How to Calm Irritated Skin

how to calm irritated and sensitive skin

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Irritated skin tends to surface often throughout the winter months. Today’s post features an effective skincare routine to calm sensitive and irritated skin. When I talk about irritated skin I mean anything on a spectrum from stinging, burning, rashes, dryness, that tight feeling or sensitised areas. I’m talking about the type of irritation that occurs due to environmental changes (climate, central heating, drastic temperature changes), overuse of products and even colds or flu which can compromise the skin barrier. 

However, if you have a pre-existing skin condition like rosacea, psoriasis, eczema, etc. you need to see a professional. A dermatologist will be able to recommend the best solution with a personalised prescription.

With the nature of my job, I’ve had to create a go-to routine because my skin gets sensitised easily due to using so many different products. Equally, this also means I know that this is an effective system and sound advice. 

Firstly, you need to pinpoint the cause of your irritation. Is it due to external factors (like the weather or a product you’ve used)? or is it internal (hormonal changes, stress or due to illness or medication such as antibiotics)?

The number one rule is to completely streamline your skincare routine.

Why? Because calming redness and protection is the goal so that your skin has time to repair itself. In my previous post, I talk about the best way to simplify and streamline your skincare routine.

An effective routine to calm irritated skin

skincare routine for irritated sensitive skin

Step 1: Cleansing

Avoid too much water (especially hot water) on your as this can increase skin inflammation and dehydrate your skin. I recommend using the Garnier Micellar Water*. If you need a more substantial cleanser then the La RochePosay Toleriane Dermo Cleanser* is a gentle gel-milk hybrid formulation that you can apply and wipe off. This is the way I like to use it but you can rinse off with minimal water if you need to.

Step 2: Mask

I need to tell you about this incredible skin saver. The Marie Reynolds Restore Mask is this hemp-based brown powder that you mix with lukewarm water and apply to targeted areas as often as you can. Years ago, when I had a very serious facial skin rash (as a result of having to take strong antibiotics) this was the only product that cleared it up – and within a week! It completely rebalanced and reset my skin alongside my taking of probiotics to rebuild my gut health. Always note that for skin irritation caused by internal factors you need to consider the diet and supplements you’re taking to revive your gut bacteria.

Step 3: Hydration

Hydration is always important. 

First you need a layer of humectants, then seal this in with an emollient and the third layer is an occlusive to protect your skin barrier.

For that first humectant layer I love either the Curel Moisture Lotion Enrich* or the phenomenal Estee Lauder Micro Essence* – both well loved products in my routine. To seal this replenishing layer I recommend the emollient Avene Cicalfate Repairing Protective Cream*. Its key ingredients are copper and zinc so if you tend to have combination/oily skin then you might prefer this. Another favourite is the Skinceuticals Epidermal Repair* which contains the brilliant Centella Asiatica known for calming sensitive skin and reducing redness. This product is actually recommended to be used after treatments such as chemical peels or laser so you’re in good hands to use this to soothe irritated skin. Both products fulfill a similar function of repairing the skin barrier. 

The final product is Dermalogica Barrier Repair*. It’s a waterless formula that really locks in the moisture. It protects your skin from environmental factors (pollution protection, cold winds, etc.) and acts as the final layer – an occlusive shield. You will still need a separate SPF.

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