What Causes Sensitive Skin?

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is unpleasant, can be uncomfortable and is often difficult to deal with. It can feel like anything and everything is aggravating your sensitive skin, and the truth is that there are multiple causes for sensitive skin. Find out what may be causing your sensitive skin and how you can help keep your skin smooth, healthy and calm.

Your Environment
Natural and manmade environmental factors can significantly impact your skin. Natural environmental factors can be physical, chemical or biological. Sunlight, heat, cold and other weather are examples of physical environmental factors that can contribute to sensitive skin. Chemical factors that can cause sensitive skin include pollutants in the air and water such as second-hand smoke, car emissions, allergens and alcohol and biological causes of sensitive skin include plants like poison ivy or bacteria. Physical, chemical and biological environmental factors can all cause sensitive skin and you can experience skin problems from all three factors at one time. Physical factors like cold weather can cause dry, flaky skin, chemical factors can clog your pores and biological factors can cause irritation and allergic reactions. When possible, avoid any known irritants and allergens and always protect your skin from the sun. Additionally, you can wear protective clothing, such as hats, scarves or gloves to help fight physical environmental factors.

Environmental factors are not the only source of irritants that can result in sensitive skin, other irritants in the form of household cleaners, clothing and skin care ingredients can all play a part in your sensitive skin. There are ingredients you want to avoid not only in skin care, but for a variety of your household products. Alcohol, perfumes and fragrances and dyes are all irritants that are recognized as causes of sensitive skin. Even if these are not what causes your sensitive skin, these ingredients are proven to irritate and further aggravate your sensitive skin, so it’s best to steer clear of these whenever possible. The clothing and jewelry you wear may also be a factor in your skin’s sensitivity; a common cause of sensitivity is the metal nickel, which is included in a large amount of costume/fashion jewelry.

Diet and Lifestyle
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the food you put into your body is just as, if not more, important than the products you put on your skin. Eating processed foods that contain high amounts of sugar, fat and preservatives can certainly cause increase the problems that your skin faces. Additionally, a food allergy can definitely be a cause of sensitive skin. Some food allergies are incredibly severe and you know you have them, while others may take longer to figure out because they produce minor reactions. If you notice any swelling, redness, irritation or dryness after ingesting particular foods, it’s a good idea to head to your family doctor or dermatologist to determine whether or not an allergy could be causing sensitive skin. Diet is one part of a healthy lifestyle; you also need to be sure you are staying well hydrated and that you keep yourself active. If you smoke, quit immediately; the damage you’re doing isn’t just to your internal organs, you are also wrecking your skin. Stress also plays a large role in how your skin is able to take care of itself, so doing something every day to help calm and relax yourself, like meditation, can result in less irritated skin.

Finding out the specific cause of your sensitive skin can go a long way in helping you figure out what the best course of action is. For instance, if your sensitive skin is caused by artificial dyes, look for laundry detergents, household cleaners and skin care products that are dye-free. Visiting a doctor or dermatologist can help you pinpoint the exact cause of your sensitive skin and he/she will be able to help form a treatment plan to have your skin health and free from irritation.

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