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5 Reasons Why Your Facial Skin is Irritated

Facial Skin Irritation

If you’re into skincare, you might be asking yourself why your skin is still rough, flaky and irritated even though you’re exfoliating and using hydrating and moisturising skincare products. Well, I’m about to give you 5 reasons why your skin is irritated that you might not have considered before!

There are lots of reasons why your skin might be irritated (no matter what you do to it!). Irritated skin can have dry, flaky patches as well as redness and small irritation bumps. It can be totally frustrating to have irritated skin, but it is usually possible to treat at home. When your skin is irritated, scale back your skincare routine to the most essential steps. You don’t want to be trying any new products nor doing too much exfoliation. Just cleanse your skin (double cleanse at night), then follow it up with a moisturiser with ceramides or madecassoside which will help repair the skin, and then apply SPF (during the day). This is all you need to help protect the skin and give it what it needs to heal and recover.

Here are the 5 reasons why your skin is irritated!

1) You’re being too rough with your skin

Often, skin irritation is self-inflicted. We can do a lot of damage to our skin without realising by being too rough with it!

Double cleansing is really important for getting all our makeup off and getting our skin really clean at night, but I wouldn’t recommend using makeup wipes for this. I outline this in more detail in my skincare guide which you can find here.

Makeup wipes are really rough on the skin, and they’re not very effective at removing our makeup which means we have to do a lot of rubbing (especially around the extra-sensitive eye area) to get all our makeup off. This can of course irritate the face. Instead of makeup wipes, I recommend using a nice cleansing balm or cleansing oil which you massage into the face to breakdown your makeup and then rinse it off. Plus, they’re less wasteful so they’re better for the environment!

Also, when you’re washing your face, be gentle! Use lukewarm water rather than hot water and I swear you’ll see a huge difference overnight! Hot water is very drying to the face, so using slightly cooler water can really help keep your skin balanced.

Another important point for when washing your face is that there’s no need to rub too hard, and if you use a facial sponge or cloth, don’t pull at your skin! Be gentle with your face when washing it.

Pillowcases can also be responsible for sensitising our skin. If you think you might have sensitive skin, consider switching to a satin or silk pillowcase because these are a lot softer on the skin. I have recently started placing a satin hair scarf over my pillow and my skin and face feel so much softer!

2) You might be sensitive to fragrance

Many skincare products are fragranced with natural or artificial fragrance. I do enjoy fragrance in my skincare because it adds a nice refreshing or luxurious element do doing my skincare routine, but I’m aware that they can be irritating to the skin! For this reason, I try to buy unfragranced products where possible.

If you notice that your skin is irritated, try checking out your skincare products to see which ones contain fragrance. You can try not using them for about a month to see if your skin gets less irritated. Artificial fragrance is usually listed as ‘fragrance’, but natural fragrance is harder to spot. Keep an eye out for essential oils because these are used to add fragrance to a product naturally.

Many people avoid chemical fragrance and opt for essential oils in their products instead, but really, essential oils aren’t great for our delicate facial skin. Essential oils can be very sensitising and drying, so they’re best used on the body rather than the face. If you’re worried about fragrance in your skincare, I would cut out both artificial and natural fragrance.

3) You might be trying too many new skincare products

There is so much skincare out there now that it can be really tempting to try everything and have really long, extensive skincare routines. There isn’t anything wrong with trying new skincare products and ingredients, but it’s important to not overload the skin. Our skin is quite delicate and might not be able to handle too many different products at the same time.

When introducing a new skincare product into your routine, make sure you test it on a small patch of skin 24 hours before using it all over your face for the first time. This is a really great way to make sure a product isn’t irritating to your skin. For this reason, it’s important to not have loads of skincare products in your routine, because if you get irritation from your new products, you’ll have no idea which one it is!

It’s also important to bear in mind that it takes about a month to see the effects of a new skincare product, so when you start trying a new one, stick with it!

4) You could be over-exfoliating

Exfoliation is a great way to get smooth, glowing skin- when done sparingly! To exfoliate, you can use physical or chemical exfoliants such as lactic acid, glycolic acid and malic acid. For a full breakdown on how to use chemical exfoliators click here.

I personally recommend chemical exfoliants over physical exfoliants like sugar scrubs, because the exfoliating particles in many face scrubs are way too rough and have sharp edges which can irritate the skin. Also, many scrubs contain microplastics which are polluting to the environment.

If you use exfoliators, make sure to only use them 1-3 times a week. If you use a scrub, make sure it’s not too rough. When using a chemical exfoliator make sure it’s not irritating your skin. If it is, consider using it less frequently or using one that is a lower percentage (making it less strong).

5) You might be mixing skincare ingredients that don’t go together

Although most skincare ingredients are compatible with others, there are some which you shouldn’t mix. For example, vitamin C and retinol should not be used at the same time, as combining them can cause irritation on your skin. I outline which skincare products don’t go together here! Check it out for more information 🙂


I hope this post helps you identify why your skin is still irritated no matter what you do! Please subscribe to my blog below, and leave me a comment; activity on my blog helps me continue to do what I love.

Thank you for reading,



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