If you’re reading this article, then you probably know how big of a commitment sensitive skin is. It can leave you frustrated and afraid. Always on the edge. You can’t simply try out new makeup or skincare products without carefully reading the ingredient list first. You can’t scratch your face because it will likely leave a red mark. You can’t enjoy the change of seasons, you have to adjust your skincare routine to them.
But you’re not alone in this daily struggle. It’s estimated that around half of the population suffers from chronic sensitive skin.
And you’re probably wondering if there’s anything you can do to help your condition. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about sensitive skin causes, symptoms and proper treatment.
There are a couple of sensitive skin symptoms you need to watch out for. If you’re experiencing most of the following, then your skin is probably on the sensitive side.
Now that we’ve covered all possible symptoms of this skin type, let’s delve into the probable causes and the best ways to treat them.
Harsh skincare products can cause damage to the protective skin layer and make your skin more sensitive as a result. These harsh products often include ingredients which are incompatible with your skin, or they include ingredients incompatible with each other, which causes a bad skin reaction in return. So, how do you solve this problem? If you notice that some skincare product is causing you redness, stinging, burning or itching on your skin right after you apply it, or it simply doesn’t sit well on your skin, then it’s probably a sign that you need to stop using it.
Always listen to your intuition. If your dermatologist prescribes a product for your face, then they probably believe that you will benefit greatly from it. But what happens if your skin just doesn’t agree with it? Should you go against your dermatologist’s orders? If you feel that a product isn’t right for your skin, always tell your dermatologist about it. Your skin might need some time to get used to it, but it could be that the product and your skin are simply not a great match. If the latter is true, the symptoms won’t go away after a while.
Using natural skincare and at-home remedies isn’t always a good idea. Some people won’t benefit from using only natural ingredients on their skin. Others might find it useful to combine the two methods – chemicals with natural ingredients. You have to figure out what works best for you, but in order to do that, listening to your skin is crucial.
Exposing your skin to the sun can also cause it to become more sensitive. UV rays put the skin under a lot of stress, which, in turn, weakens its protective layer. The sun can also make your skin dry and irritated, more prone to premature signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. Whichever way you put it, the sun is not a friend to your skin.
If you suspect that it’s causing you troubles, limit your sun exposure to a minimum, especially during summer and between 10 am and 4 pm. If this isn’t an option for some reason, wear a cap and put on SPF 50 before leaving the house.
Sudden changes in temperature can also cause havoc on your skin. Excessive cold can damage it externally while heat can make you more prone to sweating, which results in drier skin after the sweat evaporates. Airplane air can be a trigger for some people because of the low humidity inside the plane.
Although there’s nothing you can do about it, try giving your skin some extra love during these periods by applying a hydrating mask or treating yourself with a nice serum.
Water isn’t created equally. If you’ve ever observed the changes tap water makes to your skin and hair, then you’ve probably noticed that your reactions to tap water differ according to the place you’re at. Hard water, that is water with high mineral content, can make your skin more sensitive. This can cause changes in its texture after you’re done with your skincare routine or right after you get out of the shower.
Along with hard water, washing your face with scorching hot water can also be the cause of some negative reactions. Luckily, there’s something you can do about this. Lukewarm water is the best option for washing your face if you have sensitive skin.
While we’re on the subject, it’s important to mention what chlorine in swimming pools can do to your skin. Unfortunately, chlorine causes certain skin types to be overly sensitive to it. Always wash your face right after you get out of the pool, or if this option isn’t available to you, use a face wipe that’s meant for people with sensitive skin.
Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne can make the skin more sensitive to harsher chemicals such as alcohols and silicones.
Shaving can cause some irritation, not just because of the process of shaving itself, but also because of some of the products used afterward which might cause some irritation in people who have sensitive skin.
You’ve heard about all the benefits of the so-called ‘beauty sleep’ by now, so there’s no need to go on and on about just how important an adequate sleeping schedule is. Chronic lack of sleep can do some serious damage to the skin, especially if your diet isn’t healthy and you aren’t properly hydrated along the way.
People who suffer from allergies are more prone to having sensitive skin due to the allergens penetrating deeply into it.
It’s a fact that certain skincare ingredients can act as a trigger to some people. Worst case scenario, they will break you out or cause an allergy. It’s hard to notice a pattern since there are so many ingredients in skincare products nowadays. But, generally speaking, sensitive skin types should stay away from alcohols, silicones, mica, talc, fragrances, and colorants.
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion are amazing treatments for most people. But when it comes to people who have overly sensitive skin, it might not be the best idea to incorporate them into your acne treatment very often.
This is because chemical peels and microdermabrasion remove the outer layer of skin, which is great news if you have some wrinkles and fine lines you need taking care of, but it’s most certainly bad news if you have sensitive skin.
If you notice a change in texture, it’s probably a good idea to get these treatments more sporadically.
If you’ve found your trigger in the causes mentioned above, don’t worry! Although some of them can’t be directly treated, it’s possible to help your sensitive skin repair itself to a certain extent.
If you’re a fan of at-home treatments, then you’re going to love this! Yes, OTC products can be equally effective, but who doesn’t love a good face mask for at-home pamper sessions? These are cheap, effective and take no time! The best part is – you don’t even have to get out of your house to do them.
