Sensitive skin tends to be easily irritated, and determining what triggers skin sensitivity is a difficult process. Surveys suggest that as many as 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men experience sensitive skin at one time or another.
It doesn’t matter what your underlying skin type is — whether it’s normal, oily, dry or a combination — you can have sensitive skin. The factors that make skin sensitive are different from those that determine your underlying skin type, which is defined by how much oil your skin produces and where.
If your skin is sensitive, you may experience redness, itching, blotchiness, burning, dryness, scaling, bumps or hives. Factors that irritate your skin or make you more susceptible to irritants can be biological, environmental or lifestyle-related. You can’t really change biological factors such as genetics and hormone levels, but you have at least some control over other factors. Understanding sensitive skin is the first step to looking after it. With a few simple changes to your routine, you can take better care of your sensitive skin.
Environmental and Lifestyle Triggers
Climate: Cold, dry air dehydrates your skin, which can lead to redness, itching and discomfort. Keep your skin well moisturized. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your skin from the inside out.
Exposure to sunlight: Exposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin damage. Over time, sun damage can cause wrinkles, dark spots and even skin cancer. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays when your skin is exposed to sunlight.
Stress: Stress can be very hard on your skin, and can impair the skin’s natural regeneration process. Regular exercise and plenty of sleep help to reduce stress.
Poor diet: There is a direct connection between poor nutrition and skin problems. The signs of certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies, such as vitamin C and zinc, are changes in the skin. Eating a well-balanced diet can lead to healthy, glowing skin.
Exposure to allergens: Some common allergens, such as pollen, mold or pet dander, are more likely to affect your respiratory tract, but they can also cause skin inflammation. Ingredients in your skincare products may also cause a sensitivity or reaction. If you know what causes your allergic reaction, the simplest thing to do is to be aware and avoid it.
Exposure to pollutants: Chemical irritants in the environment, such as second-hand smoke and car emissions, can have much the same effect on your skin as allergens. As much as possible, avoid polluted air and water. Good nutrition and exercise can combat the detrimental effects of environmental pollutants.
Skincare regimen: Sometimes concern over our complexion causes us to pay too much attention to our skin. Too much rigorous washing can lead to dry, scaly skin. Using too many products can make it almost impossible to determine what ingredients are making your skin sensitive.
When it comes to skincare products, it’s often difficult to determine what ingredients are causing the reaction. It’s best to stick with skincare products formulated with non-irritating ingredients. These products are generally labeled hypoallergenic.
Plan a skincare regime that uses only the essential products that contain gentle, non-irritating ingredients. Start with a facial cleanser and a moisturizer with sunscreen, but don’t add new products until your sensitive skin has calmed and you are sure your skin tolerates each product. Then you can test your skin by adding new products one at a time over an extended period to gauge your skin’s reaction.
The AVEENO® ULTRA CALMING® line of products is formulated with ingredients that are calming, soothing and non-irritating. These AVEENO® products contain effective and sustainable natural ingredients, such as chamomile and ACTIVE NATURALS® calming feverfew, which can have skin-calming properties. The line includes daily moisturizers with broad-spectrum sunscreens, make-up removing wipes and a foaming cleanser. The AVEENO® ULTRA CALMING® line enables you to nurture and transform the look of your skin to an enhanced state of natural health and beauty.