Since the 1980s, the number of people who claim to have sensitive skin has doubled from 30% to 60% of the population. Sensitive skin can be described as having thin or fine textured skin. So, the blood vessels near the surface often give the skin a pinkish coloring and can make the skin blush, redden or even bruise easily. The skin is devoid of natural oils and hence becomes dry, hot and itchy usually leading to a rash. There are four distinct types of sensitive skin: acne; rosacea; burning and stinging and contact dermatitis — with all of them having one thing in common: inflammation.
You already know the telltale signs of sensitive skin: flushing, redness; a stinging sensation and tautness to the skin. Sensitive skin reacts quickly to both heat and cold, therefore, it is susceptible to sunburns and wind burns; it is commonly dry, delicate and prone to allergic reactions.
There are two main types of skin irritations. The are allergens — being allergic to an ingredient. The second are irritants — when an ingredient is irritating your skin but you are not truly allergic. Genetic factors also have a major role. Most of the time, fair skin has more of a tendency to have sensitive skin. But, it can occur in any race at any age, usually caused by the overuse of products, travel, stress, illness and environmental factors.
Hot and spicy foods as well as alcohol encourages the blood vessels to dilate and cause reddening of the skin. People who complain of frequent rashes are most commonly allergic to fragrances, preservatives, colors or formaldehyde. Ingredients that are known to cause stinging are alpha hydroxy acids, lactic acid, azaelic acid, benzoic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin C, retinol, salicylic acid and sodium lauryl sulfate.
Many organic products can even lead to contact dermatitis as they contain essential oils and fragrances that can cause an allergy. Avoid any products containing alcohol and stick to water-based skincare products. You should also avoid any greasy creams as these are likely to be too heavy for sensitive skin. Don’t over clean your face as you can strip your skin’s protective barrier. Use soap-free cleansers that usually have a lower pH and are less irritating to the skin.
Yes, I know that it is a lot of work to check all the ingredients on all the labels of everything you use. After a while, this will become second nature, and your sensitive skin will appreciate it.
Sensitive skin can range from dry to oily, but even oily skin needs moisture, too. So, a good moisturizer is a must. You should look for products containing essential fatty acids to replace the lipid barrier like gamma linoleic acid, phytosterols and ceramides. Clinically sensitive skin types should also maintain a daily calming regimen using skincare products containing soothing ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile, aloe or cucumber.
And finally, SPF is your BFF! Your sunscreen should be rated 15 or higher. It should contain only the physical ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. This is because you cannot have an allergic reaction to these physical sunscreen ingredients.
Try a skincare brand specially designed for sensitive skin. If you try new products, try them one at a time, a week apart, so if you have a problem you know which one it is. We have sampled some of the best brands and products for your sensitive skin, like Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser and Moisturizing Cream; Olay Total Effects Fragrance-Free UV Moisturizer with SPF 15 are great options. Simple Skincare is UK’s #1 facial care brand that just launched in the USA and debuting in beauty aisles this February. VMV’s Super Skin Care Creammmy-Rich Intensive Moisture Milk 15 for Dry Skin has been the best facial moisturizer for sensitive skin. It contains no irritating dyes or fragrance. Boots Expert Sensitive Light Moisturizing Lotion is also best for all skin types, except for oily skin. It is soothing and gentle enough for those with rosacea. RevaleSkin’s Night Cream is one of the best anti-aging creams for sensitive skin. It is antioxidant rich and is made without irritating ingredients, so you can use it all over your face including the skin around the eyes.
So, ladies, what are you waiting for? If you have sensitive skin, make sure to read your labels and try some of these truly effective items.
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