1. MINIMIZE FRAGRANCE
“Eliminating fragrance greatly reduces the potential for irritation, “says Dr. Catherine Orentreich. Understand what the label lingo means: “Unscented” products may still contain masking agents so the product doesn’t appear to smell, while “fragrance-free” generally (but not always) indicates that no scents have been added. You can also scrutinize the small-print ingredient list for the words “fragrance” or “parfum.”
2. TAKE THE PATCH TEST
Whenever possible, ask for a product sample to try before you buy. Apply a dime-sized amount on the inside of your forearm twice a day for four days, suggests Dr. Lisa Kellett, dermatologist at the DLK on Avenue clinic in Toronto. If your skin stays in the clear, repeat the test on your jawline since your sensitivities can differ in these two areas of you body. If you still don’t react, you can safely add the product to your beauty regimen.
3. KNOW THAT YOUR FAVOURITE FORMULA CAN CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
If the same cleanser you’ve been using for years is suddenly giving you hives, the manufacturer may have altered the recipe. But even if it’s still exactly the same, environmental stress, illness, hormonal changes, medications and aging can all influence your sensitivity level. “An individual with normal skin can react to a product even after long use,” Orentreich says. It may be time for a smart switch.
4. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS
“I advise people using benzoyl peroxide for acne or vitamin A for anti-aging to use a pea-sized amount for their whole face,” says Kellett. “But people think, ‘if the size of a pea is good, I’ll use the size of a quarter,’ and they react with red, scaly skin. They think it’s too irritating, but they’re just using too much of it.”
5. KEEP IT CLEAN
Pay attention to product life span and the cleanliness of your makeup tools, Orentreich advises. “Look for brushes with antibacterial properties that protect against the growth of mould, fungus and bacteria, which can all cause skin sensitivity.”