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If you have sensitive skin, you probably know life can be unfair. You spend your life going to the mall watching your friends gleefully take part in all the teenage rites while you look on helplessly. While they stick carelessly stick earrings with nonhypo allergenic posts in their ears, yours crust up at the touch of anything other than real gold. While they thoughtlessly spray the newest perfume on their skin, you break out in an itchy rash that makes you have to wear long sleeves all summer. While they stuff their faces with pizza and candy, you break out in blemishes so hideous, you stay home from school the next day. If you have sensitive skin, hidden dangers can lurk behind every food, piece of jewelry, and perfume bottle, but there are some lifestyle changes you can make to help avoid running into them.
Take Shorter Showers and Baths
While long showers and baths can wash away daily stress, they can also wash away protective oils. Try to take warm baths instead of intensely hot ones, and try limiting soak time to 5 or 10 minutes.
Clean Skin Gently
Harsh exfoliating products with “pits” can cause flaking skin and irritation. Those with sensitive skin are better off using a creamy cleanser with “beads.” Trade in rough washcloths for puffs or soft sponges. Concentrate on using only your fingertips when washing your face, cleaning gently using a soft concentric movement.
Shaving can be harsh on any skin type. Use a cream or lotion when shaving any part of the body and take care to never shave dry or with only soap, even if you’re in a hurry or see a missed spot. Also, be sure to shave in the direction of hair growth, rather than against it. Replacing your razor blade weekly is also a good idea, as dull blades can irritate sensitive skin, and avoid using hair removing creams and depilatories, which tend to be harsh on the skin.
Pat your skin dry instead of rubbing it after a shower or bath. Air drying is also a good alternative if you have the time and can bear staying nude until all moisture evaporates. Apply moisturizer while your skin is still damp to trap in moisture.
Moisturize Hands Often
Your hands are probably the most used part of your body, and also the most abused. Carrying a small bottle of unscented moisturizer with you will allow you to moisturize your hands often throughout the day, concentrating on the backs of the hands, and knuckles, where most chapping occurs. If you happen to work in a job which requires you to wash your hands often, or live in a dry, cold climate, be sure to moisturize hourly or every time you wash your hands.
Humidifiers are a great way to keep moisture in the air, especially in winter months when the heater is on and the windows are shut. Bring in portable moisture by putting a humidifier in any rooms you frequent often to keep skin hydrated. Clean the humidifier often to prevent the growth of fungus and bacteria.
Keep a Journal
Painful as it may be to do, keeping a skin care journal may be a really good way to help find the causes of negative skin reaction. Keep a journal to keep track of what you use each day, including detergent, cleaning products, lotion, soap and the jewelry you were wearing and make a note of when irritation occurred to see if you can find a pattern.
Do you have sensitive skin? What are your pet peeves and what do you do the keep irritation at bay? Let us know!