Sensitive Skin: A Common Problem for Many
Sensitive skin is a problem for many people. Women are particularly vulnerable and commonly experience sensitivity to a variety of chemicals that cause mild to severe skin reactions. Sensitive skin is just that, sensitivity of the skin to natural and non-natural chemicals and pollutants.
This article will provide you with insight into the causes and give you step-by-step guidance on how you can manage and take care of your sensitive skin.
Sensitive Skin: A natural approach to sensitive skin
Reasons behind and solutions to sensitive skin depends on many factors ranging from how long you've had sensitive skin, to the chemicals you're exposed to on a regular basis, to underlying health problems.
This article will discuss the following topics (you can click on the topic to go directly to that topic):
Sensitive skin presents with the following symptoms:
Symptoms of sensitive skin may vary in frequency and severity and may include other symptoms such as pealing of the skin, blistering, etc. However, if you are suffering from sensitive skin, chances are you definitely know it.
Sensitive skin is very common and has many causes. Usually it is an allergic reaction to one or more chemicals. The difficulty is in identifying who the culprit is. Soap, make-up, skin care and hair care products, washing powders, detergents, and other chemicals are all capable of instigating an allergic skin reaction in people with sensitive skin.
Recent onset of sensitive skin
If you only recently developed sensitive skin than there is a good chance that it is due to a new chemical you have introduced recently. For example, a new perfume, cosmetic, hair care or skin care product, a different washing powder or even a different deodorant/ antiperspirant can all be at the root of your new sensitivity. In addition, don’t forget drugs. Prescription drugs and even simple over-the-counter drugs are all capable of eliciting an allergic reaction.
Is your skin’s sensitivity localised to a specific area? For example under the arms, around the eyes, on your scalp, or is the blotchy skin all over your body?
If it is isolated to a local area, think about what you have done differently or whether you bought a different product recently that you are applying to this area. If the problem is in an isolated area it is usually easier to identify what has caused it.
Scalp - maybe due to the new shampoo; eyes - maybe you’ve bought a different brand of eye make-up, a different colour or a different eye cream.
Then have a close look at the ingredients of the new products. Are there chemicals you don’t recognise? If so, use the Google to find out what that chemical is and look for information about its possible side effects. Put in a search using ‘what is xyz’ you will probably get a definition of the chemical at the top of the results. Look for the work MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) in the remaining list of results and if there is such a reference, look at it and read it carefully. This will tell you if it is known to cause allergic reactions or other potential health problems.
Let me give you an example. Say one of the ingredients is Imidazolidinyl urea, an ingredient often found in personal care and cosmetic products. Type: What is Imidazolidinyl urea into Google.
At the top of the results page you will see: “Web definitions for Imidazolidinyl urea”. Click on the result and you will get the definition, which is: “after the parabens, the most commonly used preservative in cosmetics”.
Now type: Imidazolidinyl urea MSDS into the search field near the top in Google and hit search. You will now be presented with a punch of results containing MSDS information. Looking at one of them will reveal the following:
Looking at this information it is possible that if your new product contains this ingredient, then it may be causing your skin’s reaction.
Long term problem of sensitive skin
If you have had sensitive skin for a long time and have always had to be careful and selective about the products/chemicals you put on your skin, then the sensitivity is more likely to be of an internal or underlying cause such as an immune system deficiency.
Allergies in general are an inappropriate reaction by your immune system to an allergen (a substance that triggers your immune system to react to it). There are a number of ways to deal with this.
One way is to try and de-sensitise the system by subjecting it to very small doses of the allergen over a period of time. This is to ‘teach’ the immune system not to go ‘crazy’ every time it detects this chemical (natural or otherwise) and to stay cool, so to speak.
Another way to treat your sensitive skin is by using herbs and essential oils that strengthen and boost your immune system. Echinacea purpurea for example is an herb known for its beneficial effect on the immune system. It is also very good for a variety of skin problems.
Unfortunately many personal care items do contain a large number of chemicals. In it self, this is not necessarily a bad thing, however, identifying which chemical or combination of chemicals are causing your skin to become sensitive is not easy.
In addition, it is not just synthetic and/or artificial chemicals that can cause adverse skin reactions, natural substances may also cause problems. Just think of peanuts, strawberries and so on.
Choosing all natural skin care products for sensitive skin is the best way to reduce your risk of having an allergic skin reaction. Use a natural skin care system that has been specifically formulated to care for sensitive and easily irritated skin as the basis of your daily skin care regime.
Doing so will reduce the risk of exposing your skin to potentially nasty petro-chemicals and other potentially harmful ingredients such as the one we looked at earlier in this article.
Similarly, choosing hair care products that are totally natural and do not contain potentially toxic ingredients are another way to reduce your chance of developing an adverse allergic reaction.
Perfumes and aftershave lotions are very common causes of allergic reactions. Using a blend of essential oils instead may be a safer way to go, as the alcohol present in many of the perfumes and aftershave lotions can be irritating to your skin and will tend to make it dry.
Another area of concern to women with sensitive skin is their make-up. Most cosmetics contain many non-natural, potentially toxic chemicals that can easily trigger allergic reactions. It is best to look for a range of natural cosmetics that does not utilise synthetic chemicals, or use potentially harmful ingredients.
Essential oil of rose, camomile and geranium, and oils of coconut, almond and shea nut butter soothe and hydrate irritated and sensitive skin.
In addition, rose and chamomile are calming to the skin, able to reduce both redness and inflammation.
The combined actions of glycerine (plant based), coconut, palm and almond oils have a hydrating effect and maintain moisture in the skin, thus reducing sensitivity.
Calendula, glycerine (plant based), witch hazel and aloe vera are all known to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation.
Almond, olive and jojoba oils provide gentle yet effective moisturising and hydrating properties.
Eczema and Dermatitis are two major underlying skin problems that will predispose you to having sensitive skin.
These conditions need to be addressed in order for you to overcome the sensitive skin. Often these conditions are tightly associated with sensitive skin and are in fact the direct cause of it.
Finally, but by now means less important is your food and water intake. It is vital that if you have sensitive skin you minimise if not eliminate all processed foods from your diet. Eat fresh foods that have not been processed. The more processed foods are the more likely it is they will contain additives such as emulsifiers, preservatives, added sugar, salt and other ingredients that may trigger an outbreak.
In addition you must drink at least 2 litres of water every day, more if you are physically active. Your body requires at least this amount to function properly. If it does not receive its 2 litres a day, it will take it from tissues in your body and this will lead to dehydration, which in turn will predispose you to developing sensitive skin or worse eczema and/or dermatitis.
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Looking for Natural Skin Care Products for Sensitive Skin?
Natural Exfoliant for Sensitive Skin
Red Earth Medicine
Exfoliates, hydrates and soothes your skin leaving it feeling smooth, soft and vibrant.
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Natural Cleanser for Sensitive Skin
Deeply cleanses and hydrates your skin leaving it feeling clean, soft and fresh.
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Natural Moisturisers for Sensitive Skin
Rose Day Crème
Luxurious Moisturising Day Cream that soothes, moisturises and protects your skin.
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Natural Age Defying Skin Care for Sensitive Skin
Age Defying Essence
Age Defying Essence is ideal for Mature and Sensitive Skin. It hydrates, soothes and nourishes your skin.
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Natural Eye Cream for Sensitive Skin
Gentle Eye & Lip Cream
The Gentle Eye & Lip Cream is ideal for the Sensitive Skin around your Eyes and Lips. It hydrates, soothes and protects your skin.
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