Dealing With Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is a surprisingly common affliction for many Americans. According to Los Angeles-based dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu, approximately 70 percent of people believe they have sensitive skin. The following outlines the potential causes of skin sensitivity, as well as some helpful advice on how to deal with sensitive skin.

What Causes It?

There are so many things that can cause skin sensitivity that it's almost overwhelming to diagnose, unless you have the help of your dermatologist. The most common cause of skin sensitivity usually lies with the active ingredients found in a broad range of skin care products. Chemicals like retinol and glycolic acid, commonly found in anti-aging skin care products, are commonly known to trigger skin sensitivity.

Aside from skin care products, there are plenty of other triggers that could set off skin sensitivity:

  • Your environment – As the seasons change, so does your vulnerability to skin irritation. During the winter, cold low-humidity air can trigger dryness and irritation in your skin. Constant exposure to UV radiation can also make your skin more sensitive. Environmental pollution, such as smoke, dust and exhaust fumes, can also cause skin sensitivity.
  • Nutrition and hydration – The foods you enjoy could be responsible for your sensitive skin. Gluten, dairy, soy and wine are known triggers for skin sensitivity. Also, not drinking enough water can also cause problems for your sensitive skin.
  • Stress – Stress can trigger a wide variety of negative reactions for your body, including heightened skin sensitivity. Hormones created by short-term and long-term stress can potentially cause changes to your skin that makes it unusually sensitive.
  • Skin product usage - Using the wrong cleansing products for your skin type could lead to increased skin irritation and soreness.

How to Tell If You Have It

There's no established test for sensitive skin. In fact, the best way to find out if you're suffering from this condition is by consulting your dermatologist. However, there's a good chance you're suffering from sensitive skin if the following applies to you:

  • You've suffered multiple bad reactions to lotions, soaps, creams and other skin care products
  • Your skin reacts negatively to sunscreen use
  • You have a history of nasal and skin allergies

Tackling the Problem

Dealing with skin sensitivity can feel like an uphill battle. However, with the guidance of your dermatologist, you can take steps to improve your skin and mitigate some of the conditions that often lead to increased skin sensitivity.

If you're looking for immediate relief, you can take the following steps to reduce your vulnerability to skin irritation:

  • If you haven't already, stop using your current skin care products and switch to bland creams and ointments.
  • Limit your exposure to direct sunlight. For instance, wearing a large brimmed hat can help keep your face out of the sun's way. It's also good idea to keep as much of your skin covered from sun exposure as possible.
  • Avoid situations that expose you to a lot of heat. This also includes intense exercises and sauna sessions.
  • Avoid situations that expose you to cold temperatures for long periods of time.
  • Stay clear of ointment antibiotics and lidocaine creams, as these can aggravate skin sensitivity issues.
  • You may also want to avoid swimming in chlorinated pools, as the chemical used to keep pools clean could easily play a leading factor in aggravating your skin sensitivity.

Immediate relief may also be available in the form of hydrocortisone cream, although this depends on your skin type and the severity of your skin sensitivity. It's a good idea to try a small application on a very small portion of the affected skin. If it manages to relieve your sensitivity, you can try it on the rest of your skin. Then, you can click here for more information.