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Everything You Need To Know About Sensitive Skin Header 02

The Basics

  • Your skin goes through a lot.
  • On a daily basis, it is put to the test. It’s exposed to weather conditions. The environment.
  • When you think of your skin as an organ, you can start to see how hard it works!
  • Every individual person’s skin is fundamentally delicate.
  • Your skin is a defensive organ after all - it’s constantly working to keep the good stuff in, and stop the bad stuff getting in. That’s a pretty epic job your skin has!
  • So it’s only natural that at times your skin might struggle and feel sensitive. This happens to some of us more often than others.
  • We all know what it’s like to have sensitised skin but few of us really know how to best treat our sensitive skin.
  • We want to go back to the basics of sensitive skin to fully understand what’s going on when we have flare ups so we can best know what our skin really needs.
  • At JBC we aren't interested in quick fix cover ups for sensitive skin. Too often we’ve seen beauty companies heaping shame and stigma on people with sensitive skin, that might look sore or painful, telling them how they can make their skin look normal again. We want your skin to be healthy.
  • That means understanding the root cause of the sensitivity and how to treat your skin for lasting skin health. So you can be the happy, healthy, remarkable you, and love the skin you’re in!
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What is sensitive skin?

You are more complex that marketers would have you believe. Sensitive skin is not straightforward, to be honest it’s not really a skin ‘type!’ it doesn’t fit neatly into a box. You don’t fit neatly into a box! Although every skin is unique and different, we can see some common features. As you start to understand how your skin works, and what might make it sensitive, you can see what the right treatment is for you. 

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Sensitive Skin v Sensitised Skin

First off, you might have seen the words sensitive skin and sensitised skin used a lot in skin care. Although they are often used like they are interchangeable, actually, they are two very different things. And the main difference in genetics. It’s like the inside versus the outside cause.

Sensitive skin

The cause of sensitive skin is on the inside - in your genes. Your skin is inherently sensitive. Truly sensitive skin is a genetic condition - you will have been born with sensitive skin, maybe with a lower amount of pigment, a thin epidermis, and blood vessels close to the skin surface, which is what causes a redness in appearance. Your epidermal lipid barrier, the outer layer of your skin that does the protecting job we talked about earlier, will have a defect and so will allow allergens and chemicals in, irritating the skin.

Sensitised Skin

Sensitised Skin is what most of us who say we have sensitive skin actually have, and if the cause of sensitive skin is on the inside, then the cause of sensitised skin is on the outside - the result of lifestyle, environment and products. Sensitised skin reacts to changes in lifestyle - stress, lack of sleep; the environment - pollutants, cigarette smoke, weather conditions such as sun exposure; and the use of certain products - some fragrances, essential oils and natural products can cause a reaction.

The Science Behind Sensitive Skin

Your skin is pretty incredible.

It is made up of layers, each having their own job. When it comes to explaining sensitivity, there are two we are interested in:

  • The Hydrolipid Film - your skin is covered with a protective film, called the ‘acid mantle’ or ‘hydro lipid film’, which is made up of secretion from the major sweat glands. The film is made up of lactic and amino acids, fatty acids from sebum and water. It’s slightly acidic. Its job is to protect your skin from allergens, bacteria, wind and pollutants, as well as helping it retain moisture. Sensitivity happens when the hydrolipid film layer is impaired and allows these bad things to get in and irritate your skin.
  • The stratum corneum - your outermost layer of skin, underneath the hydrolipid film. If your allergens are pushed through this layer of skin, that’s when you’ll notice deeper reddening and when your skin might need a bit more help to recover.

What about the other layers of your skin? Well, sensitivity in deeper layers of the skin is more commonly recognised as medical skin conditions like eczema and so would need medical advice and treatment.

Psoriasis – this is a skin condition where the epidermis produces too many cells, which leads to a condition that feels scaly but is really like having too much skin. It is the result of a struggling immune system and you should seek medical advice for this condition.

Eczema – patches of skin become red, itchy, inflamed – not really known why – usually connected to dermatitis.

Dermatitis – this is a skin condition that is itchy, red skin that can be caused by eczema or contact.

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What Does Sensitive Skin Look And Feel Like?

Signs of Skin Sensitivity

  • Reddened areas
  • Hot to touch
  • Itchy
  • Burns fast in the sun
  • Reacts to changes of temperature
  • Looks flushed
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Breakouts that are sore
  • Reactions to products
  • Rosacea

A Simple Test

  • Smooth your thumbs, gently, over your complexion.
  • Look out for areas that radiate heat, or feel hot and itchy to touch.
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Why Do I Have Sensitive or Sensitised Skin?

You are unique. Your skin is a unique organ that reacts in its own way to the world around you. So although we perhaps can’t answer the question of why you have skin sensitivity, we can give you some common causes so you can understand what might make your skin sensitive.

