Dry skin is often linked to sensitive skin. Because dry skin’s barrier is already impaired and flaky, moisture is lost through the skin. This compounds any damage to the skin’s barrier and irritants can more easily penetrate the surface.
If you’ve experienced the feeling of sensitive skin before, then you know it’s hard to miss. You may be familiar with common sensitive skin symptoms such as:
- A feeling of stinging
- Itching skin
- Burning sensations can be felt
- Dryness and peeling of the skin
- Redness or bumps on the skin
WHAT CAUSES SENSITIVE SKIN?
External Factors that Cause Sensitive Skin
- Cold and Wind: Cold air, especially when windy, dehydrates you more than usual and can increase your skin sensitivity.
- UV Radiation: Exposure to the sun, even in small amounts, can damage your skin’s natural barrier.
- Over-Cleansing: Cleaning too vigorously and too often can strip your already delicate skin, particularly if you use regular soap that isn’t pH balanced.
- Clothes and Jewellery: Irritants which exist in clothing and jewellery can irritate your skin. This can come from nickel in jewellery, washing detergent, or synthetic clothing.
- Dirt and Pollution: Pollution in the air sticks to your skin and can irritate and weaken the skin’s natural barrier, leaving your skin feeling sensitive.
- Certain Skincare Products: Artificial perfume, dyes and harsh chemicals are all known to irritate skin. Choose the right skin care products for skin sensitivity, such as those formulated specifically for sensitive skin.
Internal Factors that Cause Sensitive Skin
- Age: Those who are very young or old generally have thinner skin – meaning the nerve endings in their dermis are more susceptible to damage.
- Stress: Regardless of the source, stress throws your hormones into chaos and can reduce your skin’s ability to maintain and repair its natural barrier.
- Hormonal Changes: Pregnant and menstruating women release hormones that can cause breakouts and skin sensitivity. Hormonal teenagers can also experience this.
- Allergies: While skin sensitivity and allergies are not necessarily the same thing, there may be certain products, foods or pollens that make your skin extra sensitive.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC NEEDS OF SENSITIVE SKIN?
- Firstly, wearing an effective sunscreen everyday will help protect your skin from irritating sun damage by creating a protective veil against UVA and UVB rays.
- Secondly, keeping your skin moisturised not only helps to avoid dry, scaly patches, it also provides a light barrier from toxins that may come into contact with your skin.
- Another specific need of sensitive skin is consistent hydration. Because sensitive skin often lacks the natural moisturising properties of regular, healthy skin, it’s important to monitor and maintain your skin’s hydration levels.
- In the colder months, try to avoid overly hot showers, dry heated rooms and exposure to extreme winds. These elements will only dry out your skin and make it more sensitive. Remember also to drink enough water and snack on vegetables with a high-water content, like cucumbers and tomato. These help maintain moisture levels in your skin.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use.