Top Five Ingredients to Calm Stressed or Sensitive Skin
Stressed and sensitive skin can present itself in many ways, like redness, irritation, rosacea, dullness, inflammation or uneven skin tone. Sensitivity can happen from acne flareups, post-procedure, environmental stress, over-exfoliation or using the wrong ingredients for your skin. The ingredients that you choose during your skincare routine can make all the difference in restoring and repairing your skin health. Although not exhaustive, here are five of our top ingredients to calm stressed or sensitive skin.
Aging is a Culprit
It is pretty common for skin to naturally become more sensitive with age. Intrinsic aging is inevitable and even the healthiest of skins will naturally become thinner and more sensitive due to depleting fat and connective tissue, loss of skin volume and weakened internal structure.
Sensitive Skin is not a Skin Type. Any skin type can experience sensitivity, from oily and acne-prone, to dry and mature. Countless internal and external factors can trigger sensitivity, causing a host of unpleasant symptoms such as redness, prickling and stinging. – Laroche-Posey (1)
Relieving sensitive, stressed skin is one of the key steps in anti-aging. Skin’s barrier, the protective fatty outer layer of skin that keeps moisture in and damaging substances out, is weaker in those with sensitive skin, making it more vulnerable to inflammation, infection and moisture loss.
Caring for sensitivity and inflammation is important to maintaining optimal skin health and nurturing the skin barrier because a healthy skin barrier = healthy skin. It will drastically improve skin issues by forming a cellular matrix of protection and optimal moisture levels so skin feels supple, plump and soft.
“Any type of stress can manifest in your skin, since it’s the largest organ in the body,” says New York City-based plastic surgeon Dr. Lara Devgan. “In turn, inflammation can exacerbate whatever your underlying skin conditions may be.” – Vogue (2)
Top Five Ingredients to Calm Stressed or Sensitive Skin
There are many wonderful natural skincare ingredients that help heal sensitive skin. Here are five of our top ingredients:
Sure, it seems like companies are constantly searching for the next best anti-aging ingredient but sometimes going back to basics is all skin needs for peak health. The power of aloe should never be underestimated. This healing succulent has been used since ancient times for its medicinal and healing properties – for good reason!
Due to its health, beauty, medicinal, and skincare properties, Aloe Vera has been regarded as “the universal panacea” by the Greek scientists and “the plant of immortality” by the Egyptians. (3)
This miracle green plant has powerful antibacterial properties to soothe and calm skin, making it ideal for any skin type suffering with sensitivity, stress and discomfort. Aloe contains humectants that nourish and improv skin’s natural moisture content. When applied to acne it can also reduce redness and shorten the lifespan of the breakout.
Joel Schlessinger, M.D., Omaha-based board-certified dermatologist and cosmetic surgeon. “Its stems store water, creating a clear, gel-like substance in the leaves, which contains vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and amino acids.” The gel from aloe has been used throughout history to treat a variety of skin conditions, such as burns, frostbite, psoriasis, and cold sores, research shows. (4)
Also known as Ganoderma lucidum and nicknamed the “mushroom of immortality,” Reishi mushroom is a natural anti-aging powerhouse. Native to Asia, it had long been used as a medicinal mushroom to promote health and well-being. Skin on ‘shrooms can expect a big skin boost of collagen regeneration, reduced skin cell damage and super antioxidant protection from environmental damage.
Reishi protects skin from cell breakdown and provides anti-inflammatory support with its anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Reishi can also purify and detoxify skin, targeting acne and brightening skin tone.
It is capable of drawing moisture to skin and to deeply penetrate through multiple layers of skin, which means it is able to repair and encourage healing in deeper layers for a strong, healthy skin barrier.
“The polysaccharides in the reishi mushroom provide humectant and deeply hydrating benefits.” (5)
Sunflower Seed Oil
“The sunflower was cultivated by American Indian tribes circa 3,000 B.C. Tribes used parts of the sunflower plant to help soothe snakebites and to condition the skin and hair.” (6)
Sunflower is packed with Vitamin E, fatty acids, antioxidants, beta-carotene and Linoleic acid, which help preserve a healthy skin barrier. It can benefit all skin types for its anti-aging, skin cell regeneration, antioxidant protection and hydration capabilities. Due to its effective hydrating and anti-microbial properties, it is the perfect ingredient for the driest and most sensitive of skin types.
