Living in the dry Canadian weather, skincare can be a challenge. If you have sensitive skin, it becomes all the more difficult to find a effective, but still gentle enough product. Many products, especially skin cleansers or cosmetics, cause irritation of the skin. Therefore, you must be very careful what products you choose for skin care and health. In my experience, our clinic has seen many patients who, in well-intentioned efforts to improve their skin, end up causing problems such as contact dermatitis.

Symptoms of Sensitive Skin

Though sensitive skin in itself is not a medical condition, it can be a sign of underlying conditions that cause various symptoms such as rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, acne, or allergies. Many people attribute these symptoms to mere “sensitivity” and miss the underlying disease. With any persistent condition, you should seek medical advice from a skin care specialist to find the best skincare regimens -and if necessary, medications, for you. 
 
Some symptoms that can occur with sensitive skin include rashes, irritation, skin tightening, burning sensation, bumpy skin, redness, dryness, hives, and flushing. 

Causes of Sensitive Skin

Men and women alike suffer from sensitive skin. There are many causes of sensitive skin, and these can vary from one person to the next. Some skin conditions occur from internal factors. If you blush often, have dry skin, or sunburn easily, your condition may be hereditary. Some allergic reactions can also be genetic.
 
Sometimes, the food you eat can cause sensitive skin or an allergic reaction. Caffeine, spices, and some hot liquids may cause a skin reaction. Your skin may also be sensitive to certain cosmetics or skincare and health products. Other causes can be medication, stress, or even environmental factors such as sunlight, dryness, or very cold weather. 

Treatment for Sensitive Skin

Though treatments vary for sensitive skin, the best treatment is to avoid products or activities that cause a reaction. If you know certain skin care products cause your skin to break out in a rash, or feel uncomfortable on the skin, avoid using those products. If you know certain foods cause a reaction, avoid those foods.  If you’re not sure what’s causing the reaction, keep a diary of activities, foods, and products used and make a note each time a reaction occurs. 

As skincare specialists, we sometimes test products for patients by applying it to a small area for a few days first, so that we can limit the discomfort caused by a potentially irritating product.
 
Also, beware the products that brand themselves as ‘natural’. Even innocent sounding ingredients such as orange extract can hide thousands of potentially irritating chemicals inside. In our clinic, we support our patients asking questions and scrutinizing side effects, and we constantly experience and select for gentle, effective produces. However, natural sounding labels often place patients into a false sense of security, and they can lose the protection that their carefulness offers them.