Sensitive skin is not a skin type, it's a condition that the skin has become.
Now before you jump to a conclusion saying my skin has always been sensitive let me tell you how it becomes a sensitive skin condition.
So, how to know if you have sensitive skin and what are the main contributors that make skin become sensitive or sensitised?
1. Stress, stress plays such an important part in our skin health. Stress triggers the hormone cortisol which stimulates heart rate and blood pressure and the blood to the skin, causing inflammation.
2. Gut health, the gut is a major contributor to the skin poor gut health irritates the skin, sending signals like eczema, dermatitis, acne, psoriasis. That internally it is out of balance. Alcohol, antibiotics, poor food choices and constipation will make skin conditions more exacerbated.
3. Underlying health condition. Certain medications can make the skin thinner, and more sensitive.
4. Stripping the skin of natural oils. So many people show with stripped skins. Usually resulting from using common soap products, or foaming agents, which may strip the skin from natural oils which it is supposed to produce. A natural amount of oil protects the skin surface.
5. Over exfoliation. Especially people with dry surface skin cells tend to over scrub, use Retinols or glycolic or salicylic acid ingredients.
6. Using hot or cold water directly to the face. The hotter the water, (if water is chlorinated) activates and accelerates chlorine reaction. Chlorine is very drying and stripping to skin.
Do not put your head under the blast of water from the shower, its like thumping the skin with chlorine. Not a good choice. Cold water also makes the skin more sensitised, stimulating excessive blood flow.
7. The hammering of the water - from direct application to the skin - stimulates the capillary walls, which can easily cause thinning and damage to the capillary wall bringing excess redness and blood flow to the surface.
8. Certain makeups which have high pigment for colour can easily cause the skin to become more sensitive.
9. Removing makeup with makeup wipes that contain alcohol. Yes, these cheap wipes strip your skin and do not clean the skin cells. Use a reusable makeup cloth like the one from Merindah Botanicals instead.
10. Not cleansing correctly at night with a gentle cleanser.
11. Correct diagnosis of your skin when you have sensitive skin is vital.
12. A well-trained skin therapist will analysis under a wood lamp or skin scanner to assess what products or treatments will soothe a sensitive skin.
13. Certain skin can become more sensitive due to the use of things like washing detergents, fabric softeners. These contain chemicals that can irritate skins.
14. Hormonal issues can cause a skin to become more sensitised. Prior to periods, or during pregnancy you may notice skin to become more sensitive due to blood flow and hormonal stimulation.
15. When looking at the skin, ask the question? Is it a true sensitive skin or is it sensitised?
16. Low immunity - which may bring problems to skin health - will bring sensitivity to many skins.
17. Picking and squeezing skin causes inflammation and skin sensitivity, can break capillary walls and stimulate infection, avoid this as much as possible.
18. Avoid using artificial scrubbing cloths, such as skin buffing balls, or skin cleaning units that use plastic and synthetic motorised or handheld deep cleansing scrubbers.
Skin can be come sensitive, but with correct skin care, good health, and avoiding over- stimulation of the skin, usually the skin will start to calm down.
Skin has minimum of 30 days turn over, so do not expect your skin to settle immediately, as your skin must recover.
To strengthen the skin cells, start by adding the pith of the orange to your daily diet. It contains bioflavonoids that help strength capillaries and also increases Vitamin C absorption.
Remember the skin is the largest organ of the body and protects us from so much.
So, treat your skin gently like a baby’s skin, to get the best from all those new skin cells coming through. Avoid using soap, and anti-ageing ingredients that may make your skin more irritated and use a gentle skincare range suitable for sensitive skin like Merindah Botanicals' range for natural face and body care products.
For extreme conditions please see a doctor or medical professional.
About the author:
Susanne Fraser is a Dermal/Skin Therapist trainer and has been in the beauty industry for 34 years.