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How to look after sensitive skin

Having sensitive skin can present some challenges, it can mean that your skin can flare up because of some ingredients in skincare products and make-up. Skin sensitivity can be a real nightmare, causing dry skin, redness and irritations. Learn more below.

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

Your skin has a natural protective barrier that is there to keep out harmful bacteria and substances from getting into the body. The barrier will help skin healthy, nourished, keep firmness and elasticity. When skin’s natural defences are weakened through internal or external factors, the skin will feel dry.

There are few outward signs that point to skin sensitivity such as roughness, redness and scaling. There are sensory signs like itchy skin, tightness and even burning sensations which make the skin feel uncomfortable. Sensitive skin can appear anywhere on the body including hands, lips and scalp.

Eucerin explains skin sensitivity, “Healthy skin performs a delicate balancing act, protecting against external influences while regulating moisture levels. Much of this is down to the processes taking place in skin’s horny layer, or stratum corneum, which is made up of cells and lipids. These lipids are like the ‘mortar’ to the cells’ ‘bricks’, providing stability and permeability, regulating fluid and maintaining elasticity and firmness.”

Some medical treatments, conditions such as rosacea and hormonal imbalances, and medications can cause skin sensitivity, as well as things like ageing and pregnancy.

Very dry sensitive skin, also known as hypersensitive skin is when the nerves are over-sensitive and the reaction can be severe meaning frequent skin flare-ups.

Looking After Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, your skin will require a little extra care. There are certain things to be avoided. Perfumes and alcohol are two main ingredients that irritate sensitive skin, keep to natural unfragranced moisturisers. In sensitive skin, highly perfumed products upset the skins pH balance causing irritation and dryness.

Go organic. Only use pure, natural products which are free from ingredients known to irritate sensitive skin. Natural products are gentle and soothing and calm down sensitive skin making it feel more comfortable and look better.

Keeping hydrated will make sure your skin has plenty to drink. Your skin cells are made up of water, so drinking your 8 glasses a day will help stop your skin drying out, if you don’t drink enough your skin it will put your skin under stress causing sensitivity.

Use washing detergents suitable for sensitive skin, as harsh soaps and detergents can easily upset pH balance by stripping the skin of lipids, this will result in tight, dry, scaly itchy skin.

There are environmental factors that will make sensitive skin worse such as air conditioning, hot and cold weather and central heating. When the weather is hot, we sweat more, it then evaporates causing skin to feel tight and dry.

Some skin sensitivity can be age-related, baby skin is thinner than an adult, making it extra sensitive. It is important to protect sensitive skin from harmful UV rays as sun exposure will not only cause premature ageing but in delicate skin, it will irritate and strip it of precious oils and moisture.