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8 Causes of Sensitive Skin

"sensitive painful skin irritation"

Based on the skin’s chemical components or from a chemical that comes in contact with the skin, various reactions cause sensitive skin. Two tell-tale signs of sensitive skin are swelling (edema) and redness of the face (erythema). The causes of sensitive skin can be either environmental or genetic. Sensitive skin may affect anyone at any age (including newborns). Sensitive skin can occur at any time, last for a short or long time. Repeated exposure to the things that make your skin sensitive may create a long-term problem.

About half of the population in the United States experience sensitive skin issues. If you experience any of the following signs, you may have sensitive skin:

  • Redness
  • Tightness of the skin on the face
  • Stinging
  • Flushing
  • Irritation of the skin
  •  Peeling
  • Swelling
  • Rashes

Let’s go over some factors that cause sensitive skin:

  1. Environmental changes- during the winters, moisture is drawn out of your skin, resulting in itchy, cracked skin (for some this may be painful). Humidity during the summers may cause the skin to become red, blotchy and irritated. This is why applying sunscreen is so important (see our skin Care Tips chapter for more on sunscreen protection).
  2. Sensitivity to cosmetics may be caused by fragrances and some of the preservatives used in skin care products we apply to our skin. We suggest that you opt for skin care products which contain natural preservatives. Whenever considering purchasing a new skin care product test it out first by applying a small amount , if there are no reactions, add a bit more, if there are still no noticeable reactions, continue applying on the rest of the skin’s surface. If you do notice any problems post application, such as flakiness or redness, discontinue using this product.

Avoid products which contain the following ingredients:

  • Petroleum by-products
  • Parabens
  • Mineral oil
  • Artificial dyes
  • Fragrances
  • Alcohol
  1. Allergies to food may cause your skin to break out in hives. As a rule of thumb, if you’re able to afford it, you should have a qualified physician test you for food and cosmetic allergies.
  2. Skin allergies are usually more prevalent in people with dry skin because of the lack of oil production produced in those with dry skin. Because the skin is dry and does not have the oil barrier to protect the skin against allergens that may be penetrated through the pores, skin allergies arise. It is highly suggested that you hydrate well (drink at least 8 cups of water per day) to ensure that the skin cells are not dehydrated. Dehydrated cells result in further moisture loss in the skin cells.