Not the usual suspects….
By Caroline Ferry
We’ve all been there; sudden red flushing, insatiable itchiness or full-on hives. Your skin can react in a myriad of ways to various triggers, but what’s really key to understand is what sets your skin off. With Dr Jane Leonard, a qualified GP and aesthetic doctor, we’ve rounded up the lesser-known irritants that may have been right under your nose all along.
- Old makeup
Using out of date makeup is always best avoided, but mascara in particular should never be used past its use by date. The brush acts as a sort of reservoir for bacteria, which is a problem as the eye is already so sensitive, particularly along the lash line. Dr Jane recommends keeping mascara for no longer than three months: “When it starts to get crusty and dry, that’s a sign it should have been binned weeks ago.”
- Beauty tools
If you can’t figure out why your skin is flaring up, it’s also worth thinking about any beauty product-sharing you might have done. Dr Jane recommends never sharing makeup brushes, applicators or wands as a rule, but also notes that thinking about how you clean your own tools should be a priority.
“It is really worth investing in ways to clean your tools – I recommend using sponges that are disposable if you can; otherwise get your hands on sprays to clean brushes with, like makeup artists do. Always follow the instructions on the product though, as if not used properly the harsh chemicals could end up back on your skin again.”
- Over washing
If you’ve got sensitive skin, or a pre-existing condition like dermatitis, psoriasis or eczema, over washing your hands can really cause irritation. “This is something I am particularly mindful of because of the nature of my job in the medical industry,” notes Jane, “but it really applies to many people in the food preparation and service industries too.”
- The wrong moisturiser
Moisturising, especially if you’re washing your hands regularly, is really important to rehydrate the skin. However, it’s worth remembering that they too can case irritation.
Oil based creams often contain high levels of paraffin which, because their job is to create a protective barrier on the skin, will leave a film on your skin that could lead to irritation. Water-based emollient creams can be highly acidic too, which comes with its own potential to irritate. So, it’s important to find the right moisturiser for your skin type.
- Laundry night
While it’s easy to forget, one of the easiest ways to swerve skin irritation is to use a non bio detergent. Clothing and bedsheets are next to your skin all day and night, so washing them regularly in a gentle way is really important. The Skin Health Alliance has given Fairy Non Bio 3in1 PODs, as well as the entire range, the seal of approval – the formula keeps clothing fibres soft while not irritating sensitive or dry skin.