How to care for sensitive skin

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

If you have a sensitive or reactive skin – prone to redness, irritation and itching – your aim is to keep it cool, calm and collected, but can you keep it healthy and youthful, too?

Anyone who has sensitive skin knows that this skin condition is not easy to live with – dryness, irritation, flaking, pimples, redness, not to mention stinging, itching and burning sensations – are factors you may have to live with. And the added sting is that this skin is more prone to premature ageing.

Why are we sensitive?
Some of us are born with reactive skin, especially if it doesn’t produce enough natural oil to keep it moisturised. But we may also develop sensitivity to certain substances, like certain types of skin-care ingredients, fragrance, cosmetics, and even jewellery (nickel based). Stress and environmental factors are also triggers. If you are prone to sensitivity, you need to be careful about what you use on your skin.

What to avoid
The introduction of a number of active ingredients may prove problematic for normal skin types, let alone sensitive skins. These include retinoids (vitamin A), fruit acids (AHA, BHA, salicylic acid), alcohol, fragrance, certain essential oils, and the foaming ingredients sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulphate (SLES) – foaming ingredients in cleansers and shampoos, as well as traditional soaps.

We recommend
To avoid an unhappy experience, get professional advice from an aesthetic doctor or skin-care professional, who will get you started on a medical skin-care routine that is neutral and free of ingredients that will potentially irritate the skin. Once your skin is stabilised, you may – with the assistance of an aesthetic doctor – start treating other skin concerns you have by carefully introducing certain active ingredients one at a time.

Keep calm
Cleansing is one of the key areas you need to get right. Avoiding soap-based cleansers and foaming ingredients like SLS, SLES are essential. Choose gentle cleansers designed to remove impurities and excess oil without drying or irritating the skin.

For more information on skin care products or correct supplementation, visit Skin Renewal on or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).

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