The first step in any skin care regimen is cleansing. Of course, using water to cleanse the skin helps to remove dirt and other irritants. Some people, however, choose to use a cleanser to remove excess oil and dirt. But don't just reach for any cleanser if you have sensitive skin.
Soap, while conventional, strips the skin of essential oils and could leave behind a drying residue that may irritate sensitive skin. If you find that the soap you're using irritates your skin, switch to a non-soap cleanser. Non-soap cleansers (such as beauty bars) do not contain harsh ingredients found in typical soaps. Also, be sure to stay away from products that contain acidic ingredients and products with fragrances, as these tend to be more irritating. When in doubt, test a product on a small patch of your skin before using it on your whole face or body.
Do not use soap on the face, as most dermatologists advise against it [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Instead, try foam cleansers or disposable facial cleansing cloths. If you buy cleansing cloths, look for those that have visible holes in the fabric weave, as they will offer increased softness.
Though you may wash your face twice a day, it's best not to use facial scrubs more than once or twice per week. Scrubs exfoliate the skin, removing dirt and dead skin cells. But for someone with sensitive skin, scrubs can be especially irritating. Try a scrub with soft scrubbing beads that are gentler on your skin. When cleansing your body, wash gently, and discontinue the use of any scrubbing tools, such as sponges or loofahs, that irritate your skin.
With all this daily cleansing and scrubbing, it's no wonder skin dries out. Moisturizing your skin immediately after cleansing is essential to your daily skin care routine. Find out how to moisturize sensitive skin on the next page.