Sensitive skin has a mind of its own. Everything and anything can make it angry, tight, and downright irritated. Be it soap or sunscreen, heat or cold – sensitive skin is not a fan. If this sounds familiar, you can avoid flare-ups by ditching certain habits.
By definition, sensitive skin is a cutaneous hyper-reactivity to external factors. Reactions are more intense and frequent, especially compared to most people. The Journal of Contact Dermatitis estimates that it affects a majority of women and almost half of men.1 2
So why does it happen? According to the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the thin skin might be to blame. Corneocytes, a type of skin cell, may also be smaller, letting water-soluble chemicals penetrate deeply. Issues with barrier function, neurons, and receptors are also possible.3
1. Never Skip The Patch Test
This a must for everyone, but especially for people with sensitive skin. Imagine slathering on a new product only to find out your skin hates it!
Sidestep the problem by doing a patch test first. It doesn’t matter if it’s shampoo, eyeshadow, or even a lotion designed for sensitive skin. You won’t know for sure until you do a trial run. To do a patch test, apply a small amount of the product on your wrist or neck. Wait a few hours. If there isn’t a bad reaction, you’re good to go.
Do Not Scrub With A Rough Hand
When your skin is freaking out, it’s tempting to try and calm the problem with heavy cleansing. You might even try scrubbing to get rid of breakouts or dryness. Unfortunately, it’ll just make things worse. Be extra gentle. A harsh hand will actually thin out skin even more, so go easy. Your complexion needs to breathe.
3. Avoid Using Fragranced Products
Often, companies use fragrances to make products more appealing. This can be a nightmare for sensitive skin! The scents are just chemicals, posing the risk of allergies and sensitivities. They’re also totally unnecessary.5
4. Stop Touching Your Face Constantly
There’s nothing worse than irritated, tight skin. It can be hard to ignore, but whatever you do, don’t touch it. This is even more important if you’re already breaking out.
Fingers contain bacteria. We use our fingers every day to touch surfaces like keyboards and doorknobs. Those germs have no business on your face. Frequently wash your hands, especially after taking public transportation or using the restroom. Wash them again before applying makeup or skincare products.
5. Clean Your Phone Often
The cell phone is home to countless bacteria. Not only do you touch the screen every day, but it goes where ever you go. Even worse, making a call gives the bacteria a free ride onto your face. This can be bad news for all skin types. Experts recommend disinfecting your phone on the regular. Turn it off, let cool, and wipe down with a spritz of rubbing alcohol and paper towel.6
|↑1||Farage, Miranda A., and Howard I. Maibach. “Sensitive skin: closing in on a physiological cause.” Contact Dermatitis 62, no. 3 (2010): 137-149.|
|↑2, ↑4||Primavera, G., and E. Berardesca. “Sensitive skin: mechanisms and diagnosis.” International journal of cosmetic science 27, no. 1 (2005): 1-10.|
|↑3||Berardesca, E., M. Farage, and H. Maibach. “Sensitive skin: an overview.” International journal of cosmetic science 35, no. 1 (2013): 2-8.|
|↑5||Fragrances in Cosmetics.
|↑6||Borer, Abraham. “Cell phones and Acinetobacter transmission.” (2005).|