Here are some of the best treatments you can do if you have sensitive skin.
Did you know that mango contains many nutrients which are crucial for healthy skin? This sweet and delicious fruit isn’t just good for fruit salads, it’s also an amazing ingredient for face masks. It contains vitamin A, C, and E, high amounts of beta-carotene and antioxidants.
For this mask, you’ll need:
Combine the ingredients into a blender and blend them until you form a paste. Apply the paste on your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes. Wash your face off afterward and apply a moisturizer suitable for sensitive skin, such as our best-selling,non-comedogenic moisturizer. It’s best to add this mask to your routine no more than three times per week.
Oatmeal makes for a great breakfast option, we all know that. But applying it on your skin brings certain unique benefits as well, such as absorbing excess oil and nourishing your skin with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Try out this super simple face mask which is perfect for a sensitive skin type.
Blend together half a cup of oatmeal and one tablespoon of honey. If you feel like going all out, you can also add a couple of drops of vitamin E oil. After you’re done blending, apply the mixture on your face and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Wash your face thoroughly afterward since there can be residue on your hair and face from the oatmeal. You can apply this mask two to three times a week.
We’ve laid out all the benefits of tea tree oil here. To sum up, it’s basically an antioxidant powerhouse with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits which protect and treat the skin wonderfully. It’s been successfully used as a spot treatment by many people who suffer from acne. Not to mention, it can make for a great facial toner as well.
After you’ve washed your face, dilute some tea tree oil with water. The ratio should be 1:9. Put the mixture on a cotton pad and apply it all over your face. You can either leave this to work overnight or, if your skin is really on the sensitive side, wash it off after a couple of minutes. Either way, expect to see some major improvements in your skin and spots (if you have any).
If you’re into skincare, then you’ve probably tried out a couple of toners in your regular routine. Industrial toners oftentimes contain many harsh ingredients inside which can definitely aggravate sensitive skin. So, if you do have sensitive skin, should you just avoid toners altogether?
The answer is no! There are many options you can try out that don’t involve harsh products which your skin might not like. You could even make these toners at home! Here are the best DIY toners for sensitive skin.
Packed with antioxidants and anti-aging properties, green tea makes for an excellent toner option. It clears clogged pores and can protect the skin from redness and sun damage.
You can either use the tea from tea bags or prepare your own leafy green tea.
If you’re using tea bags, squeeze the residue after you’re done stirring the bags in the mug. You can either squeeze it in a small bottle or put it directly on a cotton pad. Apply it directly on your skin after you’ve washed your face and before you put on moisturizer.
Consuming green tea will also help with skin issues.
Rose water is an amazing option for a toner since it contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic properties. It can help balance your skin’s pH levels as well as reduce the production of excess sebum. On top of that, it has incredible anti-aging properties too. What’s not to love?
You can purchase rose water in most drugstores and health and beauty supplies stores. Put a few drops of rose water on a cotton pad and massage it gently onto your skin. Make sure to moisturize afterward for best results. You can even use it as a makeup remover.
We’ve all heard about this ingredient before. It’s commonly used in OTC products because it’s packed full of skin healing benefits. Witch hazel can reduce inflammation and irritation, protects the skin against sun damage, and it can even fight acne and infections. The list of benefits seems to go on and on!
Witch hazel can be easily found in drugstores, pharmacies, and health food stores. Place a generous amount of it on a cotton pad and rub it all over your face. It can be used a couple of times a day.
Now that we’ve covered all the causes and sensitive skin treatments, let’s go over some of the methods, habits, and techniques you can use in order to make sure that your condition doesn’t get worse. Remember, prevention is much easier than treatment.
If you apply makeup on a regular basis, chances are, there’s an ingredient in your makeup products which isn’t very suitable for sensitive skin. It’s best to use natural or mineral makeup, but if this isn’t an option, here are a few ingredients you can avoid:
When it comes to your everyday skincare routine, choose products and ranges which specifically target sensitive skin. A general rule you can follow is: the fewer the ingredients, the better.
Wash your face twice a day and choose a suitable moisturizer. When leaving the house, make sure you apply SPF.
Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Water will keep your skin hydrated from inside out while exercising regularly is a great option for stress relief. In addition, make sure you sleep at least seven hours a day.
Include food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, chia seeds, and flax seeds. Adding anti-inflammatory food in your diet such as fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and nuts will also help.
When it comes to habits which will prevent your skin from becoming overly sensitive, don’t wash your face with boiling hot water or use high temperatures while you shower. If the outside temperatures are too extreme, avoid staying outdoors as much as you can. Do an allergy test if you haven’t done one already and make sure you stay away from allergens as much as possible.
Dealing with sensitive skin is not a walk in the park. It can make many aspects of your life more difficult, like having to pay extra attention to what skincare and makeup products you use and setting the shower temperature to just the right amount of warmth.
Certain factors can worsen sensitive skin such as climate changes, stress, not getting enough sleep and the quality of the water you use to wash your face.
But, worry not! There are many precautions and habit and lifestyle tweaks you can make in order to get your skin back to normal, and the best time to start is right now.