Sensitive skin. It’s so frustrating, right?
Fortunately, the New Year gives us a chance to start fresh. Try this: pick just one sensitive skin problem you’re struggling with now. Just one. Then check out our solutions below.
If they sound good to you, give them a try for the next couple of weeks and see if your skin improves. If so, you can move on to the next problem, so by this time next year, you and your sensitive skin will be feeling a lot better!
(Not sure if you have sensitive skin? Check out our post, “Are You Sensitive? How to Tell if Your Skin Needs More TLC.”)
1. Rosacea and Redness
Sensitive skin can become red and inflamed in response to triggers like allergens, harsh weather, or certain foods. If you’ve been diagnosed with rosacea, you may also experience flushing or redness in response to heat, spicy foods, alcohol, sunlight, and stress.
To prevent flare-ups, try these tips:
- Protect your skin from the sun. Use sunscreen, hats, and umbrellas.
- Pay attention to those things that trigger flare-ups, and try to avoid them.
- Use cool water and cold compresses to cool hot, red skin. You can also try our Rescue + Relief Spray for a refreshing, cool mist.
- Look for aloe vera and beta-glucan in your skin-care products. They offer soothing, anti-redness benefits. Try our Calming Moisture, which has both.
- Maintain a daily skincare regimen that includes a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser and calming moisturizer.
- Don’t over-exfoliate your skin. Scrubs and alpha-hydroxy acids can encourage redness on sensitive skin. Stick to only once a week, choose gentle exfoliating products, and leave them on your skin for only about half the time recommended.
Eczema is a term for several different types of skin irritation and swelling. Symptoms include dry, itchy skin and rashes on the face, inside the elbows, and behind the knees, and possibly on the hands and feet. Eczema is not contagious and is believed to be related to allergies.
To soothe your dry, itchy skin, try these tips:
- Avoid those things that irritate your skin, such as certain soaps, fabrics, and lotions. Buy only fragrance-free items and always read the ingredient list.
- Watch what triggers your symptoms, and try to avoid those triggers.
- Use creams and lotions that help control itching and repair the skin. Though your dermatologist may prescribe a steroid option, keep in mind that these can cause side effects like thinning skin over time. Try our CV Skinlabs lotions and creams, which all contain anti-itch ingredients that help skin feel calmer and more comfortable.
- Consider light therapy. Research has found that some exposure to light may help improve the health of the skin. You can try exposing it to natural sunlight for 20-30 minutes per day, or try a special lamp made for eczema treatments.
- Control your stress. Stress is a known trigger for eczema and can make your symptoms worse. Try relaxation, biofeedback, yoga, meditation, or deep breathing.
- Moisturize regularly. Every time you wash your skin, apply moisturizer immediately afterward. If you make this a habit, you’ll help maintain the outer barrier on your skin, which can reduce eczema flare-ups.
- Try apple cider vinegar. The National Eczema Association (NEA) reports that apple cider vinegar may help reduce the symptoms of eczema. It can help fight bacteria, protecting the skin from infection, while balancing the skin’s acidity levels. Mix one cup of warm water and one tablespoon of vinegar, then apply to a cotton swab or gauze and place over the affected area of skin. Cover with clean cotton fabric and leave for about three hours. You can also add a little apple cider vinegar to your bathwater.
Hives show up as white itchy welts of various sizes, usually surrounded by red skin. They tend to come and go in response to various triggers, though some stick around for weeks. Common triggers include sunlight, alcohol, stress, allergens, and irritating chemicals in foods, cosmetics, and hair and skin care products.
To stop the reactions, try these tips:
- Avoid triggers. This is the single best thing you can do to stop those hives from popping up. Take note of what you were doing before they appeared, including what you were eating, what you were wearing, and anything you had put on your skin. Keep a diary for a few weeks until you can narrow down the potential offenders, then do your best to stay away from them.
- Use cold compresses. These can help cool and relieve skin irritation.
- Take an oatmeal bath. This can help reduce itching. Baking soda is another good option.
