I write this post to share and hear from you, my fellow sensitive skin souls. We all have so much wisdom we can share about tips and tricks that have worked for our temperamental hosts. I’ve recently gone through an incredibly challenging emotional time that led to a panic flare-up, which, in turn, led to a skin flare-up. I’ve struggled to get my skin back to a good place.
Dealing with the frustration of breakouts, cystic squatters, my face feeling like it’s on fire, and embarrassing redness, I decided it was time for this post. This post may be helpful even if you don’t have dry, sensitive skin. We all go through stages where our skin just goes on strike. Whether it be because of hormones, a change in climate, or an anxiety disorder rearing its ugly head.
During my recent tribulations, I was also not able to use my regular FIGGI skincare routine, and I had to use whatever was available. I was traveling, which added a lot of extra stress to my skin. Airplanes are the worst for your skin, especially long-haul flights. Not to mention the food options available during these travel sessions.
This is my SOS skincare routine. The one I whip out whenever my skin starts screaming at me and spitting back everything I try to throw at it. It does not work instantly for me because skincare is a journey, as we all know. I could lie and say, “this will fix your troubles overnight,” but I know my Goddesses are much more intelligent than that and know skin takes time.
Stop wearing makeup
When my skin freaks out, I immediately stop using any makeup. I don’t use foundation, but even the eye makeup I sometimes wear can make my skin feel even worse. I usually stop for at least 14 days just to get my skin back into a good space and to ensure I am not adding any unnecessary irritants into the mix. Many makeup products have extremely irritating ingredients like fragrance, sulfates, and different acids like alpha hydroxy or glycolic acid.
It’s in the water
There are two actions I take here. When traveling, like during the skin strike, I immediately stop cleansing or rinsing my face with tap water. I only use previously boiled and cooled-down water. I will save this for later use in a cool, dry place. I don’t always know what’s in the tap water. Still, I know some areas, for example, have such an excessive amount of chlorine in the tap water or hard water that my overly sensitive skin does not appreciate in this state. Switching to distilled water just helps me cleanse and refresh my skin without creating a war.
If I’m at home and using the same water I usually use, but my skin is on strike, I stop rinsing with just water. I add a bag of Rooibos tea to my water and then rinse my skin with this. I will also use this while cleansing. The Rooibos really soothes and calms my skin. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties that are a true knight in shining armor to my skin.
When I am emotionally distressed, stressed, anxious, or traveling, I tend to drink less water. If all these situations coexist simultaneously, as was my recent case, then dehydration is at the forefront. Skin struggles to replenish itself if our body water content is not optimal. Because I also have dry skin, this one is even more important to me. A critical pointer here: Consuming enough water is not enough to rehydrate or maintain healthy hydration in the skin, but it certainly helps. Many other things can contribute to skin dryness, like bathing in water that’s too hot, not using the correct products, or skipping moisturizing steps. Unfortunately, dry skin tends to be a little more sensitive and prickly. So staying well hydrated is a big one for me.
Stop targeted treatments
I immediately stop everything “extra” in my routine. These are usually the targeted treatments that contain actives. I only use the basics: cleanser and moisturizer. I will continue this ritual for at least 14 days until my skin has had an opportunity to breathe and calm down. Actives can irritate any skin type but especially those of us with sensitive skin. It’s difficult to avoid these products altogether because we all have specific things we would like to target, be it dark spots, uneven skin tone, or fine lines. However, stopping this to give your skin a chance to reset is a good idea.
If I have a flare, I can always be assured that I can find the cause after some investigation. I like to go through a checklist when I am unsure. This doesn’t often happen because 80% of the time, my skin reaction is due to an anxiety flare-up and everything that comes with that. So the first action is to take my anxiety steps to restore my equilibrium. This means focusing more on breath work, meditation, stress-releasing yoga, not skipping meals, eating balanced meals, etc. It’s a journey, as you can clearly see, and there is no single one-and-done fix. This is why it is essential for me to constantly work at maintaining this healthy lifestyle, so my scales tip more toward the healthy equilibrium than they tip to the “freak-out” side.
However, if this is not the problem, I usually refer to this little checklist:
- Was there a change in hormones lately? Hello Aunty Flo.
- Did something in my skincare routine change? Did I add or remove a product, for example?
- What has my diet been like for the past 14 days? Yes, Christmas Season, I see you.
- Am I really drinking enough water? I have a water bottle that helps me track my daily consumption.
- How have I been sleeping? Being tired affects many facets of our life, and the skin is not immune to this.
The kindest thing I can do for my skin is to just love it. Railing against the forces that be for bestowing me with temperamental skin serves no purpose. Part of learning to love the literal skin I’m in is being good to it and giving it what it needs when it needs it. Taking such drastic steps for 14 days seems challenging, but if you have a healthy skincare routine, this should not be too imposing. Trust me, my skin always ends up thanking me.
Love and Light