Sensitive skin is used as an umbrella term for a multitude of skin states or reactions caused by environmental, mechanical or chemical applications. For some sensitivity may only occur after the topical use of specific ingredients, causing inflamed itchy skin. For others, abrasive clothing or the environment can leave you with itchiness, rashes, soreness, or pink/red patches.
When nerve endings in the epidermis are stimulated, they react. Nerve endings in sensitive skin can either be more prone to irritation or be due to a broken down skin barrier function. Your skin can be more sensitive at different times, for example, after a period of stress or sun exposure. Sensitivities in your skin are influenced by many things. Commonly, causes of sensitive skin can include:
- Sun exposure
• Exposure to air pollution
• Frequent changes in temperature
• Cold, harsh weather
• Hard water (water with higher mineral content)
• Very hot water
• Lack of sleep
• Hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle or pregnancy
• Stress and late nights
• Chlorine in swimming pools
• Dry skin
Sensitive skin should not be confused with allergic reactions. General sensitivity may be chronic and cause considerable irritation but allergic reactions are much more severe. Allergic reactions are acute and extreme symptoms will appear quickly, potentially causing headaches, nausea/vomiting and swallowing issues. Parabens and fragrance are the key additions to some cosmetics that may cause this.
Maintaining a healthy ‘acid mantle’ or layer of sebum of the epidermis is a key to the integrity of its natural barrier function. Treat sensitive skin gently and ensure moisturiser is applied morning and night. Additional application may be beneficial throughout the day; Moroccan Natural’s Rose Geranium serum is perfect for calming and nourishing delicate skin of the face and their Organic Argan Body Oil is perfect for all other areas.
Dita Von Teese manages to care for her sensitive skin with impressive results. Her radiant complexion is well documented
Food additives and sugar can trigger skin sensitivity. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and flax seeds can help to maintain the skins sebaceous barrier, preventing heightened irritation of the skin. Anti-oxidants come in the form of Vitamins A, C & E, selenium and other minerals in food. Such micronutrients can protect skin cells and heal tissue damage. A balanced diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, no added salt or sugar with 3 portions of oily fish per week, is a great way to optimise skin health and reduce sensitivity.
- Avoid too much mechanical exfoliation and keep cleansing rituals gentle by using Moroccan Natural’s Kashbou Washcloth. Cleanser should be chemical free and rosewater is an ideal toner. Dependent on your natural oil production, apply moisturisers twice per day and more if necessary. Masks should be nourishing and soothing with no known irritants in the ingredient listing.