There’s no one trigger responsible for causing sensitive skin. Sometimes it is the culmination of environmental stressors, products and treatments that create reactive skin. The good news: sensitivity issues can be addressed and the effects can be reversed. Follow these protective and preventative measures to strengthen the skin’s barrier function, limiting the incidence of sensitive reactions.
1. Stay out of the sun. The sun can cause the skin to become extremely sensitive, especially if you have a sensitivity-related skin condition like rosacea. Be sure to protect your skin every day with an SPF of at least 30.
2. Avoid synthetic and artificial ingredients. If your skin becomes inflamed and irritated when fragranced and preservative-packed products are used, avoid them at all costs.
3. Keep your skin well-hydrated. When the skin is void of moisture, the barrier can’t function optimally and the skin can’t naturally protect itself as well. “If the surface of the skin is well-hydrated, it heals faster. A healthy epidermis means a healthy dermis and vice versa. Hydrate inside out with water and omega-3 and outside in with a good moisturizer,” says New York aesthetician Julia March.
4. Build up a tolerance. When it comes to using a new product or ingredient (especially those that are known to cause irritation and sensitivity like retinol and glycolic acid), start slow and let your skin adjust.
5. Strengthen the barrier. Certain cleansers, like those that are formulated as soaps or have stripping acids and alcohols, can diminish the barrier function of the skin. When the barrier is compromised, the skin is more vulnerable to experiencing irritations, sensitivity and other reactions.
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