All About Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is a very common problem. Although sensitive skin doesn't have a formal medical definition, there are many anecdotal examples of sensitive skin, and they share common symptoms. Surveys show that over half of Canadian women suffer from sensitive skin. 25% report reaction to cosmetic products. Nearly half of the women with sensitive skin also have dry skin and have seen a dermatologist about their problem. The common signs and symptoms are:
- Tight skin, with a feeling of tingling
- Redness, drying, and irritation
- Reacts easily to skincare products
- Reacts to abrasion like shaving, or simple rubbing
The difficulty with sensitive skin is that the symptoms are general, and can actually mask a different skin condition. These are some possibilities to watch for, and steps to manage common complaints.
Some people react more easily than others to environmental factors. One of the most common complaints from those with sensitive skin is their aversion to cosmetic ingredients. Environmental factors can also aggravate those with sensitive skin.
- Winter is a tough time for those with dry and sensitive skin as the low temperature and humidity damages the skin's barrier
- Indoor heating reduces humidity and irritates the skin
- Hot water and over-washing are ways in which skin can becomes damaged
- Cosmetic ingredients, especially fragrance, are often triggers that irritate sensitive skin
- Often there are no medical causes that can be attributed to sensitive skin. Some skin is simply more easily irritated by environmental factors, and lifestyle adjustments are necessary to manage the skin.
- Choose cosmetic products that are designed for those with sensitive skin, and try to avoid fragrances as much as possible
- Moisturize the skin regularly, and protect your skin from extreme temperatures
Allergic or atopic skin:
Eczema and proneness to allergic or irritant reactions are common in those with sensitive skin. Itchiness and inflammation are common in those with this type.
- Moisturize the skin regularly as dryness is the underlying issue
- Avoid long baths and showers, and avoid excessively hot water
- Avoid any known allergens or factors which tend to make the skin worse
- Depending on how severe the itch and inflammation is, to visit a dermatologist
- Early treatment and control of inflammation is critical in treating eczema as itch can lead to scratching, which can worsen the condition quickly
The symptoms of sensitive skin often merge with that of rosacea, a common dermatological problem. Rosacea, however, is a chronic and progressive condition that needs to be treated appropriately. If the symptoms of redness become more severe, or does not fade with time, then you should consult a dermatologist. Some things to watch for:
- Redness which faded quickly now takes longer to fade
- Skin reacts to hot or spicy foods
- Skin reacts poorly to sun exposure
- Progressing severity of redness