Even after having two, I can still say my skin is as sensitive as a baby’s. For many years, my skin couldn’t tolerate lots of things – most new makeup and skincare products, various sunscreens, pillowcases, and even hotel towels! When it comes down to it, for people who have sensitive skin (as well as rosacea, eczema, and other skin concerns) it’s usually fragrance that is the irritating culprit. Reactions can range from severe to mild, and usually include itchy, reddish, irritated, patchy skin. I once had such a bad reaction to a cream that I had to make an emergency visit to my dermatologist. He diagnosed contact dermatitis and forbade me from wearing makeup for about a month (I also had to butter up my face in shiny ointment 2x a day). My neighbors thought it was a chemical peel (like that episode from Sex and The City where Samantha has to wear a black veil after a treatment gone wrong).
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), fragrances are considered the leading cause of allergic reactions on the skin, and over 5.7 million dermatologist visits every year list the cause as “contact dermatitis.” The AAD has noted that consumers should be given all the product information they need so they can protect their skin’s overall health. Added fragrance “creates an avoidable risk of irritant or allergic reaction to fragrance-sensitive persons.”
Since so many products have irritated my super sensitive skin – from anti-aging creams to prescription retinol to cleansers – I was so happy to find Care Skincare. Care does not use any added fragrance (it’s also a clean beauty brand, avoiding parabens, phthalates, mineral oils and alcohol) which has really been a blessing for my skin. In addition, every product has passed the RIPT. The RIPT (Repeat Insult Patch Test) is a safety test used to determine the potential for irritation, sensitization and allergic contact of a product. This test is done on humans, as Care does not participate in animal testing. It’s good to know that all Care products are safe and non-irritating, and have passed the RIPT – I felt confident using the products for the first time and didn’t have any skin irritation at all! However, it’s always good to go slow. I always try samples of skincare first, for at least four days, before I buy a product. And my sister, who also has similar sensitive skin issues, tries only one new product at a time, which is a good trial system.
Although they are fragrance free, some Care products may have a unique scent – but this is due to the combination of ingredients in the formula, not from the added fragrance that the AAD discussed. For example, The Everything Multi-level Moisturizer is fragrance free, yet the natural ingredients within the product (including Turmeric Root, Safflower Seed Oil, Black Tea Ferment and others) will have a slight scent to them. All of these ingredients are clean, non-toxic and proven to be safe.
Something to note – Tireless Retinoid Night Serum is the only retinoid (or retinol) product I can use comfortably. Granactive Retinoid,™ which aids in cell renewal and visibly smooths and firms skin, doesn’t irritate like traditional retinol products. That’s great news for sensitive skin, or for anyone that’s wanted to try a retinoid serum in general. It’s also formulated with soothing, plant-based Squalane Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, and other skin-healthy ingredients.
Lastly, I would love to add a few tips for those of you with sensitive skin that have served me well over the years:
Use lukewarm water when washing your hair, face and hands. You don’t want skin to be stripped, and this temperature is the best for washing, overall.
Be fragrance free wherever you can – even in your dish washing soap, hand soap and laundry detergent.
Bring your own face towel (or even pillowcase) when you travel. Sometimes the hotels can use bleach or harsher detergents than you would at home, causing irritation or breakouts.
KEEP YOUR MOISTURE BARRIER STRONG
Protect your moisture barrier! A strong moisture barrier is so important for sensitive skin. Moisturize at least 2x a day, and stay hydrated too.
Micellar water (like Soft Sweep Micellar Cleanser + Toner) is wonderful for sensitive skin, and both gentle and effective. Foaming cleansers can be drying, and Soft Sweep is also formulated with antioxidants from Green Tea Extract to soothe and protect.
If you have any questions or a sensitive skin story to share, don’t hesitate to reach out and leave us a note right here!
Once an Estée Lauder Marketing Executive, Michelle is now a Care Skincare Staff Writer and a big fan of their simple approach to skincare. She lives with her husband and two small children, who keep her busy 23/7.