What exactly is the dermatological definition of “sensitive skin”? In layman's terms, it is skin that gets flushed, itchy, red and inflamed easily, due to genetics, environmental factors like cold and pollution in the air and water, or due to the use of wrong products. Sensitive skin can have a reaction to just about anything - a high-intensity anti-aging serum, an extra hour in the sun or even a hot shower! And sometimes the evildoer is invisible â€” like the iron and calcium content in hard water.
The good news is that you can undo the damage you’ve done. Give your sensitive skin the TLC it craves by following these 10 simple dos and don'ts:
DO: A patch test on your skin prior to use. Patch testing is a way of determining if a product that comes in contact with the skin will cause inflammation of the skin. Test products on a small patch of skin before applying all over your face or body. Apply a small amount of the product on your arm and leave it there for a 24-hour period to determine if it has an adverse effect.
DON’T: Assume that a product labeled “natural” or “hypoallergenic” means that it won’t cause any sort of irritation to your skin.
DO: Discuss your skin issue with your dermatologist. The redness, itchiness or dryness you are suffering with may be due to skin conditions such as rosacea or exczema. Your dermatologist will help diagnose and treat any serious skin problems that you may not have been aware of.
DON’T: Try to diagnose your own skin problems. You may think you are treating a problem with a certain product but that product may actually be enhancing the sensitivity. Always ask advice of your dermatologist when beginning a new skincare regime.
DO: Take quick, lukewarm showers because hot water can be damaging to skin. Apply a mild hydrating lotion as soon as you step out of the shower to lock in moisture and plump skin.
DON'T: Get tempted to take long, hot showers. The tastiest foods are bad for your health, the finest things are bad for your wallet and long, hot showers, unfortunately, are bad for your skin - cruel world, aint it? A long, hot shower feels good no doubt but it can be quite drying and damaging to sensitive skin. So steer clear. [Source: http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin/dry-skin-causes]
DO: Use products that contain no added fragrances or perfumes as these irritants can worsen skin sensitivity. Be sure to check the ingredients. Look for gentle skin care products that are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Smelling pretty isint half as important as protecting your skin.
DON’T: Give up and think you’ve been cursed with a â€˜fragrance-free' life! Instead of putting fragrance directly onto your skin, spray some perfume on your clothes for a fresh and non-irritating way to smell lovely.
DO: Switch to a bare minimum skin-care routine of using a mild cleanser, a chemical-free sun block (look for a mineral formula containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), and an unscented moisturizer. Sensitive skin does best when you maintain a simple routine
DON'T: get carried away with too many other skin care products. It is absolutely not necessary to try every colorful potion that you can afford. There's always a price to pay for over-indulgence. Keep in mind that sometimes what sensitive skin needs more of is less.
DO: Use natural and fragrance-free detergent for washing your clothes.
DON’T: Forget that chemicals on your clothing can be equally irritating to sensitive skin just like products applied directly on your body.
DO: Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen (formulated for sensitive skin) for an outdoor outing.
DON’T: Expose uncovered skin to excess sunlight. This can spark off skin sensitivity, especially for those who suffer from rosacea.
DO: Understand that you need to take care of your skin all year round and not just during summers or winters.
DON'T: Neglect your skin if it has been behaving fine for a while. After finally soothing your sensitive skin, you may irritate it again on a summer beach trip by using alcohol-based sunscreen or by over washing.
DO: Wash your skin every night before bed with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser, followed by a moisturizer and you’ll wake up with clear, glowing and gorgeous skin.
DON'T: Sleep with your makeup on. Never! Sleeping with makeup means that foundation, powder, dirt and oil remains on your skin all night, which can irritate and cause pimples.
DO: Look for more natural products over those that are chock full of chemicals you cannot even pronounce! Sensitive skin can overreact to these chemicals and cause redness and irritation. Ingredients that work wonders for sensitive skin are Rose, Lavender, chamomile, witch hazel (natural toner), blueberry seeds (gentle exfoliator), aloevera etc.
DON'T: Get carried away by attractive packaging. Attractive packaging does not in any way signify that the product is healthy for your sensitive skin. You need to read the labels.
Martin Cowell lives in Mexico and dabbles in real estate, lifestyle and blogging. He is a prolific blogger and writes about Mexico, its culture, food and health tips related to Mexico.