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It’s In Your Genes

For some people it is a hereditary thing. Maybe your mum or dad has a skin condition, like eczema and so do you. It’s really common for sensitive skin to be passed down through the family.

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Weak Immune System

If you have a pre-existing medical condition that affects your immune system you may find that your skin is prone to sensitivity and reaction. The medications we may be taking for other conditions can also make our skin more susceptible to sensitivity.

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Hormones

When our hormone levels change our skin can react and become more sensitive. We can see this during pregnancy and menopause.

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Stress

Life is busy. It can feel like a juggling act at times just to get through the day. Prolonged stress, even when it’s in a job we enjoy, takes it toll on our skin. Whether it’s caring for children, a dependent or starting a new job, lifestyle changes also affect our skin and can result in sensitivity.

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Weather

Changes in the weather (and depending where you live that can be varied) have an affect on our skin. Sensitivity often is triggered when you are going from the heat of outside to an air conditioned building, or from a windy cold street to a heated office.

What You Eat Really Matters!

It’s true, what you put into your body will show on your skin. Eat a rubbish diet and expect to see the results. But eat a healthy, balanced diet and expect to reap the rewards!

Why? Because your skin is an organ. And just like we understand that organs like the heart is affected by diet, we should expect the same from the skin.

So what are you saying… count the calories? No. Not necessarily. At JBC we want you to feel confident and comfortable in the skin you’re in, whatever your dress size, height or weight.

But there are some essential vitamins and minerals we need for our skin to be healthy, we’re saying make sure you have a healthy balanced diet packed full of goodness… there’s room for cake alongside the vitamins!

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Don’t Wait for The Triggers and Flare-Ups

When we talk about triggers, we’re talking about the thing that sparks a flare-up.

Now this is important -

If you only freak out about your skin when your skin freaks out and has a flare-up, that is a problem. Skin care is an everyday thing.

Neglecting your skin will cause it to flare up. So get ahead of the game with a skin care regime that repairs and protects the hydrolipid barrier.

What is a flare-up?

Your body is amazing - did you know that? It produces a natural inflammatory response to protect and heal itself. Which is pretty incredible! Damage to tissue, like wounds or infections would never heal without inflammation - it would just become more and more damaged.

There are two types of inflammatory responses your body produces - acute and chronic.

Chronic inflammation is a more serious response your body has to an underlying condition. This can last for months and needs treatment from a medical professional. This is when your body hasn’t been able to heal the problem with acute inflammation.

Acute inflammation is the response that we are most interested in when it comes to sensitive skin. That is what we mean by a flare-up.

Think back to the last time you scratched your arm. What happened? Chances are a red mark appeared near enough straight away. That is a sign that blood has been redirected to the site to help it heal. There’s a complicated scientific process to this that we don’t need to go into in detail, we just need to know that the reddening is a sign of increased blood in the area.

The same is true when your skin flares up and becomes reddened. Rather than trying to cover up the process, we should be marvelling at our amazing body that knows how to help us heal and be healthy!

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The Most Sensitive Skin On Your Face is…?

Well if it were a competition it might be a draw - between the two areas that have a different make-up than the rest of your face. Your eyes and your lip area have a thinner outer layer, which gives the skin in those areas a more transparent look.

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Sensitivity & Puffiness Around the Eyes

We don’t always associate puffy eyes with skin sensitivity. But a lack of proper nutrition and increased consumption of processed foods can result in excess salt intake, generating puffiness under the eyes. Capillaries can also stretch and leak, further contributing to puffiness. This can happen with age: the body retains more fluid than usual, which places increased pressure on skin around your eyes.

Dermalogica Stress Eye Positive is a great product for combatting puffy, reddened eyes, and is great for sensitised and sensitive skin.

Download the guide to find out more:

DOWNLOAD NOW

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Sensitivity Around the Lips

Your lovely lips lack the protective outer layer (stratum corneum) that facial skin has? In fact, skin on your lips has fewer layers overall (3-5 layers versus 16 across the face.) Lips also lack the same composition of oil and sweat glands that provide moisture to other areas of your face. At the same time, saliva dries out lips natural oils. All of this can make your lips prone to sensitivity.

Dermalogica Nightly Lip Treatment is a great product for sensitive lips, to repair and protect the layers of skin around your lips.

Download the guide to find out more about your skin around your lips:

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Calming Skin Sensitivity

Before we move on to skincare for sensitive and sensitised skin, and start to look at the many amazing products that JBC have found across the market specifically developed for those experiencing skin sensitivity, like yours, it’s worth just touching on some of the other ways people calm and control their sensitive skin.