- Avoid irritating skincare products. Those that have synthetic fragrances, sulfates, petrolatum, and other harsh chemicals can trigger hives. Even some essential oils may not react well with your skin. Try some “clean” beauty products made with safe ingredients, like our CV Skinlabs products!
- Dress in layers. Heat can make any itching you may be experiencing worse, and can also trigger flare-ups. Dress in layers that you can shed as you get warm, and avoid sitting in direct sunlight.
- Use calming substances. Witch hazel, aloe vera, calendula, and rosemary can all help calm skin irritation and relieve hives.
- Check with your allergy doctor. Since hives are often connected with allergies, it’s important to know what you’re allergic to. Check with your allergy doctor to find out.
Acne is often a multi-pronged problem caused by several factors, but those with sensitive skin are usually more at risk for it than those without sensitive skin. The problem is that if you have sensitive skin, traditional acne products may not work very well for you. They can be overdrying, making your problem worse.
Instead, to get rid of those pimples, try these tips:
- Choose your cleanser carefully. You want to get your face clean, but you don’t want to strip it of its natural oils or irritate it further. Forget soaps and bar cleansers, as they can cause dryness and leave a pore-clogging residue. Instead, use a face wash made for sensitive skin. Make sure it’s fragrance-free and non-abrasive.
- Avoid scrubs. You may be tempted to scrub away at your face, but if you use harsh scrubs or brushes, you will make tiny tears in your skin where acne is likely to develop. Instead, use a super soft skin brush and don’t push too hard.
- Choose your moisturizer carefully. Just like bar soaps can clog your pores, so can some moisturizers. Yet your skin still needs moisture to balance out the excess oil you may be producing. Look for those with soothing beta-glucan, aloe vera, and natural oils that help create that balancing action. Our Calming Moisture works great for most people with sensitive skin who struggle with acne.
- Watch your diet. Studies have shown that dairy products can exacerbate acne in those people who are sensitive to it. Eating a lot of unhealthy carbohydrates, too, like cookies, cakes, and other baked goods, white bread and pasta, and junk foods can also cause your skin to produce excess oil and inflammation, setting you up for additional breakouts. Choose healthy complex carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, legumes, fruit and vegetables, and your skin will look better.
- Never go to bed with your makeup on. Any dirt, debris, perspiration, dye, talc, silicone, or other materials you leave on your skin will sink into your pores overnight, increasing your odds of waking up with acne.
Psoriasis is a skin disease that causes red, itchy scaly patches, typically on the knees, elbows, trunk, and scalp. It flares up sometimes and then eases off, but unfortunately, there is no cure. It’s not contagious but thought to be caused by an immune system malfunction that makes the skin regenerate faster than usual.
To reduce those irritating scaly patches, try these tips:
- Check with your dermatologist. He or she can help you find treatments that will make it easier to manage your psoriasis.
- Consider light therapy. As noted in the eczema section above, sunlight can help improve the symptoms of psoriasis as well. Try to expose your skin to the sun for 20-30 minutes a day, or ask your dermatologist about a sun lamp that may work just as well.
- Take fish oil supplements. Studies have found that oral fish oil therapy, in combination with light therapy, may help reduce the amount of skin affected by psoriasis plaques. You can also apply the fish oil directly to the affected skin and cover it with a dressing for six hours a day. After four weeks, you may notice improvements.
- Use a humidifier. If you live in a dry climate, use a humidifier in your room overnight. It moistens the air, making it less likely that you’ll lose moisture from your skin while you’re sleeping.
- Lotion lotion lotion. Dry skin makes psoriasis worse, so apply lotion several times a day. Choose a product that’s fragrance-free and contains aloe vera.
- Eliminate junk food from your diet. Junk food has been found in studies to increase inflammation, which triggers psoriasis flare-ups. Eat healthy foods as often as possible.
- Take an Epsom salt bath. The magnesium in the salts helps soothe the itching while breaking up the scales and plaques.
- Try turmeric. This natural spice has been found to help minimize psoriasis flare-ups. You can take a turmeric supplement, sprinkle it on your food, and try our CV Skinlabs products, which all contain turmeric!
What sensitive skin issue is bothering you right now?