Summer holidays are potentially the most problematic time for sensitive skin, and it’s not just because of the sun.
Flights, increased stress, a break in your normal skincare routine, dehydration, hotel bath and skincare products, different bedding, increased use of SPF creams, chlorine from pools, abrasion from sand and salt, a change in diet, increased alcohol, disturbed sleep patterns, different clothing, damp swimwear and even a change in the water can trigger sensitive skin flare ups and outbreaks.
Protecting and preserving sensitive skin on holiday is a battle, but with a clear skin care plan and by sticking to certain skincare rules and routines, you can easily keep your skin under control.
Following these 10 Skin Saving rules to keep your sensitive skin flawless for your summer holiday;
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 1
Test run holiday skin care products & beauty treatments
The key is to get your skin used to the new products gradually for up to a week before you leave by applying a small amount of the new product each day to see how your skin reacts.[quote]Try to avoid any unusual skincare activity in the run up to your holiday such as pre-holiday facials, exfoliating, waxing in new areas. If you want to carry out any new skincare or beauty regimes, do them at least once, preferably twice before the final week before your holiday.[/quote]
If you do not frequently use fake tan avoid using it in the run up to your holiday as reactions to fake tan for people with sensitive skin are very common. Also avoid having hair highlights or hair dying done during the week prior to your holiday in case of a reaction to your skin.
Try to de-sensitise your skin as much as possible in the week run up to your holiday by wearing less make up than normal, wear your hair back from your face at night, gently cleanse twice a day and switch to a de-sensitising perfume free moisturiser. Try Skin Shop’s KALME De-sensitising Undercoat for ultra sensitive skin, which can reduce the skin’s sensitivity by up to 70% and can be worn as a stand alone moisturiser and under cosmetics and sun creams.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 2
Dress for your skin
On the day of travel and for the first few days of your holiday, dress for your skin not for fashion. Long periods sitting in cars, buses, planes and trains can cause a build up of heat and sweat in intimate areas as well as on general areas of your skin.
In addition rushing around airports and struggling with baggage can also cause chaffing due to sweat and heat build up. This can trigger a number of sensitive skin conditions including eczema flare ups, rosacea flare ups, Candida attacks and cold sore break outs.
Wear cotton underwear that does not easily chaff. Wear breathable and slightly loose clothing and try and under dress rather than be too wrapped up. Sensitive skin is less reactive when cooler; heat tends to increase the risk of flare ups.[quote]Jeans, nylon or Lycra leggings, Lycra or acrylic tops, acrylic tracksuits, tight skirts or shorts and thongs can all add to the risk of a skin flare up while travelling.[/quote]
Shower off in cool water without using any soaps or shower gels as soon as you can when you get to your final destination.
In addition try to stick the same dress code for at least the first day of your holiday while your skin us still adjusting to the new temperature.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 3
Hotel skin & hair care products
Simply avoid them at all cost. People with sensitive skin conditions have a weakened skin barrier so harsh chemicals on these cheap hotel skin and hair care products literally get under your skin, as opposed to being washed off or sitting on the skin’s surface.[quote]Avoiding hotel products can be inconvenient but they are the single most likely thing to set off your skin and possibly ruin your holiday from day one. Hotel skin and hair care products are typically cheap (no matter how nice the packaging is) and full of chemicals that are a nightmare for sensitive skin. Don’t even use the soaps.[/quote]
Your skin is at its most vulnerable after long hot and stressful journeys and sudden changes in temperature so avoid suing all hotel skin and hair care product for at least two days into your holiday and preferably do not use them at all.
Either take travel size supplies of your usual skin and hair care or head to a chemist or supermarket on arrival and stock up on skin and hair care that you know and trust.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 4
Protect your skin from foreign bacteria[quote]Put all your skincare and cosmetic products immediately into the mini bar fridge or apartment fridge on arrival.This may sound strange but it is an excellent tip for protecting your skincare products from foreign bacteria.[/quote]
Different places harbour different bacteria and this can quickly and easily get into your cosmetics and skincare products, especially if they are warm from travelling or in increased room temperatures, and set off reactions and flare ups. Bacterial skin reactions and flare ups are very common on holiday and even a small amount of foreign bacteria can trigger a chain reaction in sensitive skin.
Use a daily natural and sensitive skin-friendly anti-bacterial product on your face and on any other vulnerable areas of skin both on the flight or travelling to your holiday destination and for the entire duration of your stay. But be aware of using harsh anti-bacterial agents that may dry the skin and cause further reductions in strength of your natural skin barrier.
Try Skin Shop’s Silver Serum, a natural anti-bacterial skin serum for very sensitive skin that kills the bad bacteria but preserves the good skin bacteria that keeps ski healthy ad strong and stays active on the skin for up to eight hours.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 5
Shower skin regularly
Even if your skin does not react to chlorine from the pool the first few times, chances are it might eventually with multiple exposures. You should shower off your skin and hair in cool clean water immediately after contact with chlorine from pools or hot tubs etc. Preferably then moisturise with your normal cream immediately after showering if at all possible.