  • Elimination - if you think your sensitivity is related to a particular food or drink try eliminating the suspected culprit! You’ll need to give it a few weeks to see if it really is making a difference.
  • Food Journal - some people use a food journal to jot down everything they eat and drink to try and work out what they might need to eliminate.
  • Dermatologist - you might want to visit a dermatologist who can advise you on a specific skin condition you might have.
  • Skin Products - you might want to change skin products, try new ones or reduce the number of different brands you use.

However you choose to try to calm skin sensitivity, keep one thing in the front of your mind -

Your goal is to build back up the hydrolipid layer (the acid mantle).

That’s the protective film that covers your outer layer of skin.

How you do that will be unique to your unique skin and lifestyle. Maybe it will be cutting back on potent products, or maybe it will buying your first ever bottle of cleanser!

So that brings us on nicely to looking at skincare for sensitive skin.

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Skincare for Sensitive Skin

So at JBC, we’re passionate about skincare! We know that great skin is the result of a great skin care routine. We also know that it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Your skin is far more complex than that! Our aim at JBC is to help you to choose the right skincare for your skin, so you can be the happy remarkable you!

At the start we said we’d go back to the basics, so we think it’s only right to go back to the basics of skincare too.

So cleanse, tone, moisturise… right?! Well, kind of. At JBC we like the double-cleanse mantra.

So Double-Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise…. Oh and throw in exfoliate and add a serum!

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The Double-Cleanse - How To Clean Sensitive Skin

Two common issues we come across when chatting to those of you who have a history of sensitive and sensitised skin is:

  • Too much cleansing

There are those of you we chat to who have prolonged sensitivity but continue to use cleansers with potent ingredients, maybe because you have breakouts and so want to get rid of the dirt and grime. But this actually has a negative effect! You don’t need harsh cleansers - your skin cleans itself to some degree. So STOP! No, don't stop reading - just stop using harsh cleansers!

  • Not enough cleansing

The second thing is those of you we chat to who have sensitive skin who don’t use cleanser. But you just said your skin cleans itself to some extent… well yes, but it still needs some help! Just in the right way!

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So what is the answer for sensitive and sensitised skin?

Use a cleanser developed with skin sensitivity in mind.

And there’s plenty to choose from!

Whether you like a foaming face wash, like Guinot Bioxygene Soft Cleansing Foam, a cream based cleanser like Guinot Hydra Lait Confort or a gel cleanser like Mary Cohr Perfect Gel Cleanser

If you’re worried about breakouts, you can try Dermaolgica Breakout Clearing Foamwash

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So what was that about Double-Cleanse?

Now this might sound a bit strange when we’ve just talked about people over-cleaning their skin, but double-cleanse is perfect for sensitive skin, and in fact, all skin types.

So double-cleanse… cleanse twice? Yep. Well, kind of. It all about thorough cleansing. The first time you cleanse you are removing make-up, the real surface level dirt and grime. The second cleanse is treating your individual skin further and removing excess oil, dead skin or any other specific cleansing needs your skin has.

But won’t that irritate my skin?

No. It will actually help. If you have sensitised skin it might be just what your skin is craving, and if you have truly sensitive skin, it won’t be an irritant if you use products developed with sensitive skin in mind.

Try a pre-cleanse followed by a cleanser to protect the skin barrier.

A pre-cleanse like Dermalogica Pre-Cleanse or Ark Skincare Pro remove Pre Skin Cleanse is a great place to start.

Maybe try following it with Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser, which works to rebuild the hydrolipid layer.

This two step process ensures your skin is free from impurities and has a helping hand in sealing the hydrolipid layer.

Micellar Water

Ditch The Makeup Wipes for Micellar Water

Another common misconception we find at JBC is that make-up wipes are somehow better for sensitive skin. This is categorically not true!

Our advice - ditch them!

A solution that is just as quick and convenient is a miscellar water like Mary Cohr Soothing Micellar Water and cotton pads.

What is it? Water?! No, don’t be fooled by the name… and the consistency. Hidden in there are tiny microscopic oil molecules called micelles that dissolve dirt and makeup.

Whereas makeup wipes work by stripping your complexion of bad stuff (and also a lot of good stuff normally!) micellar water dissolves the bad stuff while leaving the good stuff intact! Which is great for sensitive skin.

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Toners

To Tone Or Not To Tone - The Sensitivity Question

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​What can a toner do for my sensitive skin?

As well as soothing your skin, toners like Dermalogica Ultra-Calming Mist also prepare your skin for moisturising, opening the pores so your skin can drink in maximum benefit! This is great for sensitised skin.

We can also recommend: 

Dermalogica Multi Active Toner

Ark Skincare Hydrating Toner

Dermalogica Antioxidant Hydramist

Guinot Lotion Hydra Confort

Guinot Lotion Hydra Fraicher

Guinot Microbiotic Lotion

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Moisturisers for Sensitive Skin

It’s really important you get the right moisturiser for your skin. A lot of people don’t use moisturiser on sensitive skin because they think it’s better to go without. Or they go to the other extreme and pile it on when they want to soothe flare-ups. Neither way is the right way to go when you moisturise sensitive and sensitised skin.

