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Revitalising Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is something that many of us have had to deal with at one time or another. Studies have indicated that around 21 million people in the UK are reported to have skin sensitivity of some kind.

The severity of skin sensitivity can vary from person to person. It can develop at any time and manifest in a variety of ways, ranging from itching and redness to chronic conditions such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis.

Sometimes it’s an occasional reaction that can be resolved in a few weeks or it can be a long-term daily problem that requires some level of treatment or lifestyle change.

If you have sensitive skin, you may be all too aware of how it can affect you.

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What is sensitive skin and its causes

Your skin is considered sensitive when it becomes temperamental, easily irritated, inflamed, prone to dryness and flakiness, tight and uncomfortable, takes on an uneven texture and itchiness.

While the root cause of sensitivity isn’t always clear-cut, symptoms can be triggered by a variety of different factors.  This could include fragrances in your cosmetic products, a change in weather, pollution, stress or hormonal shifts, diet (sugar, alcohol and trans and saturated fats can lead to inflammation in the skin cells), dust and household pets.

All the above can have an effect on a person’s confidence, mood and self-esteem. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms your skin may need a little extra comfort and protection.

How to cope with sensitive skin

There are some basic steps you can take to alleviate the symptoms of sensitive skin and to improve comfort and appearance.

  • Avoid soap. Make sure that it does not contain harsh chemicals, parabens, and strong additives as most soaps dry out the skin.
  • Avoid fragrances and chemicals. Scent is the first thing dermatologists cut out when you’ve got sensitive skin. An artificial fragrance could contain 200 or more different chemical or botanical components, and your skin could react to any one of them.
  • Reduce products.  Loading up on many different types of products can increase the risk of skin reactions. Use no more than four products and use the lightest formulations you can.
  • Avoid hot water. It strips the skin of its natural oils called the sebum – think of it as your natural raincoat. Use lukewarm water most of the time and apply a good layer of moisturiser after showering or bathing.
  • Washing for too long. Again, you’re stripping your skin of its natural moisture.
  • Protect from the sun. Sensitive skin will have a thin or impaired skin barrier. This makes skin more susceptible to sun damage. Protect skin with a suitable sun cream along with wearing a wide brimmed hat, sunglasses and long items of clothing.

Products to use for sensitive skin

When you have sensitive skin, it can be difficult knowing the right products to choose. Some products are formulated in a way that is much more suited to sensitive skin.

When choosing products for sensitive skin, it’s about knowing the ingredients. Choose products that are:

  • Free from known irritants.
  • Products that have fewer ingredients listed tend to be better for sensitive skin.
  • Natural ingredients such as green tea and chamomile are beneficial for soothing and calming skin.
  • Aloe vera and Jojoba oilis a natural anti-inflammatory substance.
  • Vitamin E, Pro-Vitamin B5, coconut oil and canola oil-based is particularly good for replenishing, softening and smoothing skin.
  • Products containing acids, such as lipoic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, may be irritating to sensitive skin.

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