Let’s face it, sensitive skin can be a drag. From dryness and flaking itchiness, to irritated red patches, hives, and cracking–some days can be so unbearable we’d rather return to bed. To make matters worse, the wintertime brings freezing dry air that can exacerbate our symptoms further and leave us feeling helpless.
You may be thinking: “I’ve tried everything. What more can I do?”
Never fear. We’ve got you covered.
If you or someone you know is suffering from the distressing discomforts of sensitive skin, check out this list of nifty tips that may just help you scratch the itch.
1. Investigate the Irritated Area
Sir Francis Bacon once said “Knowledge itself is power.” As you may know, sensitive skin is a loosely defined term, used to describe a wide range of conditions. If you can, take note of the affected area and its unique identifiers. This will help to isolate the problem and assist in narrowing down potential solutions.
Some common skin conditions include:
i. Dry Skin - This condition is caused by a lack of moisture in the Dry skin can be identified by itchiness, flakiness, peeling, redness. cracking and bleeding.
ii. Eczema - This condition is caused by your skin’s inability to protect itself from common irritants. Eczema can be identified by dryness, itchiness, small bumps, red/brown patches, and swelling.
iii. Rosacea - A common skin condition that primarily affects the face. Rosacea causes extreme skin sensitivity and can be identified by redness (in the face, ears, chest, and back), small bumps, and pimples in the irritated area.
iv. Hives - A common skin condition, ‘ hives’ (urticaria) can be caused by exposure to plants, fragrances, raw foods, chemical ingredients, allergens, and more. Hives can be identified by clusters of bumps, itching, burning, redness, and swelling.
2. Know Your Allergies
Let’s be honest, unless the condition in question is life-threatening, many of us remain unaware of our skin sensitivities. Even if we’d once had none to speak of, the body changes over time and therefore so do its reactions to irritants and allergens.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how to solve the issue, make an appointment with your dermatologist or invest in an at-home allergy test kit. Though this may seem like a bit of a hassle, the information is more than worthwhile. “Knowledge is power.” Remember?
3. Read Your Labels
If you already know your skin sensitivities, it may be time to check your products. Though the items you use in your daily routine may seem benign, the truth is that many of them contain some sneaky harmful chemicals and substances.
Open up that bathroom cabinet or drawer, grab your daily products, and get to reading. This includes: cosmetics, soaps, face wash, lotions, creams, etc. Just make sure you’re sitting down–what you discover may shock you!
There’s a reason they write those things so small.
4. Change Your Linens
We don’t mean to sound like ‘Mom’ here but filthy linens can do some serious damage to our skin–particularly if we’re already sensitive. Take the time about once a week to replace your linens and wash the dirty laundry. This includes: pillowcases, sheets, blankets, towels, washcloths, and anything else that regularly touches your skin.
Additionally, the wrong bath towels can retain tons of moisture and cause a build-up of bacteria that is just no good. Instead, invest in a lightweight, quick-drying bath towel like the 6-piece Turkish cotton bath towels from our Noelle Collection or the 100% cotton popcorn bath towels from our Acacia Collection.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a BIG difference.
5. Go Fragrance Free
Speaking of the ‘little things,’ if you’ve done all of the above with no results, it may be time for a bigger change. Though we all love our scented formulas and sweet-smelling chemicals they are often the mystery cause of skin irritation.
Try switching to fragrance free alternatives that include: organic soaps, detergents, creams, and deodorants. You may miss them at first, but we bet you won’t if you discover those sweet smells are the culprit in question.
6. Escape Exfoliation
We apologize to your beauty regimen but if you regularly use facial scrubs, dry brushes, or anything meant to exfoliate–you might be making the problem worse. Though exfoliants are great for shaving off dead skin cells, using them can further irritate any affected areas. Instead try switching to alternatives that are easier on the skin. Your body will thank you.
7. Avoid Overlong, Hot Showers
We know, we know…this one hurts us too. Though many of us love our personal shower time, too long in the steamy hot box can dry out our skin and worsen the problem.
According to Doctor Carolyn Goh, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine (UCLA), “Staying in [the shower] too long washes the oils away from your skin.” This overexposure removes the protective layer that retains moisture–increasing the likelihood of dryness and irritation.
Dr. Goh suggests limiting shower and bath sessions to around 10 minutes, at as cool a temperature as you can withstand. This will reduce the possibility of worsened skin irritation and may ease some of the most uncomfortable symptoms.
We do not ‘like’ Dr. Goh... But fine.
8. Clean Correctly, Dry Gently
As it pertains to our shower and bath routine, it becomes crucially important to follow the instructions on the products we use. Misuse and overuse of our soaps, shampoos, facial cleansers, and other items can further irritate our skin–drying out any affected areas and increasing the severity of our symptoms.
Dr. Goh (who we’re still a little upset with) recommends patting dry instead of air-drying or harsh rubbing, “...too rough and you’re at the risk of irritating skin.”
Additionally, rough bath towels and washcloths can worsen any sensitivity and irritation–prolonging your pain and reducing the effectiveness of any treatment regimen.
To avoid this, switch to lightweight and soft options like the cotton waffle weave bath towels from our Soleia Collection. This will help to prevent further skin sensitivity or worsened irritation.
9. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!
Once you’re done showering, and your skin is still saturated with moisture, you can lock in this moisture by applying any creams, lotions, or ointments right away. After you’ve gently pat yourself dry, liberally apply your topicals and be sure to moisturize completely. Your skin should feel soft and healthy when you’ve finished. A rushed application simply won’t get the job done properly.
10. Talk to Your Doctor
When it’s all said and done, your first move should always be to consult with a licensed medical professional for all of your healthcare needs.
We hope this list has provided you with some useful information. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for the latest Great Bay Home news and exclusive deals. You can also find us on Amazon.