Sensitive skin is far from a rare condition that only affects a few unlucky individuals. Instead, most of us experience skin sensitivity at least once in a while – many also deal with skin sensitivity on a recurring basis. Because of this, understanding how to get rid of sensitive skin is an important part of many folks' skincare journeys.
However, getting rid of sensitive skin isn't as simple as slapping lotion on your face and calling it a day. There are plenty of reasons why you might experience sensitive skin today and over the long-term. Let's explore exactly why sensitive skin hounds us and what we can do about it.
What Causes Sensitive Skin in the First Place?
To understand how you can get rid of sensitive skin, you first need to know what causes the condition in the first place. There are four main types of sensitive skin:
- Reactive sensitive skin is sensitive as a reaction to something rubbed onto its surface, usually any irritant
- Environmentally sensitive skin is, naturally sensitive because of something in the environment
- Naturally sensitive skin is delicate because of some genetic or unavoidable factor
- Thin skin can sometimes be sensitive since it’s vulnerable to physical damage or rawness, particularly as a result of some skincare products or routines
These different types can call for certain treatments or skincare routines, while calling for you to avoid others. Let’s break down the reasons you might have sensitive skin, one by one.
Some people are unlucky and just have naturally thin skin or a skin condition that makes them predisposed to skin sensitivity. A good example would be eczema or contact dermatitis.
In these cases, your skin becomes sensitive because it can’t protect itself well enough from certain normal habits or activities, or because inflammation and breakouts occur frequently enough that your skin is constantly in a raw, irritated state.
Your Skincare Routine is Too Harsh
Other times, your skincare routine might be a little too harsh for comfort. This disproportionately affects those with naturally thin skin, but it can be a cause of skin sensitivity for everyone.
In most cases, people go overboard with exfoliation, performing this activity too many times over the course of a week and stripping away some layers of healthy skin cells. This makes your skin artificially thin or vulnerable and can lead to inflammation.
In other cases, using skincare products with harsh chemicals or artificial ingredients can lead to skin sensitivity due to incompatibility with your skin’s natural chemistry.
Dry Skin/Cold Weather
These two causes are put together since they often go hand-in-hand. Dry skin doesn’t have enough moisture to protect its cells and allow for proper absorption of some skincare products. Furthermore, dry skin is more vulnerable to breakage or wrinkles, both of which can cause itchiness or irritation.
In many cases, people may obtain dry skin during the cold, winter months of the year when the ambient humidity is normally at its lowest point. Cold weather alone can cause dry skin temporarily, or you may be genetically unlucky and just have dry skin in general.
Furthermore, you may gradually obtain dry skin where you didn’t have it before as you get older and your skin loses the ability to maintain adequate moisture.
Acne can also lead to sensitive skin. As acne pimples and cysts form, they irritate and inflame surrounding tissue. Furthermore, popping or breaking the pimples leads to physical wounds on your skin, which obviously leads to even more skin sensitivity.
Sometimes, acne can also lead to ingrown hairs – painful occurrences that are hard to get rid of without a needle and some tweezers.
Eczema is an example of a genetic skin condition that is unavoidable for those that have it. Eczema is characterized by rashes and redness that can flare up as part of a breakout, leading to skin rawness and irritation.
If you spend too much time in the sun without proper protection, you might burn your skin, leading to redness and peeling.
Chlorine in Swimming Pools
Sometimes, your skin can have an adverse allergic reaction to the chlorine in swimming pools. Your skin may also become dry as a result of repeated exposure, leading to even more skin sensitivity.
Any other environmental pollutants, from oil to charcoal to industrial chemicals, can settle on your skin and cause irritation or sensitivity depending on the pollutants in question and your skin’s natural allergic reactions.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons you might feel like your skin is sensitive. But there are just as many solutions!
Solutions for Sensitive Skin
Depending on what exactly is the issue, you might need one or more of the following solutions to get rid of your sensitive skin.
Use Skincare Products Made with Natural Ingredients
The first thing we’d recommend trying is using skincare products only made with natural ingredients.
The fact is that many harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients used by skincare products today can cause irritation or sensitivity for your skin: the exact opposite of what they are designed to achieve. Many of these are parabens, which are harsh chemical preservatives that are bad for both you and the environment.
In contrast, skincare products made with natural ingredients usually don’t have the same kinds of harsh side effects, or many negative effects at all. Suki Skincare only uses natural ingredients for potency and for gentleness. Examples include hyaluronic acid for moisturizers and serums, or sugar and salt for exfoliators or cleansing agents.
Plus, natural ingredients are usually more easily absorbed by the skin, so you get the benefits from whatever product you use that much more quickly.
Consider replacing any soaps or other products that you rub onto or into your skin with natural-ingredient-based alternatives.
Even bar soap can be replaced – look at Suki Skincare’s Sensitive Cleansing Bar as your ideal example! It’s designed specifically for use by people with sensitive skin since it can calm redness and irritation and can help to hydrate skin that tends to be dry more often than not. This bar is much more effective for and gentler on your skin compared to the harsh, ultra-alkaline stuff they sell at grocery stores.
Use a Toner and Moisturizer to Help with Acne
If your skin sensitivity is mostly driven by acne outbreaks, consider doubling down on your pore-cleansing efforts by using a toner and moisturizer in conjunction.
Toners can deep cleanse your pores and remove dirt, debris, and excessive facial oil: these three elements are usually what clogged pores and cause acne outbreaks in the first place. Using a moisturizer after the toner ensures that you don’t dry out your skin too much and start an acne cycle all over again.
Cut Down on Exfoliation
Alternatively, maybe you need to moderate your skincare routine to avoid overly irritating your skin. As mentioned, the most common skin sensitivity mistake beginners make is exfoliating too frequently. Although exfoliation can provide your skin with a number of benefits, exfoliating too often can accidentally strip away a layer of healthy skin cells and leave your remaining skin raw and irritated.
Make sure that you only exfoliate once or twice per week at maximum, and consider doing this even less frequently if you have naturally sensitive skin.
Don’t Shower with Too-Hot Water
Your skin can easily scald if you take a shower with water that’s too hot. Try to moderate your shower temperature and keep things lukewarm for a while. This temperature is still good enough to help your soap and cleansing products spread around and massage your muscles without irritating your skin.
If you spent a lot of time in the sunshine, it’s imperative that you use plenty of sunscreen. Not only is this important for ensuring that you don’t suffer from sensitive skin as a result of a sunburn, but it’s also crucial for preventing skin cancer.
Even periods of 10 or 15 minutes without adequate sunscreen protection can lead to sunburn and future skin issues down the road. This is doubly true if you have pale skin and live in an area with lots of sunshine. Use sunscreen liberally, and preferably a sunscreen made with natural ingredients, and you should avoid these problems.
See a Dermatologist
If your skin sensitivity is caused by a condition like eczema or some kind of dermatitis, you should speak to a dermatologist. They can recommend over-the-counter medications or prescription creams that can help relieve skin sensitivity and help fight the main issues causing the sensitivity in the first place.
Getting rid of sensitive skin is often a long-term effort – many skin sensitivity issues don’t go away overnight. But virtually all sensitive skin can be helped with the right natural ingredients and skincare routines. All it requires is a bit of education and some practice.
Let us know if you have other questions or issues. We’re here to help you with all of your skincare needs!