Regardless of whether you have dry, oily or combination skin, your skin can also be sensitive. People with chronically sensitive skin are generally susceptible to allergens and irritants that inflame the skin, resulting in one or more of the following symptoms:
What Causes Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin is generally connected with adverse reactions to the environment or products used on the skin. Preventing reactions in sensitive skin begins with understanding what causes an adverse reaction and avoiding it if possible. Determining the exact cause of the irritation can be difficult and requires that the person pay close attention to their daily routine, the type of products used on the skin, and their diet. Only by systematically evaluating and eliminating each item used and consumed, can you pinpoint the cause of the specific irritation. Consider the following causes:
Products – everyday household products, lotions, cosmetics, makeup, etc., are common triggers for those with sensitive skin. There are certain ingredients that should be avoided – (see some listed below). Evaluate all items in your daily routine and don’t forget to consider mundane things like the type of laundry detergent you use – dyes and chemicals found in all sorts of things can irritate sensitive skin.
Food allergies can trigger skin outbreaks. Unless you can identify the type of food causing the reaction, consider getting an allergy test to determine the offending food group.
Genetic factors also can play a role in sensitive skin. Parents who suffer may pass the condition on to their children. While sensitive skin it not limited to fair skinned people, research does show that fair skinned people tend to develop sensitive skin more often than people with darker complexions.
Stress can be a trigger for an outbreak of irritated skin. Stress triggers certain hormones and chemicals in the brain which can cause rashes in people with sensitive skin.
Some Ingredients to Avoid
The ingredients in most household products, lotions, creams, make-up etc., can play havoc with someone who has sensitive skin. Select products that are clearly labeled ‘non-allergenic’ or ‘safe for sensitive skin’. There are dozens of harsh ingredients in our daily products, and each person may have their own unique triggers, but for people with sensitive skin, the following few should avoided:
Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine – also referred to as DEA and TEA, these are found in many cosmetics and beauty products because, among other things, they provide a rich lather in shampoos and soaps and keep a favorable consistency in lotions and creams. Repeated use of products containing these chemicals can cause allergic reactions including eye problems, dryness of hair and skin, and could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time.
Sulphates – these come in many forms and are used extensively in many products. Watch for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) – these are some of the most commonly used sulphates and appear in 90% of all products that foam. These sulphates can damage the skin’s immune system by causing layers to separate and inflame. They are frequently disguised in semi-natural cosmetics with the explanation “comes from coconut”. ASL, SLES, and ALS can be hard to avoid. Try to find products that list these ingredients as far down the list as possible.
Parabens – these are used as a preservative in many cosmetics and skincare products. Look for methlyparaben, butlyparaben and propylparaben. Parabens such as these are widely used even though they are known to be toxic and cause many allergic reactions and skin rashes. Parabens have been banned in many countries in Europe. Look for paraben-free cosmetics.
Artificial Fragrances – Fragrance on a label can indicate the presence of up to four thousand separate ingredients, many toxic or carcinogenic. Artificial fragrances make products more appealing, but statistics show that most allergic reactions are caused by fragrances. Look for products that are fragrance free.
A note about hypoallergenic products
The cosmetics industry is the least regulated industry under the jurisdiction of the FDA. The FDA can make recommendations but it has very little power to enforce them. So it stands to reason that not all hypoallergenic products are alike. Because of a lack of regulations, many popular brands may contain toxic ingredients that can cause skin rashes, skin irritation or other health hazards. Check the labels carefully. Truly hypoallergenic products contain no irritating toxins and are free of plant allergens and botanicals.
When looking for quality cosmetics for sensitive skin, try products like bareMinerals™ which are truly free of toxins and irritants – in fact, they state that…
“It’s makeup so pure you can sleep in it.”