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What we need is a regular skin care routine that includes a moisturiser that can help rebuild the hydrolipid layer. That’s the goal remember, when it comes to skin sensitivity. To repair that hydrolipid layer so our skin is protected from outside pollutants and irritants.

Our advice? Choose a moisturiser specifically developed for sensitive skin.

There are some fabulous choices on JBC. Like Guniot Creme Pur Confort, Dermalogica Barrier Repair or Ark Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisuriser.

So that’s double-cleanse, tone and moisturise… the foundations of a skin care regime… well not quite all of them! We just want to throw in exfoliate and serum… oh and phyto replenish oil!

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Phyto Replenish Oil

Alongside your moisturiser, a product that is fantastic for sensitive skin is Phyto Replenish Oil.

What is

Phyto Replenish Oil?

Simply put, it is a plant-based oil for your skin. But don’t let that put you off. Oils are clever. If you want a dewy glow, you will need oil in your skincare routine. Plant-based oils like Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil can repair your skin on a deep level where other products cannot go and strengthen your skin’s natural defences like no other. Oils are actually the most active part of your skincare routine, so you must add one if you want to see a change in your complexion for good.

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What Does Phyto Replenish Oil Do?

Remember that hydro-lipid film we keep going on about - that film on top of the top layer of your skin that keeps nasty pollutants out and lock good skin products in?

Well, oils are highly effective at restoring your skin’s lipid content, as well as repairing your skin’s natural barrier. Your lipid content constitutes all of the nutrients, amino acids and natural good oils that make skin’s structure supple and makes your skin smooth to touch and not rough. If you have lost a little weight or enjoyed a few too many cocktails over summer you might notice that your skin feels dry, not dewy. That’s because everyday things like stress, alcohol, weight loss and UV sunlight exposure can deplete your skin’s lipid content over time. Oils can put back lost lipids fast.

Find out more by downloading our free guide about Dermalogica Phyto Replenish Oil:

DOWNLOAD NOW

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Exfoliation and Sensitive Skin

OK, so this is a twice weekly part of your skin care routine, not daily.

One of the biggest myths of all when it comes to sensitive skin is that exfoliation is bad. No! No, no, no!

We want to fly the flag for exfoliants! Especially for sensitised skin.

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Of course you need to choose well for your unique skin.

If you have reddened, sore skin, we aren’t saying you should grab a face scrub or use a mitt.

We love Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - it might feel like a mask going on, it’s creamy and doesn’t have the same texture as you might normally associate with exfoliants. But as Dermalogica skin therapist Emma told us here:

It is actually one of the more intense exfoliants for your skin. It’s just really clever and does it gently!

If your skin is broken, we wouldn’t recommend using this exfoliator but if you have generally sensitised skin or are prone to eczema it is a great choice to try!

It helps to encourage cell turnover so any areas of dry flaky skin can be renewed and repaired. Oh and it feels amazing!

Don’t forget you can try samples of our products -  LINK

So we’ve got Double-Cleanse, Tone, Moisturise, Phyto Replenish Oil daily and Exfoliate twice weekly… and we’re done? Not quite!

But we promise you’re going to love the last bit! Serums.

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Serums and Sensitive Skin

What’s a serum? It’s the little known secret of skin care.

It’s basically a fertiliser for your skin.

We normally recommend serums twice or three times a year. You basically apply them AM and PM, before moisturiser, as a boost for the skin. You keep going until all the serum has gone.

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Guinot Hydra Sensitive Serum, which is an in-depth calming solution for sensitive skin, helping to reduce colour and desensitise.

Using a serum is great when you have hypersensitivity. It is a great boost alongside your normal skincare routine. If you find changes in seasons to heighten your sensitised skin then using a serum is a great way to give your skin added protection and TLC.

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Science and Sensitive Skin

At Jersey Beauty Company we love learning about our skin. We think it’s really important to have education about our skin and its needs so we can learn how to best treat our skin.

Some areas of the beauty industry purely focus on the look of your skin, which we don’t like. We want to have healthy skin - which will look fantastic. We don’t believe that you lose beauty as your skin ages. We think that beauty is having healthy, happy skin that is a reflection of the remarkable you!  

So we think it’s important to focus on the root causes of issues facing our skin. We want to learn the science behind skin care so we are better equipped to treat our skin, whatever our age or concern.

