How to Take Care of Sensitive Skin
The American Academy of Dermatology reports that there are four varieties of sensitive skin: acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis and a feeling of burning or stinging. All of these conditions can cause physical discomfort due to inflammation, and may cause emotional distress as well. The AAD points out that even though over-the-counter products exist to help with sensitive skin, FDA regulations limit what the manufacturers can print on the labels, making it difficult to discern whether a product labeled "for sensitive skin" is good for your particular type of sensitive skin. Try an at-home skin care regimen, and see a dermatologist for additional help.
Wash your skin with gentle products. Take care not to over-dry the skin, suggests the Mayo Clinic. Take warm, as opposed to hot, baths and showers, and use mild cleansers instead of harsh soaps. Pat your skin dry, then apply a moisturizer that you have not reacted to in the past to seal in moisture.
Read all labels carefully before trying new skin-care products. If you know that you are sensitive to particular ingredients, always check for them in cleansers, moisturizers, lotions and sunscreens. A dermatologist may be able to help you pinpoint which ingredients may exacerbate the type of sensitive skin that you have. "Marie Claire" magazine also suggests looking at the expiration date, and avoiding the use of expired products.
Perform your own patch test. "Marie Claire" magazine recommends putting a small amount of any new products that you buy on your inner arm to see if it causes a reaction before rubbing it into a larger area. If you do react to a particular product, take careful note of the ingredient list.
Protect your sensitive skin from the sun. The Mayo Clinic stresses the importance of appropriate sun protection for all skin types. Use sunscreen liberally when going out, even on cloudy days. In addition or instead of using sunscreens, try to avoid going out during midday, when the sun's rays are the strongest; wear hats with brims to keep the sun off of your face; and consider special sun-protective clothing, especially if you can not use sunscreens.
Take good care of other facets of your health. Avoid smoking, which prevents oxygen and vitamin A from reaching your skin. Manage the stress in your life; the Mayo Clinic suggests that high levels of stress can make skin more sensitive. Stay hydrated and eat a healthful diet for good overall health and to keep skin looking its best.
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