Skin sensitivity is best described as a skin condition, rather than a skin type. Your skin can become sensitive due to a variety of reasons, including allergies, extremely hot or cold temperatures, excessive exfoliation that damages the skin barrier, skin injury, dry weather, eczema, and other genetic skin conditions such as rosacea.
Moreover, sensitive skin is generally associated with extreme skin dryness, as the nerve endings in dry skin are not well protected from the environment. This leads to a high risk of skin bumps, pustules, skin erosion, blushing, and skin flushing.
Skin sensitivity can manifest differing symptoms in people, with redness, burning, itching, and peeling being the common ones. These symptoms generally develop in reaction to sunlight, chemical-laden skin products, makeup, and dehydration.
However, your skin is only classified as sensitive if these issues are persistent and regular, rather than a chance reaction to a certain product or ingredient.
Ways to Take Care of Sensitive Skin
To improve skin sensitivity and prevent symptom flare-ups, you need to take proper care of your skin. The following tips may come in handy.
1. Hydrate yourself with lemon water
It is suggested to consume a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning if you have sensitive skin. This can be helpful as the vitamin C and antioxidants in lemon help manage free-radical damage. (1)
Moreover, lemon water helps detoxify your blood, thus aiding in the prevention of blemishes, acne, and wrinkles, giving your skin a natural glow. This should be accompanied by consuming plenty of water throughout the day at regular intervals to keep your skin hydrated from within and eliminate toxins from the body.
How to use:
- Juice half a lemon and mix it in a glass of lukewarm water.
- Add honey to taste and consume it on an empty stomach.
- You can have your meal after 30 minutes of drinking lemon water.
2. Moisturize regularly
Since sensitive skin is often associated with dryness, it is essential to moisturize your skin regularly, making it a vital step in every skin care routine. Moisturizers lock in water in the skin, improve hydration, soothe the skin, restore skin lipids, and improve the skin’s moisture barrier.
Select your moisturizer carefully, one that is suitable for your skin. Prefer organic products over those laden with chemicals and fragrance. You can find various moisturizing creams made especially for sensitive skin in drugstores and grocery stores.
Avoid moisturizers that contain artificial fragrances and colors, as they can irritate the skin. Instead, select products that contain beneficial ingredients such as ylang-ylang oil, which controls oil production and soothes the skin. (2)
You can also try moisturizers that contain plant-derived oils such as coconut oil (as opposed to mineral oil), (3) olive oil, and almond oil. Creams containing glycerine, shea butter, and cocoa butter also provide antioxidant effects to sensitive skin.
Another excellent moisturizing agent is petroleum jelly, which locks in moisture. However, it should not be used with acne-prone skin.
3. Select new products carefully
It is vital to select your skin care products, including cleansers, soaps, face packs, and moisturizers, very carefully. Avoid products that contain chemicals such as parabens and artificial colors, as they can react with sensitive skin.
Choose products that are labeled “no artificial colors” or “hypoallergenic.” You can purchase products that have natural perfumes, but it is better if they are perfume-free as they are well tolerated by sensitive skin.
It is best to consult your dermatologist before trying a new product. Moreover, always conduct a patch test before full application. Give your skin between one day and a week to check whether your skin reacts to it or not.
4. Regularly apply sunscreens
Excessive exposure to sunrays can damage the skin cells, often leading to skin rashes and other problems. Therefore, it is best to avoid going out in the sun.
Always apply sunscreen before stepping outside. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, preferably one with zinc oxide and titanium oxide. (4) Avoid the use of sunscreens with more than SPF 30, as they have a higher amount of comedogenic ingredients, which can be harmful to sensitive skin.
You can also wear sunglasses and other protective clothing to protect your skin from the harsh UV rays.
5. Consume a balanced diet
Your diet has a large influence on your skin health. It is advised to consume a diet with more natural foods and less processed foods.
Include the following anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods in your diet to improve your skin health and boost healing:
- Organic fruits and vegetables, such as apples, blueberries, tomatoes, and leafy greens. These are rich in polyphenols and antioxidants that are beneficial to your skin.
