I have finally accepted that I have sensitive skin. A number of different triggers cause me to flare up: food, deodorants, skin care products, and supplements have all caused me days or weeks of excruciating pain or unbearable breakouts. About a month ago I decided to just, well, grow up and take care of myself and my skin. I decided I was going to go natural, with everything, but I truly did not want to pay that natural product coin. So this is my beginner’s guide to taking care of your sensitive with cheap, easy to find products.
Coconut Oil If you have natural hair like I do, then this is already a staple product. But regardless of the labels, all coconut oils are not created equal. My all time favorite is Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil has many uses but the best for a sensitive girl because it’s said to be antibacterial and antifungal. Now be careful because everyone’s skin is different. Coconut oil is great for my facial breakouts but when I tried to use it under my arms, I had the worst inflammation I’d experienced in years. My roommate typical uses it to remove a full faced of makeup. I use it after a shower and/or washing my face to hydrate my skin. Can you say pimples-be-gone?
Dove Bar Soap Even though I really do not f with Dove’s strategy these days I do love me some unscented dove bar soap. I actually use two kinds of soaps when I shower. The first is Tea Tree Oil soap and the second is dove bar soap. I use the Tea Tree soap to clean my skin and reduce inflammation, but boy does it dry me out. Dove serves as my moisturizing wash and honestly there is nothing better than that lather and that smell.
Dove Deodorant Stick Okay I’m not gonna lie...I’m still debating this one. So I tried Natural Deodorant for two weeks and I gotta say “It’s a no for me dawg.” At the very least its a no on its own. While the irritation under my arms was completely gone, if it was even slightly hot outside I sweat like I was in a sauna. Not to mention, it doesn't last. And who has time to apply deodorant with their fingers multiple times a day? I’m now transitioning to two layers of deodorant. First is my natural deodorant “Primal Pit Paste” to protect my skin and the second layer is the Dove Deodorant stick. Now, I just had an awful breakout but I’m 90% sure its because of the food I ate and not the deodorant, but only time will tell. All I know is the dove stick doesn’t feel dry and it doesn't clump up after a long day. Note that it is also an anti-perspirant. The true test of how well this works will be when I whine my waist dancing some night but for now, and probably a while, I'm giving this a thumbs up.
- Shea Butter In college someone once told me I have black undertones. Everyone at the table laughed and I rolled my eyes. But the truth is I have a number of black pigmented spots all of my skin. Most of these I was born with and embrace, but some are due to dark spots as a result of product use. Recently I’ve started using Shea Butter to help with the dark patches under my arms. I'll say that the patches are slowly evening out to my skin tone. By that I mean it takes at least a month of consistent application to even notice a slight change. But Shea Butter is also a perfect hair product and body moisturizer, all for under $5 at the beauty supply store.
Tea Tree Oil Bar Soap Mark my words, tea tree oil is the best thing that will ever happen to your breakouts. The bessssssst. Tea Tree oil helps reduce inflammation and also dries out infections. Trader Joe's sells Tea Tree Oil bar soap that is safe to use on the skin and its one of the main reasons my skin cleared up this year. Not to mention I use the bar to address any immediate breakouts I experience.
African Black Soap If you’re someone who loves to obsessively clean after every shower then this natural product will change your life. This is like exfoliation meets moisturizer meets looking at my poppin af skin. I’ve had my skin clear and get softer in just 1/4 a bar of African black soap. The bar is thick so it can last a bit longer than the others mentioned in this list. The only issue with ABS is that it leaves behind a pretty obvious layer of residue. After a couple of days my white tub was looking brown and misused. But all of that has been solved by daily shower cleaner.
Waterrrrrr A gallon a day because water is life. Your skin, your body and your man thank you.
Vaseline. Remember when your mom used to make you use Vicks Vapor Rub for literally every illness? Cold? Vapor Rub. Headache? Vapor Rub. Stubbed your toe? Vapor rub. Well vaseline is my all purpose product. I use vaseline to protect my nails while I do my make up and honestly...when I eat African food with my hands. But I mostly use it to try and protect my skin when I have exposed bruises or soft tender areas. For example, if I don’t want to be touching a pimple all day, I rub a little vaseline on top like a nice barrier. If you have a wound you cannot bandage directly, this also works as the perfect sealant. Apply a little over the wound or scar and apply a cloth bandage and you'll be brand new in just a few days.