Dealing with sensitive skin at any age

How do you know if you’ve got sensitive skin, and how should you deal with it if you do?

It’s not just little people whose skin needs TLC; you can suffer from sensitive skin at any age, and it’s just as likely to affect men as women (who knew your other half was sensitive!).

The good news is that itching and irritation aren’t something you have to put up with.

What is sensitive skin?

Most people would say they have sensitive skin if they frequently experience stinging, redness, burning or tightness. Dermatologists diagnose sensitive skin in people who have:

  • Skin disorders or skin reactions such as eczema, rosacea or allergic contact dermatitis
  • Very dry skin which doesn’t properly protect the nerve endings in the skin.
  • A tendency towards blushing and flushing.

How to deal with sensitive skin

Whether a dermatologist has diagnosed you with sensitive skin or you just frequently find yourself reaching for the calamine, here’s out ten-point guide to easing your symptoms:

  1. Keep it simple: Avoid overcomplicated skincare routines, instead paring back to basics and using a minimum of products.
  2. No scrubs: Physical exfoliation, whether it’s with a gritty scrub or a cleansing brush can be just too much for sensitive souls.
  3. Check the ingredients: Always read the labels. Different products will affect different people, but as a general rule it’s best to choose ones with only a few ingredients that have little or no fragrance.

    It’s also worth bearing in mind that there’s no set standard for hypoallergenic, so this can mean pretty much whatever a manufacturer wants it to.

  4. Mind your PH: Products that have an alkalising effect on your skin can throw off its PH balance and strip it of its natural oils, leaving it susceptible to irritation.
  5. Think washing: It’s important to choose your washing powder carefully. Fairy Non-Bio is dermatologically tested, and has been awarded the British Allergy Foundation Seal of Approval by Allergy UK. In fact, independent tests have shown that clothes washed in Fairy are as kind next to skin as clothes washed in water alone.
  6. Be summer savvy: Everyone should be sensible about the sun, but it’s particularly important if you’ve got sensitive skin. Try  not to get overheated and use sun protection products that suit your skin (ones formulated for kids are often good).
  7. Be winter savvy: The combination of plummeting temperatures outdoors plus central heating indoors can wreak havoc with your skin. The key is to avoid the extremes, wrapping up warm when you’re outside and not turning your thermostat up too high when you’re at home. Don’t have your showers or baths too hot either as this will really dry out your skin.
  8. Don’t stress: Our skin is our body’s biggest organ, so it makes sense that it suffers when we get frazzled. Yet another reason to make time for that yoga class!

What are your sensitive skin tips?

Do you or someone else in your family suffer from sensitive skin? What do you do to look after it?