If you’ve got compromised skin, your daily routine is probably a little more involved than most. After all, if you use the wrong product, come into contact with an allergen, or just scrub a little too hard, you may end up with redness, stinging, irritation, further dryness and sometimes reactions like rashes. Taking care of your sensitive and compromised skin does take some adjustments.
Since all good skin care starts with cleansing, here are a few tips to help you avoid further drying and sensitizing your skin.
Never use a soap bar! Soap is drying, plain and simple. It strips your skin of natural oils and creates an imbalanced state, further drying your skin.
Choose your cleanser carefully. This is the most important step in cleansing compromised skin. The wrong cleanser will cause irritation and dryness, no matter how gently you wash. Many contain harsh chemicals that actually damage skin, and others may contain ingredients that you’re allergic to. Compromised skin is much more sensitive to dyes and fragrances than normal skin, so take my Ingredients to Avoid list with you when you shop for skin care and don’t buy anything that contains any of these ingredients. Avoid the foaming types of cleansers as well, as the agents used to boost foaming are typically irritating. Instead, look for safe, mild, and hypoallergenic cream and liquid cleansers. (If your skin is dry, use creams.) Above all, avoid antibacterial formulas. Start with organic brands, then read the labels to be sure they don’t contain any irritating ingredients. Try Petite Marie Organic Cleansing Oil with Argan and Acai, or Miessence Soothing Cleanser.
Use lukewarm, not hot water. Hot water strips the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness and flaking. Protect your sensitive skin with lukewarm water.
Wash only once a day. Unless you have oily skin, try washing your face only once a day. At night is best. In the morning, apply a chemical-free sunscreen everyday.
Gently remove eye makeup. If you need to remove eye makeup at night, follow the same precautions in finding a makeup remover as you would for finding a cleanser. Many standard removers contain alcohols, sulfates and fragrances. Look for safe products that contain few ingredients and no chemical irritants. You might even want to try straight extra virgin olive oil on a cotton ball. Another good option is Dr. Alkaitis’ Organic Eye Makeup Remover.
Use your fingers. Washcloths, sponges, and other cleansing brushes can be too harsh for sensitive skin. Rub your cleanser into your fingertips, then work over your face in gentle circles until fully lathered for one minute. Use light, upward strokes and avoid puling or tugging on your skin.
Dry with a gentle, soft towel. If you’re allergic to certain detergents, your compromised skin could be made worse when you dry. Choose soft, cotton towels that you wash only with non-toxic detergents, then pat-don’t rub-dry.
Are you gentle with your daily cleansing? Let us know if these tips help ease your skin irritation.
Photo courtesy Gerard Fritz via Flickr.com.