- Healthy fat sources, including avocados, nuts, and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Cold-water fish, such as sardines, wild salmon, and herring. These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. (5) Consume these twice a week, or consult your doctor on the use of fish oil supplements that contain EPA and DHA.
- Healthy carbs, including beans, whole grains, berries, and squashes.
- Orange-colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, tropical fruits, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, which are rich in vitamin A.
- Nuts, such as walnuts and almonds.
- Food sources of vitamins A and E, selenium, zinc, and antioxidants.
You can also try the Mediterranean diet for better management of sensitive skin. This involves higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, fish, whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils.
Also, there are food groups that should be avoided to prevent skin sensitivity reactions, including gluten-based foods such as soy sauce, beer, wheat bread, cereals, and other products made of rye, wheat flour, and barley. Similarly, avoid soy products, red wine, eggs, and foods with artificial colors and preservatives.
6. Improve your bath routine
While hot baths are often favored for relaxation, the hot water can strip your skin of its natural oils, cause irritation, lead to red spots, and even cause dehydration. The use of heaters during winters has the same effect on your skin.
Therefore, it is best to avoid hot water for bathing, and instead use lukewarm water. Similarly, protect your skin from sudden temperature changes to prevent skin reactions.
7. Dry your skin gently
Make sure to use a soft cloth to gently pat your face dry instead of rubbing it with a towel. Using a face towel to rub your skin dry can often cause bumps and redness.
8. Avoid abrasive detergents
Your skin can also react to the traces of laundry detergent left in your clothes. Therefore, if you notice sensitivity after putting on fresh clothes, it may be time to change your laundry detergent.
Opt for gentle and soft detergents. It is also helpful to wear rubber gloves while handling detergents and other cleaning agents to prevent skin reactions.
9. Cleanse your skin with raw milk
The use of raw milk as a cleanser for sensitive skin is quite popular. Milk contains anti-inflammatory agents, moisturizing properties, skin-nourishing ingredients, and skin-lightening compounds that soothe the skin, relieving it of itchiness, dryness, and pigmentation.
How to use:
- Use a clean cotton pad to dab raw milk on your skin. Rinse with lukewarm water after 10–15 minutes.
- You can also make a moisturizing facial mask using raw milk. Simply mix ½ tsp gram flour with some raw milk to form a thick paste. Add a few drops of rosewater and honey to the mixture. Apply the paste to your neck and face. Wash it off after 10 minutes using lukewarm water. Use this mask weekly.
10. Try an oatmeal-yogurt face mask
Yogurt contains lactic acid that provides gentle exfoliation of the dead skin cells, making the skin appear fresh and smooth. It may also lower the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use:
- Mix 2 tsp of oatmeal with 2/3 tbsp of yogurt.
- Apply the facial mask to your face.
- Wipe your face with a wet towel after 10–15 minutes.
Aside from an oatmeal–yogurt face mask, you can also try the following masks suitable for sensitive skin:
- Amla and honey facial mask
- Cucumber, oats, and honey facial mask
- Papaya facial mask
- Almond oil and yogurt facial mask
11. Use green tea
Green tea is rich in antioxidants that help rejuvenate the skin. (7) In addition, its low caffeine content helps soothe the skin without drying it out.
How to use:
Boil a cup of water and add green tea leaves to it. Allow the leaves to steep for a few minutes and strain the liquid. Add a couple of drops of honey to the tea once it is cool. Use a cotton ball to dab the tea on your face and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Wash your face with water, and then apply a moisturizer with SPF. Repeat this remedy two times a week.
You can also consume green tea twice a day to help improve your skin health from within.
Having sensitive skin can be a persistent problem, especially when not taken care of. However, if you improve your skin care routine and use products that are suitable for your skin, the condition can be easily managed.
Consult your dermatologist about the products that are best suited for your skin. Take note of the products and ingredients that trigger skin reactions and avoid them in the future. Make sure to stay hydrated, moisturize your skin, avoid chemical-laden products, and use natural products to manage your skin sensitivity.