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It's essential to be incredibly gentle with sensitive skin. That means a hydrating cleansing, non-abrasive exfoliation and sunscreen with a physical blocker, like zinc. Many dermatologists suggest cleansing with Cetaphil, but I prefer CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser. It's just as effective (and endorsed by dermatologists); I like the texture and lack of scent.
Exfoliation is essential in cell turnover and keeping skin smooth - but it's also really tricky if you have reactive skin. Avoid physical exfoliants, such as scrubs (even if they claim to be gentle!) and opt for a chemical exfoliant. Ingredients to look for include hydroxy acids like Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. My favorite exfoliant is Epitome Skincare's Toner Pads. I use them every AM to smooth and deflake my skin before applying makeup.
Finally, in the prevention bucket is sunscreen. I use CeraVe Sunscreen for Face SPF 50. I recently made the switch from a chemical sunscreen (I used to use Aveeno's sunscreen, until I realized the formula made my skin sting), and it's taken some getting used to. Given the nature of zinc, where it literally adds a protective blocking layer to your skin, you have to blend this stuff in really well - otherwise you end up with a white cast to your skin. Also, it doesn't smell great upon initial contact. But these trade-offs are worth it (to me) in exchange for skin that doesn't tingle and sting.
After this segment aired, I received so many comments from viewers who wanted to know, "Do you REALLY put honey on your face to soothe redness?" The answer is, "YES." I really do. Once in a while, the elements get the best of my skin and, halfway through the day, I start to feel tightness around the bottom of my cheeks. Then it feels like my entire face has shrunk a size smaller than my bone structure can handle...cue the itchiness and redness. I race home, take off my makeup, and slather honey on my face. It soothes on contact. Ahhhh. After 20 minutes, I wipe it off with a warm, damp washcloth and my skin is back to normal.
I also keep a product in my daytime makeup bag to help with small spots of dryness (like around my nose) that pop up throughout the day: Mario Badescu Herbal Hydrating Serum. This gel-based serum doesn't mess up my makeup if I carefully tap a pea-size amount onto dry patches.
Even with the best skincare, my face just naturally is pink - across my cheeks and around my nose in particular. That's pretty common for a lot of women. Before I apply foundation, I prime my skin with Pur Minerals Color Correcting Primer in Green. The tiniest amount covers my entire face, smoothing the skin, reducing redness and making my foundation last longer throughout the day. It's great.
In the segment, I used Tarte Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation - with a bit of work (you have to buff this stuff into your skin really, really well) it provides beautiful coverage and wears nicely for most of the day. I like that it doesn't feel as heavy as the coverage would indicate. And the packaging is absolutely brilliant. The lid contains a stopper that, when closed, presses down on the mesh sifter that dispenses product. The stopper keeps the powder from flying all over the place and making a mess. The mesh sifter also means you don't have to dump product out into a cap and then swirl your brush - you simple press your brush down onto the sifter and product is release. Love that.
If you can't get behind a powder foundation, I also use Pur Minerals 4-in-1 Liquid Mineral Foundation. The ingredient list is gentle and you can build up medium coverage.