As promised, here's Part 2 packed with useful info to help you get your sensitive skin back on track.
ps. If you missed Part 1 it's here...
Follow a good cleansing routine that suits your skin type. This is a huge topic that I’ll blog about soon, but in brief, your skin is easily damaged by lots of skincare product ingredients such as denatured alcohol and surfactants.
Treat your skin with respect, cleanse with a water-soluble cleanser, tone with an alcohol-free antioxidant (cooled green tea is a natural option), and moisturise dry skin. Regularly use a gentle exfoliant or treat yourself to a fresh face mask to help remove and prevent a build-up of dead skin cells (which enhance the appearance of fine lines and blemishes). It’s better to exfoliate little and often rather than scrubbing off half your face once in a blue moon.
Protect & Repair Sensitive Skin
Use an SPF on your face, neck and chest to protect yourself from sun damage, which can happen in minutes, even in cloudy weather. Use skincare products that contain antioxidants as these help fight ‘free-radicals’ and inhibit inflammatory reactions. Look for tocopherol (vitamin e), retinoids (vitamin A), vitamin C, green tea, and grapeseed on the ingredients list.
Apply serums and facial oils that contain hydrating lipids (essential fatty acids). These help protect and repair the barrier function by holding water within the cells. A good example is linoleic acid which occurs naturally in plant oils such as Grapeseed Oil, Peach Kernel Oil and Argan Oil (all three can be found in MIMI Sleeping Beauty Night Time Facial Oil).
We all know that fresh fruit, veg and oily fish are good for us, so get stuck in…
The body needs to absorb antioxidants from fresh fruit and veg (the darker the red the higher levels of antioxidants). Over-cooking kills the good stuff so try steaming, juicing or just adding raw to salads. You’ll find vitamin C in citrus, red and black berries, green leaf veg like spinach, and beetroot. You’ll find vitamin E in avocado, olives, raw unsalted nuts and carotenoids in carrots, tomatoes, red bell peppers, sweet potato.
No, not the glass of wine with dinner! I mean water of course.‘8 glasses a day’ has been forced upon us as part of a campaign to increase sales of a certain bottled-water (and it’s still on their website today). I’ve heard nutritionists say drink 2 to 3 litres a day. I’ve heard doctors say drink a couple of glasses as too much water affects kidney function.
While I want to be hydrated, I don’t want to spend all day rushing to the loo, and it’s common sense to just drink water when I’m thirsty. I believe whole-heartedly in tuning into and listening to your body. Your water intake can also come from fresh fruit and veg. Drinking caffeine and alcohol and doing exercise can dehydrate the body.
Talk About Exercise
Well that’s just as far I get sometimes, just talking about it. I do want to go the gym, I do want to get fit, but I just can’t be arsed.
Ever feel this way? I’ve not been to the gym for several weeks. But paying for monthly membership relieves my guilt.
When I do go to the gym I've learnt that my rosacea prefers slow-paced resistance training to heart-pounding, flushed-face vigorous exercise. Some yoga positions also trigger a flare (I now stay away from the downward-dog).
That said, I do love a good walk. I’m surrounded by parks and there's something about nature that's good for the soul.
It's ridiculous to assume that our skin is going to feel or look better if we use lovely products but continue to work late, run around after everyone, and never find time to de-stress. While I would like to have everything ticked off my list, I am always adding the to-do's.
Think of skin as a representation of what's going on in your body (when you're ill you look pale and drawn). When the body is stressed it releases cortisol, a hormone that effects rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. When you feel anxious your heart-rate increases, lots of blood is pumped to the surface of the skin and when blood vessels dilate they become visible (the spider-web veins on the nose and cheeks). These are just some of the factors that can exacerbate a weak skin barrier.
To make sure you're not worsening your own skin condition, take time out of your hectic schedule, take time to breathe (daily mindfulness meditation works a treat). If there's one thing you love to do but haven't made time for this week (reading, have a bath, catching up with friend on the phone) put it in your diary now. You won't regret it.
I'm really interested to hear about your skin, what you do to keep your skin barrier strong and whether you notice a difference after trying out the tips above.
What do you already do?
What do you find most helpful?
What else works for you?