Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Top Five Tips: How To Calm Down Irritated, Acne-Prone Skin

Are frustrated by acne products that burn?  Do you feel like every new skin care product stings and irritates your skin?  Are you tired of your sensitive, acne-prone skin?

You're not alone.  More and more people are complaining about sensitive skin and acne.  But surprisingly only about 5% of the population was born with truly sensitive skin.  So what's the problem?  Environmental factors and harsh skin care routines have left your skin raw and vulnerable. 

Follow my top five tips listed below, and you'll be on your way to soothing irritated, acne-prone skin and ultimately clearing your complexion:

1.  Lower your thermostat. 
Your water temperature should barely be above body temperature, yet most of us love the comfort of a hot shower.  If you can't handle cooling down your daily shower, wait to wash your face in the sink where you can control the temperature.  Hot water strips the skin, leaving it irritated and dry...not to mention red.   So stick to tepid water to wash your face.  Bonus tip: A splash of cold water after you're done rinsing has a vasoconstricting effect and creates the illusion of smaller pores.

2.  Limit cleansing to 30 seconds.
Most cleansers today contain either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate, which is irritating to the skin when left on the skin for long periods of time.  (In fact, sodium lauryl sulfate is used in lab studies whenever scientists need to induce irritation for whatever reason.) Many believe these chemicals should be banished all together from skincare, but when used correctly, these detergents are rather effective cleansers.  But cleanse wisely and limit the time they spend on your skin to thirty seconds maximum.  That includes rinsing time
Bonus tip:  Reduce irritation even further by reaching for an emollient makeup remover like Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm before sudsing up.  Many of us double or triple cleanse because we're relying on foaming agents to cut through our makeup.  This can cause irritation. 

3.  Pat your skin dry immediately after cleansing.  Don't rub.
This step is pretty simple, but many of us are guilty of being too rough with our skin or skipping the drying step all together.

4.  Wait twenty minutes in between products.
Applying any product--medicated or not--will lead to further irritation if your skin is already irritated.  Wait until your skin calms down before applying the next product.  This will also make sure your skin has properly absorbed the product, which will help them work more effectively.

5.  Use all of your products on dry skin unless otherwise instructed.
If you've followed the last two steps, you should already be doing this.  But I feel the need to say this anyway.  Many people tell you to apply your moisturizer to wet skin in order to trap in the moisture, but today too many products contain exfoliating ingredients, which are often activated by water.  This can cause additional irritation because a stronger product usually comes with unwanted side effects.  So don't outsmart your products.

Hope this helps soothe your sensitive, acne-prone skin!  Remember to be gentle with your skin no matter what you're using.

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