Reader question: “I have really sensitive facial skin – what do I do?”

The first thing to do is see a dermatologist to get your “sensitive” skin properly diagnosed. There are different types of ‘sensitive’ skin and the treatment approach for each type might be different. For example, if you suffer with sensitive skin, because you have a tendency for so-called atopic eczema, then you should use lipid-rich emollients. However, if you have sensitive skin because of a tendency for rosacea, then it’s the opposite – avoid lipid-rich emollients!

If you have atopic eczema type sensitive skin (you might for example also have allergies in the family, maybe suffered with childhood eczema, possibly hay fever in summer), then my tip is also to avoid plant-based ingredients. We are often brainwashed into thinking that these ‘natural’ ingredients are safer and better for sensitive skin, but they can actually be highly allergenic, i.e. have a high risk of causing allergies over time (even if they feel perfectly fine now). So if you already have a tendency for allergies, then ‘natural’ ingredients should be avoided to be safe.

Another reason to see a dermatologist is that you might benefit from a prescription cream. Prescription creams work stronger than over-the-counter creams. There are different types of prescription creams available for skin conditions connected to ’sensitive skin’ and examination of your skin will reveal which is best for your skin.