3 Simple Rules in Dealing with My Sensitive Skin

Nobody but a real princess could have such delicate and sensitive skin.

Like the princess in the Princess and the Pea, I thought that having sensitive skin is a mark of royalty. I thought that if I have such delicate skin, I must be special, I must have special treatment, I must be a princess. So a long time ago, I wished for sensitive skin.

Apparently, I’ve had sensitive skin all my life but it didn’t mean that I am a princess. It only meant that I’m prone to skin irritation against so many things and I am prone to breakouts, lots of it.

I’ve had pimples more than half of my life. Acne, as dermatologists labeled it. For me, it only meant that I was a pimple my face grew out of. I’ve had them since I was 10–on my forehead, then on my cheeks, and then on my neck. I’ve had pimples on my back!

Fortunately, I was too young to know about inferiority complex. My pimples didn’t embarrass me. For me, it had become a part of my life. I’m not the one constantly looking at them so didn’t bother me much. Other people were and the people I care about worried.

I’ve been through a handful of dermatologists, went through a lot of treatments that often hurt, and a lot of money was spent on my acne alone. I especially appreciate the effort my parents and relatives have done to find ways on getting rid of my zits.

Eventually, I got them under control. They’re not totally gone but most have disappeared enough that when I tell my past situation to my recent friends and acquaintances, they just wouldn’t believe I’ve had acne. So I had to dig up my old pictures just to show them the severity of my acne.

This was taken in 2009. Would you believe that this is the cause of just one shampoo that claimed to be a mild shampoo?

Taken in 2009. Would you believe that this was caused by one “mild” shampoo?

Dealing with My Sensitive Skin

Although I’m not a skin expert as I am not a dermatologist, I have, however, become an expert of my own sensitive skin, thanks to years and years of having and dealing with it. Plus, the many dermatologists I’ve been through, especially my last one, have given me sound advice.

Condensing all that I’ve learned, I’m sharing with you three simple rules I live by in dealing with my sensitive skin.

1. Keep it clean.

It’s about hygiene, first and foremost, so I kept my face clean. Dirty skin is a breeding ground for bacteria and I don’t want that! So I was my face: once in the morning, once before going to bed.

Twice a day is enough. Too much washing only strips my skin of its natural oils and will dry it. I felt this during a time when I washed my face every time I felt oil accumulating. Although it felt clean, my skin also felt old. It’s the natural oils that keep it moisturized, supple, and young to the touch and appearance.

While dry skin won’t clog the pores, it becomes prone to wrinkles and is therefore no better than oily skin. So I kept my washing to a minimum.

2. What touches my face?

Even if my face is clean, I take stock of the things that constantly come in contact with it. Chances are, they are the culprits that transfer the dirt on to my otherwise clean face.

If I can’t maintain clean hands, fingers, and fingernails, then I refrain from touching your face. However, I’m quite guilty of resting my chin on my hand. I resolved this by resting my chin on the back of my hand, instead of in my palm. I don’t always get to touch things with the back of my hands as much as I do with my palms.

This was taken in 2012.

This was taken in 2012.

Make-up products and tools also need to be cleaned and sanitized as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria also. So I wash my kikay tools at least once a week. If I can’t, then I refrain from using them. If I apply make-up using my fingers, I make sure their clean before applying make-up.

I have long hair that touch my back and my face. As I can’t always tie it up (aesthetics), I make sure that my crowning glory is clean and without harmful chemicals that can transfer on to my face. But when I’m at home, I keep my hair away from my face.

My pillow cases and blanket need to be regularly washed of course. It wouldn’t do me any good to apply all my skin care regimen at night and have them negated and aggravated by dirty pillow cases and blankets, right?

3. I check the ingredients list.

With my last dermatologist, the first thing she did was change my hair care products. She gave a specific brand of shampoo (not manufactured by the clinic or by her), which was quite affordable. She then have me change my toothpaste. A week later, the pimples on my face and back dwindled. It was a great change!

It wasn’t the products she recommended that helped treat my pimples. It was the absence of the products that I used prior to the change. You see, no matter how you treat your pimples, if it’s actually the other stuff you put on yourself that causes them, then you’d just be going in circles. Imagine, the toothpaste and the hair care products had nothing to do with my face but changing them helped in the treatment because we eliminate two of the products that caused pimples.

My dermatologist explained that it’s the chemicals in the brands I previously used that caused the pimples on my back, forehead, checks, neck, and around my mouth. She didn’t elaborate further on what chemicals I should be avoiding, but I got the gist of it.

So this last tip goes hand in hand with No. 2. It’s not always the dirt. Often, it’s the chemicals. So once I became aware of these things, I did a complete overhaul of the products I use. These included my body wash, make-up, facial wash, toner, shampoo and conditioner, even my laundry detergent and my tooth paste. I’ve become discriminating of anything that comes in contact with my skin and have switched to products that use only natural ingredients.

One thing I strongly advise against is taking on products that contain sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLS/SLES). You will see them in your shampoo, facial wash, hand soap, detergent, and even your toothpaste. It’s the chemical that causes the bubbles we all learned to love and associated with cleaning. Believe me, you don’t need the bubbles. Your skin certainly doesn’t and it will thank you for it as mine did. It’s one of the major causes of skin irritation.

I hope these rules will help you as much as it did me.

~ o ~ o ~ o ~

Do you have rules that you also live by when it comes to your skin? I’d like to hear them.

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