The Best Skincare Routine For Sensitive Skin: 3 Phases of Sensitive Skin

Image of Sonia Roselli Repair Solutions formulated to soothe and repair Sensitive Skin
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Welcoming the Uninvited Guest: Sensitive Skin

Hi, friend! 

Welcome to your ultimate guide to living with sensitive skin

Sensitive skin isn't just a problem—oh no, sensitive skin is a bit like that relative who came for the weekend and ended up moving into your guest room permanently.


Let's be clear: sensitive skin is a condition, not a skin type. It's like that party guest who drinks all the punch and then complains about the hangover. It's caused by a bunch of factors, from the weather to your genes, and even the skincare products you've been using.

Close image of a woman with a broken skin barrier showing redness and inflammation
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Breaking Down Barriers: Anyone Can Be Sensitive

Sensitive skin isn't exclusive to fair-skinned folks. No, no, it's a club with open membership, and it’s the skin barrier that decides who gets in.

Imagine your skin's barrier as the bouncer at a fancy club—when it's strong, it keeps the riff-raff out. But when it's broken down, from too much exfoliation, over-cleansing, or using a buffet of skincare products, it lets all sorts of unwanted guests in.

Woman carefully inspecting active ingredients of a skincare product in a beauty store
Sonia Roselli Beauty


Let's not forget the influence of other environmental factors. Everything from where you live to the quality of your water can affect your skin. So, you might be living in the heart of a bustling city or atop a tranquil mountain, and either could be throwing your skin off its game.

The 3 Phases Of Sensitive Skin

Phase 1: The Repair Stage

Phases of sensitive skin
Phase 1
skin barrier repair skincare
The Barrier Repair Trio

The first phase of sensitive skin is The Repair Phase, where your skin is as delicate as a newly-hatched chick.

It's raw and irritated and in need of some tender love and care. So, we're going to need to simplify things. 

In the Repair Phase, keep your skincare routine basic—think gentle cleansing, a barrier cream, and our soothing Barrier Repair Trio.

Avoid any exfoliation and harsh cleansers. Your goal here is to flood your skin with moisturization and oils if needed. 

For severe cases, I may suggest not wearing face makeup for at least 2 weeks. (Eye makeup would be ok, as long as you gently clean the eyes)

Revitalize skin now with Barrier Repair Trio!

Classic Symptoms of Broken Barrier

A severe skin barrier flare up from rosacea
Sonia Roselli
Skin barrier damage: Mild flare-up after exfoliation or micro-needling treatment
Sonia Roselli

Here are five tell-tale signs that your skin barrier might be compromised and begging for a “skincare diet”: 

  1. Increased Sensitivity: If your skin starts reacting to products it used to tolerate well, it's a clear sign something's up. You might notice redness, irritation, or even a stinging sensation after applying your usual skincare products. Sometimes, even water burns your skin.

  2. Dryness and Dehydration: Your skin barrier is crucial for retaining moisture. If it's damaged, your skin might feel unusually dry or tight, despite your best moisturizing efforts.

  3. Redness and Inflammation: If your skin looks constantly flushed or feels warm to the touch, it could be a sign of inflammation caused by a disrupted skin barrier.

  4. Rough Texture: Healthy skin should feel smooth to the touch. If it's rough or flaky, it's likely your skin barrier needs some TLC.

  5. Breakouts: A compromised skin barrier can lead to an imbalance in your skin's microbiome, leading to more frequent breakouts. If you're noticing more pimples than usual, it might be time for a skincare diet.


Not sure if you're in the “Repair Phase?” 

Here are five scenarios that could land you in The Repair Phase:

  1. Overzealous Exfoliation: If you've gotten a bit too enthusiastic with your exfoliating routine and your skin is feeling raw and irritated, you're a prime candidate for the Repair phase. Time to put away the exfoliation tools and let your skin recuperate.

  2. Post-Procedural Care: If you've recently undergone a cosmetic procedure like a chemical peel or laser treatment, your skin will be delicate and in need of some extra care. The Repair phase is a perfect opportunity to give it the attention it needs.

  3. Harsh Product Reaction: Sometimes, our skin doesn't react well to certain products. If you've tried something new and your skin has responded with redness, dryness, or inflammation, it's time to simplify your routine and enter the Repair phase.

  4. Extreme Weather Conditions: Both winters and scorching summers can wreak havoc on our skin, causing it to become dry, red, and sensitive. If you've recently been exposed to harsh weather conditions, your skin might be crying out for some repair phase love.

  5. Over-cleansing: Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too clean when it comes to your skin. Over-cleansing can strip your skin of its natural oils and disrupt the skin barrier, leaving it sensitive and vulnerable. If you've been a bit washing your face like you clean your kitchen, your skin might need to check into the Repair phase for a bit.


The length of The Repair Phase can vary significantly depending on the extent of the skin barrier damage and your individual skin's healing rate. 

As a general guideline, you should expect to stay in this stage for about 30 to 90 days. I have put severe clients in the repair phase for about 6 months. It really depends.

Remember, skin rejuvenation is not a sprint, it's a marathon. It's crucial to be patient with your skin during this phase and give it the time it needs to properly heal and rejuvenate.

However, everyone's skin is different, and some may see improvements sooner rather than later than this timeframe. 

If you don't notice any improvements after a few weeks, or if your skin continues to worsen, it may be beneficial to seek advice from a dermatologist as you may have something else going on you may not be considering. 

