One of the hardest types of skin to take care of is sensitive skin.
It is more prone to burning, stinging, drying, itching, and other skin complications.
One wrong move or one wrong product and you can kiss your flawless skin goodbye.
Sensitive skin can be awfully allergic to some products especially those that contain harsh ingredients.
People with sensitive skin type also experience adverse reactions to sudden climate changes, certain skin care products, and abrupt feelings of stress.
How to tell if you have sensitive skin?
Does your skin react quickly to both heat and cold?
Does it easily fall prey to sunburn and windburn?
Or is your skin usually dry, delicate, and prone to allergic reactions?
Do some detergents, cosmetics, and alcohol irritate your skin?
If you answered yes to all those questions, then you probably have very sensitive skin.
Usually, sensitive skin is thin with visible broken capillaries under the skin’s surface. Sensitive skin also has fine pores.
When exposed to moderate changes in temperature, sensitive skin reddens easily, whether from cold or heat. Sensitive skin tends to rash easily when exposed to dirt or even moderate strength skin care products.
If your skin manifests these signs, chances are high that you really have sensitive skin. For a thorough skin assessment, a visit to a dermatologist is in order.
According to statistics, fair-skinned individuals are usually the ones who have sensitive skin, regardless of ethnic background.
In addition to the common complications associated with sensitive skin are a couple of serious skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
If you have a sensitive skin, you might not be able to tolerate any unfavorable conditions and which easily gets irritated on contact with foreign materials including skin care products.
For this reason, some products are distinctly labeled as sensitive skin care products. The degree of sensitivity can, however, vary from person to person and depend on that, the sensitive skin care procedures vary too.
Generally, all skin types respond negatively to detergents and other chemical based products.
However, the damage starts generally beyond a defined threshold or tolerance level. This tolerance level is very low for sensitive skin types, leading to skin getting damaged very easily and quickly.
Sensitive skin care products either avoid the potential irritants or keep them at very low concentrations.
It is not really advisable for one to maintain sensitive skin with so many products and treatments, for these will only result to serious irritations and blemishes.
Taking Care of Sensitive Skin
Below are some tips that can help you take care of your sensitive skin.
1. Clean your face
One of the cardinal rules in taking care of sensitive skin is to keep it clean all time. Most skin like this will react badly to dirt and dust.
This skin type is often susceptible to acne problems and breakouts. It is then important that the person practices proper hygiene all the time.
This is especially true if the person also has oily skin, which may exacerbate the problem all the more. Although it is recommended to wash the face twice a say, some wash their face a couple of times more during the day to ensure that it is kept clean.
2. Be careful of the products that you use
Sensitive skin will react badly to products that are not suited to it. So, people with sensitive skins should learn to choose the products that they will be using to ensure that they will not be suffering from any allergic reactions.
Although people will largely determine this through trial and error, they should still stay away from products that are abrasive on the skin or those that are not for mild skins.
Often, the dermatologist will be able to recommend products that are just right for your skin type. After all, there are products that are particularly made for those with sensitive skin.
3. Do not put makeup as much as possible
If you don’t have to put on make-up, don’t do it. This is because makeup or any additional chemicals that you put on your skin can cause breakouts on your skin.
It is better that you make it natural so as to let the skin breathe.
4. Minimize scratching or even touching your face.
Remember that sensitive skin tends to pick up dirt and grime easily and react to it. Prevent irritation by minimizing contact with your skin.
This is especially true with your face as this is the most sensitive skin area on the body. Scratching and even pinching existing zits will also lead to irritation so curb that urge!
5. Avoid products with artificial colorants and synthetic fragrances.
Colorants and fragrances are added to skin care products only for increasing marketing appeal.
Your skin does not actually benefit from these additions. Often, they even cause allergic reactions and increase your skin’s sensitivity.
Aside from these tips, it is also a good idea to switch to skin care products that are specially formulated for sensitive skin.
A thorough skin assessment and consultation with a dermatologist can reveal to you skin care techniques and products that can help strengthen your skin and minimize its sensitivity.
6. Hydrate your skin.
Sensitive skin is prone to dryness which can lead to increased sensitivity.
Drinking eight or more glasses of water and applying a lightweight and hypoallergenic moisturizer a day can help restore your skin’s moisture or lipid barrier that acts as a defense mechanism against allergens.
7. Protect your skin at all times.
Even when you are indoors, your skin still needs protection. If you are staying in an air-conditioned room or one with forced heating, apply a lightweight moisturizer frequently.
This will prevent your skin from drying out due to the extreme temperatures.
8. Limit sun exposure.
Sun exposure can cause sensitive skin to redden and burn easily. Before going out, apply sun protection on your face using sunscreen and on your body with sunblock lotion.
You can extend the protection to your lips to prevent them from darkening.
Applying an SPF-rich lip balm under your lipstick or gloss can help protect your lips.
Umbrellas, sunglasses, and hats protect your body, eyes, and face from overexposure to the sun.
9. Eat skin-friendly food.
Fruits, vegetables, and other water-rich foods are essential in correcting skin imbalances.
The vitamin, mineral, and water content of these foods hydrate your skin and restore its health. On the other hand, eating spicy food and drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks can increase your skin’s sensitivity.
Since your skin is your largest organ, the benefits of eating the ingredients will be similar to applying them directly to your skin.
Here are some ingredients you can start with.
There are plenty of skin care product now that contain green tea. You’ll hear about green tea everywhere and it’s now in many brands of skin care.
