You’re not alone if you’ve ever questioned what’s really going on behind your constant redness, itchiness, and irritation. In fact, there are lots of people who have sensitive skin, but they often don’t know it. And that can be a problem. Most of us think we need to fight our skin with harsh products to keep it “normal”, but all this does is irritate the skin further and cause more inflammation and redness. So how do you deal with sensitive skin? Read on for my step-by-step guide to figuring out what’s causing the issues—and how to stop them from happening in the first place:
Step 1: Figure out what you’re dealing with.
So, you think you have sensitive skin. You might not be able to tell what’s causing your skin to feel so sensitive and inflamed. In order to treat it effectively, it helps to know what you’re dealing with first. Sensitive skin is not the same as acne or rosacea—although both can cause redness and irritation that may feel similar. However, there are a few key differences between these conditions that can help pinpoint the cause of your sensitivity:
- Acne: Occurs when dirt and oil clog up pores; when bacteria grows inside those clogged pores, inflammation occurs (and causes pimples). People with acne tend to get more breakouts on their face than other parts of their body because this is where oil glands are located (think forehead and nose).
- Rosacea: A chronic condition characterized by flushing of the skin; tends to be worse after exercise or hot weather exposure; often associated with rosy cheeks but can also affect eyesight if left untreated for long periods of time.*
Step 2: Create a skincare routine that works for you
Once you’ve determined what products work best for your skin, it’s time to create a skincare routine that works for you. Although everyone’s skin is different, there are some basic rules of thumb to follow.
Step 1: Cleanse your face gently but thoroughly with a non-drying cleanser two times per day. If you spend most of your time indoors, opt for something with SPF protection like Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser or Aveeno Positively Radiant Foaming Scrub Cleanser (both $11), which both use gentle ingredients that won’t irritate sensitive skin. If you’re outside more often than not, choose an oil-free cleanser that doesn’t clog pores like Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Mild ($15).
Step 2: Tone your face with a product containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid (or both) to help exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin—this will also prevent breakouts from forming underneath those layers.) Try Mario Badescu Special Care Astringent ($21).
Step 3: Moisturize with lighter lotions at least twice per day—morning and night—to keep moisture locked in without clogging pores or causing breakouts. Look for lightweight formulas packed with hyaluronic acid; it’s an ingredient that attracts water molecules into skin and helps hydrate while absorbing quickly into the dermis without leaving behind any greasy residue on top.”
Step 3: Avoid allergens and irritants.
Avoiding allergens and irritants is key to reducing inflammation in the skin. The most common allergens include perfumes, dyes, and preservatives. Some people may also react to other chemicals found in cosmetics and personal care products such as alcohol (found in many aftershaves), fragrance oils and soaps.
If you are allergic to a particular product, it’s best to avoid using that product altogether—you should never really “test” an allergy out on yourself by applying something new onto your face or body before checking with a doctor that it’s safe for you.
Step 4: Do some gentle at-home treatments.
Do some gentle at-home treatments.
There are many ways to treat skin sensitivity that you can do from home, including:
- Using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer
- Applying calming masks, serums and eye creams. For example, you could use a calming face mask every few days. (If you’re wondering what kind of face mask to use with sensitive skin, check out this article.)
Step 5. Add supplements to your diet to reduce inflammation.
You can also add supplements to your diet to reduce inflammation. These include omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin E. There’s also a supplement called N-acetylcysteine (NAC) that may help with skin sensitivities. And copper has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin as well.
Sensitive skin is not a death sentence, but you have to be careful about how you care for it and what products you use on it.
Sensitive skin is not a death sentence, but you have to be careful about how you care for it and what products you use on it. Sensitive skin can be treated with a few key steps and some commonsense advice.
The first thing to do is figure out what’s causing your sensitivity. Is there an allergy? Is it dryness? Do your lips peel or crack easily? Do the creases in your neck crack open when they get wet? These are all signs that there’s something wrong with your skin that needs treatment, so don’t ignore them!
Once you’ve figured out why your skin is sensitive and gotten proper medication (or eliminated the cause), try these tips:
- Avoid harsh soaps and chemicals like alcohol when washing up after bathing or showering. A mild soap will do just fine—you don’t need anything too strong unless there’s an active infection present on top of dryness/redness/etcetera—and remember that every time you wash with abrasive cleansers, whether in person or using antibacterial wipes from somewhere else (like work), those same abrasions could cause further irritation down the road!
As you can see, there are many things you can do on your own at home to help with sensitive skin. It is important to figure out what triggers the reactions and avoid them like allergens that cause allergic reactions in people with allergies. If necessary, try a few different treatments until one works best for your specific situation. Remember that it takes time and patience to find the right treatment plan but it will be worth it when you start feeling better!