I may have tempted fate, because as soon as I said “my skin hasn’t looked this flawless in a long time” and that “it’s been ages since I was sick”, it all went down hill from there.
The combination of having a difficult week at work, battling a mini mid life crisis and not having enough rest thanks to best friends visiting (not complaining, trust me), my body all of a sudden succumbed to an abrupt, nasty cold. It started with enormous amounts of sneezing, an extremely runny nose and watery eyes.
As soon as I felt I was about to get better, it struck back with a chesty cough, sore throat, an aching body, appetite loss and general weakness. The symptoms didn’t take long to show up on my skin. I had a rash on my chest, bumpy spots around my face and extremely dry, flaky skin on my nose and around my lips.
By any means this was not a major illness, but being a lucky member of the Shine team I was sure to make the most of some good advice and support, with a quick acupuncture fix by Valeria Frank, a dose of Dermalogica’s spot treatment samples given by Sylwia and finally a much needed wonderful facial from Desi. Of course there are many other ways to treat sensitised skin, which shall become more relevant once hay fever season has fully arrived.
From one that knows, here are my go to tricks and treatments for sensitivities, allergic reactions and hay fever:
To start with, make sure to drink plenty of water as well as warm drinks to help your body – and your skin – to retain moisture.
Try to avoid heavy, hot (spicy) meals. Better to opt for soups and fatty, omega rich fish like salmon or tuna. Also it is a good idea to reduce dairy and sugar intake as they are often linked to allergic skin reactions.
Rethink your daily skincare regimen. As your skin becomes sensitised, any harsh products may aggravate its condition; best to avoid any type of exfoliation, either physical (scrub like) or chemical (e.g. acid peel/toner).
Pick the most gentle, non-stripping cleansers and make up removers. The Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser is an extremely gentle cleansing gel/cream containing ingredients like oats, ginger, raspberry, lavender and cucumber which help combat skin sensitivity caused by exposure to pollution and other environmental influences.
The Dermalogica Soothing Eye Make Up Remover – a conditioning gel, instantly dissolves all traces of eye and lip make-up, including stubborn mascara. It is completely oil-free, S.D. alcohol-free and water-soluble. The Silk Amino Acids also help condition your delicate eyelid area. Those 2 are my winners!!
You may experience dehydration/excessive dryness or red, flaky patches; so having a rich moisturiser on hand is essential. As someone with combination skin that is prone to dehydration and at times blemishes, I always benefit from using good quality oils. I used jojoba plus rosehip on this occasion mixed with rich, balm like cream to seal the moisture.
On top of dehydrated, break out skin, my nose, my lips and the area around them were extremely dry, even sore. Applying oils and cream on this area helps a lot but so far the best tip, especially before going to bed is to apply your lip balm up to the nose tip. My Holy Grail so far has been Shea butter rich Climate Control Lip treatment from Dermalogica.
Last but not least your daytime routine should include a super moisturising cream applied after antioxidant rich serum and followed by sunscreen protection. No one wants extra hyper pigmentation on the top of possible scarring after a skin break out. Although your skin may feel irritated, it’s still important to protect it from UV rays. Choose a sun protection product that’s specially formulated for sensitive skin. The Dermalogica Super Sensitive Shield SPF30 ticks all the boxes for me.
Go easy with make up as heavy products may highlight the spots and just cling to dry patches; my choice was tinted moisturizer, mascara and a wash of colour on my cheeks and lips to brighten up the dull, tired complexion.
As I am typing this, my brightening mask is about to be taken off and it’s time to cook that salmon on sautéed spinach and lentils for dinner. I want lots of warm comfort food whilst my skin begins to feel much less troubled. I hope we can all abandon that winter comfort zone soon and have a rather adventurous and healthy spring ahead!
Gerda – Head of Reception at Shine on the Green and Beauty Blogger.