There are two types of sensitive skin; those who have skin that has been irritated by artificial ingredients and fragrances, or those who truly have super sensitive skin (like myself.)
With so many new brands popping up, it becomes hard to tell what is really the best for your skin. I am not claiming to know everything, but as a product junkie with sensitive skin, I have tried a ton of options. Even now, having my own line of skincare, I still dabble occasionally in some new products. I am still human, and I love trying new products. Through the years, I have learned a lot of tips and tricks, as well as some definite fails.
I would also like to let you know that I have no ulterior motives, and am not just trying to sell you on my line. I see so much mis-information and it makes me angry. So ... I want to shed some light on the subject.
Essential Oils - Chances are, if you have been on any kind of social media recently, you have seen something about essential oils. Essential oils are steam distilled from plants, and typically have the characteristic scent as well as properties of the original plant. While essential oils are natural, it does not mean that they are all safe or good for your skin. The fact of the matter is, many essential oils can irritate your skin, especially if used in higher concentrations than are safe. Any time you are choosing a product that contains essential oils, be sure that you patch test. I carefully formulate my products with essential oils, but I also offer lots of options without. if you have horribly sensitive skin, skip the essential oils and go for light botanical oils. I do make serums for Acne-prone skin, as well as Rosacea, and both can be diluted with Organic Hemp Seed Oil to make a gentler serum. While essential oils do smell amazing, I am very careful to only use a safe percentage, and not over-do it for the sake of scent. If something smells super strong, chances are there is too much essential oil or a fragrance.
Heavy or Comedogenic Oils - While I love Cocoa Butter and Coconut Oil for the body and hair, if you have sensitive skin, you DO NOT want to use these on your face. I tried olive, coconut, sweet almond oil, avocado, castor oil, and many others. The reason that I choose to formulate with Sunflower and Hemp Seed Oil, is that they are both non-comedogenic as well as moisturizing. They also tend to be well accepted by most skin types. While I do make some products for different skin types, if you have sensitive skin, stick to light oils - Hemp Seed, Sunflower, Argan, and Maracuja.
Alcohols and Fatty Alcohols - Alcohols, while they can be ok for some skin types, should be avoided for super sensitive skin. Alcohol in some formulations (such as Witch Hazel) helps to preserve the formula without artificial preservatives. While this is fine for my skin, oily skin, and many other skin types. If you have super sensitive skin, you should choose a toner like Rosewater or Aloe Vera Juice. Emulsifiers like Cetyl and Ceteayrl Alcohol are used in TONS of products. They accumulate over time and cause irritation. I do not use any of them, or any derivative. They are often used in things like lotion or conditioner. It has been my experience that they cause irritation and breakouts. If you have breakouts on your hairline, jaw, neck, or back. Check your conditioner. If you insist on using conditioner that has these, wash your skin after using them.
Paraben Preservatives - While is is much more time consuming to formulate without paraben and artificial preservatives, it is worth it. While preservatives are very necessary in products containing water, they do not have to be artificial. A blend of Radish Root Ferment + Lactobacillus acts as my natural preservation system. It is about 50x's more expensive than parabens, but is just as effective. While I do want you to have products that are safe, I also want them to be good for you. There are brands that choose to use traditional preservatives, touting they contain less than 1/2%. I go back to something my Mom said... If someone told you that your brownies only have 1/2% dog poo in them, would you still eat the brownies, or choose brownies without? If you choose to use products with Sodium Benzoate, Parabens,
Hot Water - You should never use hot water on your skin. While I do encourage you to use warm water when removing your cleansing oil, you never want to use water so warm that it leaves your face red. You can cause permanent damage, broken capillaries, and irritation. Instead, take your time, and gently remove oil with warm water and a cloth - or cotton pads. If you have super sensitive skin, cotton pads will not tug or pull your skin at all, while they will remove all the cleansing oil. You can also use cleansing oil and then face wash, removing the oil effectively, as well as not stripping your skin.
At the end of the day, skin care is all about your skin. You may not always need to use an exfoliator, moisturizer, or toner. If your skin feels tight or uncomfortable after cleansing, you should consider oil cleansing. My line offers something for everyone. While not every product works for every type of skin, there is something for everyone.