Sensitive Skin: Self-Help Tips and Treatment Options
By Dr Rosmy B.
June 28, 2021
It is not easy to deal with sensitive skin. The unpredictable flare-ups can be unpleasant and aesthetically unappealing.
One thing is for sure, using more skincare products is usually counter-productive.
Sensitive skin needs special care.
If you can accurately identify the triggers and identify potential allergies or skin conditions, you can prevent unwanted reactions. The purpose of this article to help you to achieve just that.
What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is easily irritated. The symptoms may vary, but one thing's constant – sensitive skin often reacts to environmental factors. The heat, cold, sunlight, wind, and the ingredients of skin care products can all cause flare-ups.
Sensitive skin is not a condition or a skin type. It can affect all skin types, but it is more common in dry than oily skin. Sensitivity is often natural, but sometimes it is a result of an allergy or an underlying condition.
Various factors can trigger flare-ups in sensitive skin. Identifying these is crucial for managing the symptoms.
How to manage sensitive skin
There are some preventive measures and self-care tips you can follow at home to manage the problems with sensitive skin better:
1. Make showers shorter and more effective.
Anything that comes into contact with your body can potentially cause problems if your skin is sensitive. That applies to water, soap, washcloths, etc. Try keeping the shower time under ten minutes and use only lukewarm water. Also, choose your soap carefully. Avoid harsh soaps that can strip the moisture and dry your skin. The fewer ingredients, the better. Don’t forget to apply moisturizer immediately after bathing to trap the moisture inside the skin.
2. Patch test new skincare products
You probably already know some skincare ingredients your skin does not tolerate well. Always check the labels of new products to identify all triggers and be vary of potential new ones. Once you decide to try a product, take some time to patch test it. Apply it on a small patch of skin and wait to see the results.
3. Less is more
Keep your skincare routine simple. That will allow you to keep track of all the ingredients. You will also be able to identify triggers. Choose gentle formulas and avoid spreading further from the cleanser-moisturizer-sunscreen triangle.
4. Moisturize and protect your skin
The best way to maintain your skin's function is to keep it moisturized at all times. Do not use too much makeup, and never sleep with your makeup on. Replace your pillowcase, washcloth, and makeup tools frequently. If you live in a dry climate, try to use a humidifier inside the house.
Medical treatments for sensitive skin
In some cases, such as the sensitivity to sunlight and temperature changes, protective clothing, and sun protection factor can help to prevent skin reactions. However, most medical treatments for sensitive skin focus on the symptoms.
Depending on the symptoms, your dermatologist may choose to use one or a combination of three common treatments:
- Antihistamines – To control the effect of allergic reactions on the skin
- Steroid creams – To relieve moderate to severe inflammation and itchiness
- Analgesic creams – To ease the discomfort brought on by the skin’s inflammatory reaction
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2. Novak-Bilić G, Vučić M, Japundžić I, Meštrović-Štefekov J, Stanić-Duktaj S, Lugović-Mihić L. IRRITANT AND ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS - SKIN LESION CHARACTERISTICS. Acta Clin Croat. 2018 Dec;57(4):713-720. DOI: 10.20471/acc.2018.57.04.13. PMID: 31168208; PMCID: PMC6544100.
3. Avena-Woods C. Overview of atopic dermatitis. Am J Manag Care. 2017 Jun;23(8 Suppl): S115-S123. PMID: 28978208.
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