What is Sensitive Skin?

When people refer to their skin as sensitive, the term usually refers to a skin condition that easily breaks out in redness, rash, becomes itchy, irritated or painful. Even though few of us are actually diagnosed with a disorder we can still have superficial responses to products, weather and the environment. Some sensitive skin conditions can be inherited, like rosacea, eczema, acne and psoriasis, but if you're like most people, your skin troubles may be a result of other factors.

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Many cosmetic products contain harmful additives that can end up sabotaging the efforts of consumers by causing long-term damage. Skin care professionals often recommend avoiding products that contain multiple ingredients, alcohols and ingredients that are difficult to pronounce. Also they recommend avoiding heavily scented products, which are often made to mask chemical odors.

Two ingredients in particular to avoid are parabens and phthalates. Parabens are chemicals that are commonly added to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals as a preservative. Parabens can lead to increased aging of the skin when exposed to sunlight, and are linked to breast cancer. Phthalates are not just a word that's difficult to pronounce, it is an acid that is added to plastics to increase flexibility. There are many health risks associated with exposure to this ingredient and their use is restricted in the US and the EU.

Sensitive Dry Skin
Dry skin is a popular occurrence that damages the nerve ending and can cause the skin to be more sensitive and susceptible to irritants. There are many causes of dry skin, like winter weather, and heaters being the obvious, but there are some things that may be causing your skin to dry out that you may not have seen coming.

Who doesn't love hot steamy showers? Your skin that's who! They are a great way to relax the muscles, but are also a way to wash away the body's natural oils that keep the skin smooth and moist. The soaps that we shower with are also something that can dry the skin by stripping the natural oils.

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- Moisturizer - Applying a quality moisturizer, lotion, serum, or cream to lock in moisture is the first line of defense in protecting your skin. However, finding the right topical creams, moisturizers, and treatments can be challenging. Skin care professionals have a few key recommendations for those with sensitive skin.

- Sun Protection - The sun helps our bodies make its own vitamin D so getting some sunlight is healthy, however overexposure can be dangerous. Protecting yourself from overexposure of the sun's ultraviolet rays is one of the most important things you can do to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, dryness, and melanomas. Wearing protective clothing as well as wearing a sunscreen is a common recommendation, but skin care experts strongly urge people to research their sunscreen for the presence of harmful chemicals.

- Read the Labels - Seek out all natural skin care products with few ingredients that are easy to pronounce, and with low chemical additives. Be weary of large corporations that have the sole agenda of making financial gains, and look to companies that have good old-fashioned values and ingredients you can trust.

- Diet - One of the most obvious solutions to healing and maintaining your skin is something that most people do at least 3 times a day but somehow totally forget about - eating right. Eating right for your skin and overall health means consuming plenty of vegetables, healthy fats and drinking adequate water throughout the day. Doing this alone will help to keep the skin properly hydrated and supple! Avoid consuming foods that can dry-out your skin like refined grains, sugars, and alcohols.

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Final Thoughts
Skin type can change as we age and some things that were once acceptable may begin to become irritating, and the opposite is true as well. It's important to research your skin care products and not just wake up and slather on a moisturizer you got on sale at the drug store. It's your health so take control and don't be afraid to slow down and get to know what you are putting on your body.

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