We’ve all heard the term ‘sensitive skin’, but how do you know if YOUR skin is sensitive? There are some factors that play a role like genetics, age, and gender, but broadly speaking, first, you need to understand the term before knowing how to treat it.
There’s no doubt about it; taking care of your body’s largest organ can sometimes be confusing. It covers your entire body, but sometimes your skin behaves very differently on different parts of the body. Each part of your body can have different skincare needs, and your skincare routine should reflect that. For example, the skin on your face, and the care thereof, is very different from the skin on your heels and how you treat that area. That’s also why you can have sensitive, or reactive skin, on one part of your body while other areas seem to be just fine handling run-of-the-mill skincare products.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN
We all have a protective fatty outer layer on our skin, often known as the lipid (fat) barrier. This barrier performs two key tasks — retaining water and moisture; and protecting our skin from potentially harmful things like UV rays, wind, heat, and harsh chemicals. If you have sensitive skin, then this barrier is typically thinner and weaker, which makes it easier for irritants to penetrate the skin, leading to inflammation.
But how do you know if you have sensitive skin? Here are 5 common signs that your skin might be sensitive and how to treat it:
Your skin is reactive
If your skin often reacts to soap, detergents, fragrances, perfumes, skincare products, and household products, then you may have sensitive skin. The reactions can vary from itchiness to dryness or reddening. Exposure to the elements — cold, sun, and wind can also trigger flare-ups.
Sensitive skin and dry skin go hand in hand, this can also lead to cracked skin and make you more prone to acne breakouts. The cold weather and wind also make it worse.
More susceptible to sunburn
Those with sensitive skin are often more susceptible to the harmful effects of the sun and its UV rays. If your skin is peeling or irritated, then you are at an even higher risk. It’s vital that you always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreens that contain titanium oxide and zinc oxide are often more agreeable to sensitive skin, so look for sunblock products that contain these ingredients.
Does your skin often feel itchy and tight? This is another factor of sensitive skin. Hot water can make it worse, so be sure to use lukewarm water instead. As itchy as your skin may be, don’t give in to the itch, scratching will only lead to more irritation.
Rashes and bumps
When your skin is exposed to triggers, it may react with redness, dry and flaky patches, or a bumpy rash. This can be uncomfortable and unsightly and make you feel self-conscious. To avoid this, always test new products on a small area and wait a day to see if your skin reacts before applying it to your face and or body.
HOW TO TREAT SENSITIVE SKIN
Taking care of sensitive skin requires a little more thought and planning, but it is so worth it. Those with sensitive skin should seek out products that won’t exacerbate the situation, as well as products that can help treat flare-ups.
We all know the impact that the winter months can have on our skin, especially if you struggle with sensitive skin. A lack of moisture causes that ‘prickly’ feeling of dryness or even an ashy, lackluster appearance. During the winter months, don’t make your sensitive skin beg for a lashing of rich moisturiser. Take the time to prepare yourself for months of indulgent skincare, to care for your sensitive skin, and keep your biggest organ looking healthy, smooth, and moisturised.
There are many products that can help, but keep in mind that you need to treat sensitive skin with care. Choose a sensitive range of products that are formulated to be gentle on the skin. Check out the following tips to keep your sensitive skin in great condition this winter:
1. Avoid making your bath or shower too hot: If your bath or shower is too hot, it can further draw moisture from your skin.
2. Restore the hydration in your bedroom with a humidifier: A humidifier adds moisture to the air to prevent dryness. This can also ease other winter ailments like the common cold.
3. Look after your lips, hands, and feet: Your lips may have the thinnest skin and your hands and feet the thickest — but they are subjected the most to the harsh elements. Keep your lip balm and moisturising lotion close to prevent these areas from becoming dry, itchy, and cracked.
4. Sunscreen is important, even in winter! Avoid damage to the skin on your face and body by applying an SPF daily, even in the winter months.
5. Moisturise from the inside out: You may remember to hydrate your skin, but don’t forget to hydrate from the inside out too — be sure to keep your water intake up.
6. Limit certain foods: Diet can also contribute to dry skin. Try limiting the intake of foods that have a high salt content, too much sugar, or high levels of caffeine to give your skin a fighting chance against common skin irritants.
Choose products designed for sensitive skin
Of course, the biggest tip for caring for sensitive skin is to choose products designed for sensitive skin: Not all products are equal when it comes to caring for dry or sensitive skin. Shower to Shower recently launched a range of sensitive products suited for skin that might be prone to one or more of the conditions and signs of sensitive skin mentioned above.
The Shower to Shower Sensitive Skin range is kind to sensitive skin and includes an antiperspirant roll-on, deodorant spray as well as a tissue oil-enriched Body Wash, all of which are infused with soothing camomile. Camomile extract is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it a great addition to a range for sensitive skin. The Sensitive range also boasts dermatologist endorsement for additional peace of mind.
The pH-balanced Shower to Shower Sensitive Body Wash (500ml, R43.99) contains tissue oil and camomile to moisturise and nourish dry and sensitive skin as you wash. Shower To Shower Ladies Roll-On Sensitive anti-perspirant (50ml) is alcohol-free, has a mild fragrance, and contains soothing chamomile, to help calm sensitive skin. For those looking for an even gentler approach, Shower to Shower Sensitive Deodorant (150ml, R31.99) is kind to sensitive skin, with soothing camomile and a mild fragrance, while still offering 48-hour protection. Shower to Shower Sensitive Roll-On and Deodorant are both as effective as the rest of the Shower to Shower range, with the added benefit of an innovative formulation to suit delicate underarm skin.
The great thing about the roll-on and spray deodorant is that both offer consumers that experience mild skin sensitivity highly effective and caring 48-hour protection, so there’s no compromise. The new products are also all lightly fragranced, giving consumers more choice compared with the current sensitive skin options in the market, which tend to be fragrance-free.
WomenStuff Editor, Crystal Espin, tried the range and had this to say about her experience sampling the products:
“I absolutely loved using the new Shower to Shower Sensitive Skin range over the last few weeks. The body wash is my favourite of the range as it leaves the skin feeling squeaky clean without that stripped-down, dry feeling you often get from body wash. I struggle with dry skin and after using this body wash, my skin felt soft and nourished every time. It proved to be a great addition to my winter skincare routine.”
“When it comes to antiperspirant roll-ons and deodorant sprays I have to be so careful what I use because my underarm skin is very sensitive and can be reactive to products, sweat, and friction. After a few weeks of using the Shower to Shower deodorant spray and anti-perspirant roll-on I’m thrilled with both products. My underarm skin doesn’t feel itchy or sensitive after using either of these products and I have had no reaction or flare-ups since I started using the range. I like to switch up the products using the anti-perspirant roll-on for days when I’m hitting the gym and the deodorant spray for everyday use when I know I won’t be breaking a sweat.”
Look out for the Shower to Shower Sensitive range at all major retailers now.