A wide variety of environmental factors can lead to breakouts, blemishes, and irritation, so it goes without saying that everyone experiences skin issues at some point or another. However, certain people are much more prone to skin sensitivity than others. For instance, some people have specific sensitive skin conditions, such as rosacea and eczema, while others take medication that makes their skin more reactive.
Whatever the reason for your sensitive skin, chances are you’ve tried plenty of skincare products — some more effective than others. Treating sensitive skin can be challenging, so choosing the right ones for your skincare routine is essential. Here are seven common mistakes people make in the world of skincare and what you should do instead.
Overly Potent Products
Is that retinol cream, moisturizer, or serum a little too effective? One of the first mistakes people often make in the skincare department is picking products that are so overly effective that they end up causing skin problems. For instance, many face cleansers contain harsh alpha hydroxy acids, which can disrupt the skin barrier and cause redness or irritation.
If you wash your face with a product that has exfoliating particles, you could actually be doing more harm than good. Even the tiniest particles found in abrasive cleansers can seriously irritate sensitive skin, so look for a cleanser that’s labeled “gentle.”
It’s important to note that not all exfoliating products will irritate your skin, and exfoliation can have a useful place in your skincare routine. However, specifically using exfoliation products on your face can cause breakouts and other problems because these particles can clog and irritate your pores.
It’s a vicious cycle you may be familiar with if your skin is easily irritated: you notice a pimple or red area, so you pick and poke at it, trying to get it to disappear. But before you know it, your skin looks and feels even worse than before you started touching it.
It turns out that your mom was right all along — you need to stop popping those pimples and scraping those sore spots. Messing with a blemish isn’t going to make it go away, plus your fingers contain oils, bacteria, and other gunk that you definitely don’t want anywhere near your face. So next time you feel the urge to pick or prod, keep your hands far from your face for your own good.
Do you use products containing a lot of fragrance oils or other scented additives? These ingredients may be the cause of your skin irritation. People with sensitive skin can be particularly vulnerable to the chemicals found in heavily scented skincare products. Choose something fragrance-free next time and see how you feel.
Improper Sunscreen Selection
Another one of the most common mistakes to avoid in the world of skincare is choosing the wrong sunscreen. Many people recommend using chemical sunscreens — which work by absorbing the sun’s rays — because they tend to leave no white cast on the skin. However, many chemical sunscreens contain oxybenzone and avobenzone, which can lead to itchy, stinging, or bumpy skin. Instead, sensitive skin types should consider switching to physical sunscreens, which work by reflecting the sun’s rays away. Look for sunscreens that include zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which are both better choices for those with sensitive skin.
If your skin is easily irritated by the products you use, the last thing you want is to double down by piling on more active ingredients. Unfortunately, many people end up doing this accidentally. Make sure to double-check the ingredients in the products you are using to make sure that nothing is being applied twice. For example, many acne medications contain retinoids, so you won’t need to use another product containing retinol if you already use a topical acne medication during your routine.
Too Much Variety
Are you always on the hunt for the latest product to add to your skincare routine? It’s important to remember that your skin isn’t always ready for changes, especially if it’s on the sensitive side. Constantly trying new makeup, lotion, and other products can alter the pH balance of your skin, leading to irritation, redness, and even allergic reactions. While it’s perfectly fine to try new things, consider changing one step at a time in your routine to test effectiveness rather than switching everything at once.
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