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Sense and Sensitivity

Sense and Sensitivity: 10 things not to say to someone with sensitive skin

October 27th 2016 / Judy Johnson Google+ Judy Johnson

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Because when your skin is crawling with a reaction, ‘helpful’ comments are the last thing you need...

It’s not that you don’t care. I know you do (unless you’re a stranger on the tube eyeing me suspiciously, in which case stop staring). It’s that you don’t get it. No one gets it unless they have sensitive, troubled, problematic, pain in the arse skin that doesn’t behave. And that’s OK - just don’t say these well-meaning but equally irritating things to anyone who is struggling with their skin…

1. [Recoiling in horror] "Oh, that looks… sore”

YOU CAN’T CATCH IT. Yes a rash can look horrendous (in fact, even the word ‘rash’ is horrendous - I prefer the much more medical-sounding term ‘reaction’ at all times) but believe me it feels worse, and you making me self conscious about it doesn’t really help matters *itches*.

2. "You seem tired"

Zzzzzzsorry what? Sleepy? Me? That’s because I’m taking five antihistamines a day just to keep myself from tearing my skin off. Sorry. Maybe make yourself useful and get me a coffee?

3. "Let’s go to a spa"

Sure, I’d love to put my swimsuit on and show off my patchy skin and have a massage all the while wondering if these essential oils are going to burn my skin off. Sign me up and charge me £100 for the pleasure.

4. "Have you put anything on it?"

Me? No, I thought I’d just let this reaction take hold of my entire body and see how the rash develops. OH THE THINGS I’VE TRIED. I’ve thrown pills, calamine, steroids, cold compresses, everything at this red, angry bastard and no, it hasn’t gone down yet. Time is a healer, or so they say. See you in six months.

5. "Go to the doctor, they’ll fix it!"

Oh, rilly? Not any of the doctors I’ve ever seen...

6. "Yes, I always find my skin is worse when I eat badly too"

Sorry, did you just food-shame me? These ‘spots' aren’t from that Crunchie I just devoured, they’re from hormones, unsuitable beauty products and unfortunate genes. And perhaps stress *glares*.

7. "Try this product, it’s great for sensitive skin"

Is it though? Is it actually? Let me just get my magnifying glass and read the…. oh, no, wait… contains a ‘light perfume' you say. And SLS. And a whole heap of potent essential oils. Thank you but please take it far, far away from my skin immediately and trust me to know what I’m doing. I may not have any kind of beauty qualification but I’ve been reading ingredients lists and dermatology sites for as long as you’ve been reading Harry Potter.

8. [Aiming at me, finger on the button] “Test this perfume out!"

WHY DO YOU WANT TO HURT ME?

9. “But it’s hypoallergenic"

Don’t. Even.

10. “Let’s go somewhere really hot for our holiday this year"

*weeps and Googles ‘prickly heat remedies’*

What are your bugbears when you've had a reaction or have troubled skin? Let me know in the comments!

Follow Judy on Twitter @Judy_Jay and Instagram @JJJourno


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