Woman doing her skincare in mirror

Red alert! Dealing with sensitive skin

Many people claim to have sensitive skin. But how do you know it is truly sensitive? And how do you deal with it? Answer: very carefully.

Truly sensitive skin

You are born with sensitive skin. This is skin that, usually, is dry and fine and delicate in texture. It feels tight, is easily irritated and it’s prone to allergies and rashes. Sensitive skin reacts to temperature changes (it is vulnerable to sunburn and windburn), and detergents or cosmetics can irritate it, causing redness and blotching, flaking, pricking, burning or pain. Not a happy situation.

Then there’s sensitised skin

Unfortunately, no matter what your genes say, anyone’s skin can become sensitised. It may happen as we get older and skin becomes drier, or it could flare up as a result of our lifestyle habits, use of irritating cosmetic ingredients, environmental exposure, stress or skin disease.

Whether you’re born with it or acquire it later, both types of sensitivity require the same treatment: avoidance of triggers and management through changes in your skin-care and lifestyle habits.

Avoid the triggers

When choosing products that come in contact with your skin, avoiding those that contain alcohol, lanolin, fragrance and artificial colour is essential, so you need to become very picky about your skin care, and read your labels.

Look for brands that are dermatologically formulated and tested, and which says their products are hypoallergenic. This means they are unlikely to cause an allergic reaction – it’s impossible to claim 100% allergen-free. Your make-up should also be hypoallergenic.

Whenever you try a new skincare or make-up product, test it first on the inside of your wrist for 24 hours to see if you have any reaction.

Triggers that can’t be avoided – you know, your environment, pollution and temperature changes – will need management with adaptations to your skin care and lifestyle.

Try to avoid activities that may provoke an inflammatory reaction – exposure to extreme heat like sitting next to a fire, spending time in a sauna, or chlorine in a swimming pool.

Internally, looking after your gut health is a key way to prevent or lessen inflammation in the body. The Renewal Institute encourages all clients to adopt the pillars to health: Gut Health, Exercise, Nutrition, Stress Management and are all impacted by good quality Sleep. Naturally, this is beneficial if you have issues with skin sensitivity.

We also recommend a consultation with a Skin Renewal skincare professional to discuss a professional skin treatment plan to soothe your skin and to ensure no treatments are prescribed that may cause skin irritation.

To schedule an individual assessment with one of the doctors on the Skin Renewal team, or to find out more about which treatments are best to treat rosacea or sensitive skin, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).

Take the quick Beyond Beauty Survey and you could win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher to spend in our online store, with free delivery within South Africa. T&Cs apply.

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