Sensitive skin is caused by irritation in the nerve endings in the top layer of your skin and happens because its natural barrier function has been weakened for one reason or another.
What are the Triggers for Sensitive Skin?
- Exposure to sunlight and air pollution
- Temperature fluctuations (going from a hot office to a cold outdoors for example)
- Cold, windy and wet weather
- Using water with a higher mineral content
- Cleaning your skin with very hot water
- Not getting enough sleep
- Hormonal changes – pregnancy, menstruation and menopause
- Late nights
- Chlorine in swimming pools
- Naturally dry skin
How Do You Know if You Have Sensitive Skin?
A recent European study found that up to 52% of people surveyed reported that they had a skin sensitivity of some kind. This can be anything from an occasional flare-up to the kind of extreme sensitivity that can make life (and skincare) difficult.
An everyday sensitive skin can leave you with dry, flaky patches, itchiness and discomfort, blemishes and redness, and this can be serious enough to affect your confidence and self-esteem.
Signs You Have Sensitive Skin
Here is a list of warning signs which indicate you may have sensitive skin:
- Can feel tight and uncomfortable a lot of the time
- May feel sore
- Needs extra hydration, especially in winter
- Dries out easily but tends to be oily in summer
- Often flushes after drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods
- Tends to have red patches that may not fade
- Has uneven texture, dryness and flakiness in places
- Reacts to some skincare products
- Is often itchy or develops a rash after contact with certain substances
- Itches after contact with some types of fabric
- Dries out quickly after a hot shower or bath
How to Take Care of Your Sensitive Skin
To keep sensitive skin happy, you need to treat it carefully.
1. Treat Your Skin Kindly
Always look for products that are gentle and designed to not irritate your skin. Avoid higher concentrations of strong ingredients like niacinamide, retinol, vitamin C, BHA (salicylic acid), or AHA (glycolic or lactic acid). If you have sensitive skin, always read the label before using a new product.
2. Stay Moisturised
Moisturising is even more important for you if you have sensitive skin. Ask your esthetician for advice, or as a general rule, opt for a gentle, long-lasting moisturiser that’s designed to keep sensitive skin hydrated throughout the day. Make sure that it doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients or ingredients that you know will cause your skin to react.
3. Keep it Simple
Most dermatologists recommend a simple three-step regime for sensitive skin:
Cleanse, Moisturise, Protect.
Don’t get stressed about the latest 10-step skincare menus and multi-tasking products; with sensitive skin, less is more.
4. Always Stay Protected
Keep your skin protected at all times from sun and environmental damage. Wear gloves to protect your hand when you are doing the laundry and household tasks. Always wear a sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin and use extra hydration when you expose your skin to harsh weather and temperatures.
5. Stay Away From Perfumed Products
Don’t use perfumed products. Research has shown that fragranced beauty and skincare products are one of the most common causes of negative skin reactions While the unscented skincare products may seem a little dull, you know that your skin will thank you for using them.
If you are in any doubt as to whether your skin is sensitive or you are struggling to keep your sensitive skin under control, then do feel free to contact me. I can help you by making some recommendations for both skincare products and also suggest other things you can do to try and help improve your skin and decrease its sensitivity.