Written by Tenley Haraldson. Medically reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson MD, FAAD.
Skin sensitivities are a pain to deal with, both physically and emotionally. Whether you suffer from eczema to allergies to ultra-sensitive skin, it’s important to find relief via natural skin care remedies.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 ways to be proactive and take care of your skin – before problems strike.
What Are the Most Common Dry Skin Conditions?
The causes of eczema and sensitive skin vary. Some are uncontrollable (e.g. genetics, skin barrier defects) while others are more situational, such as an individual's surrounding environment and their lifestyle.
The most extreme form of dry skin is atopic dermatitis. Affecting about 35 million Americans, characteristics of eczema include patches of incessantly dry, itchy skin that are sometimes accompanied by blisters and inflamed rashes. Often, the condition is commonly referred to as eczema, or inflammation of the skin.
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 across the skin. Sometimes blisters, bumps and hives may form. Topical allergens are typically harmless for most individuals, but for allergy-prone individuals, exposure can trigger an activation of the immune system, leading to a rash, crusting pustules, and/or swelling.
Sensitive SkinOver 60% of Americans report sensitive skin, which may include uncomfortable sensations, such as stinging or burning, with or without visible changes to the skin (like redness). Sensitive skin can be associated with underlying conditions such as rosacea or acne, but can also occur in individuals without any underlying skin disease. The symptoms vary, but it's a common phenomenon, potentially due in part to modern-day triggers ranging from cosmetics to a variety of environmental conditions.
12 Ways to Prevent and Treat Skin Flare-ups
If you suffer from any number of skin conditions, there are a variety of steps you can take to mitigate flare-ups.
1. Determine Your Triggers
If your skin seems to react to something specific, try isolating potential culprits. Common triggers include harsh solvents and detergents, types of pollen (skin irritation is often a lesser-known symptom of hay fever), and even plant extracts. Remember: Allergies and sensitivities can develop over time, so you might find yourself allergic to a substance that has, up until recently, never bothered your skin before.
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Consider visiting a dermatologist for patch testing, which is a fairly accurate method for determining contact allergens.
2. Consider Medical Testing
In rare cases, chronic, itchy skin is a symptom of greater problems like iron deficiency, thyroid autoimmunity, and certain diseases. Seek medical attention if the scratching is so persistent that it lasts longer than 6 weeks.
3. Drink Enough Water
Water is a vital player in blood circulation, digestion, nutrient absorption, and toxin elimination. Lack of hydration can heighten sensitive skin issues, cause your skin to lose elasticity, and speed up the aging process. Be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water a day. If you live in a hot climate or exercise/sweat regularly, you’ll want to increase that amount.
4. Avoid Synthetic Fragrances
Avoid cosmetics containing synthetic fragrances, which are often chemical blends listed in labels as "fragrance" or "flavor." Since the FDA doesn’t regulate these chemicals, it advises individuals with skin sensitivities to opt for fragrance-free products.
Stick to natural skincare products like our plant-based, fragrance-free lotion. It’s loaded with super-hydrating ingredients, clinical-grade vitamins, and formulated for extra-sensitive skin.
5. 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 your products only include gentle, natural ingredients (read: no artificial chemicals, dyes, or fragrances).
6. Choose Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin
Most laundry detergents contain artificial fragrances, harsh surfactants, and dyes. That’s why it’s important to find the one that’s hard-working enough to lift stains without causing irritation.
Puracy consistently lands on best laundry detergent for sensitive skin lists, and we’re proud that our plant-based enzyme formula works hard to lift stains without sacrificing your comfort.
7. Select Natural Fabrics
Even your wardrobe is a factor. Avoid scratchy fabrics like wool (except pure cashmere) and synthetic materials like nylon and polyester. Opt for looser cuts in pure cotton, silk, and fine-grade linens. These high-quality fabrics may be an investment up front, but they’re often worth it for individuals with sensitive skin.
8. Keep Yourself from Scratching
Even something as simple as cutting fingernails short can limit the 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.
9. Turn on a Humidifier
Using a humidifier supports more balanced, healthy skin by increasing moisture in the air. Eczema is often worse when the humidity drops, especially in the colder winter months. Though there is no definite scientific evidence that use of a humidifier helps eczema, many people do report some relief with use. Any benefit should be weighed against the disadvantages, including cost, portability, and the potential increase in levels of dust mites.
10. You Are What You Eat
It has long been known that certain nutritional deficiencies can lead to skin disease, so it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet containing all macro and micronutrient requirements.
More recently, there has been a focus on the negative health impact of the “standard American diet” (also known as the Western pattern diet) in relation to skin diseases like psoriasis. The standard American diet is calorie-dense and nutrient-poor, often consisting of highly-processed foods containing preservatives, as well as chemical contaminants from fertilizers.
Though no single diet or food choice can be touted as the cure for all skin diseases, a well-balanced diet of fresh, non-processed foods is likely to support healthy skin function.
11. Fight Stress
Stress is a common instigator for skin conditions. If your skin flares up during stressful periods, activities like yoga and counseling are known to be incredibly healthy outlets.
12. Develop a Healthier Shower Routine
To start your healthy shower routine, choose lukewarm over hot water. While washing, use a gentle cleanser that doesn't contain sulfates or other irritating ingredients. We’ve developed the best body wash for eczema, a pH-balanced blend of exfoliating sea salt, coconut-based cleansers, and plant-based essential oils.
When you step out of the shower, pat (don't rub) your skin dry. Next, lock in moisture by applying a generous layer of Puracy Organic Lotion to your skin within 2-3 minutes to prevent transepidermal water loss.
Consider Getting a Shower Filter
How to Find Immediate Relief for Skin Flare-Ups
If you or your loved ones are 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 is also extremely easy to make yourself.
Treat Your Skin with Puracy Products
Whether you’re using our natural laundry detergent or reaching for the best body wash for sensitive skin, Puracy looks forward to keeping you and your family safe and healthy – all without harsh chemicals and irritants. From our family to yours: Thank you for choosing our natural skin care products!
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