6th Jul 2016

Six warning signs of sensitive skin

FONT SIZE: A+ A-
Mature smiling woman with nice skin
Louise Baxter

When you look in the mirror, do you see red? Is dry and itchy skin commonplace for you? If you experience these symptoms, it sounds as if your skin is trying to tell you something – and with it being the body’s biggest organ, it’s important to pay attention. Here are six common warning signs of sensitive skin:

  1. redness and excessive flushing
  2. dryness and flaking
  3. burning sensations
  4. itching
  5. tightness
  6. sudden reactions to irritants, such as fragrance, chemicals and harsh weather conditions.


What causes skin sensitivity?

The skin acts as the body’s barrier and needs to maintain a healthy pH balance in order to do its job. When that stability is compromised, irritants are able to get through and sensitivity and inflammation can occur. Common causes of irritation include:

  • Dehydration. Your skin cells are designed to hold water, and insufficient moisture can lead to dryness, cracking and tightness.
  • Harsh weather conditions. Exposure to the elements – particularly sun, strong winds and extreme hot or cold weather conditions – can harm the skin and strip it of moisture, disturbing the fine balance between alkaline and acidic.
  • Dirt and pollution. Smog, dust and fumes can flare up sensitivity.
  • Excessive cleansing and exfoliating. It may seem counterproductive, but too much cleansing and exfoliation can further irritate sensitive skin. 
  • Lifestyle factors. Poor diet, smoking, too much alcohol, lack of sleep, excessive stress and not drinking enough water can all affect your skin’s health.
  • Products containing irritants. Cosmetics, skincare and household cleaning products can contain harsh ingredients that your skin doesn’t like – these may include chemicals, fragrance, parabens and high levels of minerals.
  • Genetics. Skin conditions linked to sensitivity, such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis, can be inherited.


 

Treatments

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, it might be worth consulting your GP so you can be tested for allergies or referred to a dermatologist. However, if your skin’s irritation is mild, there are several steps you can take to try to remedy and repair.

  • Switch products. If your skin irritation is exacerbated by makeup, skincare, soap or cleansers, opt for products that are free of fragrance, alcohol, parabens and retinoids. Product marketing guidelines are vague around these items, so terms such as ‘hypoallergenic’ may not necessarily be most suitable for you. A good rule of thumb is to choose products with only a few ingredients and aim for as natural as possible.
  • Moisturise. Regular moisturising will help your skin lock in hydration and prevent dryness, flaking and cracking. Try to find a product containing vitamin E and UV protection.
  • Eat well, drink water. Your skin reflects the health of your body, so good nutrition and plenty of hydration will only help your cause.
  • Wear natural fabrics. Smooth, natural materials, such as cotton and silk, are kinder to your skin and allow it to breathe. Synthetic alternatives can be inhibit air flow and aggravate your skin.
  • Water filters. If you suspect your household has ‘hard water’ – containing high levels of minerals, chemicals and other irritants – try a filter on your showerhead and taps. The presence of lime scale is often an indicator of harsh elements.

 

What do you find irritates your skin? Which remedies work best for you?

Related articles:
Caring for dry ageing skin
Stop winter from weathering your skin
Skin cancer: what to look for





COMMENTS

To make a comment, please register or login
Star Trekker
12th Jul 2016
10:30am
They say to drink water, but what if you are allergic to the chlorine the treatment plants put into so called fresh water. My daughter cannot shower without a reaction.
Anonymous
12th Jul 2016
1:38pm
Get a water filter on your indoor tap to remove the chlorine before drinking and a rain water tank plumbed to the shower. Simple.
Star Trekker
12th Jul 2016
1:40pm
1. If I owned the house, yes I would.
2. If I had the money to put one in, I would do that too.
Jenk
12th Jul 2016
1:41pm
Hi Star Trekker. We recently purchased a Quoss Aroma Sense Q Vit. C Shower Head w/Hose&Bracket from TVSN. This removes chlorine from the water. I used to get breathless from the fumes but cannot smell chlorine at all.

The whole unit looks so much better than what we had and we use less water/pressure than our old one that we swapped over to under the council water saving program. I love it.

I do not have any stake in quoss or the tv channel. Just thought I'd share my experience. All the best.
Anonymous
12th Jul 2016
2:58pm
Even EASIER, and CHEAPER.
Star Trekker
12th Jul 2016
4:25pm
Thanks Jenk for the info.
Jenk
12th Jul 2016
1:42pm
And you can easily install and remove it when you move on.
Blossom
14th Jul 2016
6:01pm
I know a lad who as a small toddler had eczema. They came to Adelaide becuase of his dad's work transfer. His eczema became chronic to the extent that his skin was "red raw". The skin on his legs was so sore that if they touched at all he cried with pain.Specialists did extensive tests and found it was the Adelaide water. They moved back to Melbourne and his eczema improved a lot within a fortnight.


Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

  • Receive our daily enewsletter
  • Enter competitions
  • Comment on articles

you might also be interested in...

Why you should drink only water

A case for why you should forgo the coffee and switch to water.

How to get rid of hayfever fast

The sneezy season is almost upon us, and hayfever sufferers are beginning to seek hayfever relief.

Ten early signs of dementia

How do you know if memory loss and confusion are just signs of getting older or are the first indicators that something more sinister is wrong?

How long will you live

David Williams shares how to measure your longevity, and how it shapes your retirement.

Early signs of heart trouble

Early signs and strange symptoms that may potentially indicate heart disease.