Finding the right makeup for sensitive skin in India is always a tricky one. There’s the vicious cycle of breakouts, rashes, dry patches and red flushes that you’d choose to cover up with makeup, which only makes it worse. Plus, with pollution levels at an all-time high — meaning more clogged pores and higher skin sensitivity — the need to switch up your beauty routine has never been more critical. We asked celebrity dermatologist Dr Kiran Lohia to weigh in and help counteract the dreadful effects, once and for all.
Best tips and makeup for sensitive skin in India
Prep the skin
“Start the day by using a milk-based cleanser or micellar water that draws out impurities, while being super gentle on the skin,” says Lohia. “Foam cleansers are a big no-no because the sulfates [that create the lather] strip off the skin’s protective barrier, leading to more irritation.” She also suggests you slather on the sunscreen and hydrate with hypoallergenic moisturisers from drugstore labels like Bioderma or Ducray.
Read your labels
Most skincare products have alcohol and glycols that help ingredients like vitamin C and retinol penetrate deeper into the skin. In the case of makeup, they are commonly found in liquid foundations to form a weightless and matte texture. It’s easy to see their appeal, especially for those with oily skin, but Lohia recommends you steer clear of them. “Just like a boozy cocktail, topical products with alcohol content can severely dry out the skin and slow down its renewal process from within. Plus, parabens, artificial fragrances and colouring in makeup can also cause serious skin allergies,” says Lohia, which explains why your eyes are probably burning and watering from your daily application of jet black kohl.
And it doesn’t just end here. Sometimes, even natural ingredients and home remedies like lemon and neem can lead to skin burns. “There’s really no legal definition or regulations for the word ‘natural’ in beauty, which means any ingredient is capable of causing problems,” says Lohia. “Do a patch test on to see if it works for you, before applying it all over your face, eyes or lips.”
Switch up your routine
Yes, we all want the prettily packaged jars and shimmery highlighters on our dressers. But with sensitive skin, it’s imperative that you opt for hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic makeup brands to avoid allergies and build-up in your pores. “I love indie labels like VMV Hypoallergenics and ENN’s Closet for their make-up lines,” says Lohia. She also recommends trying mineral-based makeup brands like Bare Minerals that are made sans oil and are much lighter on the skin. Small changes like washing your makeup brushes regularly and replacing sponges every year will also go a long way in ensuring you don’t have to deal with irritated skin.
ELLE's favourite products for sensitive skin:
(Make sure you check with your dermat before giving these a shot)