Thursday, 18 March 2010

When You Love Make Up... but Your Skin Disagrees

When I visit clients for make up trials, the first question I always ask them is if they know their skin type. "Normal" skin is ironically the least common type - with people usually complaining of patches of dry skin, an oily T-Zone, or fluctuations. Make up can sit well on both dry and oily skin as long as it is appropriately prepped before hand, but the most difficult skin type when it comes to make up is the dreaded "sensitive" skin.

Sensitive skin can really pose a problem if you want to be able to wear make up and can make shopping for new products a difficult task.

Firstly, you need to establish whether your skin is actually sensitive. Skin conditions such as eczema, sun damage, and rosacea, are sometimes confused with sensitive skin. If you suffer from allergies, experience itching, dry skin and flakiness year round, or develop blotchy skin that is unrelated to changes in your skin-care routine then you may need to see a dermatologist or your doctor. If you do have one of these other skin conditions you will need to take different precautions with your skin in order to keep it healthy and glowing. But is your skin is prone to rashes or stings at the use of some skincare products, and is constantly irritated by make up and/or environmental factors, you probably suffer from sensitive skin. If this sounds like you, you may need to re-think your usual skincare routine.

I've put together a few general rules to ensure you too can comfortably cleanse, tone and moisturise and wear make up, without the dreaded tight, red or itchy skin.

To start with the obvious, when shopping for any cosmetics, firstly ensure they say "suitable for sensitive skin". "Suitable for all skin types" is a little misleading, as this can mean it is suited to dry/oily/combination skin - but doesn't necessarily incorporate sensitive skin. As well as checking the label, also check the ingredients list. Stay away from products that contain alcohol at all costs as this is a guaranteed irritant; instead select a product that contains natural skin soothing ingredients such as aloe vera. Products for sensitive skin can be found in all major chemists and Boots has a policy in which you can return any item which has resulted in a bad reaction (just keep your receipt, and be honest - they're not going to accept anything that is being returned half empty!)

If your skin is very sensitive, it is best to avoid wearing make up every day if you can. This will allow your skin to breathe and keep it free from chemicals. When you do want to wear some make up, make sure it is a light application and look for products that are non-comedogenic (meaning it will not exacerbate acne or clog pores) hypoallergenic, and fragrance free.

My advice for sensitive skin sufferers is always to use mineral make up. This gentle make up is generally formulated with natural and finely ground minerals such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. What is even more important is what mineral makeup is made without: fillers, preservatives, dyes, fragrances and chemicals - the nasties which leave your skin angry!

If I'm honest, I wasn't hugely keen on the idea of mineral make up when I first heard about it. I thought it would provide less coverage and didn't fancy the idea of buying new brushes and changing my whole make up kit. But when I heard such glowing reports on it (with one client exclaiming it "changed her life!") I decided to try it for myself. And I was proved very wrong!

Mineral makeup formulations provide similar coverage to traditional makeup - the ones made with chemicals, fillers and binders. Good news then - quality does not have to be compromised for those with sensitive skin. Mineral makeup is also non-comedogenic. Moreover, I've learnt it blends well, provides natural looking coverage and can even work to calm irritated or sensitive skin.

Mineral make up comes in loose or pressed powder form and even liquid now, for those that prefer a more traditional application method.The best type of mineral makeup depends upon your skin type, coverage needs and budget.

My personal favourite Mineral brands are;

*Bare Escentuals Make Up (it was them that taught me the wonders of mineral make up first)
*Bare Faced Beauty mineral make up - winner of the Natural Health Magazine Beauty Awards 2010
*and also MAC Mineralize make up (I swear MAC has make up for absolutely everybody - they are yet to fail me)

Whichever brand you go for, you're sure to look fantastic, and prove to your skin once and for all that make up need not be it's enemy.

And one more thing before I go - sensitive skin sufferes have to be even more strict with taking every last drop of their make up off before bed. And having too much to drink is no excuse - you may have looked fabulous partying but your skin won't be too pretty the next day!

Follow these rules and you have no excuse not to join the make up revolution!

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