Sensitive Skin Makeup Tips

For thousands of years, men and women have used makeup to enhance their natural beauty or to transform their appearance to a more appealing one. Makeup for sensitive skin is in demand compared to a few years ago due to increasing irritating ingredients being added to enhance youthfulness and fight aging and acne. As a result of this growing demand, cosmetic and skin care companies have expanded their product lines focusing on particular needs, such as anti-aging or acne. Unfortunately, to stay competitive, more products means new formulas which may include some harsh ingredients (chemical or natural) that may lead to sensitivity. Especially when harsh products are used frequently, your skin may flare-up in a rash and recognize the ingredient as an allergen (causing allergic reaction). If you notice the makeup you use is irritating your skin, you may have sensitivity to certain ingredients.

Recommended Cosmetics for Sensitive Skin

tinted lip balm

Mineral Tinted Lip Balm
hypoallergenic felt tip eyeliner

Felt Tip Eyeliner
Eye Makeup for Sensitive Skin

Hypoallergenic Mascara

It's a challenge looking your best when you have sensitive skin. So what should you use to minimize future problems and help you look and feel better without the ramifications of side effects? These sensitive skin makeup tips should help you make a better choice instead of the very expensive trial and error routine.

Makeup Basics Perfect at Any Age

  • Choose a cosmetic style that feels comfortable for you. If you are a girl-next-door type, you may not want to apply makeup like a Hollywood starlet.
  • Apply makeup to compliment what clothes you wear and the occasion. 
  • Buy brands that you trust will not have irritating ingredients, avoid those with fragrances or plant extracts and essential oils. Do choose hypoallergenic makeup formulated for sensitive skin that are free of synthetic dyes and fragrance.
  • Remember to clean your face at night with a gentle cleanser followed by a non-alcohol toner to close pores. 
  • It's a must to use a moisturizer prior to applying your makeup. Choose a gentle day cream with antioxidants and pure shea butter will not clog pores and is hypoallergenic.

Pressed vs Liquid vs Loose Mineral Makeup

Mineral-based makeup is the most common type recommended by dermatologists, to help prevent or minimize flare-ups for sensitive skin. There are mineral foundations that are without added preservatives and other potentially irritating ingredients. They can be used as concealer or foundation. The beauty benefits of loose mineral foundations are that they help minimize shine. The downside is that there is a learning curve involved, especially if you've never used them. Once you get the hang of it, it takes only a few minutes for a complete makeover. The right brush for application is a must. Once you learn the steps on how to apply loose mineral powder, you may get hooked.

A favorite is a finishing loose mineral powder made of cosmetic grade rice powder, called Rice Veil. Rice powder has been used by Asian women for centuries. It helps your makeup stay on longer, reduces oily build up and leaves your skin looking smoother by reducing fine lines.

Avoid Botanicals in Cosmetics and Skin Care

Most people think natural ingredients are good for you, and the more the better. This is a myth started by the natural product industry. Botanicals actually are medicine with potential side effects. A good website to check side effects of botanicals and herbs is Medline Plus. You can look up any herb in their Drugs and Supplement section. Safe chemicals are a better choice. The non-profit consumer organization Environmental Working Group has a good web site called Skin Deep, to check the safety of products by brand and ingredient.

Most cosmetics don't have an expiration date and therefore, people think they can last a very long time. This is not the case. Germs can build up in products.

  • You should wash cosmetic brushes regularly with soapy water.
  • Throw away most cosmetics within a year.
  • Clean cosmetic sponges and throw away when it looks worn.

Say No to Products with These Ingredients

Certain ingredients are more irritating than others. Here is a list of some skin care ingredients to avoid.

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate - harsh industrial detergent has potential for drying the skin and tissues.
  • Bismuth oxychloride - potential for irritation.
  • Acetylated Lanolin Alcohol - causes balckheads and/or whiteheads.
  • Benzoyl Peroxide - antibacterial ingredient has been reported to cause allergies.
  • Salicylic acid - found in aspirin used in makeup and skin care products for acne. Can lead to dry skin and allergies.
  • Beta Hydroxy Acid - another term for salicylic acid.
  • Formaldehyde - potential for irritation.
  • Alcohol - potential for irritation and dryness. This applies to denatured or harmful alcohol cetyl and cetearyl alcohol are fatty alcohols and safe and beneficial.
  • Boric Acid - potential for irritation.
  • EDTA - preservative with potential for causing contact dermatitis.
  • Oxybenzone - FDA approved UVA absorbing chemical in sunscreen.
  • PABA (Para-Aminobenzoic Acid) - another sunscreen UVB ingredient. Potential for contact dermatitis.
  • Parabens - preservative used in many products.
  • Petrolatum - can cause plugging of pores.
  • Triclosan - antibacterial ingredient. May be listed as active or inactive ingredient.

Selecting the Best Makeup for Sensitive Skin

There is no reason to compromise health for beauty. For sensitive skin, it is more time consuming and challenging choosing what works for you. Always test a small amount of new makeup you're interested in. Apply it on the inside of your wrist and wait 24 to 48 hours for any reaction. If none appears, you're ok with that product. Once you find a brand that works for you, stick with it. But even within the same brand, always test any new product you are interested in. This way you'll end up with a complete line of cosmetics for sensitive skin that work best for you, not to mention a beautiful, healthy and flawless appearance.

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