Sensitive Skin - Signs, Causes and Treatment

Sensitive Skin (Skyn Stories by Dr Meenu Sethi)
Sensitive Skin (Skyn Stories by Dr Meenu Sethi)

If your skin is dry, flaky and easily irritated, then you have a sensitive skin. The incidences of sensitive skin are at an all-time high, with more than 50 percent of people suffering from the condition at some point in their lives. Read on to find out the signs of sensitive skin, the causes associated with the condition and suitable treatments for it!

Signs of Sensitive Skin

Skin care products burn your skin more often than not: Since people with sensitive skin have a thinner skin barrier than others, active ingredients and fragrance blends can penetrate the skin very easily. This causes an immediate reaction with the skin, resulting in burning and stinging, as well as the reddening of the skin.

Your skin flushes red at the drop of a hat: This is probably the most common sign of sensitive skin. If your face turns red if you touch it, or if simply facing a chilly gust of wind or cleansing your face turns your face red immediately, your skin’s propensity to flush is a clear sign that your skin is sensitive.

You frequently have the urge to itch: Frequent itching on your body, especially on the face also indicates the occurrence of sensitive skin.

The above factors will help you determine whether you have sensitive skin or not. And if you do, don’t worry, read on!

Causes of Sensitive Skin

Pollution and Dirt: Dirt and pollution are the primary reasons for the occurrence of sensitive skin in people. Things like smoke, dust, and fumes can leave your skin feeling dirty and irritated. These harmful substances stick to the skin and are eventually absorbed by the natural barrier of the skin. Over time, this weakens the skin’s natural barrier, thus leading to skin sensitivity.

Hard Water: Hard water contains high levels of magnesium, calcium, and sodium. Thus, it is highly alkaline in nature. This high alkalinity causes a gradual weakening of the skin’s natural barrier. Washing with or drinking hard water can irritate the skin and lead to skin sensitivity.

The environment: Changes in the weather affect the skin and cause the natural barrier of the skin to weaken. In chilly weather, the central heating combined with the cold air, causes the skin to become dehydrated and potentially more sensitive.

Hormones: Hormonal changes mostly affect women more than men. Fluctuating hormonal activity can lead to overall skin sensitivity and inflammation.

Lifestyle: Your lifestyle plays a huge role in determining the health of your skin. Lack of sleep, late nights, consuming alcohol and junk food can all take a toll on your skin, all of which may lead to sensitivity. Chlorine, found in swimming pools, is the biggest environmental factor leading to skin sensitivity.

Stress: Increasing stress in our lives caused by a number of factors like career problems, bad diet, lack of sleep etc. can lead to your skin becoming sensitive. If this continues for a long period of time, it impairs your skin’s ability to maintain and repair the skin’s natural barrier.

Skincare Products: Dyes, harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances are all known for irritating the skin. Glycolic Acid and Retinol are two substances present in artificial skin care products that are the main evils causing skin sensitivity in most people.

Treatments for Skin Sensitivity:

Choose products with little or no harsh chemicals that are labeled as suited for sensitive skin. Other than that, there are a number of home remedies that can be used to treat sensitive skin.

Use sunscreen all round the year: Sunscreen protects the skin from the harmful Ultraviolet rays of the Sun. However, most sunscreens contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that cause maximum harm to the sensitive skin. Instead, choose sunscreens that contain ingredients like titanium oxide and zinc oxide. Pick the right sunscreen and apply it all year round, regardless of the season. Apply sunscreen even if you are indoors. Put it on about 20 minutes before you step out into the Sun.

Milk: Raw milk serves as an excellent toner for sensitive skin. Simply take a few tablespoons of cold milk in a bowl, dip some cotton swabs in it and dab your face with it. Cleanse your face with lukewarm water and moisturize thoroughly.

Honey: Honey works wonderfully on sensitive skin. Mix a little honey with some yogurt and apply it on your face. In case you have oily skin, mix some honey with 4 tablespoons of clay powder, water, and lemon pulp. Apply it on your face and leave the pack on for 10 to 20 minutes, and rinse off with lukewarm water.

Oatmeal face pack: Grind some oatmeal and mix it with an egg yolk. Apply the paste on your face and leave it on for 15 minutes, before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Don’t forget to moisturize your face once you’re done!