What is Sensitive Skin?
If you’ve ever experienced slight redness on your skin that is itchy or feels tight, you’ve most likely experienced some skin sensitivity. Although it may seem random, there is a valid biological reason as to why this occurs in certain individuals & not others.
The outer layer of our skin acts like a barrier to keep harmful properties out of the skin, however, in order for this barrier to work properly it must contain a certain amount of moisture. As our skin is exposed to many different things in the environment, this barrier can weaken with air conditioning, cold weather & harsh chemicals being some of the most common culprits.
Your skin’s PH level is also an important factor when understanding sensitive skin. The outer layer of the skin has a more acidic PH level (5.5). Detrimental factors to this layer, as mentioned above, will cause the PH level in the skin to drop, and the skin becomes sensitive due to the weakened barrier.
Causes of Sensitive Skin
There are 7 common causes of sensitive skin:
External (outside) Environment – Changes in the weather can be very detrimental to your skin’s health, with both cold weather & the sun having a negative effect, resulting in conditions such as sensitive skin and dry skin. You can usually see a negative effect on the skin when your lips become dry, cracked & sore in cold weather. In hot weather the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate through the outer skin barrier, which harms the layers underneath leading to sensitivity & eventually sunburn.
Internal (inside) Environment – You may think your skin is safer when you are inside, however, appliances such as air conditioning and central heating can cause the skin to become dehydrated, which can result in sensitive skin. Alternatively try not to flick between an air conditioned room to a non-air conditioned room as the difference in the atmosphere can cause sensitivity of the skin, due to the body not being able to adjust to it in enough time.
Harsh Chemicals/Irritants – Unfortunately there are products that contain harmful ingredients that can cause sensitive skin & other skin conditions. Best advice is to always look at the ingredients before buying something, especially if it is to be applied to the skin. This is the same for laundry detergent as if you wash your clothes with a product that contains possible harmful properties, it will stay on the clothes & affect you as you wear them.
Hormones – Sensitive skin due to hormones is the only cause that happens internally. Typically women suffer more from sensitive skin than men, this is due to the menstrual cycle. When a woman goes through her period her hormones fluctuate, & fluctuating hormonal activity can cause sensitive skin, as well as acne. It is also common to see these symptoms in pregnant women & teenagers because of fluctuating hormones.
Hard Water – There are areas throughout the UK that have a water supply containing high levels of minerals including iron, magnesium & calcium, which are highly alkaline. You can notice hard water by looking closer at your tap, kettle, washing machine (any appliance that uses the water supply), & you can see lime scale, which is a result of the hard water. Now if lime scale is damaging to robust appliances, it is potentially more damaging to your skin.
Cleansers – Excessive cleansing & using the wrong cleanser for your skin are the most common faux pas in a beauty regime. If you cleanse too often your skin does not have time to replenish the natural oils in the skin, resulting in it becoming dry & sensitive. If you cleanse with the wrong kind of cleanser, i.e. you have dry skin & use a cleanser designed for oily skin, this will cause skin sensitivity & other conditions. However choosing the right cleanser for your skin type will usually have a positive outcome as it will help your skin to function properly.
Lifestyle – Adopting a holistic whole body approach is essential in order to maintain healthy skin. So if you have a lifestyle that consists of late nights, little to no sleep, smoking, drinking excessively & more this will impact your skin negatively. It is common to find swimmers suffering from dry & sensitive skin due to the chlorine in the pools. If you’re a frequent flier you may also find your skin is less healthy due to the air filtration on the aircraft, which dries out the skin for the entire length of the flight.
Treatment for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin, can sometimes be less straightforward than other skin conditions like acne. Individuals can either use a medical product to relieve the sensitivity or amend their lifestyle.The following treatments and remedies are most common to help relieve or prevent sensitive skin:
Moisturisers and Creams – This is the most common and most effective immediate treatment for sensitive skin. Here at ReWonder we use premium products such as Obagi Nu-Derm products & systems when dealing with skin sensitivity and premature ageing. Products containing Zeatin & Kinetin both help to improve skin texture and moisture levels as well as reducing skin roughness & alleviating sensitivity.
Sunscreen – As the sun is one of the main causes for skin sensitivity it is important to use an effective sunscreen all year round to protect your skin from burns. If possible use a sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or 50 to help block out harmful UV rays.
Lemon Water – More of a herbal remedy, a glass of lemon water drunk once a day. This can help combat free-radical damage, purge toxins and keeps your skin hydrated, resulting in the skin looking more radiant whilst preventing acne, blemishes and reducing sensitivity.
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