How to tell if you have sensitive skin

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Over half of Ireland’s population experience issues with sensitive, dry skin. We asked the experts at Irish company Elave how to identify the signs and support skin properly

According to the Irish Skin Foundation, around 54% of the population every year experience issues with dry, sensitive and eczema-prone skin. One in four babies born develop eczema, and one in five adults experience flare-ups of skin conditions throughout their lives.

The experts behind Irish company, Elave skincare from Gardiner Family Apothecary, say that if you experience flare-ups or sensitivities, it’s important to establish what type of skin you have so that you can take care of it properly and give it the support it needs. Their range, Elave Sensitive, is specially formulated to address dry and sensitive Irish skin types. Products are ‘clean’ – free from harsh ingredients like parabens, sulfates, scents and dyes – and gentle enough to use from birth.

Discover the skin you’re in

So, how do you tell if you have dry or sensitive skin, as sometimes the symptoms can look similar.

What is sensitive skin? If you have persistent on-going reactions to a particular product or ingredient, including puffiness, flushes or splotchiness, you probably suffer from sensitive skin. You need to be careful about what you put on your skin.

What is dry skin? If your face feels tight when you get up in the morning, gets tighter as the day goes on, and you need lashings of moisturiser, you probably have dry skin. People with dry skin may have a rough complexion, red patches and more visible lines, as dry skin is less elastic.

Many people in Ireland have Skin Type 1 or 2 – that is, people with pale skin, blue eyes, blonde/reddish hair, freckles and skin that burns easily and does not tan. People with Irish skin types are particularly sensitive to UV light and vulnerable to skin cancer.

Dry and sensitive skin reactions can be triggered by a range of physical, psychological and environmental factors, including:

  • skincare products containing harsh and unnecessary ingredients
  • going from central heating into freezing outdoor weather
  • pollution, detergents, cleaning products, swimming pools
  • alcohol, certain foods, stress, lack of sleep
  • scented soaps, candles, perfumes and air fragrances
  • using water that is too hot for baths or showers

Find a regime perfect for your skin

The best way to care for dry and sensitive skin is to follow a daily regime using the same product range, to avoid triggering unforeseen reactions. Not only are Elave products free of any harsh ingredients, they are also cruelty-free, gluten-free, and use sustainable packaging. Everything is made in Ireland and ingredients are ethically sourced.

Recommended regime for dry or sensitive skin:
  1. Shower with Elave Sensitive Body Wash (€7.39), a sulfate-free cleanser with camomile extract; Elave Sensitive Shampoo (€7.39), which combines conditioning polymers and natural glycerin; and Elave Sensitive Conditioner (€8.30).
  2. Do not wash your face more than twice a day. Instead, use a gentle cleanser like Elave Sensitive Facial Cleanser (€8.30), sulfate-free with anti-oxidant vitamin E to protect against cellular damage.
  3. While the skin is still moist, gently apply Elave Sensitive Body Lotion (€ 8.30) with camomile extract to soothe and hydrate.
  4. Regulate your facial skin with Elave Skin Balancing Moisturiser (€19.95) with Manuka honey, anti-oxidant Vitamins B5 & E, natural glycerin and hyaluronic acid.

    To see the full range, see:

  5. Apply Elave Daily Skin Defence SPF45 (€19.95) for UVA & UVB protection in an invisible zinc formulation containing ant-oxidant vitamins B5 & E.
  6. Protect the delicate lip and eye areas with Elave Sensitive Daily Lip Defence (€7.99), a combination of coconut oil, shea butter, menthol, naturally derived collagen and vitamin E with SPF20; and Elave Sensitive Eye Rescue Serum (€22.95) with Muira Puama, Madonna Lily, aloe vera and antioxidant vitamins B5, C & E.
  7. Finally, don’t forget your hands. Keep them smooth, protected and younger-looking with Elave Hand Treatment (€8.99) with shea butter and fractionated coconut oil.

Elave Sensitive skincare is available at Tesco, Boots, Dunnes Beauty and community pharmacies. Click here to see the full range: