Written by Tenley Haraldson. Medically reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson MD, FAAD.
Whether you suffer from eczema, contact dermatitis, or ultra-sensitive skin, skin sensitivities can be both physically and emotionally challenging.
From the foods we eat to the skin products we use, nearly everything we come into contact with can affect sensitive skin. We’ve come up with 12 easy, natural ways to be proactive and take care of your skin – before problems strike.
The Most Common Dry Skin Conditions
Some eczema and sensitive skin cases are uncontrollable and caused by genetics or skin barrier defects. Others are more situational and can be triggered by a person’s surrounding environment or their lifestyle.
The most common form of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Affecting about 35 million Americans, eczema symptoms often include patches of incessantly dry, itchy skin that are sometimes accompanied by blisters and inflamed rashes.
Dr. Jackson MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist says, “Eczema often runs in families and can significantly impact people’s lives. It can cause embarrassment, frustration, and it can even interfere with jobs or household chores (not to mention the time and expense that can go into treatment).”
Allergic Contact Dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by contact with an allergen and commonly causes red, itchy rashes, blisters, bumps, or hives. While the general population is able to use most topical products without issue, for allergy-prone individuals, exposure can trigger an activation of the immune system, leading to a rash, crusting pustules, and/or swelling.
Over 60% of Americans have sensitive skin, which may include uncomfortable sensations – such as stinging or burning – with or without visible changes to the skin. Sensitive skin is often associated with underlying conditions such as rosacea or acne, but it can also occur in individuals without any underlying skin disease. Symptoms may vary, but these are most commonly linked to modern-day triggers ranging from cosmetics to environmental conditions.
12 Ways to Prevent Skin Flare-ups
If you’re experiencing an adverse skin reaction, apply ice or cold compresses to affected areas. This will help freeze itching in its tracks. A colloidal oatmeal bath is known to help soothe different skin ailments – and it’s also extremely easy to make yourself.
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If you suffer from any number of skin conditions, there are a variety of steps you can take to prevent flare-ups from happening in the first place.
1. Determine Your Triggers
If you notice that reactions to specific products, try isolating potential culprits. Allergies and sensitivities can develop suddenly, so you might find yourself allergic to something that has never bothered your skin before.
Common triggers can include:
- harsh solvents and detergents
- synthetic perfumes & fragrances
- plant extracts
- food sensitivities (e.g. nuts, dairy, soy)
Pro tip: Ask your dermatologist about patch testing, a fairly accurate method for determining contact allergens.
2. Consider Medical Testing
In rare cases, chronically itchy skin is a symptom of greater problems like iron deficiency, thyroid issues, and certain diseases. If the scratching is persistent and lasts longer than 6 weeks, seek medical attention.
3. Drink Enough Water
Water is a vital player in blood circulation, digestion, nutrient absorption, and toxin elimination. Dehydration can heighten sensitive skin issues, cause your skin to lose elasticity, and speed up the aging process.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
According to the Mayo Clinic, we should be consuming more than the “8 glasses per day” we’ve been told about:
- Men: 15.5 cups (3.7 liters)
- Women: 11.5 cups (2.7 liters)
And if you live in a hot climate or exercise/sweat regularly, you’ll need to drink more than that!
4. Keep Yourself from Scratching
Keeping your fingernails and toenails short can limit potential damage done by itching. If you’re dealing with an eczema flare-up, try keeping your hands busy with activities like filling out an adult coloring book or squeezing a stress ball. Wearing gloves and socks at night can also keep you from scratching these areas when you’re asleep.
5. Wear Natural Fabrics
Your wardrobe can have a serious impact on skin health. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool (except pure cashmere) and synthetic materials like nylon, rayon, and polyester. Opt for looser cuts in pure cotton, silk, and fine-grade linens. Though these higher-quality fabrics may be an investment up front, they're often a good choice for individuals with sensitive skin.
6. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances
Synthetic fragrances are often chemical blends simply listed as "fragrance” that aren’t regulated by the FDA. Oftentimes, it’s impossible to know precisely what sort of ingredients are used in these types of products.
The best body wash for eczema is pH-balanced, delicately scented with organic essential oils, loaded with super-hydrating ingredients, and formulated for extra-sensitive skin.
7. Turn on a Humidifier
Eczema is often worse when the humidity drops (especially in the colder winter months). And though there is no definitive scientific link, many people report relief associated with using a humidifier. That said, benefits should be weighed against the disadvantages, including cost, portability, and the potential increase in levels of dust mites.
8. Fight Stress
Stress is a common instigator for skin conditions. If your skin flares up during stressful periods, it’s good to be proactive with healthy outlets like regular exercise, yoga, meditation, and counseling.
9. Limit Your Skin Care Products
Reducing the number of skin care products you use may help those with sensitive skin. Keep your washing and moisturizing routine as simple as possible and make sure that your products only include gentle, natural ingredients.
10. Choose Natural Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin
Most laundry detergents contain artificial fragrances, harsh surfactants, and dyes. That’s why it’s important to find one that’s hard-working enough to lift stains but gentle enough not to cause irritation.
Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent consistently lands on “best of” lists – and for good reason: Our plant-based enzyme formula works hard to lift stains without sacrificing your comfort.
11. You Are What You Eat
Certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to skin disease, so it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet that contains all of your macro and micronutrient requirements.
Recently, there’s been a scientific focus on the relationship between skin diseases like psoriasis and the standard Western diet. Food in the US tends to be more calorically-dense, nutrient-poor, and often consists of highly-processed foods which contain preservatives and chemical contaminants from fertilizers.
Though no single diet or food choice can be touted as a “cure” for all skin diseases, it’s thought that a well-balanced diet of fresh, non-processed foods helps to support healthy skin function.
12. Develop a Healthier Shower Routine
A healthy shower routine includes lukewarm instead of hot water. While washing, use gentle, sulfate-free cleansers and hair products. After stepping out of the shower, pat (don't rub) your skin dry, then lock in moisture by applying a generous layer of Puracy Organic Lotion.
Also Consider Getting a Shower Filter
Treat Your Skin with Puracy Products
Whether you’re using our Natural Laundry Detergent or Natural Body Wash for eczema prone skin, we look forward to keeping you and your family safe and healthy – all without harsh chemicals and irritants.