Ask any woman if she ever experiences sensitive skin and chances are she will say yes. Then ask her what she means by that and you will likely get a range of different responses. One woman may say it is because she blushes easily. Another may have occasional dry, flaky patches. A third may say her skin is easily irritated. So which one has sensitive skin? Well, they all do.
Sensitive skin has become an umbrella term that is used to describe a number of conditions from general irritation to rosacea to dry skin. What they all have in common is inflammation. Inflammation occurs when the skin’s outer barrier layer is damaged, often through a lack of hydration, overexposure to the sun or contact with irritants such as harsh soaps, detergents or anti-bacterial gels.
Skin sensitivity may be more severe in winter when skin tends to be drier. It may also get worse as a woman ages, as older skin tends to be more dehydrated.
How to Soothe Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you probably already know that your fragile skin requires special care. There are a number of ways you can calm irritated skin and help strengthen your skin’s protective moisture barrier:
- Moisturize. Moisturizing regularly is the best thing you can do to help improve the healthy look of your skin. To amp up the effectiveness of your lotion, apply immediately after showering or washing your face. This will lock in the dampness that is still on your skin for optimal hydration.
- Protect. Wear an SPF moisturiser daily year round. Sun exposure is top on the list of sensitive skin triggers.
- Take shorter, cooler showers. Try to limit them to 10 minutes tops and wash with warm, not hot, water.
- Use a humidifier. It helps to add moisture to the air in the drier months.
When Is Sensitive Skin Something More?
Sure, we all may blush a bit when we are embarrassed, but if your flush lasts longer than a minute or so, occurs seemingly for no reason, and is accompanied by broken blood vessels or pimples, it may be rosacea. The cause of rosacea is not known, but it can be managed through minor diet and lifestyle changes, skincare products or medication.
If this describes your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist or physician.