Sensitive skin can put a total damper on your beauty routine. Testing new, trendy products is basically impossible, because you never know what’s going to cause a major flare-up. And you feel like a chemist as you Google all the ingredients on the product labels. But just because you’re sensitive doesn’t mean your skin can’t flourish. You just have to know which ingredients are most likely to cause trouble. First things first: It’s important to determine if your skin is really sensitive or just irritated at the moment. Many people who think they have sensitive skin could actually be overusing products. Additionally, the complexion is much more prone to irritation in the winter, and this doesn’t necessarily mean you have sensitive skin.
If you find that the majority of products you put on, including vitamin C serums, retinols, and benzoyl peroxide creams, cause stinging, red spots, or another negative reaction, chances are, you have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin also has a harder time maintaining moisture, so you might be prone to dryness and itchiness. And if your face looks flushed in both summer and winter, that’s another tipoff. If you think you might be sensitive to products in general, it’s important to make an appointment with your dermatologist to confirm. What seems like a symptom of sensitive skin can also be a sign of other skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, or even an allergy, in which case it is important to avoid self-diagnosis. People try to lather on numerous ingredients to treat multiple issues, but the more your skin is exposed to an ingredient that irritates, the more it can sensitize the skin. Yes, that means while you’re trying to fix the problem, you could actually be making it worse. Here is a list of ingredients that dermatologists warn their patients with sensitive skin to avoid. While there are other things that may cause a reaction, these are the most common culprits to look for when shopping in the skin-care aisle.
Fragrance: Scent is the first thing dermatologists cut out when you’ve got sensitive skin. Currently, there’s no way to tell what ingredients go into what is simply labeled “fragrance” on many product bottles. An artificial fragrance could contain 200 or more different chemical or botanical components, and your skin could react to any one of them. Companies aren’t required to disclose what goes into their fragrance ‘recipe,’ so pinpointing the exact cause of a reaction can be almost impossible. The good news is there are tons of products that are marketed to those with sensitive skin. But you still have to be careful. There’s a slight difference between “fragrance free” and “unscented”, and “fragrance free” is the better option. ’Fragrance free’ usually means that no extra fragrances were added to the product. This does not necessarily mean that the product does not have a scent, but that the scent occurs naturally due to the ingredients. ’Unscented’ usually means that an ingredient was added to mask the scent of ingredients in the product that contain a strong odor. Unfortunately, those with sensitive skin may be sensitive to that ingredient.
Dyes: If you have sensitive skin, you may want to talk to your colorist before booking your next dye appointment. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD) is a common ingredient found in permanent hair dyes that can cause an allergic reaction. The result is a rash at the hairline, nape of the neck, and around the ears. PPD is most often found in darker dyes and comes as a two-step process, the PPD dye and the developer. For both in-salon and at-home hair color kits, there are options formulated without PPD.
Preservatives: Preservatives are necessary for keeping any product that contains water fresh and stable. Some preservatives, like parabens, while not considered harmful to health, can cause an allergic reaction in certain people. Parabens are more likely to irritate those who already have skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis. Another preservative to look for in your cosmetics and skin products is methylisothiazolinone, which is a high-hazard allergen according to the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database.
Botanical extracts and essential oils: Just because a product is marked “natural” or “organic” doesn’t mean it won’t cause a reaction on sensitive skin. Products that are considered ‘natural’ often contain ingredients that may be unusual or untested. Plant-based ingredients like citrus fruit extracts and mint can cause irritation if it’s a primary ingredient.
Sulfates: You’ve probably seen a lot of sulfate-free shampoos in the beauty aisle lately, and that’s because ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulfate can strip the hair of its natural oils, and the same goes for skin.These are cleansing agents that help create a rich, foaming lather, but they can prove too harsh for some, drying out skin and hair and contributing to rashes and blemishes.
Harsh exfoliants: Yes, you can use exfoliating products if you have sensitive skin, but the key here is moderation. It’s important to avoid using products that are too strong. Chemical exfoliation with amino fruit acids is recommended. AFAs are derived from the sugar cane bud rather than the stalk and provide better exfoliation with minimal irritation. If you prefer to use a product with glycolic or salicylic acid, start off with a very low percentage and slowly work your way up. No matter which method of exfoliation you choose, start by using the product only once a week and slowly increase frequency. People with sensitive skin usually can’t tolerate exfoliating more than twice a week.
