Skin Deep: How to Protect and Manage your Dry and Sensitive Skin

Whether you’re suffering from a bracingly cold winter, or chronic eczema and allergies, protecting your skin is imperative. We look at what to avoid, what works best & how to cope with skin that needs extra TLC.

What causes sensitive skin

Sensitive skin can be caused by skin disorders or allergic reactions such as eczema, rosacea, or allergic contact dermatitis. It can also be caused by excessive exposure to skin-damaging environmental factors such as sun and wind or excessive heat or cold.

Which products are best suited for sensitive skin

Cosmetics with the fewest allergens in as possible are recommended for sensitive skin. In makeup this may mean using powders and pencils rather than liquid cosmetics which often contain latex and other chemicals.

Products that avoid fragrance, alcohol, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids work best, as well as products that have simple, natural ingredients that are soft on skin.

Avoiding skin irritants such as SLS and parabens are advised, as well as antibacterial or deodorant ingredients. Try not to be misguided by the label “hypoallergenic” or “dermatologically tested”: neither of these mean the products are especially safe for sensitive skin. If in doubt, go for natural, organic ingredients you recognise.

What causes dry skin

Dry skin can be caused by a range of factors, whether it’s a condition such as eczema, psoriasis, hypothyroidism or simply dehydration, it needs to be carefully managed to avoid damage and irritation.

Which products are best suited for dry skin

Many soaps and traditional cleansers contain foaming agents such as SLS that are particularly damaging to dry skin. Robbing your skin of its natural oils, your skin overcompensates, as the natural skin moisture barrier has been damaged.

Products that are specifically formulated for dry skin work best, as they avoid common chemical irritants. Natural ingredients such as cocoa butter protect your skin’s natural barrier and moisturises.

For cleansing, micellar water has been known to be very kind on eczema, removing all traces of makeup without irritating the skin.

Natural makeup with organic ingredients and few fragrances are also recommended for extremely dry skin, to avoid itching and redness, while keeping the balance of your skin.