Phase 2: The Maintenance Phase

phase 2 of sensitive skin
Phase 2
The Mainteance Phase Skincare Kit for Sensitive Skin
The Mainteance Phase Skincare Kit

After successfully navigating the repair stage, you're ready to embark on The Maintenance Phase.

Think of it as a beautifully restored piece of art. You've painstakingly repaired the damage, and now it's all about preserving that masterpiece.

During this phase, you can start to introduce more active serums, oils, moisturizers, and even a gentle exfoliant into your routine one product at a time.

But remember, just as you wouldn't expose a priceless painting to harsh elements, maintain a gentle cleansing routine and exfoliate sparingly. Maybe once or twice a month to start.

Mild rosacea flare-up: My skin 2 days after micro-needling treatment
Sonia Roselli
After 6 weeks of using Sonia Roselli Beauty products, including the Barrier Repair Trio and Japanese Cleansing Oil
Sonia Roselli

Transitioning from The Repair Phase to The Maintenance Phase is an exciting step, and there are a few signs your skin is ready to move forward:

  1. Decreased Sensitivity: Your skin no longer feels constantly irritated, red, or inflamed. You can apply your basic skincare products without any stinging or discomfort.

  2. Improved Hydration: Your skin feels more hydrated and plump, and doesn't appear flaky or overly dry.

  3. Smoother Texture: There's a noticeable improvement in your skin texture. It feels smoother to the touch, and any rough patches or unevenness have significantly reduced.

  4. Less Frequent Breakouts: Your breakouts have become less frequent, and any existing acne or inflammation is showing signs of healing.

  5. Better Tolerance to Skincare Products: You can now introduce more active ingredients into your skincare routine without any adverse reactions.

Remember, everyone's skin is different, and these signs may vary from person to person. Always listen to your skin and progress at a pace that feels comfortable for you.


The Maintenance Phase's duration can vary greatly and largely depends on your skin's individual needs and how it responds to your gentle skincare routine. 

Some people may find that they need to stay in this phase for a few months, while others might need to remain in this phase indefinitely, especially if they have conditions like rosacea or eczema. (I personally live in this phase 60% of the year, as I suffer from rosacea.)

The key here is to listen to your skin. If it's showing signs of improved health and resilience, you might be ready to introduce a few more active ingredients and move towards the third phase, the Glow phase. 

However, if your skin is still showing signs of sensitivity, it's best to stick with a gentle, nourishing routine of the maintenance phase for a few months.

Remember, healthy skin is a journey, not a destination. It's all about finding what works best for your unique skin and maintaining its health and balance over the long term.


The phases of sensitive skin
Phase 3
The Glow Phase Skincare Kit for Sensitive Skin
Sonia Roselli Beauty

Cue the confetti because we've made it to the Glow phase! Your skin is feeling healthier than ever, radiating confidence, and ready to step into the skincare limelight.

This is the time to really show your skin some love. 

Start introducing products that cater to aging concerns, and yes, you can even tolorate some lightly fragranced products if your skin agrees. Consider this your skincare graduation party!

However, just like the life of any party knows, moderation is the secret sauce to a good time. So, even though your skin is living its best life, remember not to go overboard. Always listen to your skin and adjust your routine as needed. 

My skin barrier repair journey enters the maintenance phase
Sonia Roselli
ensitive Skin Phases: My Glow Phase. A touch of lingering rosacea, but my skin is at its happiest. Only eye makeup worn in this image
Sonia Roselli


The Glow phase is like the grand finale in your sensitive skin journey. 

Keep in mind, though, just like every epic journey, the route and the destination can look different for everyone. 

Here are a few general indicators that your skin may be ready to party in the Glow phase:

  1. Skin Resilience: Your skin is no longer overly reactive or easily irritated by new products or environmental factors.

  2. Improved Texture: Your skin has a smooth, soft texture, and any previous roughness or dry patches are things of the past.

  3. Consistent Hydration: Your skin maintains a healthy level of hydration and rarely feels tight or parched.

  4. Decreased Redness: Redness, inflammation, or any other signs of irritation have significantly reduced or completely disappeared.

  5. Tolerance to Active Ingredients: You can use products with active ingredients, like exfoliants and retinol, without experiencing many negative reactions.

  6. Healthy Radiance: Above all, your skin has a natural, healthy glow to it, showing that it's in its happy place.


The Glow phase can last as long as your skin feels healthy and resilient, but it's important to remember that this phase can vary for everyone.

As a result, it's key to adapt your Sonia Roselli skincare routine according to the phase your skin is currently in at any given moment.


Sensitive skin can be a bit of a chameleon, frequently transitioning between the Repair, Maintenance, and Glow phases. 

One day you're basking in the Glow phase, and the next, you might find yourself back in the Repair phase.

But here's the comforting news: this is perfectly normal. Factors like seasonal changes, stress, diet, and environmental conditions can all influence your skin's state.

The golden rule? Adapt your skincare routine to your skin's needs each day. Don't mimic someone else's skin care routine based on their skin type.  Instead, personalize your skincare routine to match your skin's daily demands.

You might find that your skin needs a few days or weeks in the Repair phase to calm down, and then you might spend a few weeks in the Maintenance phase before returning to the Glow phase. 

This transition between stages is not just acceptable—it's beneficial.

The real secret to healthy skin lies in treating it differently each day with products your skin knows and loves. 

Remember, your skincare routine should be as unique as you are, not what everyone on social media tells you to do. 

With this simple framework, you'll be better at getting the skin you've always dreamed of.

I hope this helps you on your journey of healthy skin.

Esthetician & Professional Makeup Artist



Start Your Healthy Skin Journey today!


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.