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Wondering How To Best Tackle Your Sensitive Skin Issues? We Got An Expert To Give Us All The Details

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As far as sibling rivalries go, my sister and I were right up there with The Boleyn sisters. We fought over literally everything when young, which gladly, transformed into a friendship as teenagers. We had to find a truce since it was on the two of us to cover for each other in front of our parents. Which was a bit tricky when the person you are knitting lies for, comes home with flushed cheeks because she’s been drinking with her buddies, instead of solving differentials in class. This brings us to the one qualm that my sister had with me was the rock-solid normal skin that did not give me any troubles…and her pale and sensitive skin which created too many of them!

Sensitive skin is caused by nerve endings in the top layer of skin because of irritation. This occurs when the skin’s natural barrier function is weakened and has broken down due to a trigger. Some of the common causes of this are sun exposure, hormonal changes, dehydration, harsh weather, frequent changes in temperature, and air pollution to name a few.  Women with sensitive skin tend to be very cautious about their beauty habits and we wanted to know just how much it can affect one’s day to day life.

Looking for answers, we got inputs from Dr. Geetanjali Shetty, Consultant Dermatologist, and Cosmetologist on behalf of Cetaphil for further insight into this. Here’s what she had to say about sensitive skin, what causes it and how to deal with it.

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How To Identify Sensitive Skin?

The most important step in caring for your skin comes in understanding your specific skin type and how it adapts to certain circumstances or seasonality. You can visit a dermatologist to identify your skin type or do that yourself with a simple skin test – with a clean facial tissue, wipe your face in the morning when you have just woken up and check the results below to know what skin type you have. There are mainly 5 types of skin – normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive. 

  • If you have normal skin, the tissue will show no traces of oil making your skin feel very vibrant, elastic and supple. You are blessed since it is the least problematic of all skin types. 
  • Oily skin will have spots of oil on the face, especially around your cheeks, nose and forehead which causes a lot of problems like open pores, greasiness, breakouts, etc.
  • Dry skinned ladies will have the tissue clean but your facial skin will feel dry and tight. This type of skin is very prone to premature ageing, wrinkles, and fine pores. 
  • Combination skin is the most common skin type. The tissue will have traces of oil coming from your nose and forehead, but the areas that touched your cheeks will be clean. This skin type requires different types of care with respect to different facial areas. 

The tissue test may not work for the sensitive skin type as it is extremely tender and becomes inflamed and irritated easily. It also gets reddish and has scaly areas, and is prone to breaking into spots. If you notice any of these signs, chances are you have sensitive skin that needs extra care. 

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What Makes Sensitive Skin Prone To Reactions?

Sensitive skin is extremely tender to products it is more prone to rashes and bumps and can aggravate due to dry patches as well. Having a spicy meal or drinking alcohol can trigger these reactions hence this type needs excessive hydration during the winters. Apart from this, ingredients like fragrances, colours, retinol, menthol, occlusive emollients and preservatives are known to cause allergic reactions.  

People normally opt for branded products, ignoring the ingredients in the product. On the other hand, it’s always said that exfoliating is the best way to get deep into your skin but most people exfoliate far too often which then results in reactions. A few more common mistakes include wearing makeup 24/7, using very hot water while cleansing the skin and overdoing skin masks. A rule of thumb should be to not do “too much” to your sensitive skin in order to avoid reactions. 

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Sensitive Skin Mistakes

With an impaired skin barrier and a tendency for redness and rashes, it’s no wonder that sensitive types find the heat of the summer months problematic. As such, ignoring your skin’s needs can be a big mistake on your part. Wearing sunscreen, covering up with clothing and seeking shade will help protect you from the sun and keep sensitivity at bay.

Another aspect of sensitive skin is scrubbing. While exfoliation/scrubbing for all skin types should be a part of the skincare routine, every skin type needs to be exfoliated in a specific manner. Likewise, for sensitive skin, there are products compatible with acne-prone and other sensitive skin types. The key is to not overdo it. It is advisable to opt for a mild exfoliator like Cetaphil Daily Exfoliating Cleanser. It is distinctive as it exfoliates gently resulting healthy and glowing skin while improving the overall skin texture. 

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It’s All About The Ingredients

Women with sensitive skin need to watch out for products and ingredients that prompt skin irritation and allergies. They need to follow the basic C-T-M (cleansing, toning and moisturising) formula as a daily ritual. If you have sensitive skin, look out for products that include aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, and marshmallow extract. Women with sensitive skin can rely on face cleansers, body moisturisers, scrubs/exfoliators, makeup removers and sunscreen for sensitive skin. Just read the labels, guys!

A commonly purported myth about sensitive skin is to stick to ‘hypoallergenic’ products. But products labeled hypoallergenic are not necessarily safer for sensitive skin. It also depends from product to product. It is advisable to consult a dermat before using/buying any particular product for sensitive skin. 

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Diet And DNA

At the end of the day, it is how we treat our bodies and minds that decide what our skin will look like. A healthy and rich diet is a key to keep the skin nourished and hydrated to provide all the vitamins and minerals it needs to perform a healthy function. Research suggests that antioxidant-rich foods have a protective effect on the skin. Food nutrients containing asparagus, red onions, tomatoes, and broccoli should be included in every meal. 

You cannot blame fully place the blame on your genes for your skin either. Skin can change as we grow older since everyone leads a different lifestyle and follows a different routine altogether. However, in some cases, a number of skin diseases are inherited or believed to run in families. They include eczema, acne, psoriasis and rosacea. So pay attention and keep an eye out for something you mom or dad may have had.

What are some of the other skin issues you would like to know about? Let us know!

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