When it comes to sensitive skin, there is a lot of talk about science, mainly around what’s bad for your skin. We want to dispel some myths and look at three apparently big no-no’s for sensitive and sensitised skin:

  • Parabens
  • Ceramides
  • Fragrance

We ask scientist Chris, editor of Personal Care Magazine, for his scientific opinion on how safe each of these are for sensitive skin and which (if any) we should be swerving!

Are Parabens Bad for Sensitive Skin?

What even are parabens?

So you’ve probably seen that word in beauty blogs, newspapers and maybe on the back of products, but what is a paraben? It’s a term for a class of preservatives - so they are put in products to preserve them. We say products but actually, they aren’t just found in beauty products. They’re used in pharmaceuticals and they naturally occur in some foods. So what we’re saying is, we actually consume a lot of parabens already? Yeah, probably.


What’s the problem with parabens?

So what’s the sudden problem with them? Well it’s not actually that recent a thing - Chris tells us that nearly fifteen years ago, a couple of scientists published some papers about links to parabens and cancer.

Right, well that makes more sense. So why weren't they banned straight away?

Chris explains it’s not that straightforward. The research was into a specific use of parabens in deodorant and the effects of breast skin cells. Which is strange, says Chris, as 99.9% of deodorants don’t have parabens in them.

From what seems like quite flimsy evidence there was a huge backlash against parabens in the beauty industry and companies started making ‘paraben-free’ products.

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Parabens and Blueberries

Imagine a nice portion of fresh blueberries. A super-fruit? Antioxidant? Good for you? Yes! And also full of parabens. In fact you’d consume up to fifty times the amount of parabens from the blueberries than you would through using a skin cream preserved with parabens.

But what about the science?

Science agrees. The European Commission has scientific committees whose job it is to explore controversial subjects, like parabens. The Non-Food Scientific Committees have done extensive research and still say using parabens in skin care is safe.

But is paraben-free not better just in case?

That all depends - on what you replace the parabens with. You see, Chris explains, they are in there to do a job - to preserve the life of your skin care product.

Paraben free doesn’t mean preservative free.

What about parabens and my sensitive skin?

Whether your skin is truly sensitive or sensitised, you need to choose products that suit your unique skin. If you have sensitive skin, you need to look into what your paraben-free skin care product is using as an alternative preservative to see the effect it might have on your skin. Some of the replacement chemicals being used have actually caused increased allergic reactions.

There is no link to say that parabens irritate sensitive or sensitised skin any more than any other ingredient in your skin care products.

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Are Ceramides Safe for Sensitive Skin?

So next new word to learn - ceramides.

What are they?

They’re amazing for sensitive skin is what they are! They’re a type of waxy fat that naturally occur on the surface of the skin.

Remember when we talked about the hydrolipid film  - the protective oily cover over the upper layer of our skin (the stratum corneum)? Well ceramides are one third of what makes up that barrier. And we know from before that to treat sensitive or sensitised skin we are always looking to rebuild and repair that hydrolipid film, so ceramides are not only safe for sensitive skin, they’re a must!

Why are ceramides so great for sensitive skin?

Your skin won’t reject them - when your skin is sensitive or sensitised, it often can reject even helpful ingredients in skin care products. It’s almost like your skin has been pushed to its limits when it's dry and sensitive and can’t cope with anything new. Which is why ceramides are perfect. Because the ceramides in skin care products mirror the natural ceramides in your skin. It’s like they trick even sensitive skin into thinking they are already a part of the skin, so they aren’t rejected and don’t cause a reaction. They just get straight to work.

They help repair the hydrolipid barrier - when your skin is sensitive, this barrier is impaired. Ceramides are great as an active ingredient in rebuilding this barrier and strengthening your skin’s protection.

They make your skin more comfortable - by beginning that super important work of repairing that outer barrier ceramides also make your skin more comfortable, as it is less open to irritation from environment, UV rays and weathering.

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A Treat For Skin Sensitivity with Ceramides

Guinot Serum Nutri Cellulaire is a real treat serum for sensitive or sensitised skin. It’s a great way to kickstart that barrier repair and rebuild.

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Is Fragrance Free The Answer for Sensitive Skin?

Maybe the biggest misunderstanding we get when it comes to sensitive skin is when people say,

“I can only use fragrance-free products because I have sensitive skin.”

With the help of scientist Chris we want to bust two myths around fragrance-free products.

1st Myth - Fragrance-Free Products Are Better For Sensitive Skin

What even does fragrance-free mean? That depends, on your understanding of what a fragrance is. Chris explains it scientifically, “a fragrance is put together with what are classed as fragrant compounds. When you have got a product and you see “parfum” that means it contains a cocktail of these fragrance ingredients. A lot of which are classed as allergens.” It isn’t the fragrance that causes the issues, it’s the allergens.

