These simple tips will helping dry sensitive skin to heal quickly, and to retain moisture without creating itchy sensitive skin or rashes.
Have you noticed that your sensitive skin seems to get worse as you get older? Some dermatologists say our skin becomes 10% drier each decade after age 20.
When your skin gets drier, using sensitive skin moisturizers is only one of many ways that you can hydrate your skin. In fact, you will get MUCH better results if you can find multiple ways to bring moisture to your skin, safely and naturally.
Dry skin and sensitive skin tend to go together, because as your skin gets drier and retains less moisture, the cellular barrier on the surface of your skin becomes more porous. More environmental irritants and pollutants can enter your skin.
The other paradox is that as we get older, we tend to use more skin care products, and we also tend to use more of the "industrial strength" kind of creams and lotions that are more potent, and that also have more irritating ingredients.
How can we help dry sensitive skin to heal, without further irritating the problem?
Here are some simple tips that are free or very affordable, that will make a measurable difference in your skin!
Limit your bath or showers to 5 or 10 minutes. Excessive exposure to water tends to dry the skin.
Take a lukewarm bath or shower, not a hot one! The hot water is more drying for the skin.
Gently pat yourself dry, rather than rubbing vigorously with a towel. This will leave some of the moisture on your skin.
Apply a sensitive skin moisturizer to your face and body right after you shower. Wait a few minutes and then apply ANOTHER layer of moisturizer.
Use a humidifier which will not only help you sleep better at night, but will add moisture to your skin!
Try to get out of the habit of touching your face a lot. When you have dry sensitive skin, the protective barrier or your skin is weakened and germs can enter and cause irritation.
Some people have found that cleansing your skin with oil works better than even most hypoallergenic cleansers. Oil dissolves oil so this will work for even oily skin.
Although this sounds like a very unusual treatment, many people rave about how good it is for their sensitive skin!
Blend some extra virgin olive oil, or cold pressed grapeseed oil with castor oil. The castor oil cleanses and draws out impurities and the other oils provide moisture.
For dry sensitive skin, use 75% olive or grapeseed and 25% castor oil. If you have oily skin, use 25% olive or grapeseed and 75% castor oil.
Place some in your palm and massage into your face. Some people use this as a makeup remover as well.
Now place a clean washcloth in hot water and while it is still hot, place over your face to open your pores.
When the washcloth cools, wipe the oil off of your face. Rinse the cloth and then apply hot face cloth again. Do this as often as you need until your face is completely clean.
Splash face with cold water to close pores.
If there is any remaining oil residue on your face, rub it in to your skin with clean hands so you don't get skin eruptions.
Your skin will feel soft and radiant!
I know I've said it a thousand times :) but drinking plenty of water is absolutely essential when your skin is dry and flaky.
And.... lots of green leafy vegetables! These provide vitamins, minerals, and help for your body and your skin to detoxify.
The balance of healthy fats in your daily diet can have a huge effect on the moisture levels of your skin. I notice this myself, that certain foods and essential fatty acid supplements can make a noticeable difference in creating soft, moist and radiant skin.
Here are some of the food that contain healthy fats that can help moisturize your skin from the inside.
Each of us has unique dietary needs, depending on where we live, and our heredity and culture, and so you may need to experiment to find foods that work for your own dry sensitive skin.
Research suggests that some essential fatty acids are best absorbed through your food rather than supplements, (see the World's Healthiest Foods, however I've found that one supplement actually produces a very dramatic effect on my skin within one day.
This is not a vegetarian supplement, and one that I need to take for dental problems, but I've found it has quite a noticeable effect on my skin. Within a few hours my skin becomes softer and more radiant and supple. Many people say it helps clear up their skin rashes.
This supplement is expensive but for many people has a profound effect on their health. You can also save some money by using the less expensive gel form which will last longer, but is a bit less convenient to use.
Avoid propylene glycol and solvents which penetrate the skin.
Avoid antibacterial ingredients like triclosan which disrupt the natural friendly bacteria in your body, and which are irritating to the skin.
Avoid skin care products that contain chemical sunscreens which are very irritating to sensitive skin. Use hypoallergenic sunscreens that are zinc based or titanium based. These will sit on top of the skin to protect you from the sun, without being absorbed.
Avoid botanical ingredients which can cause allergies and contact dermatitis. Yes, even those nice natural products that we love so well like chamomile, arnica, sandalwood and rosemary can cause breakouts for sensitive skin!
Avoid ingredients that are known chemical irritants. This takes a little detective work because unfortunately most hypoallergenic skin care products contain irritating ingredients! See our Safe Cosmetics Guide for some of the main ingredients to avoid.
Moisturize your skin at night which is when we lose the most water from our skin. And if you put a humidifier in your bedroom you will be all set!
If you get a reaction to a skin care product, stop all products and let your skin heal. Then reintroduce one at a time, testing on the inside of your arm or behind your ear. When your skin reacts, eliminate that product.
I have definitely noticed that as I get older, my skin gets more sensitive. I've noticed a big difference even in the last year. My skin is having reactions to products that didn't used to bother me. I started having reactions even to some very nice natural products. When I looked on the label, I saw that they contained a long list of botanicals and essential oils which I was having an allergic reaction to.
I also noticed myself getting into the dry sensitive skin cycle ... my skin would get drier, then it would get more sensitive to anything I might put on it!
I wasn't impressed with the hypoallergenic skin care products I tried. Even the organic or natural skin care products caused problems for me, as they claimed to be the best skin care for sensitive skin, but they contained allergy producing ingredients!
As I did more research, I learned that sometimes just ONE ingredient in a skin care formulation can cause an allergic reaction.
Those products that have a long list of many different ingredients are much more likely to cause irritation and dryness.
My skin was getting so bad, I finally decided to stop everything I was using for a while. Then, when it had calmed down a little, I took a break from my favorite natural, organic skin care products.
These are a very safe, non-toxic and quite effective skin care line, BUT they do use a number of botanical ingredients, and their formulations have a long list of thirty or more separate ingredients.
All the more things for me to be allergic to!!
I decided to try out a new skin care line that just came out, made by the folks that make my favorite hypoallergenic shampoo.
They created a new line of skin care for sensitive skin that I have been very impressed with. They have managed to use few ingredients and still create very effective products.
What I like best is that every step of the skin care process provides moisturizing. The cleanser provides moisture, as well as cleansing. The spray on toner tightens the pores while moisturizing and reducing inflammation.
The day and night creams are able to provide quite a luxurious moisturizing WITHOUT clogging pores. A little goes a long way, and you don't need to use much. On top of it all, they are some of the most affordable of the salon quality hypoallergenic skin care products. These have made a WORLD of difference on my skin. My dry sensitive skin is finally starting to look almost normal again, thank goodness!!
You can read my skin care product review if you'd like more detailed information on my experience with using their products.