Dry, sensitive skin is tricky to treat.
Skin becomes extremely reactive when inflammation is paired with the loss of the skin’s protective barrier.
To counteract this, I recommend using a product that mimics your skins natural composition.
One that contains lipids such as ceramides, essential fatty acids and cholesterol.
These are the protective oils that form your skins protective barrier:
- These are a complex mixture of components
- They help to create the acid mantle, which protects the skin from oxidative damage
Follow this link to find out more about fatty acids.
- Fatty acids, high in gamma linoleic acid are perfect for repairing the skin, keeping the epidermal layers intact. Both Borage seed and Evening Primrose, are a great example of such oils
- Avocado oil has repairing properties, due to it’s high levels of phytosterols
- Sunflower seed oil, naturally contains repairing ceramides
- It helps to make up the skins barrier function
- As a dry skin care ingredient, it works as a stabiliser, emollient and water binding agent
LIPIDS FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Lipids work by filling holes in the inter-cellular cement, preventing water loss in the skins tissues.
- These Lipids are composed of sugar, or monosaccharide and fat
- They form an important component of cell membranes and ceramides
- These help to coat cell walls
- They form a barrier, that holds skin and water content in place
- These are great for a sensitive skin
- They are composed of glycerole, fatty acids, and phosphate
- Phospholipids are essential for the form and function of our cell membranes, they help to provide a stable structure that surrounds the cell
- A good example of a phospholipid is soya lecithin
- Ceramides are an important structural component of our skin
- They are naturally occurring lipids
- Ceramides help with water retention and cellular regeneration
- They restore the skin’s barrier function, perfect for dry skin
Ingredients to avoid for a sensitive skin
There are a number of irritants in skin care products, that remove the skins valuable lipids.
They include drying astringent products, volatile agents such as isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, menthol, mint and citrus extracts.
Drying clays or any other ingredients that stimulate blood flow, should also be avoided.
Products that encourage natural exfoliation do have their place, but it is really important to ensure that this skin type is not over stimulated, therefore I would advise against formulas that enhance penetration of ingredients, such as alpha hydroxy acids and harsh exfoliators.
THE NAKED CHEMIST
Please don’t overlook your protective barrier, lipid ingredients are really important in fortifying it.
They are the perfect choice, especially when combined with soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients, to calm a sensitised skin.
That said, you do need to approach your dryness and sensitivity from a number of angles, because we are all metabolically different; what sets one skin off is not necessarily going to have the same reaction on another persons skin.
So use tried and tested anti-inflammatory botanicals and pair these with more sophisticated ingredients that address the nervous response.
And remember, try to keep your stress levels to a minimum, after all no amount of topical skin care will calm your skin, unless you are also giving it a little help from your mind!