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What's popular online isn't always going to be what's right for your skin, so today we're talking viral skincare that I wouldn't recommend for sensitive skin types and some products that might be more suitable (but aren't as hyped up), as an added bonus!

The first thing I don't recommend for sensitive skin is less about the specific product pictured (sorry for picking on you when you have so many other great products, Kate Somerville!) and more the kind of formula this is. I don't recommend any type of drying lotion, paste or treatment on blemishes; you know the ones, they're usually in a small bottle and there's a pink paste sat in an alcohol solution. I don't like or recommend using these treatments because they dry out the skin and can actually be so harsh that even though they've 'dried out' the active blemish (with salicylic acid but also just the sheer amount of denatured alcohol in these types of formulas), you're left with a dark mark that's difficult to budge. They seem like a satisfying quick fix, but trust me: I don't think they're worth it at all! Instead, I recommend a gentle, more hydrating, well-rounded spot treatment such as the Inkey List's Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment* | £11. Park the succinic acid, because I really don't think that's the star of the show here; this treatment contains sulphur and salicylic acid to absorb excess oils and clear spot-causing debris from within the pore. Yes, you'll have to apply this morning and evening for a couple of days to banish your blemish, but the melting gel formula makes it more usable, and - most importantly - it's formulated with moisturising ingredients like squalane and hyaluronic acid so it isn't harsh or drying on the skin. Slow and steady wins the race!

Another product the internet loves but one that really irritated my skin (which is not typically very sensitive to this type of ingredient) is the Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. This is often recommended as an alternative to the patented Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum, but to get around the patent (which covers the % concentration, combining pure-form Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E and the pH range) they've included a very high % of pure Vitamin C, and I suspect it's also at a lower pH. Ascorbic Acid (pure Vitamin C) is a powerful antioxidant to protect the skin from free radical damage and it also appears to boost collagen production in the skin, which is why it's well-ageing must-have for many. The Skinceuticals formula is expensive, but if you're looking for an alternative, I much prefer Geek and Gorgeous (all 3 formulas are reviewed in this post) because it doesn't sting and burn my skin like the one from Timeless! However, if you have sensitive skin, I would honestly consider swerving pure Vitamin C altogether and trying a derivative with some added support instead, such as the Dr Sam Bunting Flawless Brightly Serum* | £46 (10% off with code JASMINETALKSBEAUTY (affiliate)). Ok, ascorbyl glucoside isn't as proven as pure Vitamin C when it comes to boosting collagen, but you'll still get antioxidant benefits and it will help to even-out discolouration. It's amplified by a skin-friendly 5% niacinamide (this prevents hyperpigmentation and boosts ceramide production, leading to healthier skin barrier), azelaic acid to help with discolouration and redness and bakuchiol, which can help protect the skin and also improve uneven skin tone. It's a gentle formula that's going to help protect and brighten the skin, which is ultimately a big part of why people want to reach for a Vitamin C serum.  

We're talking exfoliants again! I also really don't recommend the Ordinary's AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution because not many people need such a strong product in their bathroom cabinet, let alone those with sensitive skin. This product has been seriously misused on the internet, but I do think that in the right hands, used once-weekly for a few minutes only before rinsing, it's fine for those who are very experienced with skincare. But I feel as though this is way too much for a good 3/4s of the people I've seen use it... My skin can just about tolerate this product, but something this intense can cause redness, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. I personally don't think it's worth the risk for my skin. Instead, I'd use the Inkey List treatment if I'm breaking out, or for general resurfacing and to boost skin cell turnover, something like the Ordinary's Lactic Acid 10% + HA | £8.80 | is a much better bet. This contains an AHA in lactic acid, but the 10% concentration is much more skin-friendly, plus lactic acid has hydrating benefits over something like glycolic, which are bolstered by th hyaluronic acid in here. If you're very sensitive, there's even a 5% version for you. This serum - used a couple of times a week - gives me baby-soft skin without the irritation.

Finally, I don't recommend the Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 2% for sensitive skin. I don't think this is that bad in and of itself - though some find it irritating no matter what - but it's just a high % of niacinamide in a world where this ingredient is now pretty ubiquitous. Niacinamide is studied as effective in concentrations of 5%, so for me: I don't see much benefit in going higher and risking irritation. That's then compounded when most of us are double or even triple dosing on niacinamide in our skincare routines because it's often added to products that don't necessarily advertise its presence. This product has helped a lot of people regulate oil production in their skin, reduce breakouts and diminish scarring afterwards but there's not a lot of nuance or added benefit with this formula. If you're sensitive, I'd consider skipping this product and instead opting for something like Monday Muse's the Juice Daily Serum* | £40. Yes, this is more expensive, but I do think it's worth the investment if you want a well-rounded niacinamide formula, though obviously you could just choose a moisturiser or toner containing this ingredient if its not already somewhere in your routine. This hydrating, milky serum is formulated with niacinamide (of course!), panthenol (to help retain hydration in the skin), soothing cica extract, algae to protect and calm the skin, hemp seed oil to soothe and soften the skin and glycerin to draw hydration in. It's hydrating, it's skin-friendly and it's so much more than 'just' a niacinamide serum.

Have you tried any of the products I've discussed in this post? If so - let me know how your skin fared with them!

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Read more posts from this series here!

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