The real problem? For the longest time, I’d neglected to take care of my complexion. Instead, I disguised the redness by caking heavy foundation on top of my irritated, hypersensitive visage, until I realized: I had to start giving my skin the TLC it so desperately needed to improve.
It took years of testing lotions and potions and trial and error (damn you, chemical exfoliation), but I’m proud to say my skin and I have gone from mortal enemies to friends. And, it's all thanks to the skin-care regimen detailed straight ahead. So, if you also suffer from the wrath of sensitive skin, click through to scope out my step-by-step and product-by-product recipe for soothing my stressed-out complexion. And, let me know in the comments how you deal with your high-strung skin.
I start by washing my face with a super-gentle, creamy cleanser. I love the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser because it removes any dirt or oil without stripping my skin of the oils it actually needs. It claims to be pH-balanced to maintain the natural acidity of the skin, which reduces reactivity and flare-ups. After months of using this product daily, I can attest that it definitely lives up to those claims. Be diligent, and you will see a difference.
After I gently pat my face dry, I move straight on to toning. I’m a big fan of facial mists because they’re soothing and refreshing, and one of my current favorites to use pre-moisturization is the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist. It’s free of fragrances, dyes, and petro-chemicals (essentially, all things that are known to irritate). A few spritzes, and voilà — my skin is left feeling balanced and hydrated.
Next, I turn to my serums, which are absolutely essential for keeping my skin under control. My latest go-to is the DSP Correct & Soothe Serum. Yes, it’s pricy, but I’ve seen a noticeable, positive difference in my skin’s reactivity after consistent use. I gently smooth this onto my skin and wait a minute for it to fully absorb before I apply my moisturizer.
For moisturizer, I always seek out options that will soothe and hydrate my parched complexion. The Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream is lightweight but incredibly moisturizing, and it prevents moisture loss so skin stays hydrated all day. Saying I’m hooked on the stuff isn't an exaggeration.
First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, $20, available at First Aid Beauty; Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, $35, available at SkinStore; DSP Skincare Correct & Soothe Serum, $125, available at DSP Skincare; Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream, $48, available at Sephora.
My sensitive skin has never been a fan of face wipes; instead, I use organic coconut oil and Bioderma Crealine H20. The coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and breaks down my makeup in seconds, while Bioderma removes the rest without causing even a bit of irritation.
After I remove my makeup, I like to follow up with my cream cleanser again to ensure my skin is totally grime-free. I switch between my FAB Face Cleanser and the Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk — they both get the job done and diminish redness.
Lately, I can’t get enough of the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Liquid Recovery treatment. It feels like water on the skin and is formulated specifically to heal and repair stressed-out complexions. Yeah, this one's a winner.
Heavy night creams may not be everyone’s favorite, but Egyptian Magic Skin Cream is my must-have night cream. It’s a balm-textured cream designed to treat all types of skin issues, including rashes and acne. So, naturally, my hypersensitive skin responded to it positively right away.
Bioderma Crealine H20 Micelle Solution, $31, available at Amazon; Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream, $37, available at Dermstore; First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Liquid Recovery, $38, available at Sephora.
Now, I’d be lying if I told you my skin is total perfection today. It certainly still has its moments when it decides to go rogue on me — and it’s times like these when I bring out my tried-and-true S.M.S. (Save My Skin) plan.
First things first: I make a cold compress by dunking a washcloth in ice water, then gently drape it on my face. I usually leave this on for 10 to 15 minutes because cold water constricts dilated blood vessels and helps to halt the inflammatory process.
Next, I go in with a redness-relieving mask. My favorite is the Mario Badescu Calma Mask. I let this dry on my skin for 10 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water. Tip: Never use hot water on sensitive skin because it removes natural oils and causes even more unwanted irritation. After this step, my skin looks considerably clearer.
Finally, I finish by liberally applying a face oil because these moisturize and calm my skin. Lately, I’ve been all about the Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, which is packed with pure oils, restorative omegas, and vitamin E to help soothe and add a boost of hydration.
Mario Badescu Calma Mask, $22, available at Mario Badescu; Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, $50, available at Sephora.
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