Chris provided us with a comprehensive list of these allergens we actually need to avoid:


Amyl cinnamal; Benzyl alcohol; Cinnamyl alcohol; Citral; Eugenol; Hydroxycitronellal; Isoeugenol; Amylcinnamyl alcohol; Benzyl salicylate; Cinnamal; Coumarin; Geraniol; Hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde; Anise alcohol; Benzyl cinnamate; Farnesol; Butylphenyl methylpropional; Linalool; Benzyl benazoate; Citronellol; Hyexyl cinnamal; Limonene; Menthyl 2-octynoate; Evernia prunastri; Evernia furfuracea


2nd Myth: You’re Better Off With Essential Oils If You have Sensitive Skin

A lot of people who opt for fragrance-free products for their sensitive skin might consider essential oils. After all they’re naturally fragranced so will be better for the skin, won’t they?

Not necessarily, says Chris.

“Essential oils are natural fragrances so they are naturally rich in the fragrance compounds (allergens) that I mentioned, the likes of “citrol”, “eugenol” or “citronellol”. So what you are doing, instead of using a synthetic or formulated fragrance that’s had consideration for the levels of these different allergens, you could be putting something on neat which has a colossal amount of some of these allergens in there.” The same rules apply. If there is an allergen that naturally occurs in the essential oils, it will be listed on the product.

Chris explains you are actually better off using fragranced products rather than essential oils, as they are more likely to have lower levels of allergens. He explains, “when we talk about a fragrance, synthetic or formulated however you describe it, it’s a blend of ingredients. So, what we tend to do, the fragrance company will take the different fragrance ingredients I’ve talked about like “limonene” “citronellol” the things that you find in lemon or rose or whatever else it might be. And they will optimize it so they will combine it with other ingredients to make the thing last longer or release faster, work in the shower, stay on your skin all day, those kind of things so they’re absolutely optimized, meaning you can use slightly lower levels of the actual fragrance levels themselves. Whereas to use the neat essential oil, you’ve got no way of keeping it on the skin or making it last all day or whatever else it might be. So they only way you get a better effect is to use an awful lot more.”

In Chris’ opinion, a synthetic fragrance is always going to be safer and less harsh on the skin than neat essential oils.

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Sensitive Skin in the Sun

At Jersey Beauty Company we love spending time in the sunshine! But we also know how important it is to protect our skin against sun damage. This is even more important for sensitive skin.

When our skin is sensitive or sensitised it is because the hydrolipid barrier is impaired. That leaves the deeper layers of our skin more at risk to the harmful rays of the sun.

So we need to be wearing sunscreen. But what kind? Before you reach for the first sunscreen you find, we need to know a couple of things about what we should be looking for in sunscreen protection.

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We need full protection against UVA and UVB rays

UVA - long wavelength UV - accounts for up to 95 percent of the solar UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. It is also the UV rays that can penetrate through glass.

UVA rays play a major part in our skin aging and wrinkling as they penetrate deeper into layers of the skin and attack the collagen. For sensitive skin it’s important you are protected against UVA rays, as your skin is already more vulnerable to the effects of the weather.

UVB rays - shorter wavelength but stronger intensity. UVB is what causes our skin to burn in the sun. When our skin is already sensitive or sensitised it’s more important than ever that our skin is protected with sunscreen against UVB rays too.

SPF isn’t a guarantee of protection against UVA rays

An SPF Factor like SPF30 simply means that lotion will protect your skin for thirty times as long from the effects of UVB rays. If you would normally burn in ten minutes, you now have up to three hundred minutes in the sun before your skin burns.

But it’s really important to say SPF is only about UVB ray protection. Any sunscreen should also have a UVA rating, this is done in stars, to tell you that is protecting your skin against UVA rays too.

Physical vs Chemical Sunscreens

Now we’ve got to grips with SPFs and UV rays, we just need to understand that there are two main types of sunscreen - physical sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. So what’s the difference?

Well, it has to do with how they work to protect your skin.

Physical sunscreens act like a barrier on your skin to stop your skin absorbing solar energy. They don’t react with your skin, they basically sit on top. They are often made with zinc oxide and titanium oxide.

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Chemical sunscreens absorb the solar energy themselves and transform it into a chemical reaction to stop the energy being transferred into the skin. To do this they have to react more with the skin.

For sensitive or sensitised skin you may find physical sunscreens the best choice, as there is less chance of irritation as the sunscreen isn’t being absorbed beyond the hydrolipid barrier.

The Fitzpatrick Scale

The Fitzpatrick Scale is a great tool to score skin type from one to six, depending on the type of melanin in the skin . One ios pale white skin with more pheomelanin in the skin, all the way through to six which is deeply pigmented, with more eumelanin, with the skin appearance very dark brown to black.

This scale is fab because it not only helps us understand how likely our skin is to tan and why, but more importantly is a good alert to if you need to take more care in the sun. Burning your skin is not only pretty annoying and painful straight after but it also can cause untold damage years later, so we want to work to avoid that.

