Chapter 4: Hydrating sensitive skin: tips and tricks

Hydration is key when it comes to calming stressed, overly sensitive skin. Read on to find out why keeping your skin’s moisture content up is so important, as well as advice on how to help manage symptoms of discomfort via effective hydration.

Why is hydration particularly important for sensitive skin?

One word: protection. Composed of over 60% water, skin acts as a natural barrier against the outside environment, helping to preserve a plump, youthful look while fighting the effects of external aggressors such as UV rays and pollution. The better hydrated skin is, the more effectively it can fulfil this role. Extremely sensitive skin tends to suffer from an altered barrier function, meaning that negative visible effects linked to external factors, (such as extreme weather or UV rays) can often feel - or appear - more pronounced. As well as these exposome factors, unsuitable skincare products or ingredients, our body’s hormone levels, and even spicy foods can also provoke reactions in sensitive skin, including redness, discomfort or burning. This means that lasting hydration is even more important for women suffering from symptoms linked to sensitive skin.

Keeping our skin healthy: fighting water loss

The human body loses up to 1.8 litres of water a day through perspiration alone, so making sure to restore your skin’s moisture levels throughout the day is crucial! Dehydrated skin feels tight and can often look dull, with these effects more apparent in sensitive skin, so choosing products that help retain water is essential when looking to reduce symptoms of sensitive skin. It’s also important to pay attention to your daily routine - effective hydration is particularly important if you lead an active lifestyle or spend a lot of time at the office. Regular exercise is key for eliminating toxins from the skin, as well as being a great source of stress relief, but the amount of water we lose when hitting the gym can be considerable. Avoid clogged pores by using a hydrating cleanser post-workout, before restoring skin’s moisture levels with a moisturizer that offers long-term hydration. If you work in an office environment, a spritz of hydrating facial mist, such as Vichy Mineralizing Thermal Water, is a great way to topically renforces the skin while giving you a refreshing mid-afternoon boost.

How to hydrate: key ingredients for healthy skin

For effective long-term hydration, it’s important to look for products that meet the specific needs of sensitive skin. Hypoallergenic formulations tend to be gentler on delicate skin, so choose a product that has undergone testing for hypoallergenicity as well as having been tested on sensitive skin.

The next step? Picking the right ingredients. Shea butter is known for its soothing properties, so if you often suffer from chapped or sensitive skin elsewhere on your body, a rich body butter or cream enriched with this all-natural ingredient may help. When it comes to the face, hyaluronic acid is ideal for hydrating extremely sensitive skin without overloading delicate areas of the face and chin. Of course, ingredients won’t do all the work: aim to drink around 3 litres of water per day to help fight the effects of dehydration long-term, and make sure to store your skincare products properly to avoid contamination.