You know those days. You wake up to discover a new breakout, but your skin is also tight and dry from your 'oil control' formulas. Or maybe your skin tends to be dry and you pile on the night cream, only to find your skin is irritated and your pores are congested (fun!). Or the worst: you discover new fine lines creeping in right next to a blemish so big, you consider taking a sick day. What kind of cruel joke is the beauty universe playing on you? What in the heck is going on here?
The Balancing Act
'When skin is imbalanced, it reacts to try to correct it,' says esthetician and DHC staffer, Fumie Unosawa. 'The key is to bring balance to the skin to keep it looking clear and healthy. Using gentle formulas that don’t irritate the skin, then spot treating those problem areas is the first step. You should also determine if you have sensitive skin, or if you’re simply overtreating a concern.'
The truth is, most people who claim to have sensitive skin, don’t. With so many products on the market, all claiming to solve similar issues, it’s easy to use the wrong thing, or to overuse a product that is right for a particular area, but not for your entire face.
The Sensitive Skin Test
The pressure test: Drag your fingers firmly across your cheek. If your skin turns red, you might have sensitive skin. For darker skin tones, it’s harder to tell by the pressure test, so look at the products you’re using.
The product test: Does your cleanser, toner, or face cream cause stinging, tightness or irritation? If so, you might have sensitive skin.
If you think you’re sensitive: Select products with simple formulas and that contain soothing ingredients, like cucumber and licorice to keep redness and irritation at bay. Avoid aggressive scrubbing and exfoliation. Instead, opt for formulas that promote natural cell turnover on a regular basis to stay fresh and glowing.
If you’re not sensitive, but your skin is still freaking out, look at your routine and ask yourself: Am I getting my skin completely clean and 100% make-up free at night? Dirty skin is a top reason for breakouts and dullness. Am I layering correctly? Always apply your products from lightest formula to thickest: toner, booster or mask, moisturiser. Am I using targeted formulas all over my face? Targeted products are for targeted areas. Example: If the pores in your T-zone are clogged, use a clay mask only on your T-zone and spare your drier cheeks the unnecessary pore purge.
If you’re breaking out: Am I treating blemishes correctly? Am I irritating them, making them appear worse? Other culprits, like environment, stress, even dirty make-up brushes can cause temporary skin craziness. Committing to a clean routine, paying attention to what works (and what doesn’t), and making some small adjustments can make all the difference in keeping skin looking healthy and happy.