However, if you have sensitive skin and can’t use those products, then you can drink green tea and have the same effects on your skin.
Plus, the bonus is that you’ll be benefitting every other part of your body as well. Some of the other benefits of green tea are weight loss, lower cholesterol, and possibly a lower risk of cancer.
An increase in fruits and vegetables in your diet can have a positive effect on the overall appearance of your skin. Increase your vegetable intake and your skin will thank you. You may lose some weight and feel more energy.
Take a supplement or increase your intake of oranges and other fruits. The anti-oxidants in them are wonderful for your skin.
How to choose the best skin care product for sensitive skin?
Today’s market offers numerous skin care options for consumers to choose from. The dilemma, however, is how to find the one that best suits a sensitive skin type.
Below is a quick guide on how to choose skin care products for sensitive skin:
1. Look for organic or natural skin care products instead of the conventional ones as these are the best aids for sensitive skin.
Organic or natural skin care products do not contain dye or perfume ingredients that are harmful to the skin.
2. For cleansing a sensitive skin, it is best if one makes use of a soap-free cleanser product.
People with sensitive skin are also encouraged to use skin care products that contain ingredients like salicylic acid if acne still occurs.
3. Always look for mild and alcohol-free astringent products for these are also perfect skin care aid for sensitive skin.
However, if irritation or redness occurs, immediately discontinue use.
4. When using or applying make-up, purchase cosmetic products or items that are non-comedogenic and water-based.
Although these cosmetics are a bit more expensive, these are safer and milder on the skin, thus, preventing irritation and dryness.
5. For moisturizers, those with sensitive skin should go for the products that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.
Regularly maintaining the skin with moisturizers also prevents aging signs such as wrinkles and facial lines.
Many ingredients usually included in cosmetics such as dimethyl sulfoxide, benzoic acid, salicylic acid, propylene glycol, lactic acid, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium benzoate, cinnamic acid, sorbic acid are potential irritants.
Formulations, in which a beneficial constituent is involved, can be detrimental to the skin in certain conditions.
For example, a formulation containing a small molecule such as acid hydroxy acetic (AHA) with a lower pH can provoke sensations of tingling, itching or irritation when applied to the sensitive, unhealthy or inflamed skin.
Such reactions can be triggered by the uncontrolled release of the acid, fast penetration into the skin and low pH.
The moisturizers, which enhance the barrier function of the skin can protect against different irritants. Therefore, choosing a good moisturizer is one of the most important steps for a healthy skin.
Natural constituents such as essential fatty acids (linoleic and gamma linoleic acids), vitamins, minerals, a high percentage of water and water like ingredients are the basic stones for providing skin regeneration and nourishment.
Humectants, such as glycerin have an important role in retaining skin moisture and support the elasticity of the skin.
Antioxidants, such as proanthocyanidins found in grape seed oil, for example, are particularly helpful in stabilizing the collagen structure, which held tissues together.
Other antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin C and selenium are beneficial for overall protection against environmental condition and UV rays.
And finally, the least chemicals in a cream, the least chances of irritation and adverse effects it has when applied to the skin.
By using natural and organic skin treatments, you will receive the same beneficial effects to your health as you would eat an organic food.
Natural products are easily assimilated through the skin, easily metabolized as they are recognizable molecules and the surplus is easily discarded.
However, the skin adjustment to the natural regimen is not a rapid process and it doesn’t occur with one application. It is a long-term commitment, which substantially increases your skin health and rejuvenating power
Here are a few more tips for sensitive skin care:
Use sensitive skin care products only. Also, check the instructions or notes on the product to see if there are specific restrictions and warnings associated with the product.
Even within the range of sensitive skin care products, choose the one that has minimum preservatives, colorings, and other additives
Do not use toners. Most of them are alcohol based and are not recommended for sensitive skin. Select organic or natural instead.
Wear protective gloves when doing laundry or other chemical based cleaning. If you are allergic to rubber, you can wear cotton gloves below the rubber ones.
Avoiding exposure to dust and other pollutants is also important for sensitive skin care. So, cover yourself adequately before going out.
Use hypoallergenic, noncomedogenic moisturizer as a sensitive skin care product (if there is none specifically labeled as a sensitive skin care product)
Use soap-free and alcohol-free cleansers. Clean your face whenever you return from spending time outdoors.
Do not scrub or exfoliate too hard. It can cause reddishness and even inflammation.
Avoid artificial heat and air conditioning. This can irritate and dry the skin. Humidifiers can help to add some moisture back into the air.
Use a daily sunblock. Even if your skin doesn’t burn, prolonged exposure to the sun can cause cell damage and increase the sensitivity of the skin,Cleanse your skin after perspiration. Even your own sweat can cause a negative reaction on a very sensitive skin.
Use products with soothing ingredients. Chamomile, Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Oats, and Grape Seed can calm skin irritation.
Use products with Mandelic Acid for anti-aging. This gentle Alpha Hydroxy Acid has a slightly larger molecule size, which results in even skin penetration, reducing or eliminating irritation.
Do not leave the makeup on for too long. Use hypoallergenic makeup- removers.
Hence, sensitive skin care is very different from the normal skin care. It is more than just choosing the right sensitive skin care product.
It is more about being careful with your skin both in terms of sensitive skin care products and protection against environments atrocities on skin.
To provide the best sensitive skin care, an overall approach to the best possible care is needed.