7 Causes of Sensitive Skin and How to Overcome Them October 29, 2018 – Posted in: Beauty, Lifestyle
More than half the population in America claims to have sensitive skin and other first world countries show similar statistics. In our view, this is an indictment on the products people use and how skin is viewed.
Consider that a reaction may be due to your perfume, shampoo, conditioner or detergents.
Sensitivity shows as reddening after applying product. Skin tends to flush, is easily aggressed when placed under stress, marks and scars easily.
Apart from genetic factor, there’re also many causes of sensitive skin. Read on to learn about the various causes and how we can overcome them.
1. Allergy to individual ingredients
If a product makes your face turn very red and it doesn’t go away after an hour, this is a sign that your skin is reacting to it. Stop using it.
When your skin is red, it means you have more blood flow below it. Your blood capillaries have dilated (expanded), which allows more blood to flow through. Some products, like exfoliants, stimulate circulation, so the increased blood flow will make you temporarily red. But if the redness persists, it is a sign of a reaction. It’s the body’s way of sending help to an area of injury or infection.
Synthetic fragrance ingredients can trigger irritation in over 20 percent of the American population, say environmental health researchers at the University of Washington, causing skin rashes, as well as headaches, coughing, wheezing, and other respiratory irritation. If you’re sensitive to fragrance, avoid any products that have the word “fragrance” on their ingredient label and look for “fragrance-free” alternatives.
2. Skin’s immune system in a hyperactive state
When your skin’s immune system is in a hyperactive state, your skin tends to be reactive. Reactive skin reacts rapidly to products and procedures, and gets red, hot, inflamed, and irritated very easily. People with reactive skin need to be careful with harsh products, especially highly acidic or alkaline ingredients and abrasive particles. Exfoliation should be done with caution, using only exfoliator suitable for sensitive skin, such as Esse Microderm Exfoliator, and by a very gentle method.
3. Barrier Function of the skin is damaged
The Stratum Corneum is the outermost layer of skin. Its job is to protect you. The Barrier Function is the term that describes this ability.
A damaged barrier function means there are micro cracks in the skin. This allows water to leak out faster (transpidermal water loss), and things from the outside to come in. So you lose valuable water and acquire unwanted microorganisms or irritants. Both are a recipe for irritated skin. Typical signs of a damaged barrier are dry, flaky, cracked, irritated, itchy, or uncomfortable skin.
Once the barrier is damaged, skin becomes sensitive to everything. It needs to be treated with barrier repair ingredients. Barrier repair ingredients are typically rich in lipids that are similar to the intercellular lipids found in skin. Plant oils are popular sources because they are a good source of fatty acid lipids, and they create a thin coating over skin to reduce the evaporation of water.
To maintain a healthy skin barrier function, avoid potential irritants & allergens, avoid excessively hot baths or showers and apply moisturiser immediately after washing.
Avoid dry air-conditioned atmospheres. Avoid abrasive exfoliants. Use non-drying masks. Make sure pH of ALL products must be 4.5. Apply a probiotic skincare treatment that contains live strains of beneficial microbes to improve the skin barrier.
You also must try Esse Protect Oil. the latest skincare breakthrough based on a plant oil from Namibia, called Ximenia Oil. This oil forms a protective layer on skin when it is exposed to UV or free radicals, and protects the skin from environmental pollutants. It increases blood flow, delivering nutrients and oxygen more effectively to the skin. The skin becomes firmer and more resilient.
4. Disturbance in skin microbiome
The sum total of all the microbes*1 in and on your body is called your microbiome.
Your skin microbiome can be disturbed by the use of antibiotics, using high pH soap bars, using chlorinated water (drinking and swimming), having a diet rich in processed food, living in a sterile environment, smoking, excessive coffee and alcohol, lack of contact with nature and so on.
5. Deficiency in essential fatty acid
Take an omega-3 supplement with at least 400 mg of long chain omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA). Make sure that you are not allergic to fish oil – the allergy symptoms include facial swelling and a rash.
6. Excessive UV exposure
Vitamin D is important so seek mild sun exposure on a large part of your body at least once a week. Avoid excessive UV exposure by covering up with physical sun protection, such as a hat, umbrella and mineral sunscreen.
7. Menopause & Aging
With the arrival of menopause and its decreasing levels of estrogen in the body, the effect is felt in the skin as well. Skin becomes drier, thinner and increased sensitivity happens.
Studies show that as we age, the pH of our skin drifts from around 4.5 in our prime to a little over 5 by the time we reach old age. In the world of microbes, small changes in pH determine which kinds of bacteria dominate in an ecosystem. For skin, that means that small shifts in the wrong direction can lead to imbalances that see opportunistic microbes start to dominate – think acne, eczema, rosacea and sensitivity.
Do you know that you can actually commission your skincare products to manage your skin’s pH without having to give it much thought? All you have to do is just make sure that ALL the products in your chosen range are pH balanced at around 4.5. Many other skincare brands balance their cleansers, but keeping emulsions stable at low pH isn’t always easy, so moisturisers are often pegged at around pH 7.
Once you use a good quality skincare range with pH balanced on all its products, your microbiome helps you to self-regulate by producing acids (such as lactic acid) that keep things healthily acidic at pH 4.5. You can help your probiotic friends out by ensuring never to disrupt the pH on your skin. A disrupted acid mantle takes up to 18 hours to re-balance, this is generally longer than the time between cleansing and product application, so if your products are not pH balanced, your microbiome will be totally pre-occupied with trying to set the pH straight and not get around to performing all its other valuable functions.
Note 1* : A Microbe is a single-celled, microscopic organism. This included bacteria, viruses, yeasts and archaea amongst others.