One thing we need to remember if we are higher up the scale is that we still need protection from UVA rays and the damage they are causing our skin. Just because you have a darker skin tone that doesn't burn as easily, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be wearing sunscreen.

Mild sun on bare skin is OK sometimes

Now we know that sounds like a direct contradiction to everything we’ve just said about sunscreen but hear us out!

Did you know that most of us aren’t getting enough Vitamin D? That’s according to Public Health England, the government body that’s in charge of researching into public health issues. Part of the reason for that is we don’t see enough sun (!) but another part is because we are always covered up.

Vitamin D is made by the body when UVB rays react with the skin. It’s a clever chemical reaction that we don’t need to understand fully, but what’s important for us is that some mild sun exposure, without sunscreen is actually good for our Vitamin D levels.

And why do we need Vitamin D? There are a whole host of reasons but the one that matters for sensitive skin is its cell renewing job. So we’re wanting to repair the hydrolipid barrier to help our sensitive skin be better protected, we need Vitamin D to renew those cells!

Scientist Chris suggests, if you work inside all day to pop out for a short walk at lunch and maybe want to wait ten minutes before you put your sun cream on to expose your skin to vitamin D.

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Lifestyle and Sensitive Skin

Now we’ve got to grips a bit more with the difference between sensitive and sensitised skin, we can see that when we talk about lifestyle and sensitive skin, we are actually talking about times our skin might be sensitised.

Truly sensitive skin, although it may flare up, is always sensitive. Whereas our skin can become sensitised at certain times, in response to lifestyle, internal and external factors.

Why do I Have Skin Sensitivity When I am Sick?

Have you ever had the flu or a really bad cold and just felt achy all over and really tired? That’s your body’s way of telling you it’s using its resources to fight the infection, so hasn’t got much else left for your normal functions.

Your skin is an organ. So it makes sense that when you aren’t well, your skin would also react with sensitivity.

At Jersey Beauty Company, when we are feeling ill and rundown we find it the best time to give our skin a little bit of extra TLC.

Don’t overload

The temptation is to bombard your skin with products as a quick fix. This won’t help!

Instead, we suggest a face mask, which not only gives your face a treat but will also let you relax for ten to fifteen minutes while it’s on!

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Our Top Three Masks For When You’re Sick

Dermalogica's Sebum Clearing Masque is a cooling, refining and deep-cleaning Kaolin and Bentonite clay masque that purifies, absorbs excess surface oil and helps prevent future breakouts. Use after cleansing to enhance skin clearing and control the main factors that contribute to breakouts.

What’s in got in it?

  • Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque combines Niacinamide, Zinc Gluconate, Yeast Extract, Caffeine and Biotin to purify and inhibit overactive sebaceous gland activity while soothing irritation. 
  • Salicylic Acid clears congested follicles to minimize development of future comedones and breakouts, while Spiraea and Cinnamon Bark extracts inhibit the growth of acnegenic bacteria while stimulating the skin’s natural antimicrobial agents for clearer, healthier skin. Contains no artificial fragrance or colour


Guinot Masque Essentiel Nutrition Confort

This mask is a really good choice if your skin is feeling sensitive and you have a cold, as it  works to moisturise and soften your skin, with menthol and lavender. It’s great for restoring radiance and comfort to your skin.

What’s in got in it?

  • Essential oils (evening primrose, jojoba, thyme & rosemary) known for their stimulating and regenerating effects
  • Vitamin E known for its healing effects. It is a really effective moisturiser and also helps to repair tissue.

Mary Cohr NutriZen Comfort Recovery Essences Mask

Mary Cohr’s NutriZen Recovery Essences Mask is great if your skin needs to recover - it’s really nourishing and just gives your skin the boost it needs.

What’s in got in it?

  • Essential Oils of Sage, Lavender and Rosemary  to regenerate and soften skin.
  • Shea Butter, which is a skin superfood naturally rich in vitamins A, E and F that provides the skin with essential fatty acids, making it really nourishing and great for sensitive and acne prone skin.
  • Lotus Extract  to soften your skin.

Sensitive Skin When Stressed

Stress affects the skin. It affects your body as a whole.

There are a number of reasons for this, in fact way too many to go into in detail here but stress has an affect on our bodies.

Stress isn't always a negative thing - some of us thrive on pressure. Sometimes we go through positive events that are also naturally stressful situations, starting a new job, moving house, caring for young children or other dependents. Whether the source of your stress is negative or positive, the result on your skin is the same. You can see the effects of stress on your body and your skin:

Disturbed Sleep Pattern – they call it beauty sleep for a reason! Disturbed or not enough sleep affects your skin. The optimum time for your skin to rebuild and repair its cells is while you sleep, so when your sleep is affected you will likely see that reflected in your skin.

