Ok, so you’re having crazy skin moment. First things first – Don’t Stress – that’s the last thing you need. You might have had a reaction to a new skincare product, a sunburn (wear your SPF kids 😉 ), stress, diet – you name it – or unfortunately you just have reactive skin and now you’re left with skin that feels and looks sore and irritated, you might have developed some red patches, roughness or even large areas of dryness that are now shedding flaky skin. What can you do when your skin is angry? What products should you turn to calm down irritation?
Number one tip – Don’t go nuts and throw a million things at your face. That’s probably the worst thing you can do ( been there, done that, lesson learnt). Choose your products wisely until any reaction has calmed down. We’ll talk a little on some of my saviors further down – but this article is less focused on specific products, more about the entire SOS situation.
Keep it bland. Try to limit or eliminate fragranced products, don’t go using AHA’s, BHA’s, Retinols or any kind of active ingredients. Your face won’t age 10 years in the week or two it’ll take to calm your face. You will be fine.
Assuming it’s a product you’ve reacted to and you know the culprit – Bin it. Or pass along to someone who’s skin may not have the reaction – but give them a warning. Before tossing, take note of the ingredients. Does anything stand out as a warning sign? Alcohol/alcohol denat high up the inci list? Same goes for parfum/fragrance? These are two greatest culprits for me personally. But you may notice a pattern with reaction to other ingredients such as essential oils, sulfates, glycolic, certain SPF filters, I mean the list can go on and on – Everyone’s skin is different and it could be any ingredient. If you find you’ve reacted to a few different products over time, try and read the inci lists on them all and see if there’s a common denominator. I’d take a bet there will be.
If you have no idea which product might be pissing your face off, pop them all aside and when the inflammation has calmed down introduce each one back slowly and one at a time. My general rule of the thumb though is that it’s likely the newest one that’s causing the problem – Not always though. If you started using a bunch of new stuff at once… then you’ll have to work it out the long way and introduce one at a time (leave a good 3-5 days preferably a week or more between introducing new items).
If it’s sunburn – first off – naughty, naughty. You will likely want to take a slightly different route as far as products are concerned. Light, breathable layers are best. No matter how dry or sore your face feels in the first few days – if your face is burning and is hot to the touch – DO NOT go applying thick occlusive layers. You will literally seal the heat in your face. If you have an Aloe Vera plant – it’s highly recommended to apply it directly from the plant to your affected area. You could also buy aloe gel from a pharmacy – make sure to check that its pure. Just keep it to light layers for a few day and treat the redness and dehydration – worry about the aftermath of blistering or flaking skin after the initial burn has subsided and your skin is no longer radiating heat. I shouldn’t have to say this but seriously don’t go back in the sun. And apply and reapply your SPF daily. Yes, every day.
So what if the cause is stress and/or diet? These are sometimes harder to break the habit or change the circumstance. I mean, we all have (or should have) the ability to control what we eat and if something is reacting with your skin and you find it unpleasant to deal with you should try to reduce your consumption. I mean, if you care. And I assume you do if you’re reading this though right?! Stress can encompass so many variables, some of which may be under your control and some that could be completely out of your hands. If you can’t change or better your stressful situation you could try to at least carve out a bit of ‘YOU’ time during each day. Whether it’s a quiet coffee stop on the way to work, a yoga class, a walk… try to do something that puts your mind at peace for a few moments each day.
Lets discuss some of my top do’s and dont’s
In absolutely no particular order 😉
- Avoid harsh ingredients. Alcohol/denat, parfum, acids, scrubs. Just no.
- Keep your skincare basic and consistent until its healed.
- Choose a suitable soothing routine to stick with until everything has settled down.
- More than ever keep your face OUT of the hot shower water. Same goes for at the sink. Cool water only.
- If you are really irritated and it’s possible – try to use rinse off cleansers rather than using a flannel or wash cloth. Even that little bit of physical exfoliation could further inflame your skin.
- Keep up your SPF application. Try switching to a physical SPF (Zinc/Titanium) if you are finding chemical screens are not playing nicely with your skin.
- Layer your soothing ingredients as and when your face feels uncomfortable.
- You might find your makeup wreaks a bit of havoc with your irritation. Keep that simple too if that’s the case.
- If you are experiencing a major skin reaction this article is not aimed at you. You should seek medical advice. The same is true for a reaction that is not getting any better or is worsening over time.
Alright, So What Do You Suggest I use?
My routine gets pretty basic in these times. Most of these products I use throughout the months and enjoy but they particularly work well all together in times of skin dire straits.
- Cleansers – I will use Clinique TTDO for makeup/SPF removal and LRP Toleraine for a second or morning cleanse. Other options could be Bioderma to remove makeup and this cream cleanser.
- Treatment – I keep this step pretty basic. My number one go-to is Bioderma Matricium. This was specifically formulated to help with rebuilding injured tissue, as an after treatment for cosmetic procedures such as laser/dermarolling etc, boosting collagen. Perfect for even the most sensitive of skins. I also very highly recommend Zelens Power D. This nourishing oil packed full of Provitamin D will help the skin repair barrier function, provide essential lipids that will protect the skin against microbial attack – stuff like spots and dermatitis. It is a powerhouse of both protection and repair. I don’t even save this just for the bad times – I use and benefit from it regularly!
- Moisturizer/The Top Layer – ok, so there’s a few I use at this step (not all at once – a girl just likes to have options you know?) So I reach for La Roche Posay Cicaplast when my skin is in the worst way. It is a creamy zinc spiked balm that coats the skin like a blanket and repairs while protects. Gentle enough to even use on babies! Every household needs one tube. Next on my list is the Indeed Labs 10Balm. This stuff is magic and incredibly soothing. It’s a good option for daytime if the LRP isn’t sitting well under makeup (which I find to be the case) or if the feel of the LRP is a bit too heavy, this is a lot lighter on the skin. When my skin is coming good and I don’t need such hard working soothers I go for the following – still ultra gentle but not quite so “SOS” if you get me? They are First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair, Drunk Elephant Protini, Youth to the People Adaptogen Cream.
- Tools – So lastly we have tools. And I only have one. Its the Dr Dennis Gross Spectralite FaceWare Pro. This is an at home LED device that you charge and wear for a three minute cycle. You can choose from three programs – red light anti-aging/collagen building, blue light – acne/spot treatment or a combined red/blue for both. Now it’s not specifically marketed as a treatment for inflamed skin, but it certainly has a profound immediate effect on areas of irritation in my experience. Redness significantly decreases each cycle I use. No, it’s not a cheap option by any stretch but if you are concerned with ageing skin or spots this is a worthwhile investment and has an extra backup reason for having it – reducing irritation!
Do you have a tried and true calm down product? Any top tips you want to add? Leave it down below. Let’s discuss x