You won’t find sensitive skin in a medical textbook. But if you have it, you know it! Sensitive skin can sting, itch and burn for seemingly no reason or break out in an irksome and all too noticeable rash. It can be provoked by environmental conditions like heat or cold or riled by ingredients in makeup and skin care products. And it can be irritated by or allergic to whatever’s causing these visible or invisible reactions.
As you can see, sensitive skin can be hard to pin down. But there’s lots you can do to help keep temperamental skin calm and clear.
For years, most dermatologists didn’t take sensitive skin too seriously. But that’s changing. Sensitive skin is common and is finally receiving serious attention.
There’s no hard and fast definition of sensitive skin. That’s why you’re the best judge of whether you have it. “Anytime I put something on my skin, I break out!”, is an often heard complaint of people with sensitive skin.
According to some dermatologists, sensitive skin has certain characteristics: It’s easily irritated by environmental factors like dust and eczema and reacts to certain cosmetic ingredients with irritation or allergy. Sensitive skin is likely to be even more sensitive if it’s affected by another skin condition like seborrheic dermatitis or rosacea.
Winter cold, summer heat, dry air and dust can all provoke sensitive skin. So try to calm your hide by adjusting your environment.
Come in from the cold. Your skin feels more sensitive during the winter because it gets dry and dehydrated. If cold weather aggravates your skin, follow a routine for dry skin. You might also use a humidifier to help keep the air-and your skin-moist.
Beat the heat. Your own perspiration can irritate your skin, so try to keep your environment cool. But don’t park yourself too close to a fan or air conditioner. High-airflow environment can have a terribly drying effect on skin.
Also, consider skipping foundation in hot weather. Face makeup can block your pores, prevent your perspiration from evaporating and possibly trigger a breakout.
Keep your guard up. House dust, molds, grasses, mildew and pet dander can make sensitive skin go haywire. So keep an eye out for potential trigger factors.
Soften your water. Use a water softener if you live in a hard water area. Removing excess minerals from the water may improve its rinsability, washing away cleaner residue that-if left on your face-can rile sensitive skin.
Softer water can also help in the laundry room. Using towels that contain detergent residue can irritate your skin.