Here at Jan de Vries, we’re all in favour of homemade DIY face masks and moisturisers, however, there seems to be a lot of worrying rumours going around about what you should be putting on your skin, and sometimes these myths can end up doing more harm than good. That’s why today I’m going to take a look at a few of these so-called skin saviours and what they’re actually doing to your sensitive skin.
1 - Hairspray
Hairspray, as the name may suggest, is formulated exclusively for your hair. How then, did it end up being used as a way of setting your make-up? Some people seem to believe that hairspray will enhance the longevity of their make-up but the reality is that it’s drying out your skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you’re probably already aware of why dry skin isn’t such a good idea – a weaker epidermis is one that’s more prone to irritation and invasive bacteria! Most conventional hairsprays are loaded with abrasive chemicals alcohol which will not only dehydrate and irritate your skin but also clog your pores resulting in red, inflamed skin that’s more likely to breakout in spots and blemishes.
Worse still, some hairsprays also contain propylene glycol, a carcinogenic that you’re potentially inhaling with every spray, meaning not only is your skin being agitated, but you’re also harming your respiratory tract!
Our simple swap: PHB's Pressed Finishing Powder is a lightweight powder pressed with nourishing ingredients like organic Jojoba. Never formulated with harsh ingredients, it’s ideally suited for dry or sensitive skin and provides a flawless finish for your make-up!
If you suffer from sensitive skin, exfoliating can be a tricky issue. With so many home remedies out there claiming to be gentle on delicate skin, it can be easy to fall for the myth. However, sugar is definitely not the answer to removing dead skin cells.
It might get a pass being used on your lips but, when it comes to your skin, the jagged edges of sugar crystals are far too harsh and can cause tiny micro-tears that scratch your epidermis and stimulate an inflammatory reaction – not exactly what you want if you have sensitive skin.
These scratches can also upset your lipid barrier, making your skin weaker and more prone to irritation. As with hairy spray, if you see this on any lists avoid like the plague and, instead of exfoliating, stick with a gentle cleanser.
Our simple swap: PHB Beauty’s Gentle Cleanser with Olive and Plum is completely scent-free and, as the name may suggest, helps to gently remove even the most stubborn makeup, soothing skin and reducing redness. Rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids, this formula supports damaged skin cells, promoting their repair while strengthening your skin’s natural barrier, keeping irritating pathogens and bacteria away from your skin.
3 – Essential oils
Essential oils can be soothing and even contain skin-boosting properties, however, if you have sensitive skin, it might be worth giving them a miss. You should never, ever, apply undiluted essential oils to your skin, whether it’s sensitive or not, as it can agitate your epidermal layer and stimulate a flare-up.
If you are going to use an essential oil, always mix it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba and, if you have sensitive skin, avoid oils such as birch, clove, ginger or peppermint!
Our simple swap: When it comes to oils that might be able to help support your sensitive skin, I would opt for PHB Beauty’s Gentle Gel Serum with Organic Aloe and Sweet Almond. Rich in vitamin E, Sweet Almond is extremely hydrating while Aloe Vera works to soothe redness, fighting free radical damage to give your skin a healthy, natural glow!
4 – Undiluted vinegar
Okay, so hopefully none of you are putting malt vinegar (the stuff we’d normally recommend for your chips) near your skin. This product is sometimes used as a quick-fix spot treatment, but undiluted vinegar is very acidic and can burn your skin. Even apple cider vinegar, which we sometimes recommend as a DIY toner, should never be applied directly to your skin without diluting first with some water.
Our simple swap: If you are going to try using vinegar as a natural toner, I’d definitely recommend Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Not only is this product 100% organic, it also contains ‘the mother’, a cloud residue that’s chockfull of valuable nutrients and acids. However, please remember the rule for any vinegar – always DILUTE with water!
5 – Baking soda
Baking soda – the darling of homemade exfoliators everywhere! Baking soda is such a versatile product that it’s not really that surprising that skincare would come into the equation at some point. However, just as undiluted vinegar is too acidic, baking soda falls at the other end of the spectrum, being far too alkaline.
You skin relies on a delicate alkaline/acid balance and on the pH scale, it sits around 4.5-6.5 (anything above 7 is considered alkaline). If you apply a product that is too acidic or too alkaline, this balance can become disrupted, damaging your natural skin barrier and changing the activity of the enzymes and bacterial flora that naturally inhabit your skin.
This can result in weaker, drier skin that’s more prone to damage and bacterial infections so, next time you see a DIY recipe that calls for baking soda, make sure you give it a miss!
Our simple swap: Baking soda is usually incorporated into face masks to help combat spot-prone skin, but when it comes to treating sensitive skin, which is easily irritated, it might be worth opting for a soothing moisturiser instead as some face masks can be too harsh. PHB Beauty’s Gentle Moisturiser with Shea Butter and Apricot is our top pick and it contains natural ingredients to help support sensitive skin including free-radical fighting antioxidants and fatty acids to help strengthen your skin against irritation, soothing and nourishing for a healthier complexion.