Sensitive skin can make anyone crazy. One cleanser makes you break out. Another one makes your face red. And a third makes you itchy. You’re just about ready to give up. But it may not be as complicated as you think.
“Most people who think they have sensitive skin don’t have sensitive skin,” Dr. Neal Schultz, a dermatologist in New York City, tells Acne.com. “The definition to me of sensitive skin is people who are frequently irritated by many different common skincare ingredients. If you put on one lotion and get red and irritated, and two weeks later you put on a different lotion and get red and irritated.” That’s not a common scenario.
“It’s not washing away the oil that is a problem,” adds Dr. Schultz. “It’s what you are washing it away with.” Acne is related to the overproduction of sebum (oil). When you use harsh soaps you strip away that oil, as well as much of the natural moisture in the skin. That creates a moisture void in the skin. The body tries to compensate by producing more sebum to eliminate the dryness. The never-ending cycle makes acne worse, not better.
“You need a synergy between the cleanser and a toner,” Dr. Schultz explains. “You need a gentle cleanser to remove oil, dirt, dead cells and debris. Sometimes when you rinse off your cleanser, you don’t get all your cleanser off. But if you have sensitive skin washing too much will irritate the skin. That’s where an alcohol-free toner comes in. It will gently remove whatever is left over.”
The next step is moisturizing. A non-greasy, fragrance-free moisturizer will hydrate and protect without further irritating the skin.
“Wash your face twice a day and moisturize directly after both times,” Dr. Lisa Airan suggests. Believe us ⸻ your skin will thank you for it!