Have you got sensitive skin?
Skin sensitivity is such a common topic of conversation for us in the salon. So many clients suffer from sensitivity but often getting to the root of the problem can be a challenge.
Common conditions include rosacea, eczema. psoriasis and dermatitis. Often environmental sensitivity, due to over exposure to the elements like sun and wind can cause the skin to flare up and can feel very uncomfortable. In fact the environment can count for almost 70% of problems with skin. Winter is particularly harsh on your skin, coming from extreme cold outdoors to centrally heated homes can play havoc with a sensitive skin.. I went on holiday a few years ago in January to Canada, I went to niagara falls on an extremely cold day with the wind chill factor plunging the temperatures to -40. Unfortunately for me I forgot to cover part of my neck and ended up with windburn. Then I flew onto Florida and to make matters worst I was then sunbathing, so moving between the two extremes caused my neck to be sensitive.
Skin sensitivity can be caused by many factors. Most people believe they have sensitive skin because they get a reaction to skin creams or makeup or even household products. The results being itchy, tightness, redness, stinging or burning skin, however if you were to visit a dermatology clinic they would be looking for skin bumps and pustules, very dry skin and any skin redness or blushing. A dermatologist would carry out a patch test to check for any signs of allergies like food intolerances, pollen or many other factors. Sometimes it is easy to know what you are allergic to, for example if you have streaming eyes and runny nose in the spring and summer then this would indicate allergy to pollen. Skin flushing following a glass or two of wine, and whoosh bright red cheeks !!! In other words there is often a trigger and it is raising awareness to these triggers that can make a huge difference to the how the skin looks and feels.
Lots of skin care products, make-up, shampoos and household products can cause your skin to be sensitive. So try using products that are less likely to irritate sensitive skin. There is now available a much wider range of hypoallergenic products for sensitive skins. A lot of deodorants are 0% alcohol which is kinder for the skin.
Facials using the correct products for your skin type will help improve the overall appearance of your skin,while at the same time reduce sensitivity and protect your skin with moisturisers that have a good SPF to create a barrier against sun, wind and even rain.Be kind to your skin and feed it the correct ingredients. A reputable skin care therapist will be able to guide you.
Food can also play a huge part in skin sensitivity. Try to stick to a well balance diet with as much organic foods as possible and drink plenty of water. Getting enough sleep and learning to relax will help to reduce stress levels. When our bodies are stressed the hormonal activity increases and break-outs are common. If the body is in a continual fight or flight mode your skin will be unable to repair itself and function properly to protect against bacteria.
For me, my two most sensitive areas are my face and hands. I always wear my marigolds when doing the housework or gardening gloves when weeding, The harsh chemicals in cleaning products irritate my hands and dry them out. I have even bought a steam cleaner to minimise the risk, and use this on my floors and bathroom tiles.
Smoking, car fumes, dust, dirt and industrial pollution all plays havoc with the skins natural barrier, leaving it open to absorbing all these nasty ingredients and weakening the protective barrier.
Areas with hard water which contains quite high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium, and is highly alkaline can also dry the skin out. A client advised me recently she had moved to an area with hard water and had noticed how her skin had changed, feeling really dry and dehydrated. If you notice a build up of lime scale on showers, taps and in kettles, this is a sure sign you are in a hard ward area.
Another surprising thing that most people dont take into consideration is clothing materials, some of the fabrics like wool can cause itching and heating the skin up.
Jewellery containing nickel can also cause skin problems.
As you can see there are so many reasons why the skin could become sensitive. Think about what has changed …. have you changed your products, washing powders, shampoo, cleansers? Have you got a new pet? Have you got a new hobby, perhaps outdoors such as running or golf? Eliminate your triggers as a start point using a process of elimination, if your skin is painful it may be worth chatting to your GP and of course you can also seek out a reputable aesthetician who will be able to advise you.