Sensitive Skin? Ten Things You Need To Know

by Caroline Hastings-Brown–

People bandy the term ‘sensitive skin’ around a lot, but how do you know if your skin really is sensitive? The truth is, all of us will probably have a skin reaction at some stage of our lives, but some people experience severe and annoying skin reactions due to an underlying condition such as eczema, environmental elements or a genetic predisposition. So, to preserve your gorgeous skin, it is worth knowing more about what can cause the uncomfortable symptoms, and finding a skin care routine you can follow to relieve them.

What are the causes of uncomfortable or sensitive skin?
  • The skin has a natural protective moisture barrier, and when this is messed with, it leaves your skin vulnerable to many of the symptoms of ‘sensitive skin’ such as rashes, redness, roughness, blotches, itchiness, burning and stinging.
  • Some of the symptoms of sensitive skin are caused by an underlying condition such as rosacea, acne, atopic dermatitis and allergies to food which cause inflammation, such as gluten or dairy.
  • Skin sensitivity can be caused by the environment – such as cold weather and central heating in winter or warm weather and air conditioning in summer. Both these situations deprive the skin of moisture, and dry skin is prone to the symptoms of sensitive skin. Environmental factors such as pollution from exhaust fumes, smoke and dust also weaken the skin’s natural protective barrier.
  • Hormonal factors can also influence skin behaviour and cause breakouts. This can happen anytime a hormonal imbalance takes place, such as excessive stress, the menstrual cycle, puberty and menopause.
  • The ingredients in products that you use in makeup, skin care, hair care and laundry detergent may be too harsh for your skin, and cause bumps or itchiness.
  • Lifestyle factors such as if the body is not provided with adequate nutrition and hydration through diet and water intake, it can also lead to stressed, dehydrated skin.

How can you combat the symptoms of sensitive skin?
  • Make sure your skin care routine includes products that are appropriate for sensitive skin, leaving out harsh soaps, scented products and products containing alcohol. To cleanse, use a product like SkinMedica Sensitive Skin Cleanser a gentle, non-irritating cleanser containing soothing botanical extracts, including cucumber and chamomile. The product is specially formulated with anti-irritants to protect highly sensitive or inflamed skin.
  • When trying a product for the first time, do a patch test by dabbing a little behind your ear or on your forearm and leaving overnight to see if a reaction occurs. For very dry and sensitive skin, try Sisley Confort Extreme Night Skin Care (Very Dry and Sensitive skin) – a rich, emollent cream with Arnica and Echinacea extracts. It provides enough nutrients to hydrate, soften, soothe and comfort skin. It is recommended for use in extreme climates and even after a face lift!
Sisley Confort Extreme Night Skin Care (Very Dry and Sensitive skin) 
  • Choose soft, loose clothing, ideally made from natural fibres such as cotton or silk. Some skin conditions could be the result of tight, synthetic fabrics that irritate the skin.
  • Protect your skin in extreme weather – by wearing gloves and scarves in winter and an SPF all year round. Preventing sun damage also means preventing dryness. Make sure your skin is always adequately moisturized, as preventing dryness in the first place is one of the best ways to avoid sensitive skin reactions.
  • Visit your doctor or dermatologist if the skin symptoms you experience persist or you are unsure as to what is causing them.

A few little extra precautions mean your skin can stay free of any discomfort and still look beautiful and radiant!

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