Sensitive skin in itself is not a medical diagnosis, but a symptom of a different condition you might have. Regardless of the condition, your skin may be prone to breakouts, painful inflammations, or any adverse reaction when you try to apply cosmetics or skincare products.
Still, having sensitive skin doesn’t mean totally giving up makeup. Some types of hypoallergenic makeup are still good for you. Here’s what you need to know about sensitive skin, home remedies, and makeup you can use to avoid any negative effects when you want to look your best.
What To Know About Sensitive Skin
People with sensitive skin may have reactions to natural or inorganic chemicals, dye, fragrances, and other substances found in cosmetics, skincare, or beauty products. If you notice that your skin develops rashes when applying certain products on your skin or when you wear a certain type of fabric, you may have sensitive skin.
The best way to have your skin treated is to go to a dermatologist who can help determine the root cause of your sensitive skin. Some conditions leading to sensitive skin are only short-term, like during the summers or when you’re exposed to something that triggers your allergies. It may eventually go away on its own, but treatments like antihistamines and sunscreen can help reduce its effects.
Other causes for sensitive skin are those that can be treated through steroid creams, analgesic creams, and other over-the-counter and prescription medicines. In minor cases, sensitive skin’s symptoms can be mitigated through simple home remedies like using moisturizers and changing your habits that can trigger the symptoms.
Priming Your Skin for Makeup
People with mild sensitive skin may be able to reduce or avoid the symptoms by priming their skin before applying makeup. By practicing good habits for your skin, it may mitigate or cancel out the effects of regular makeup on your skin.
Hypoallergenic products are labeled as “hypoallergenic” when they contain little to no substances known for causing allergies. However, since there is no legally-regulated definition of hypoallergenic products, there is no guarantee that a product won’t trigger an allergic reaction for all users.
Using hypoallergenic moisturizers can help prime the skin by reducing dryness without irritating sensitive skin. For best results, use organic moisturizers like aloe vera gel, shea butter, and coconut oil.
Before applying moisturizer to your whole face, try the product on a small area of your skin. Let it dry and stay on your skin for at least 24 hours before using the moisturizer on your face. Doing this can test out if you have an allergy from your moisturizer.
Makeup for Sensitive Skin
Once you have your skin primed, the risk of triggering breakouts from regular makeup is greatly reduced. Ideally, using water-based makeup can help reduce clogging and is easier to remove than full-coverage and oil-based makeup. Be sure to remove your makeup, do your skincare routine, and moisturize at the end of the day.
But what if you still get the symptoms of sensitive skin? Then, it may be time to consider changing your makeup brands.
Like other beauty products, the best makeup products are those that come with a hypoallergenic label. As we mentioned earlier, the term “hypoallergenic” is used pretty liberally with some products, so it’s always best to test out your makeup on small patches of skin before using larger amounts to avoid serious allergic reactions.
Look at the Labels
For makeup products like foundation, concealers, and other products used on your skin, try to look for ones with terms like “dermatologist-approved” or “non-comedogenic.” Together with reducing allergic reactions, this can prevent breakouts on your skin that might irritate and cause reactions.
Choose Organic Makeup
The problem with choosing makeup with non-regulated terms like “hypoallergenic” and “derma-approved” is that there is no legal definition for it, so you can’t be totally sure. Your best option is to choose organic and all-natural makeup.
Organic makeup is free of unnatural chemicals that can cause irritation. There’s still a chance that you might be allergic to natural materials (e.g. some forms of plants), but the chances of coming into contact with harsh chemical substances are reduced.
Other Ways to Protect Your Sensitive Skin
It’s not just makeup that could be affecting your skin. Consider that other substances and the environment you’re exposed to could be having a negative effect on your skin. Here are a couple of ways to reduce irritation or an allergic reaction.
Changing Your Hygiene Practices
- Reduce the time you spend in showers. Prolonged time in the shower or bathtub can affect your skin’s moisture. Avoid bathing in scalding hot water.
- Use mild soaps. Use a mild hypoallergenic body soap for your body. Ideally, your soap should be organic and free of artificial fragrances.
- Pat your body dry. Rubbing and scratching can irritate your skin.
- Test topical products before use. When using makeup, skincare products, or any other beauty product, use a small amount on your arm and let it sit for a few hours. If there is an allergic reaction, do not use the product. If there is none, it is safe to use on a bigger scale.
- Moisturize throughout the day. Ideally, you should moisturize after showering, before putting on makeup, and at night after taking off your makeup and before going to bed.
Be Careful of the Chemicals at Home
- Use gloves when handling chemicals. Use rubber gloves when doing tasks like doing laundry, washing dishes, or cleaning your home with chemicals to avoid skin contact.
- DIY your own cleaners. Some commercial cleaning products contain harsh chemicals and substances that can trigger skin reactions. Using homemade natural cleaning products can reduce exposure and allergies.
Adjust Your Environment
- Limit your time outdoors. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause sunburn and irritation. If you have to be out under the sun for a long time, wear appropriate clothing, and use a sunblock with at least SPF 50.
- Avoid staying in extreme temperatures. Environments that are too hot or too cold can dry out your skin or cause unwanted breakouts, which could trigger the effects of sensitive skin.
- Avoid common allergy triggers. You might already know what you’re allergic too, but here are other common substances that can trigger an allergic reaction:
- Nickel, jewelry containing nickel (including plated jewelry)
- Fragrances containing inorganic substances
- Latex products
- Dyes and coloring (pure dye or products that use a certain dye)
- Chemicals in beauty products
- Certain plants
When in doubt, visit your dermatologist to help diagnose your skin condition and if it can be treated through medication. But when it comes to makeup, if you suspect that you may be allergic to certain types of substances, discontinue use and opt for makeup formulated to be safe for most types of allergies.