In addition if swimming in the sea, try not to let salt dry on the skin as this can have a very dehydrating and abrasive effect on sensitive skin.[quote]A good tip is to take a bottle of tap water and a flannel or cloth with you to rinse or wipe down your skin with after going in the sea.[/quote]
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 6
Know your weak spots
Even if you only have break outs or flare ups a few times a year, it’s highly likely that one of those times will be on your summer holiday. So know what your skin’s weak spots are, and try and prepare them in advance of your holiday.[quote]The most common skin conditions that may be dormant for several months but can be triggered by a summer holiday are cold sores, Candida and eczema.[/quote]
Start using protective and preventative treatments on areas of skin you know are vulnerable to these skin conditions for 3-4 days before your holiday.
For cold sores try Skin Shop’s Liquorice Balm twice daily on lips, proven by the Herpes Virus Association to help prevent both the frequency and severity of cold sore outbreaks. For Eczema try Skin Shop’s Defensil Rescue Serum for helping prevent itching and dry skin flare ups. For Candida, which is even more likely if women are having their periods prior or during the holiday as menstruation changes the pH balance of the vagina, perform an anti-Candida douche for four days prior to your holiday.[quote]Douche recipe: To 200ml of tepid water add: one teaspoon of acidophilus powder or contents of two capsules (available from pharmacies) and 30ml of apple cider vinegar (to improve the pH balance of the vagina) into an empty and clean squeezable sauce bottle and squirt the contents into the vagina as a vaginal rinse. For men put the same recipe into a glass and dangle the penis into it and soak for 10 minutes.[/quote]
As an additional precaution take an acidophilus supplement for 2-weeks prior to your holiday and avoid using tampons on the run up or during your holiday.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 7
Detox your skin
Also most people try and drink more water while on holiday due to dehydration but in fact real hydration takes longer than a few days to work. It’s highly beneficial to skin prone to dryness to begin increased water intake for 3-4 days before your holiday begins.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 8
Don’t wash or rinse flushed or red skin with cold water
If you suffer from rosacea or very flushed or prickly skin when the heat is on try and avoid the temptation to frequently splash your face with cold water or dowse yourself in the pool or sea. The sudden temperature changes from hot to cold can actually make rosacea even worse.
Instead practice water-free cleansing to remove dirt and sun creams, which will clean skin while keeping the temperature consistent and keep skin hydrated. Try KALME Water-Free Cleanser that is free from chemicals and perfumes.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 9
Be SPF savvy
Sun creams are a necessary evil on holiday as they are needed to protect skin from UV damage but are often very irritating for sensitive skin.
Only choose sun creams for very sensitive skins, but be aware than many sun creams, even ones for sensitive skin, can become more ‘reactive’ when in direct sunlight or when the surface of the skin heats up. So a sun cream that feels fine in the hotel in the morning might irritate or burn once exposed to sun. Try a small period of exposing the cream to sun with a patch test on a sensitive area of your skin before covering your whole face or body in it. The inside of the wrist or back of the neck are good places. Expose your wrist or neck to the sun for 5-10 minutes and check there is no burning or itching.
Sun creams are also greasier than normal creams and so block pores quickly leading to acne break outs. Zinc, which is a natural sun block, can actually be beneficial for acne, so try and seek our sun creams that contain natural zinc oxide blocks if your ski is prone to acne.
Bacteria thrive on the warmer conditions and on the greasier surface of the skin so anti-bacterial protection helps reduce the chance of puss and infection. Try Skin Shop’s Silver Serum UNDER a zinc based sun block for skin prone to acne.[quote]You can quickly build up an intolerance to sun creams with a sudden increase in use, leading to allergic reactions and flare ups. So the less time you have the sun cream on the better so avoid applying cosmetics in the morning that contain SPF factors.[/quote]
Only apply the sun cream just before you are going into the sun and try and remove all cosmetics etc with a cleanser before applying it. As soon a sun exposure is over, remove sun cream with a water-free and perfume-free cleanser and clean natural cotton pad.
Sensitive Skin Saver – Rule 10
Be aware of two irritating ingredients in your holiday skin care products
UK dermatologists have issued a general warning this month after a sharp rise in allergic skin reactions to certain common skincare brands.[quote]Skincare experts have highlighted two ingredients in common skincare and haircare brands that can trigger severe allergic skin reactions in people with sensitive skin conditions.[/quote]
Symptoms, which can be immediate or build up gradually over time, include; skin and scalp burning, redness, itching, swelling, blistering, flaking and blotching. People with eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea are particularly at risk of allergic reaction to these two ingredients, according to specialists.[quote] The two preservatives, permitted for use in skincare in 2005, are called Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI) are also used to preserve paint.[/quote]
Leading UK Dermatologists raised concerns about these two ingredients last week and called for urgent action to review the widespread use of these two chemicals routinely used in skin care products and sun creams after a dramatic rise in allergic skin reactions since 2005.
MI or MCI are present in skin care brands including;
Nivea, Dove, St Ives, Clarins, L’Oreal, Piz Buin Sun Creams, Palmer’s, Vasaline, Wet Ones, FemFresh Intimate Wipes and Gillette Shave Gel.
So check the labels of any of your holiday skin care products you are purchasing and avoid any with either of these two ingredients in them.