10 Skincare Tips for Sensitive Skin
DO YOU HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN? WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS THAT YOU EXPERIENCE? READ THIS WEEK’S BLOG TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SENSITIVE SKIN AND SOME TIPS ON HOW TO MANAGE IT.
Having sensitive skin can be challenging to manage considering the environmental conditions surrounding us. Pollution has become a tremendous problem that has taken a toll on our health, including our skin. Additionally, many different products contain certain ingredients that cause the skin to react adversely.
The question is, what exactly is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is a common issue that refers to when the skin easily becomes inflamed or has adverse reactions to certain conditions or stimuli. Those with sensitive skin have intense reactions to many things that come in contact with the skin such as chemicals, dyes, fragrances, clothing, friction and weather conditions.
Your skin becomes sensitive when the nerve endings of the epidermis, which is the top layer of the skin, becomes irritated. It happens when the skin’s natural barrier becomes weak or is broken down by the triggers.
There are 4 types of sensitive skin:
1. Naturally sensitive skin
Some skin conditions that are related to sensitive skin are hereditary. These skin conditions include eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
2. Sensitized skin
Environmental conditions trigger this kind of sensitive skin. Your skin reacts sensitively to environmental stressors such as air pollution, sun exposure, cigarette smoke, or anything that comes in contact with the skin that causes rashes, stinging sensation, or itchiness. As this skin condition has been made sensitive by environmental factors, it is quite common in highly urbanized areas where pollution levels are high.
3. Reactive skin
Reactive skin is also known as extremely sensitive skin. This condition is common among people who have fair or lighter skin tones. Those with extremely sensitive skin readily react to products with harsh ingredients such as artificial colors and fragrances. The skin becomes red, warm, and irritated. Often papules and pustules form on the irritated skin.
4. Thin or damaged skinIf you have noticeable veins and capillaries, you are most likely to have thin skin. When triggered by external factors, the thin skin becomes redder as the capillaries that are present on the outer layer of the skin easily get damaged.
Here are the common symptoms of sensitive skin:
1. Your skin easily reacts
You have sensitive skin if your skin easily reacts to common triggers such as soaps, detergents, perfumes, fragrances, and other common household chemicals. These can spark flare ups such as itchiness, dryness, or reddening.
2. Your skin is prone to redness
If you frequently experience rashes, tiny red bumps, blushing, and flushing, these are all signs of sensitive skin. Typically, redness disappears when the irritant is removed or after applying a minor treatment.
3. You feel a stinging or burning sensation
If you have sensitive skin, your skin barrier is thinner. You may feel a stinging or burning sensation while cleansing your skin or using products that may be a little strong for you. The stinging or burning sensation is usually temporary but is often painful or uncomfortable.
4. Dry patches appear on your skin
Sensitive skin and dry skin go side by side. These are usually symptoms of eczema or a kind of dermatitis wherein the skin barrier does not properly trap moisture. The skin experiences scaling and dry patches which may appear in any part of the body but is common on the hands, feet, arms, and legs.
5. Your skin feels tight and itchy
Tight and itchy skin are symptoms of sensitivity which is aggravated by frequent washing especially using hot water.
6. Your skin is hypersensitive to UV rays
Sensitive skin makes you easily become flushed and beet red when exposed to sunlight. Photosensitivity can easily lead to rashes.
7. Your capillaries easily break
When you have sensitive skin, you are also more prone to experience broken capillaries. These are tiny blood vessels that can be easily seen near the surface of the skin especially around the nose and cheek areas.
8. Fragrances irritate your skin
Your skin easily reacts to fragrances or any scented products. Even essential oils such as cinnamon, clove, and peppermint can easily cause inflammation to sensitive skin.
9. Your skin gets irritated by bad weather
Cold and windy days easily irritate your skin causing blood vessels to swell and cause itchiness.
10. You easily experience breakouts
Sensitivity and dryness may trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more oil to make up for the inadequate moisture in the skin. Pores can then easily become clogged which causes breakouts similar to acne with tiny bumps and blisters.
Here are some tips to manage sensitive skin
1. Do not over- cleanse or over- exfoliate
Your skin naturally creates lipids and proteins that act as a protective barrier. Over-cleansing can strip your skin of its natural lipids and proteins. Over-exfoliation causes the protective barrier to become thinner which allows irritants to easily penetrate the skin.
2. Limit your shower time
The ideal shower time, according to skin experts should be under ten minutes using warm, not hot water. The use of washcloths and loofahs is also not advised to those with sensitive skin as this could easily strip off the natural oils of the skin and cause irritation.
3. Use mild cleansers
Avoid using facial cleansers or soaps that contain chemicals and preservatives that may be harsh on the skin. Choose mild cleansers that are hypoallergenic or those which are safe for sensitive skin.
4. Do a patch test of new products
Before using new skincare products or cosmetics, it is important to do a patch test. Do not test a product directly on your face. The inside of your arm is a good area to do a patch test. Let the product stay on your skin overnight. If your skin does not react to the new product in the morning, then you can safely use it.
5. Know your triggers and read the labels of your products
For some, it might be easy to identify the culprits that stimulate their sensitivity. Others might need a skin expert to do a skin patch test to help identify their triggers. Some of the most common irritants are fragrances, dyes, alcohol, and other preservatives. Read the labels of your products and ensure that they do not contain artificial colors. They should also be fragrance-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic.
6. Slowly incorporate new products into your routine
Limit the frequency of trying new products to no more than three times a week. Gradually increase the frequency of usage if your skin does not get irritated. A good example of an ingredient that should be slowly incorporated into your routine is retinol. It is one of the most potent skincare ingredients but could be irritating. When using this ingredient, avoid the sensitive areas of your face such as your eyelids and mouth area.
7. Check your diet
Healthy skin comes from within. Healthy eating habits give you well-nourished skin and help flush out toxins from your body. Drinking sufficient amounts of water and fresh juices are also essential to keep your body and skin hydrated.
It is also important to be aware of the food that may cause adverse reactions to your skin or spike its sensitivity. Avoid such food to prevent further problems.
8. Avoid external factors that trigger sensitive skin
Some external factors make your immune system weaker and could easily trigger symptoms of sensitive skin. Learn to manage your stress, have sufficient hours of sleep, and avoid excessive pollution.
9. Keep out of the sun
Sun exposure can cause adverse reactions to the sensitive skin because too much heat harms the skin cells and can cause rashes and itching. Protect yourself from the ultraviolet rays of the sun by wearing sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30. Whenever you can, stay under the shade and out of the sun’s way.
10. Wear skin-friendly fabrics
Loose clothing with few or no creases and fold are best for sensitive skin. Choose smooth, soft, natural, and skin-friendly fabrics such as cotton and silk. Cotton feels cool on the skin while silk feels warm but both are light and absorbent. Rayon and linen are also good for sensitive skin but can be heavy.
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DO YOU HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN? WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU ENCOUNTERED AND HOW DID YOU COPE UP WITH THEM? LET’S TALK IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.