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What Is Your Skin TypeWhat Is Your Skin Type

What is your skin telling you?

Depending on your skin type, you may experience a variety of reactions or conditions depending on internal and external factors. Skin type can be broken down into five major categories: normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive. Sensitive skin is different from the other types because your skin type could be any of the other four (normal, dry, oily, or combination) and also be sensitive.

Unfortunately, skin sensitivity can affect us all. How do you know if you're one of them? For starters, sensitive skin is easily irritated and inflamed. It may be red, puffy, itchy or tingling. It may be tight or dry, have a crawling sensation, or even feel hot. In essence, sensitive skin feels the opposite of calm.

What causes sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin is not choosy - it affects people of either gender and of any race or age. Medically diagnosed sensitive skin is genetic. It can also be a chronic condition, meaning it's ever-present. Sensitivity of this type runs deep within the skin cells and can be difficult to treat.

Sensitive skin caused by environmental issues, however, is more common and easier to treat. It's important to identify which environmental factors irritate your skin and try to avoid them. Sunlight, chemicals, topical agents, alcohol consumption and food allergies can all contribute to skin sensitivity.

Common traits of sensitive skin

Sensitive skin shows its true colors in many ways, but two of the most common signs are redness and dryness. Let's look at what each of these symptoms might be telling you:
Redness - If your skin is irritated to the point that it's turned red, you can take that as a cry for help. Unless you have rosacea, psoriasis or eczema (chronic skin conditions that are medically diagnosed), there are a few steps you can take to try and lessen the redness.

  • Drink more water - Dehydrated skin can quickly redden, so keep plenty of water on hand to keep the fluids moving.
  • Choose skin care products wisely - Products with many ingredients such as artificial colors and fragrances can trigger sensitive skin. Instead, choose formulas that are soothing and designed for sensitive skin. The AVEENO® ULTRA CALMING® products are great for calming the redness and soothing the dryness of sensitive skin.
  • Just say no - Avoid products containing lactic acid, azelaic acid, benzoic acid, glycolic acid and vitamin C, all of which can irritate sensitive skin.
  • Dryness - Another sign of sensitive skin is dryness. Dry skin is often itchy, tight and uncomfortable. Flaking and peeling can also occur, leaving even the most confident person embarrassed and self-conscious. Try these tips to ease dryness caused by topical or environmental factors.
  • Cool off - Long, hot showers can dry skin out, so keep your showers short and warm (or cool), but not hot.
  • Don't be so harsh - Harsh chemicals like those found in laundry detergents and antibacterial hand soaps can really affect your skin. To combat irritation, choose products free from artificial fragrance and ingredients that are designed for those with dry, sensitive skin.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize - Infusing moisture into dry skin is the single most important thing you can do to treat dryness, but it's important to realize that not all moisturizers are created equal. Go with fragrance-free creams that include calming ingredients like feverfew.

Proper care can help manage a host of conditions arising from sensitive skin. Avoiding triggers that cause irritation and making small adjustments to your skin care regimen can definitely help.

Love your skin. Treat it well. Choose your products wisely, and soon you'll be enjoying healthy, calm skin you can be proud of.