Sensitive Skin and What You Can Do About It

Many people are affected by sensitive skin. Usually because of skin care products or household cleaning products. Reactions may vary for each individual but typically include stinging, burning, redness or tightness. Sensitive skin is diagnosed by dermatologists when there’s the presence of skin reactions such as pustules, skin bumps, flushing or erosion.

Let’s discuss some causes of sensitive skin. First, environment and or seasonal changes. The environment greatly affects your skin. Indoor heat in winter can leave skin dehydrated and sensitive, while exposure to the sun can damage the skin's barrier. In addition, dirt and pollution leave the skin's natural balance weakened and unable to protect itself. Another cause of sensitive skin is water. Hard water contains high levels of minerals leaving skin feeling irritated. The next cause is products. Excess cleansing with the wrong or harsh products can actually cause skin to be damaged and sore. Ingredients such as artificial perfumes, dyes and harsh chemicals are known to irritate the skin. Selecting the right products can improve the function of the skin's barrier and reduce sensitivity. Avoid products containing antibacterial or deodorant ingredients, alcohol, retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids. The ideal products should have only a few ingredients and have no fragrance. The final cause is skin disorders like eczema, rosacea or allergic contact dermatitis.

Some tips for caring for sensitive skin include:

Moisturizing: It helps the skin to retain moisture and resists drying out. This should be fragrance free.

Cleansing: There’s no one size fits all for sensitive skin when it comes to cleansing. I recommend using a soap free cleanser.  

Sunscreen: It’s important to wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 no matter the time of year. I recommend using it anytime that you’ll be in the sun for longer than 20 minutes as daylight exposes your skin to UV rays which damages your skin cells.

When choosing beauty or household cleaning products look for products that have the words fragrance free, hypoallergenic and formaldehyde free on the labels.

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