best cleansers for sensitive skin
Avoiding face wash that contains SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) is a good place to start. It's used in many cleansers and works by turning liquids into a foam to lift oils and pollutants. "Unfortunately, a product that contains SLS can be very drying as it strips away your skins natural oils too," said Faye.
The Fresh Soy Face Cleanser contains cucumber extract and aloe vera to calm and hydrate dry, irritated skin. Additionally, it's infused with nourishing rosewater, which is well known for its calming and balancing properties.
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, £11.50, Cult Beauty
Q+A's Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser or their new Grapefruit Cleansing Balm are both super effective but gentle on the skin so they won't cause any sensitivity. They use coconut-derived Sodium Coco-Sulfate – an alternative to SLS – which is 100% natural.
Q+A Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Cleanser, £7.50, Feelunique
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