If we were to poll a room full of people on their skin type, chances are that more than a few would consider themselves to have sensitive skin. This skin type, while not as common as some others, is one that people of all ages, complexions, and skin tones encounter. And as anyone who has suffered from sensitive skin can agree on, having this particular skin type can make even the most simple of daily tasks harder than it needs to be.
Add to that the fact that all sensitive skin is not created equal and you have one seriously tough skin type. The most important thing you can do if you have tricky sensitive skin is to educate yourself. The more you know about sensitive skin, how to take of it, and what products to use, the better off your skin and self will be.
What is Sensitive Skin
Before we dig into the nitty gritty of sensitive skin care and treatment, first let’s discuss what sensitive skin is. Many people tend to use this term very loosely when talking about their skin type typically referring to common reactions to skincare or cosmetic products. Dermatologically speaking, however, sensitive skin is a skin reaction that can include rosacea, eczema, allergic dermatitis, bumps, or erosion. Skin that is extremely dry leaving nerve endings susceptible to damage, or skin that is easily blushed or flushed is also categorized as sensitive skin. And finally, skin that has been damaged in any fashion can be referred to as sensitive as well. And as we mentioned before, anyone can have sensitive skin including men and children.
Sensitive Skin Care
Within the broad sensitive skin category are a number of smaller more specific categories to help define each particular type of sensitive skin or reaction. These categories are divided based on sensitive skin symptoms and are extremely helpful to be familiar with to ensure you can take the proper measures to protect, treat, and care for your sensitive skin. First, let’s discuss a common symptom that many people, regardless of skin type, have encountered. If you notice that small, itchy, red bumps are the cause of your sensitive skin, chances are you are experiencing an allergic reaction to one of your products, a fabric you’re frequently in contact with, or even something in the environment. If you find yourself frequently experiencing allergic reactions to your products, try to reach for hypoallergenic, sensitive skin care products whenever possible. These types of sensitive skin products won’t contain any known allergens and will reduce the possibility of you having an allergic reaction.
Another common sensitive skin symptom begins with excessively dry skin that is peeling, feels scaly, and may be worse in different patches across the skin. This kind of sensitive skin condition is eczema. Eczema occurs when the top layer of skin does not work properly to lock in hydration and moisture. When this happens, not only does skin become extremely dry and flaky, but it also leaves sensitive nerves exposed and easily affected by products, environmental stressors, and other aggravations. Though some cases of eczema must be treated by a dermatologist, there are a few things you can tweak in your sensitive skin care routine to help minimize the effects of eczema. First, load up your arsenal with intensely hydrating products starting with your cleanser. Always immediately follow up with a hydrating moisturizer specifically formulated for dry or sensitive skin.
One of the sensitive skin conditions that commonly goes overlooked is categorized by the appearance of small pimples and redness of the skin. This sensitive skin condition is rosacea. To put it simply, think of rosacea as sensitive skin that is easily stressed. There are a host of factors that can trigger rosacea in the skin and it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what causes it from person to person but the normal process occurs with a trigger that stimulates the swelling of red blood vessels. This why people who suffer from rosacea commonly have a blushing or flushed appearance to their face. Like eczema, more stubborn cases of rosacea will need to be treated by a dermatologist but for milder cases there are just a few things you can do to improve the skin. First, protect skin as much as possible to avoid triggers. This starts with applying ample sun protection. Also, try to use anti-inflammatory sensitive skin care products where you can as these types of products help soothe the skin and reduce the chance of swollen blood vessels.
Choosing Sensitive Skin Care Products
When it comes to sensitive skin, choosing the right kind of skin care products is essential. The good thing is, regardless of the type of sensitive skin condition you may be dealing with, the method for choosing products remains the same. Sensitive skin care should be as simple and basic as possible. You’ll want to be looking for products that contain a handful of ingredients and the more natural based the product is the better. If you have sensitive skin, stay away from products that contain fragrance or dyes at all costs. This is the easiest way to trigger a flare-up in sensitive skin. Other common skin care ingredients to avoid with sensitive are harsh chemicals like parabens and sulfates, alcohol as it can be drying to skin making eczema worse, and retinols and AHA’s as they are generally very powerful. If you want to be on the safe side, the best way to shop for sensitive skin care products is in the natural or organic section of your favorite store or scoping out products that explicitly state they are designed for sensitive skin.
Cosmetics for Sensitive Skin
Although people with sensitive skin have a difficult time finding products that will treat their delicate skin type well, that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy makeup and other cosmetic products as well. Shopping for cosmetics when you have sensitive skin will undoubtedly take some time but knowing what to look for can definitely make things go a bit more smoothly. Like sensitive skin care, when looking for cosmetic products remember less is more. The fewer ingredients in your makeup products, the better chances you have for your sensitive skin. Today, there are countless organic and green beauty brands that have gentle makeup that performs well for people with sensitive skin. As a general rule, stay away from products that claim to be waterproof as these kinds of products will require stronger cleansers to remove. Unfortunately, this means waterproof eyeliners and mascaras are a no go. For foundation, mineral foundation is the best choice. Mineral foundation generally does not contain any chemicals, synthetic dyes or fragrances, and is noncomedogenic. If powder foundation isn’t your thing, try something that is silicone based as this reduces the chance of an adverse reaction. Finally, and this goes for all skin types really, pay careful attention to expiration dates on all your cosmetics. If they are expired you risk the chances of exposing your already sensitive skin to bacteria which can cause more damage and hassle than simply picking up a new foundation or eyeliner will.