Sensitive skin is a term that encompasses a number of skin conditions from eczema, rosacea to itchiness and redness from contact dermatitis. Living with sensitive skin can be tough. There can be any number of triggers, and trying to narrow it down and find alternatives that work can be time consuming and stressful. From a natural health point of view, minimising exposure to synthetic and potentially toxic ingredients in many household cleaning and skincare products is a great place to start. Along with incorporating some natural remedies to help prevent and soothe sensitive skin.
Reduce Your Skin's Exposure to Synthetic Ingredients
By reducing the amount of synthetic chemicals your skin comes into contact with every day, you are reducing the toxic load your immune system has to deal with and reducing the chance of sensitive skin flare-ups. Also by using less ingredients, it can be easier to narrow down the culprit if you do experience a reaction. Do an audit of your laundry, kitchen and bathroom cleaning products. Try to avoid the marketing jargon on the packaging and ask the following questions of them:
- Are the ingredients synthetic or naturally derived?
- Are there lots of chemical names that I'm not familiar with?
- Does the list of ingredients contain more than five or six items?
If your products have many synthetic ingredients, then it's time to make the switch to natural, gentle alternatives instead. Look for products that use natural ingredients which are alcohol and fragrance-free. We've tried to help make this process a bit easier by creating products that can be natural swaps for synthetic alternatives like our Fragrance-Free Deodorant Paste, which is free from all the nasties, and has only six natural ingredients, just plant oils, herbs and magnesium powder.
Use A Natural Moisturiser To Act As a Barrier
Skin that gets dry is more prone to reactions, because the natural oils in our skin act as a barrier to stop foreign substances being absorbed, and triggering our immune system. Using a natural, oil-based moisturiser on your skin will help it to stay healthy. Look for products that are loaded with natural, plant-based oils like Shea Butter, Olive, Rosehip or Jojoba Oil.
We have specifically formulated our Skin Rescue Balm to be an all-in-one moisturiser for sensitive skin. With Organic Shea Butter, rich in skin-loving vitamin A & E, it creates the perfect moisture barrier for your skin whilst also nourishing it. We also add organic herbs including Calendula, a natural anti-inflammatory, Chickweed which helps to reduce itchiness if you are experiencing a flare-up and Gotu kola, known to aid in skin repair.
Avoid Long Showers or Excessive Skin Cleansing
It seems counterintuitive, but soaking or washing our skin in water for too long will actually strip out our skin's natural protective barrier, making it more prone to dryness and sensitivity. Try to aim for 5 minute showers in warm (not too hot) water and avoid using harsh astringents or exfoliants. When you wash your hands, apply some moisturiser afterwards to restore your skins hydration.
Stick To A Natural Whole Food Diet & Try Probiotics
Processed food is another place we can find lots of chemical additives that can trigger immune system flare-ups. Check the ingredients on products you buy and use the same rule as when choosing skincare - choose natural ingredients, with minimal chemical additives. That way you are minimising the amount of chemicals your system has to deal with and if you do have a flare-up, it will be easier to identify the trigger ingredient.
There has been a lot of great research now into the effectiveness of probiotics to help support gut health and the immune system. Some strains, such as s. boulardii have been even been shown to reduce eczema flare-ups. You can find these skin friendly strains in your local health food store or pharmacy.
Reducing your bodies exposure to common chemical triggers is definitely one of the best ways to help protect your sensitive skin. When combined with natural sensitive skin remedies and products designed to support your skin's natural protective barrier and health, you can minimise skin flare-ups and soothe them when they do happen.