Sensitive Skin: Natural Age-Defying Strategies That Can Soothe and Restore
Sensitive skin can be simply related to the time of the year or set-off by products such as laundry detergent, itchy fabrics, even skin care ingredients, like those that contain alpha hydroxy acids and retinol that might not usually bother you. There are women that have naturally sensitive skin that almost anything can irritate.
Some people with sensitive skin may develop an allergic reaction more so than others. A true allergic reaction is not the same as experiencing irritation from coming in contact with a product. An allergy results when your body produces antibodies to a substance your body perceives as foreign which then triggers an allergic reaction.
Others with sensitive skin have a condition known as rosacea. This condition is very common; as many as 14 million Americans may have it. The exact origin of rosacea is unknown, although some have theorized that it may be the result of a bacterial or fungal infection. Rosacea is characterized by inflammation.
Rosacea can manifest as red splotches on the face and may be accompanied by broken blood vessels, pimples or breakouts. There are medications that your doctor can prescribe for rosacea. Some natural alternatives which may help reduce the appearance of rosacea include R-Lipoic Acid, Green Tea and Chamomile. These substances contain anti-inflammatory properties which may help skin look younger as well.
Some sensitive skin types may be more prone to contact dermatitis and or eczema. Contact dermatitis can cause itchy, red skin and can be caused by harsh or caustic chemicals. It is not however, a true allergy.
What is the best way to handle sensitive skin? The following tips can soothe and calm sensitive skin. This is particularly important as we approach the cold winter months.
GO AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE
While it is true that any number of natural ingredients are capable of causing an allergic reaction, sensitivity or irritation, many naturally based companies steer clear of potentially toxic ingredients which may not only be harmful, but can be harsh and irritating. For example, many synthetic detergent cleansers contain ingredients which can be harsh and drying. Therefore, many companies use a process called "ethoxylation," in order to make harsh ingredients milder. This in turn produces 1, 4-Dioxane, which may cause cancer.
ALWAYS GO FRAGRANCE FREE (INCLUDING NO ESSENTIAL OILS)
Without question, sensitive skin types should avoid fragrance in any skin care product. This even includes essential oils which are used in the majority of natural skin care lines. Sensitive skin can develop an irritation or allergic reaction to natural fragrances as well. Choosing, fragrance free products are always your best choice.
AVOID HARSH CLEANSERS AND TONERS
Many commercial cleansers and toners routinely use harsh cleansing ingredients which are very alkaline and can be drying and irritating for many skin types, not just sensitive. Try to find a cleanser which is free of fragrance and harsh detergent cleansers. When buying a toner, always buy one that does not contain drying alcohol. You will typically see "SD Alcohol" or SD Alcohol 40" used. Some detergent cleansers you may want to avoid include sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. The less dry and irritated your skin is, the younger it will appear.
USE LIMITED NUMBER OF INGREDIENTS AND PRODUCTS
Use as few products as possible with the fewest ingredients in the product formula. The more products you use and the more ingredients a product contains, the more you risk having a reaction to any number of ingredients. This will make it difficult or impossible to determine what the offending substance(s) might be. NO DYES OR COLORS. These are usually listed as FD&C colors, followed by a number. These often contain coal tars which are derived from petroleum and may be toxic.
INCLUDE SOOTHING INGREDIENTS
Use soothing natural oils (preferably unrefined) include sesame seed oil, apricot kernel oil, almond oil, sunflower oil and avocado oil. Those with nut allergies may want to avoid using nut oils. High quality, unrefined Shea butter is also beneficial for most skin types, particularly sensitive. It may help to control many conditions such as very dry skin, rashes, and eczema. It also easily penetrates. Always seek the advice of your physician for any condition which becomes very uncomfortable or painful.
Other soothing ingredients include chamomile and calendula (although those with ragweed allergies may want to avoid). Hyaluronic acid, which holds 1000 times its weight in water, is a wonderful humectant and can add needed moisture and softness to the skin.
Treating sensitive skin can be tricky. But if you follow the "less is more" strategy" and look for high quality, fragrance free natural ingredients, you may find your skin reacting less. Educate yourself as much as possible regarding the best ingredients for sensitive skin. Sometimes there may be some trial and error, so try to be patient.
It is recommended that women having sensitive, or overly sensitive skin, note down at least initially, what ingredients are problematic and use that list against product purchases.
Dr. Teri Dourmashkin received her Doctorate in Health Education from Columbia University. She is the Founder and President of La Vie Celeste Skin Care Inc. La Vie Celeste brings you all natural anti-aging skincare featuring R-Lipoic Acid, a powerful antioxidant. Suitable for all skin types, La Vie Celeste is the perfect union of science and nature. To learn more visit La Vie Celeste Skin Care.