Paler skin – your body is super clever – when you’re stressed, it goes into a bit of a survival mode. More of your blood is directed towards your main organs, where your body needs it most. This can leave your skin looking drained or paler. This can make dark circles seem more prominent.

Poor diet – we’re all guilty of neglecting a healthy diet when we’re stressed. When we don’t get the right nutrients our skin needs, we start to see the effects.

Stress can also cause sensitivity and redness as it weakens the outer layer - that hydrolipid layer we keep talking about.

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Skin Sensitivity During Pregnancy

Sensitivity is normal when you are pregnant. Just like you might suddenly develop sensitivity to certain foods when pregnant, you might find your skin reacts in a different way.

You don’t need to worry - just be aware that it might happen and it’s normal. Your body is undergoing some pretty major changes and this can affect your skin.

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You should also be cautious about using certain products during pregnancy. The best rule is if you’re not sure, ask! Ask Jersey Beauty Company, we love to answer your questions so get in touch!

Some products that are great for sensitised skin during pregnancy are Dermalogica Ultra Calming Range. The Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser can be used with or without water so is great for sensitive and sensitised skin. The Dermalogica Ultra Calming Mist is great for soothing reddened sensitised skin and can be used throughout the day, as well as after cleansing.

The Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster is also great for treating dry and irritated skin during pregnancy.

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Menopause and Sensitive Skin

Menopause is a totally natural time of transition. As hormone levels change, this can have a massive effect on your skin. That’s because hormone levels changing can actually cause significant changes for the skin’s structure. Did you know that up to 30% of your collagen can be lost in the first 5 years after menopause? Collagen is the stuff that plumps up the skin - losing up to a third of your collagen is bound to have an effect on your skin.

It’s not just the collagen levels that are affected, your skin also can become sensitised during menopause.

A common thing we hear from women approaching menopause, during menopause and post menopause even is that suddenly they now have sensitive skin. Well, let’s go back to our original definitions - truly sensitive skin is a lifelong thing, so if you are noticing changes this is sensitised skin, probably due to the hormone changes.

What’s happening to my skin?

Your skin is covered in tiny sebaceous glands that produce an oily substance responsible for lubricating and waterproofing the skin. Which is pretty clever! In a woman’s reproductive years, a chemical called B-Estradiol ensures this substance is more fluid, which has an anti-acne effect. During menopause, oestrogen levels drop, which means testosterone is no longer masked. This can result in a thicker oily substance being produced by these glands, which can sometimes cause breakouts and adult acne during menopause.

Add to this the fact your cell turnover decreases as your skin ages and you approach menopause, this can lead to having dull, irritated skin. The skin barrier is naturally thinner which can lead to irritation, which can feel like sensitive skin.

What can I do about it?

We need to treat the unique issues your skin is facing during menopause and as a natural result of ageing. As your cell turnover decreases, you need to give the skin a helping hand to replenish itself, and also give the skin the nourishment it needs.

So two things to really focus on:

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Exfoliation

It might feel a bit backwards thinking to exfoliate skin that is reddened or feels sensitised. But that is exactly what it needs! You need to choose the right exfoliator for your unique skin, but by helping to get rid of dead cells and impurities you are providing the skin with a great base to rebuild the hydrolipid barrier, which we know by now is always the aim when treating sensitive or sensitised skin.

In case you missed it earlier, the hydrolipid barrier sits on top of the epidermis, the outer layer of skin, and acts as an oily protective layer. When this is impaired irritants like pollutants, chemicals and weathering can get in and affect the deeper layers of skin, and also your skin can become dehydrated. We need to work to rebuild the hydrolipid barrier, making sure that what we’re trapping in there is all good stuff.

That’s what exfoliation does. Choose an exfoliator that is great for your skin at this stage of ageing.

For a daily fix, we love Dermaologica Daily Microfoliant this is really great if you need a daily treatment, if your oily build up is a particular concern.

You could also look at Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant, a three times weekly treatment that is great for replenishing vitamins and minerals as well as that deep cleansing.

For a gentler touch, Mary Cohr Lily Essences Mild Exfoliator is great, gentle on the skin but still with deep cleansing action.

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Moisturise

As well as focusing on exfoliating, it is really important we are replenishing all the good stuff as well. Sensitised skin is often a sign of dehydration and this is true during menopause too, so make sure you are using a good moisturiser, designed for the stage of ageing you are going through.

There are tons to choose from on the Jersey Beauty Company site, but why not start by looking at these:

Ark’s Age Defend Moisturiser which is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids which are amazing for adding back moisture.

Guinot Creme Protection Reparatrice which is awesome for treating dry skin patches.

Mary Cohr’s MultiSensitive Cream is a great cream to reduce redness and sensitivity.

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