Let’s be real: Keeping our skin happy, healthy, and glowing is a freakin’ chore. And it’s even more tiresome for those of us with sensitive skin. Contrary to what you might think, piling on product after product doesn’t actually equal a better complexion. In fact, the opposite is often true.
“Sensitive skin can be connected to a disrupted skin barrier, which is the skin’s protective layer, so often people can experience symptoms of itching, burning, or tingling more easily, and it’s generally more reactive than skin with a healthy, strong barrier,” explains Hemali Gunt, head of clinical and scientific affairs at Burt’s Bees.
So how can people with sensitive skin avoid flare-ups and find products that work? It’s important to understand that what causes sensitivity for one person may not for another, so as long as you’re cautious about what you’re using (and not using), you should be in a good place. Here, Gunt shares the ingredients to seek out—and others to and avoid—if you have sensitive skin.
Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, it’s important to test a product before incorporating it into your regular routine. “Patch-test somewhere discreet, like behind your ear or on your inner arm, just in case you do have a negative reaction,” explains Gunt. “Try using a product for a few days at the frequency you plan to on your face before moving on to routine use.” So what do you do if you do have a flare-up? “Depending on the extent of the reaction, call to check in with your doctor,” she adds. “If it’s a mild reaction, look to products or ingredients with known soothing and anti-inflammatory benefits, like aloe, which will help restore hydration to the skin, supporting the barrier and calming irritation.”
Burt's Bees Eye Cream ($15)
If you have sensitive skin, it can be frustrating to find the right products. “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution,” Gunt explains. But there are definitely guidelines that can be helpful in finding your perfect routine. “Seek out skincare specifically made for sensitive skin—products with ingredients known for their anti-inflammatory and skin-restoring benefits like aloe, sunflower seed oil, and rice extract,” Gunt explains. “You want to think about your regimen as complementary: If your doctor has prescribed you a strong prescription for your acne or rosacea, you probably want to keep your routine to a simple cleanser and moisturizer that won’t strip skin of its natural oils, while restoring hydration to support a healthy barrier.”
Burt's Bees Facial Cleanser ($10)
Burt's Bees Daily Moisturizing Cream ($15)
By now, if you have sensitive skin, you probably have an idea of what triggers cause your flare-ups. But in general, Gunt recommends avoiding the use of multiple harsh products together, or too many products overall. “Find skincare products that don’t contain common irritants like dyes, sulfates, or fragrances.” Another useful tip? “Look for the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance on products, which means the formula has undergone a rigorous third-party review of the ingredients and clinical testing data on safety and tolerability for sensitive skin, such as eczema,” she adds.
Burt's Bees Night Cream ($15)
Burt's Bees Facial Cleansing Towelettes ($6)
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