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How to conquer sensitive skin – by Georgie Rastall

Georgie’s had a life-long battle with sensitive skin, but the key to overcoming it wasn’t what she expected…

I’ve always longed to be someone who can walk into a cosmetics shop and pluck something off the shelf without a care in the world. 

I’ve had sensitive skin for as long as I can remember. It became a real issue as I headed into my pre-teen years and started to discover funky bubble baths, body lotion, and delving into makeup. My friends got to go out covered in glitter and smelling like a potions lab, whereas I so much as dreamed of lip gloss and ended up covered in hives and looked like I was the atopic dermatitis A/W 2001 collection. Nothing steals your thunder like a tub of E45 replacing the fluorescent pink Groovy Chick shimmery bath foam. 

For me, buying cosmetics is spending hours scanning ingredients lists with crossed fingers. Nothing makes my heart sink like the words ‘perfume’, ‘paraben’, or a sneaky ‘sulfate’. 

Everyone’s trigger is different

I’d recommend keeping a diary of the products you use and the condition of your skin to see if you can spot any patterns. It’s a long process but it’s worth it. Knowing if there’s a certain ingredient or product that sets your skin off can save you the time and exhaustion of unexpected flare ups.  

However, I have some bad news — it’s never been a product or ingredient that’s made my skin protest with the firiest intensity. It’s the stress hormone, cortisol.

When I’m upset or stressed, my skin will broadcast it to the world 

It doesn’t matter what products I’m using, or what condition my skin was in before. The flare up is almost immediate — I can see patches popping up before the end of that horrible meeting or breakup conversation.

It’s hard to see the benefit of sensitive skin, but I see it as a constant reminder to look after myself. Time and money spent on an impeccable, eczema-approved skin care regimen is time and money wasted if I’m not looking after my mind. Practising self-care is essential for keeping your skin in good condition. 

Stress, upset, and negative influences can creep up on you, and your cortisol levels may be higher than you ever imagined. (Thanks, Coronavirus!) Before you buy that incredibly expensive pot of ‘miracle-cure’ cream it might be worth taking a second to have a cup of tea, light a candle, and curl up with a book that makes you feel warm inside. 

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