While this list is a good starting point, the biggest mistake you can make with sensitive skin is to skip the patch test when you incorporate a new product into your routine. You want to apply a small amount to your neck or wrist first. Then, wait 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. If there isn’t any redness or itching, it’s OK to use on your face or body. And if the hunt for products that meet all the requirements has really got you stressed, there are a few brands that dermatologists always turn to; Dove’s unscented line, Aveeno, Cetaphil, CeraVe, and La Roche-Posay. For extremely sensitive skin, the Vanicream line is fragrance-free, lanolin-free, gluten-free, formaldehyde-free, and paraben-free.
Beauty Brands are Now Turning Focus on the Home
Work-from-home (WFH) arrangements and stay-at-home routines are now preventing many from using their makeup collections. These days, most do not have the opportunity—and need—to wear those red lipsticks or smoky eyeshadows that used to drive women in droves to boutiques, salons, and other beauty stores. In fact, many beauty brands have been experiencing a drastic decrease in sales due, especially, to the prolonged onslaught of the epidemic.
Just last week, Ulta Beauty Inc. reported an 8.9% decline in sales during this last quarter. For the upper echelons of beauty brands and products, the NPD Group reports an unfortunate drop of 17% in sales during this year’s third quarter as compared to that of the same period last year.
Nevertheless, the waning of foot traffic and walk-in clients are only some of the reasons why many beauty brands are experiencing massive setbacks. Experts believe that the reasons are more intricate and convoluted that these mere numbers stipulate. Fortunately, these beauty brands including their retailers and resellers understand the root of the problem.
While it is understandable that most people have no reasons to purchase these beauty brands during this time—due, of course, to the lack of opportunities to dress up during this pandemic—many of these beauty brands draw a bulk of their sales from having prospective clients try on their lipsticks, eyeshadows, pencils, liquids, and creams.
Because of the necessity of heeding the anti-COVID-19 protocols, however, many customers are not provided with this age-old activity. So, the less opportunity to check out this makeup implements in person, the less sales are made.
As it happens, several beauty brands like Sephora and Ulta were forced to label their testers as “For Display Only.” This means, then, that customers are hindered from outrightly experiencing these products first-hand, which causes a huge fall in potential sales. Key selling strategies like open conversation between salesperson and client, for instance, have been made limited as well. To that effect, many of the beauty meccas have become ghost towns since the onset of the pandemic.
However, there is hope for these beauty brands—they can cater to stay-at-home individuals, increasing their products for people who are forced to work from home. Because, beauty and self-care are not only needed outside of the home. It is essential for people to maintain a sliver of their beauty regimen even as they are driven to remain within the enclosures of their houses.
Nail care products saw a 13% increase in sales as compared to last year’s third quarter. Body exfoliating products witnessed a 48% climb as well. Hair colors, masks, and other treatments also saw a 48% sales increase.
There is still hope for these beauty brands, then, if they turn their focus on products that can be utilized within the safety of the home. In truth, these cosmetics can even provide psychological and mental health improvement especially for those who are used to being in beauty salons regularly. These do-it-yourself beauty treatments can help.
A Guide to Better Scalp Care
It is frequently easy to disregard the things that we cannot see. With scalp care, for instance, most people simply adopt the habit of shampooing their hair regularly. Some wash their scalps—and hair—daily while others prefer to do so every other day. Depending on your preference, you might even do the washing only once a week.
Nevertheless, beauty experts assert that it is essential to have a better scalp care routine. The scalp is a literal extension of your face and disregarding its condition can easily lead to several conditions including itching, dryness, and irritation—and dandruff. A dirty, uncared-for scalp can potentially become a breeding ground for unwanted parasites like lice, or even cause unnecessary hair loss.
But what does the scalp do for us and why do we need to take better care of it?
