Do you suffer from sensitive skin? Skin that’s prone to irritation, redness, blotchiness, outbreaks, itchy patches, etc etc? Well you’re certainly not alone! Sensitive skin is a common problem that can be caused by a great number of things, some of which are in your control and some of which are out of it, but most people struggle through uncomfortable skin without fully understanding what’s causing it or what some natural solutions are. Since we specially formulate a number of products here in our lab just for sensitive skin, and are constantly seeking to stay on top of the latest science of skin issues and try to leave irritating ingredients out of our products, I thought I’d take some time to discuss this common affliction with some potential causes and solutions!
Getting to the root of your sensitive skin issue will likely take some effort – one must take a close look at their daily eating habits, the water they drink, their physical environment, emotional stresses, skincare and household products, makeup – all of it! It can be helpful to keep a daily journal recording your sensitive skin outbreaks. Write down what exactly happened: redness, peeling, tingling, itching, acne, burning sensation? and also something it could be tied to: a new food, not enough sleep, stressful day at work, new type of makeup, new type of laundry detergent, swimming in chlorinated water, too much sun exposure, drinking to0 much soda?
6 common causes of sensitive skin:
1) Unfiltered drinking & showering water. Tap water contains chlorine (and a number of other chemicals). Therefore when we drink it and shower with it, our skin is absorbing tons of the stuff, and some people’s bodies don’t agree with it. Putting a filter on your kitchen sink and shower head has been known to make a big difference in keeping sensitive skin outbreaks at bay.
2) Slow elimination. Yes, this means constipation! When your digestion system runs a little slowly, or is hindered by dehydration or too much fiber, toxins that are on their way out of your body are slowly leached back into your bloodstream. One of the main ways our body tries to rid itself of toxins is by sending it up through the skin, in the form of outbreaks. If you’re feeling like your digestive system has been out of whack lately, try drinking lots more liquids – juices and smoothies – to get yourself back on track, or try an all-out cleanse! Your skin is one of the primary places you’ll see results from a cleanse – brighter, clearer, healthier.
3) Allergies. Sometimes sensitive skin is just a result of common allergies, whether it’s to food items, mold, grass, or chemical ingredients in makeups, perfumes or skincare. If you’ve never been tested for allergies but suffer from sensitive skin, getting tested is worth a try!
4) Poor digestion. This is sort of related to #2: if your body isn’t properly digesting the food you eat, not only are you not getting the most nutrients out of the food but the undigested food causes all sorts of irritation in your system – bloating, tummy aches, and often irritation in the skin.
5) Genetic Factors. Unfortunately, this is one that you can’t do anything about. Do people in your family suffer from sensitive skin, even a few generations back? If so, try to find out what they did to alleviate their skin issues – maybe it will work for you too!
6) “Fragrance”. Ah, that mysterious blanket word. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, fragrance is one of the leading causes of allergic reactions due to its generally toxic blend of chemicals that are known to be harmful to our brains and bodies. “Fragrance” is in everything, so see how many places you are exposed to it! Laundry detergent, air fresheners, cleaning products, makeup, lotion, shampoo, lip balms, and, of course, perfume.
And now for 6 possible solutions!
1) Avoiding things with “fragrance” is a great start, but products also contain a whole host of untested synthetic chemicals that our bodies are not designed to be able to properly process or handle. Avoid chemicals in general – it may be the fragrance in your body lotion that is giving you that rash, but it may also be the chemical preservatives used in it. No way to know except to cut chemicals out of your daily routine and see if that helps.
2) Avoid sugar and alcohol! Both of these things attack the immune system which is never a good idea for anyone, but especially those with sensitive skin.
3) Get more Omega-3s and fatty acids in your diet! Found in abundance in salmon, flax seeds, nuts and fish oils. Take supplements if you don’t like these foods, both are known to promote healthy, even skin.
4) Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate. It’s a detergent and surfactant found in most personal care products that make them foam, like soap, and is known to be irritating to sensitive skin and especially to hypersensitive skin. Unfortunately it seems to be everywhere, so take special care to avoid products with SLS on the labels!
5) Eat more fresh fruits and veggies – the enzymes they contain are essential for reducing inflammation in the body, both internally and externally on the skin. A great way to get lots of these enzymes daily is to make juices or smoothies.
6) Avoid over-doing it with your daily cleansing routine, especially if you are using exfoliants every day. Often when people’s skin breaks out they attack it immediately with vigorous cleansing, rubbing and scrubbing, which often exacerbates the problem by further irritating the skin and spreading the irritation around. Be gentle, don’t over-clean, and let your skin heal at its own speed!
Do you have any sensitive skin solutions to share, or other possible causes I overlooked? We’d love to hear – share below!
Author: Tata Harper Team
The team at Tata Harper Skincare is passionate about promoting a modern, health-conscious natural beauty lifestyle that’s committed to safety, honesty and sustainability.