Emma Hoareau

Emma Hoareau
February 27, 2018



Sensitive skin. One of the questions I get asked the most on instagram is how to treat sensitive skin and what products you can and can’t use if you suffer from it.

For the record – I have sensitive combination skin, and am prone to hormonal breakouts. So if I want to zap breakouts I need to use something strong enough to say goodbye to spots but not so strong that my face will react. I think people often feel that ‘sensitive’ means you can only use super neutral products, but I disagree. For my skin over the years, I’ve learned that it’s not the acid-filled cosmeceuticals that make my skin react, but in fact natural products – more specifically: essential oils.

When there is a high percentage of an essential oil, that’s when my skin reacts. Essential oils are irritants to the skin (yes! really) but they’ve been marketed as this do good, everything natural is good for your skin. We are not plants, we are not made of lavender and shea butter. We are made of chemicals. Now that’s not to say all things natural upset my skin, a lot of the products I’ll mention here harness their powers from nature – just in a different way. (If you’d like an in depth account of the pros and cons of essential oils I highly recommend reading this.)

Don’t be afraid of acids
In fact, it’s acids that help balance the pH of the skin, and will gently exfoliate (as opposed to using physical exfoliants, which irritate the skin more) I use one every night to help balance my skin as it’s prone to getting out of whack.


Protect yourself
Always wear sunscreen. Protecting your skin from harmful rays will make sure it’s kept calm


Using an essence after cleansing will lock in moisture, soften the skin and properly prepare your skin for absorbing the hydrating serum you’ll be using after.


In an emergency
Go super simple. If you’ve had a reaction to something (whether that’s a product or just the weather) cleanse gently and don’t exfoliate. You want to work on keeping the outer layer of skin stabilised and strong. Omegas and niacinamide will help strengthen your skin barrier.


Give it some love
It’s no surprise to hear that I’m a huge mask addict. The reason being – why wouldn’t I feed my skin all the good stuff? Don’t be afraid to use a mask every night! As long as it’s not resurfacing or mud (which with sensitive skin, I wouldn’t recommend more than once weekly) you can use moisturising or vitamin full masks whenever you want to give your skin a boost.

You can find further products for each of the above on my Lolita List here and advice for all skin types on here.