The scalp is not different from the skin in the body. Although it grows thicker and longer hair than all the other parts of the body, it is anatomically the same as all the other areas in the human body. The scalp, however, has more oil glands, 100,000 hair follicles, and five levels—or layers—of tissue.
The scalp’s sebaceous glands produce sebum or oil which, then, helps determine the condition of the hair and the scalp’s skin. The specific production of sebum is different from individual to individual. The scalp does not simply provide us with hair. It also protects our skull from infection and trauma. Regular scalp care, then, is important as this promotes both the healthy hair growth and scalp protection.
When questioned about the best scalp care routine, Michelle Henry, a dermatologist, says that a healthy scalp must not have any problems. “We shouldn’t see redness, we shouldn’t see irritation, and we shouldn’t see a lot of scales or buildup. It should not feel tender and it should not have an odor,” she shares. Henry adds that it is always best to consult a dermatologist if you experience any of these scalp conditions.
Scalp care is similar to the overall skin care regimen. The scalp must always be clean, replete of dirt, debris, and oil. Nonetheless, it is also essential to let it stay hydrated. Like with skin hydration, hydrating your scalp must be dependent on the type of scalp you have. For instance, if you have dry scalp, it is recommended that you avoid over-stripping it with scrubbing.
Shampoos and hair conditioners are dependent on the type of scalp you have. If you have an oily scalp, you can use sulfate-free shampoos. You can even purchase a shampoo that exfoliates your scalp. One with sea salt can work wonders. Those with dry scalps, however, must use a scalp toner which helps moisturize the scalp. A moisturizing shampoo and conditioner can also help.
Scalp care is as important as overall skin care. Longer and thicker hair can be achieved when the scalp is allowed to remain healthy, clean, and moisturized. Depending on the type of scalp you have, however, you should only choose products that are entirely right for you.
Masks Take the Fashion Industry by Storm
Masks are now taking the fashion industry by storm. Instead of the normal-looking masks of old, more and more people are now donning various styles. Aside from the light blue surgical masks and white N95 masks typically worn by doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners, many people are now wearing masks with different styles and colors. In a sense, these masks are now fashion statements, permitting the wearers to showcase their tastes, personalities, and even identities.
Before, disposable light blue surgical masks were the regular ones worn by health workers especially when on duty in various clinics and hospitals all around the world. Now, these masks have been replaced by homemade and store-bought alternatives. Due to the earlier scarcity of surgical and medical-grade masks earlier this year, people were forced to make masks at home. Different text guides and video tutorials even gradually appeared online, instructing viewers on how to sew their own. By using different materials including used cotton-based clothing and other breathable implements, many were encouraged to create their versions of the anti-COVID-19 shield.
A recent survey done by Statistics Indonesia (BPS) involving more than 90,000 respondents showed that 92% prefer wearing masks when in public places. The said survey also quantified that most respondents support the wearing of face masks over following the other mandated guidelines including frequent handwashing and social distancing. Thus, these significant results stipulate that face masks such as the light blue surgical masks, N95 masks, and alternative ones have now become essential, everyday accessories.
Subsequently, Musa Widyatmodjo, an Indonesian fashion designer, predicts that facial masks will be a far lengthier fashion trend. Although an effective vaccine against COVID-19 may be in sight, these masks will stay with us for longer than we think. Widyatmodjo supposes that fashion masks, if not light blue surgical masks or even N95 ones, will still be fashionable even when the present pandemic finally ends. He, then, thinks that this period can be a great opportunity for designers and artists to develop trendy masks innovations.
“In the past, we made face masks [without considering other features],” he says, as he relates the widespread availability of different mask designs in the market. He mentions that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can further capitalize on this current trend and hopefully find an excellent livelihood opportunity during this dragging pandemic. Widyatmodjo, however, stresses that there is a need to create safer and more durable face masks, noting the rapid spread of the infectious disease.
The production of these face guards, including light blue surgical masks and N95 ones, has aided various businesses as they strived to save themselves from the massive recession brought about by this deadly pandemic. At present, more and more designers are seen to be producing various face mask styles. Big designers are now selling stylish face masks, as well. A more diverse selection of face masks can be browsed online, although many purchase the good ole’ light blue surgical masks still.
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