Sensitive Skincare Mistakes

Sensitive Skincare Mistakes

Sarah Brooks Wilson

Contributing Beauty Editor


Millions of us think we have sensitive skin, but do you really? It’s time to find out what’s really going on and how to calm and care for your delicate skin, no matter how you label it.

So it stings, it burns, it looks red and inflamed. Experts diagnose sensitive skin by a process of elimination, ruling out other cranky-skin conditions first. Sensitive or not, this skin-soothing advice won’t leave you red in the face.

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How can you tell if you have sensitive skin?

Skin sensitivities can present themselves in many different ways, the most common are rashes, redness, blotchy patches, tingling, burning or even excessive dryness and flaking. “A sensitive skin generally has a compromised protective barrier and can react to almost anything,” explains Associate Professor Greg Goodman of the Dermatology Institute of Victoria. So if you suffer from any of the above, you could be sensitive even though you didn’t think you were. Try Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Sensitive Skin, $13.99

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What could be causing your reaction?

When trying to nail the cause, take your lifestyle as well as your current beauty routine into consideration. “Sometimes it’s a deficient immune system, high stress or even a hereditary condition,” says Goodman. He says one of the most common mistakes people make is using ‘natural’ soaps thinking that it’s good for sensitive skin. Add frequent bathing and excessive use of cleansers and exfoliators and it will dry out the skin and cause irritation, especially in cold weather. So be mindful of what you’re using in your skincare routine. Try Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser, $12.99

What should you avoid?

Beware of using too much soap, especially liquid soaps that contain the ingredient sodium lauryl sulphate. “Many highly perfumed creams and lotion as well as cleaning agents and household bleaches can cause irritation too,” he says. Goodman recommends skipping toner altogether as it can dry out and cause sensitivity. The new treatment essences on the market are a great step to add to your skin routine as they soothe the skin after cleansing and prepare skin for serums and moisturisers. Always read the label of your skincare and do a patch test first when trying a new product.

What you should use?

Keep it simple and opt for more specialised skincare ranges. Ultra-sensitive skins are best under dermatological care, however, thanks to new technologies and a better understanding of the ingredients in skincare that mimic skin components like lactic acid, urea, ceramides and glycerine, skin now has a chance of healing and repair. A full program dedicated to desensitising the skin as well as calming ranges with anti-stress benefits will help soothe flare-ups.


This is a sponsored post by Neutrogena. All opinions expressed by the author are authentic and written in their own words.