By narrowing down what causes our skin to be so sensitive, we can define those triggers and avoid them, thus managing any issues. Skin specialist Dr Adam Friedmann of the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic (www.theharleystreetdermatologyclinic.co.uk) confirms “The key is to find out what your triggers are so that you can control your exposure to them.”
14 Sensitive skin triggers to watch out for
Because we are all different, we all have different triggers. Here’s a list of the usual suspects when it comes to sensitive skin:
1. Hot water
Did you know, skin can become irritated by temperature differences, so it’s best to keep shower water warm and bathing short.
2. A problem diet
Stick to a healthy, balanced diet to help the immune system but a food allergy can be to blame. A blood test can quickly confirm any allergens. Focus on healthy foods like those rich in Vitamin C or supplements and oils like Omega 3 and 6.
Stress and anxiety can aggravate rashes because the immune system, stress levels and hormones are all related. So take up yoga or meditation and ban the stress!
4. Lack of sleep
Being tired also can worsen rashes. If you think a lack of sleep might be affecting your skin, try to make sure you get between 7-9 hours every night for 1 month and see if it makes a difference!
5. No exercise
Nurture your immune system! Exercise is an excellent mood enhancer and keeps stress levels down too which, again, can play on sensitive skin.
6. Dry skin
A lack of moisture in your skin soon causes dry patches, and itchy sensitive skin. Keep your skin hydrated by regularly applying moisturiser.
7. Lotions and potions
Fragrances and dehydrating agents are often to be blamed for skin reactions. Check your soap, wipes and fragrances for their contents and opt for the simplest formulas.
Astringent products are designed to remove oil, thus stripping the your skin’s natural necessary moisture away so no wonder it reacts!
8. Harsh detergents
Often blamed for skin problems, harsh detergents can play on your clothes and skin. As can the local pool’s chlorine!
9. Temperature switches
Dry skin can easily get worse when exposed to different temperatures – whichever way it goes – from soaring overheating (taking all the humidity out of the air) to chilled air conditioning or rough, cold winds. Skin can’t always cope which is why it dries out, becomes itchy flaky and sometimes even cracks!
10. Wool etc
Man made fabrics, or abrasive, itchy wool can also cause sensitive skin too. Opt for loose cotton which is best for the skin to “breathe”.
11. Vitamin D deficiency
Because of our sedentary indoor lifestyles, some say a vitamin D deficiency can be linked to sensitive skin. Skin expert Dr Carla Stanton says “You can get a blood test to check your vitamin D level through your doctor.”
12. Gluten & sugars
Dr Stanton says ‘Gluten and dairy are often the more common offenders so try alternatives such as coconut/almond milk. But, always consult your doctor before making changes to your diet”. As for refined sugars, they can disrupt your insulin secretion patterns, and can be pro-inflammatory” Alcohol, caffeine and trans-fats are also to be avoided.
13. The wrong skincare routine
Dry skin tends to be itchier, and the more we itch the more we scratch rendering skin even more sensitive. Using moisturizer daily, right after washing and applying it all over will help soothe skin. Try La Roche Posay’s Lipikar range. It’s paraben-free and fragrance free.
14. Skin disease
Eczema, Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis will leave your skin feeling rough and dry. Make sure to consult a doctor or dermatologist for diagnosis.
Your age, lifestyle, geographical location and genes all play a part…
Check our symptoms list to see if you suffer from sensitive skin.
- A tight feeling skin after showering, bathing or swimming
- Rough patches
- Itching sensations
- Skin flaking, peeling or cracking
- Skin shedding
- Fine lines
- Lacklustre, grey-looking skin
- Red, patchy or blotchy skin
- Irritations of the skin
- Cracking or bleeding