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How to Care Your Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin may get red, irritated, dry or itchy, and this can be caused by a skin-care product, the environment or stress, as well as genetics. If you have sensitive skin, look for products that are fragrance-free and dermatologist-tested after you're sure your skin is sensitive.

If you flush, blush, itch or sunburn easily, or react when you wear wool or cashmere or come in contact with latex, you likely have truly sensitive skin. If your skin just react immediately to certain foods, skin-care products or stressors,
then you may have sensitivity triggers. Skin that is sensitive by nature has most likely been that way since birth. Fair skin most commonly blushes, itches, sunburns and gets irritated quickly.

Many skincare products designed to calm and protect sensitive skin, there are cautions when it is designed to target other skin problems - mainly wrinkles, irregular pigment and dull skin. Antiaging products, retinoids, topical vitamin C and glycolic acid can be too harsh for sensitive skin, so better choose products that contain alpha lipoic acid, idebenone, vitamin E, resveratrol (an antioxidant derived from grapes) and peptides. Even gentle friction from abrasive scrubs can send sensitive skin into a tailspin. When exfoliating, look for enzyme-based masks or gentle peels, and be sure to patch test. Don't use a product more often than is directed or leave it on the skin for longer than recommended.

Daily sun protection is essential, but many of the chemicals found in sunscreens can irritate sensitive skin. Non-chemical barriers in the form of mineral-based protection, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, are a better alternative. Hydroquinone is considered the most effective active ingredient for lightening sun spots and melasma, but it can cause dryness, burning and even darkening of sensitive skin. Instead, use lighteners with active ingredients like kojic and azelaic acid.

Sensitive by trigger

You may not have been born with sensitive skin, but if your skin suddenly becomes red, itchy, irritated or scaly, the best solution is to uncover the cause.

Hormones can cause sensitivity changes, especially during pregnancy, menopause, or after a change in hormone-based contraception or hormone replacement therapy. Skin reactions due to hormones often appear gradually.

Certain medications including antibiotics and antihistamines can also cause sensitivity, ranging from itching, hives, rashes or a yellowing of the skin that appears suddenly. In these cases, it's advised that you contact your physician immediately.

Foods can trigger sensitivity, such as rashes or redness that appears shortly after consumption and that may linger for a period of time. The best solution is to identify the trigger food and avoid it.

Allergies are also a common trigger for sensitivity. The same things that can cause respiratory and sinus problems - like pollen, dust and chemicals - can also trigger skin problems like redness, burning and irritation.

In some cases, a change in water supply can exacerbate sensitive skin. No-rinse cleansers, toners and specialized skin-care products may be the most appropriate solution.

And last, stress - both good and bad - can affect even the most tolerant skin. Blemishes, dehydration, irritation and pigment changes can all result from a lack of sleep, anxiety, depression or just daily stress.

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