If exfoliation is a major part of your routine, fear not—you can still get in on the action, but you might need a few subtle tweaks. Ayodele says, “The skin barrier is already under stress, so further exfoliation can cause increased trauma. Gentle exfoliation can be achieved by swapping AHA cleansers for enzyme cleansers. Avoid scrubs to prevent further irritation and sensitivity.”
Keep an eye out for fruit enzymes in ingredient lists, but you can also have “salicylic acid in your cleanser or as an acid exfoliant, as it helps to combat acne, but be mindful not to over-exfoliate, as this will further exacerbate any irritation,” Hamilton advises.
It might also be time to put your beloved active ingredients on pause so your skin has a moment to chill. “Cutting back on AHAs, vitamin C, and retinoids will help to reduce skin sensitivity and give the skin time to repair itself effectively without any additional irritation,” Ayodele says.
The good news? You can still plan ahead, as “when you’re considering longer-term products to introduce into your skincare routine once your skin has settled, an antioxidant like vitamin C would be good. It will protect against extrinsic factors like air pollution and UV rays that damage our skin,” Hamilton says.