Skin sensitivity affects many of us at different points in our lives, and can be painful, embarrassing, AND costly (how many times have you brought a product, only to find your skin is too sensitive to use it?). Sensitivity has a wide range of symptoms, including redness, itchiness, heat/burning sensation, tightness and sometimes even pain and swelling.
You may think that your skin is doomed to be sensitive forever, but in reality, a large portion of skin sensitivity is caused by damage to the skin’s protective barrier layer. Repairing this barrier makes the skin healthier and more resilient, so it is less prone to inflammation and sensitivity.
But what IS the skin barrier exactly? The main function of the skin barrier is to keep moisture and nutrients locked in the skin, and to prevent unwanted bacteria and other micro-organisms from getting in – a security guard for your skin, if you will. It is primarily made up of 3 parts; the microbiome, which is made up of friendly microbes that need a slightly acidic pH balance to function properly, the moisture barrier (made up of ceramides, essential fatty acids and cholesterol to retain moisture) and the Stratum Corneum, which is the outer layer of the skin and is comprised of dead, keratinised skin cells that protects the more vulnerable skin layers underneath. When this barrier becomes compromised, it is unable to provide proper protection to the skin, and as a result it reacts.
The skin barrier can be damaged in a number of ways including using harsh cleansers and products, over exfoliating, medication, stress and hormonal changes. If you think your barrier might be compromised, here are a few tips to help rebuild and restore this important part of your skin.
- Strip back to basics
Remove any added steps in your skincare routine, and go back to basics – cleansing and moisturising. Once your barrier is restored, you can slowly add appropriate products back into your care routine, one at a time.
- Use microbiome friendly products that are pH balanced. The skin’s pH is naturally on the acidic side to allow healthy microbes in the barrier layer to flourish. These microbes help strengthen the protective layer, and help your skin to fight off infection and pathogenic bacteria, so it is important to use products that keep this pH in a healthy range. Bonus points if your skincare contains prebiotics or probiotics as these are formulated with our skin microbiome in mind.
- Look for products with soothing and repairing ingredients – things like ceramides, squalene, and oils rich in essential fatty acids will help to rebuild the moisture barrier, while ingredients like niacinamide, centella asiatica and chamomile act as a natural anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming sensitised skin.
- Get your beauty sleep. While we sleep, our skin goes into repair mode, working to heal and regenerate any damage sustained during the day. Collagen, elastin, and natural moisturising factors are all produced during this regeneration process, and regularly missing out on quality sleep will impact your skin’s ability to protect itself.
For our clients who are experiencing sensitivity, we recommend our Meder Beauty Science Net-Apax cleanser, Soin-Apax sensitive skin serum, and Salva-Derm moisturiser. Complete with prebiotics and probiotics to care for the microbial layer, these products are pH balanced and formulated to care for even the most sensitive skin. Packed with soothing ingredients like centella asiatica, silver mallow extract, Vitamin E and algae extract, these products soften and protect the skin, soothing inflammation and restoring comfort to the skin in just 14 days.
For personalised advice on your skin sensitivity, talk to our trained beauty professionals.