“Sunflower seed oil is best known for its excellent emollient (skin softening) properties. The high concentration of linoleic acid (around 60%!) helps maintain the skin’s natural barrier and locks in moisture.” (7)
Sunflower is non-comedogenic so will not clog pores and can unblock pores by cleaning out dead skin and debris. An effective carrier oil, it is a natural remedy for skin conditions, like acne, acne scars, psoriasis and eczema. It soothes, strengthens and hydrates the skin, and protects the skin barrier for even, glowing skin.
Bladderwrack (Brown Algae)
In the first phase of a two-phase study, applying bladderwrack extract to skin samples led to a 228% increase in collagen production, compared with no improvements in the control group. (8)
Bladderwrack seaweed, also known as fucasvesiculosus, has an exceptionally high concentration of trace minerals that help flush toxins, heal and soothe severely irritated skin. It contains many powerful antioxidants and vitamins to make skin beautiful: it neutralizes free radicals, calms inflammation, fades pigmentation, and promotes cell turnover and skin elasticity.
Bladderwrack contains niacin, also known as vitamin B3, a brightening nutrient that can help lift dark spots over time. (9)
Calendula, also known as Calendula officinalis, is a Skin Healing Goddess! A natural oil extracted from marigolds, this powerful anti-inflammatory ingredient can heal skin disorders and soothe overly-sensitized skin. Straight from nature, Calendula is a gentle ingredient with anti-microbial, antioxidant, UV-protective, healing and anti-inflammatory properties. It reduces redness and calms skin inflammation, controlling eczema and dermatitis flareups. Not only a skin condition remedy, it can also prevent premature aging with its restorative and moisturizing properties. It increases skin tightness and encourages a hydrated skin barrier for healthy and youthful looking skin.
Skincare Tips for Sensitive Skin
Along with using the right ingredients for sensitive skin, there are some important tips for helping keep easily-reactive skin happy.
- Read labels. Stick with fragrance-free and look through the ingredients. Some other great ingredients for sensitive skin are hyaluronic acid, rose water, chamomile, cucumber seed oil, and shea butter.
- Natural is always best, although it isn’t a guarantee that your skin won’t react. Some natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil and lavender, can be irritating for some skin types.
- Choose your cleanser wisely. Creamy formulas are generally more gentle on skin and offer nourishment. Wash face with lukewarm water.
- Add a calming mask to your routine.
- Don’t over-exfoliate or over-wash your face.
- Be cautious when adding certain ingredients into your routine, like retinol, AHAs, and certain analogues of Vitamin C (like Ascorbic Acid).
- Avoid physical exfoliation brushes, which can be too harsh for skin’s moisture barrier.
- Limit your time in the sun and wear SPF.
- Do a patch test before trying new products.
- Don’t skip moisturizing! Look for moisturizers that contain glycerin, which is generally well-tolerated by sensitive skin.
“While you may be nervous about layering on extra skin care products if you have sensitive skin, skipping out on moisturizer shouldn’t be an option.” – L’oreal (10)
Skincare Suggestions for Sensitive Skin
PommeSeed – Ultra-Sensitive Cooling Wrap
No fragrance or added color, this soothing mask is a dream for ultra-sensitive or dry skin. It deeply nourishes and protects skin’s moisture barrier.
Gentle JuJu – Calm Sensitive Skin Cream Cleanser
An anti-aging cleanser powered by a unique blend of sunflower, calendula, cucumber and shea butter which work in synergy to soothe and calm skin. No fragrance, this creamy formula cleans skin without stripping skin of its natural oils.
Learn more about our other cleansers here.
Soothie – Sensitive Skin Calm Serum
Without fragrance, dyes, or drying alcohols, this recovery serum is infused with aloe, algae, cucumber and Reishi Mushroom to instantly calm and restore sensitized skin.
(1) 5 Reasons Your Skin is suddenly Sensitive. Laroche-Posey.
(2) Is Your Skin Stressed? Here’s How to Deal. K. Murden, J. Rennert. Vogue.
(3) How To Use Aloe Vera for A Glowing Face and Clear Skin? Team kamaayurveda, Reviewed: Kanchan Kachroo. Kama Ayurveda.
(13) Seven Reasons to Step up your Skincare Game with Calendula. Herbal Dynamics Beauty.
(14) When It Comes to Skin Care, Maybe It’s Time to Try Doing Less. Khan Sethi. The Cut.