Organic skincare for sensitive skin
Recently a woman in her 30s presented at my clinic with severely sensitised facial skin. She had been following professional advice for some months; however, the more treatments she received, the more unsightly her skin had become. By the time she came to me, her face was very red and covered in a dry, scaly, angry rash. Not surprisingly, she was intensely self-conscious, distraught and depressed. I felt her skin was angry for good reason; she had received aggressive, costly and inappropriate treatments. Not only had her skin been obviously traumatised, she was now also left with a number of expensive creams with a chemical base which would inevitably continue to aggravate her condition if she used them. After enduring months of anguish, my client was desperately hoping for an instant solution. This, of course, was unrealistic. I had to ask her to have patience and to follow a very simple organic skincare routine.
The organic skincare program included petrochemical-free organic skincare products – a gentle cream cleanser, pure jojoba oil, a soothing moisturiser for sensitive skin and a simple clay mask with softening and calming properties. She had a right to feel sceptical, but she left with the four organic skincare products and a promise to try the organic skincare routine I suggested. I was not expecting a miracle as her skin was so traumatised. Rather, I thought she faced a long, slow healing process, first de-sensitising then strengthening the skin.
A week later, the look of the skin had changed little, though my client assured me it was starting to feel better with organic skincare. The following week, small patches of clear, healthy skin were clearly visible. Two weeks later approximately 50 percent of her skin was clear. Exactly six weeks from the start of this de-sensitising organic skincare program my client could hardly contain her smile as she walked through the door of my clinic. She looked calm and relaxed, and her skin was positively glowing. I was delighted, not least because her skin condition had been impacting so adversely on her day-to-day life. I then began to wonder how many other people are acting on inappropriate advice regarding their skin conditions and how many desperate and disillusioned people have bathroom cabinets overflowing with costly products that have failed to live up to their promises?
Nowadays there are more products on the market than ever before, and a baffling wide range of hi-tech treatments. So why is skin sensitivity so widespread? Over a lifetime, we may expose our skin to hundreds of different products, chemicals and ingredients without having any idea of how many are truly beneficial. Some may simply be a waste of money – but others could actually be contributing to what appears to be an epidemic of mild to severe skin sensitivities.Many potentially harmful products are sold by well-meaning shop assistants who are simply not qualified to give in-depth advice on skin conditions and disorders. Unfortunately, there are also many doctors, dermatologist and skin care professionals who freely recommend steroid creams, alpha hydroxy-acid peels and creams, the powerful Vitamin A derivative retinol or acutane, an acne drug.
These preparations certainly have a place but, in my opinion, it is inappropriate to prescribe them for mild skin conditions and disorders rather than the serious problems they were originally designed to treat. By weakening and irritating relatively healthy skin, they are surely opening the way to increased sensitivities. Most skin sensitivities and disorders can be treated naturally with a combination of external and internal treatments. A visit to a Naturopath and a simple organic skincare routine using completely natural, petrochemical-free products is often all that is required. Following a holistic path to de-sensitising and strengthening the skin may not yield immediate results, but the long-term benefits could be immeasurable in a world where chemical overload can play havoc with our bodies’ natural health and resilience.
Sharon McGlinchey is the founder of mv Organic Skincare and mv Radiance Therapy.