Skin issues: how to care for sensitive skin

Dealing with sensitive skin is just as confusing as the term itself. Many people believe they have sensitive skin when in reality they are just overwhelming it with too many products or the wrong ones which leads to unpleasant reactions. Those who do have sensitive skin though are on a constant pursuit to find the right products and the perfect balance to keep their skin from misbehaving. It’s a tricky mission as sensitive skin doesn’t come with any warnings and it can be hard to pinpoint what causes it to act up. Since there are so many variables to consider, it’s mostly a game of trial and error before reaching a conclusion.

It’s important to note that sensitive skin is not a skin type, nor a condition. It refers to a variety of symptoms ranging from stringing, itchiness or redness to burning sensation and skin bumps that occur very often. Skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis are usually the underlying causes for skin sensitivity. It can be triggered by using certain makeup or skincare products or by other factors such as cold or hot temperatures. 

There’s no specific treatment that can cure sensitive skin because every case is different and has its own particularities. If you have sensitive skin, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to completely avoid bad reactions, but with the proper care you’ll learn how to control these symptoms and stress less about sensitivity issues. Here are the best dermatologist-approved tips to help your skin stay healthy and strong. 

Less is better

With so many skincare products on the beauty market, it’s tempting to try every single cream or serum that promises to give you fresh glowing skin in no time. The pretty packaging and impressive claims make it hard to resist the urge to buy all the latest skincare launches. But the fact is you only have one face (and body) and there’s really no point in overcrowding your beauty cabinet. When you’re dealing with sensitive skin, you have all the more reasons to stick to a minimalist routine. The more products you use, the higher the chances of experiencing an adverse reaction and the harder to identify the culprit. It’s wiser to limit your skincare regimen to the basics – cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen.  Choose products with mild and safe ingredients such as goat milk products or glycerin-based creams that are great for soothing sensitive skin and try to be consistent. 

Don’t overdo it 

It’s good to be diligent with your skincare routine, but some people have the tendency to go a bit overboard. The golden rules are to wash your face daily and exfoliate regularly. However, many skincare enthusiasts take things too far and cleanse their face more than twice a day or use exfoliants more often than needed. This can wreak havoc on sensitive skin. It’s a perfect example of good intentions gone wrong. The truth is, your skin is quite smart and doesn’t require that much external intervention. Don’t aggress it with harsh cleansers or scrubs that disrupt its barrier. If you have dry skin, washing your face with tepid water and maybe a gentle cleanser once a day is more than enough. When it comes to exfoliating, once or twice per week will do it. 

Always do a patch test

While trying to build a skincare routine that will suit your needs, you’ll probably have to try a lot of products. That doesn’t mean you should buy a bunch of creams and slather them on your face all at once. Every time you want to introduce a new product into your regimen, you should do a patch test first. Apply a small quantity of the product on the inside of your arm or behind your year and wait for 24 hours to see how your skin will react to it. If there are no signs of irritation, you can start using it, but try to apply smaller quantities in the beginning and work your way up gradually. 

Identify the triggers 

As mentioned before, it’s not easy to identify the factors that cause your skin to react badly. But you can play detective and based on your experiences you could identify the most common triggers. That will help you choose safer products in the future. Read the labels of the products that you are using and look for common denominators in the products that caused your skin to act up. Dermatologists advise choosing products with shorter ingredient lists, as they’re less likely to contain irritants. Simple formulas are always the safest. Also, it’s best to avoid dyes and fragrances in skincare as these ingredients have a high irritant potential. 

Be gentle 

No matter how careful you are, you can’t always predict how your skin will behave and sometimes bad reactions still happen. People with sensitive skin are bound to experience unpleasant episodes every now and then. If you’re going through such a phase, you must learn how to help your skin recover. You should start by cutting down on the products you use and stick to the bare minimum for a while to find out what caused the irritation in the first place. When you feel that your skin has healed and is strong enough, you can slowly start reintroducing other products as well, one at a time.  

Shorter showers 

It’s not only the skin on your face that can suffer from sensitivity. You can experience it all over your body and you should show the same care and attention when treating it. Dermatologists agree it’s best to keep showers short (less than ten minutes if possible) and avoid using hot water. Even though some people love the squeaky-clean sensation, harsh scrubs or washcloths aren’t a good idea either. If you want to avoid drying your skin out, use a simple fragrance-free body cleanser and, after you’ve finished your shower, apply a body lotion on damp skin to seal in the moisture.