1 comment / Posted on by Tonia Painter

Sensitive skin can show up anywhere, and the most annoying place for it is our face. This happens when the functioning of our skins natural barrier becomes compromised. This causes moisture loss and allows the penetration of irritants such as pollution, UV rays and harmful chemicals, such as the ones found in some cleansers and cosmetics. Facial skin also sees more sun and general pollutant exposure, due to never being covered up, like in the way our clothes cover our body. Also, facial skin can be just 0.02mm in thickness as compared to 0.1mm in some areas. This means those toxins can penetrate faster and easier.

The best way to beat dry, tight, itchy, red, and inflamed skin is to understand what factors are causing the irritation, and then reduce or eliminate those factors as best as you can.

Here are the 5 main causes for irritated, red, flaky, dry, sensitive skin and what you can do about it...

 

  1. Hormones

Changes in hormones are one of the biggest factors contributing to sensitive skin. This includes pregnancy, puberty, menopause and getting your period. When these changes happen, our skins resistance to irritants is negatively affected. During these hormonal times, our skin starts to produce either a lot more or a lot less sebum. Sebum is a waxy, oily natural oil your skin produces naturally to protect itself. Having more sebum means skin becomes oily and causes acne, and not producing enough means skin becomes dry and irritated.

What can be done about it?

The closest oil to our skins molecular structure is Jojoba Oil. This means that it has similar characteristics to our natural sebum. It’s also incredibly moisturising, non-drying, non-irritating and helps reduce scarring and redness when used over time. Ensuring to get pure jojoba oil is key here, so there are no other possible irritants with it in the bottle. You can get jojoba oil combined with another pure oil such as rosehip, but avoid any chemist brands that use many ingredients in combination that promise to give you perfect skin.

 

  1. Poor Diet

Poor diet essentially causes your body to produce more insulin, increasing the production of sebum and causing clogged pores. A drop in nutrients required for your body to function properly can also block your skins ability to produce enough sebum required to maintain your skins moisture balance.

What can be done about it?

Cutting down on fatty foods, sugary drinks, sugary foods in general and packaged foods is a great way to start. After that, eating fresh ingredients such as vegetables, fruit, lean proteins and staying hydrated daily with plenty of water are excellent ways to get the essential nutrients your body needs to produce the right amount of sebum.

 

  1. Extreme Cold

I always hated the winter, because every year my skin would get extremely worse as soon as it got cold and no one ever believed me when I told them it was winter that was causing it! So yes, being in excessively cold temperatures for long periods can cause skin irritation. Dry, cold air essentially dehydrates the skin, causes less production of our natural oils and triggers skin sensitivities.

What can be done about it?

Use a moisturiser that’s designed to manage dry, sensitive skin. Ensure to use it day and night. Better yet, using a thicker night cream and allowing it to soak in while you sleep and using a lighter day cream is a great way to run your skincare routine. Avoid anything drying, like products with alcohol. Products with hyaluronic acid are a great way to get moisture back into the skin. This acid is a natural ingredient from microbial fermentation that can hold up to 1000 times its weight in water. It’s known as natural Botox, and yes it works! Click here for a list of products that contain Hyaluronic Acid.

 

  1. Chemicals, Pollutants, UV Radiation

 There are SO many toxins in our environment, and the biggest and worst one is actually the products we put directly on us. Regular cosmetics and home care products use chemicals that are illegal to dump into the environment, yet somehow, they are approved to use in small doses directly onto our skin! Our skin (being our largest organ) absorbs over 64% of what’s placed on it. These chemicals not only damage the top layer of our skin, they are also being carried through the body by our bloodstream which wreaks havoc internally, affecting our heart, lungs, nervous system, reproductive organs, our DNA and more. A lot of products also use harsh surfactants and cleansing agents that strip the skin of its natural barrier and cause further irritation. On top of that, UV radiation and environmental pollutants place our skin under stress which weakens our skins natural defence layer, which then produces free radicals. Prolonged chemical and toxin exposure also dries the skin, again causing irritation.

 What can be done about it?

Wear sunscreen daily, even if you plan to be inside. You have no idea which days you'll end up in the sun for an hour or two. It's critical to use a natural sunscreen for this. Chemical sunscreens cause further damage to the skins outer layer and they are in high debate to be more dangerous than the UV ray exposure from wearing no sunscreen at all. Checkout toxin free, natural sunscreens here. And no, chemists don't generally carry toxin free sunscreens even if they do say "natural" on them.

Next, it's essential to switch your daily skin routine to products that contain ZERO harmful chemicals so your skin can rehydrate and get away from all the toxins that are stripping its natural sebum production. That means swapping over your eye cream, moisturiser, serum, toner, facial scrub, cleanser, makeup, pretty much anything that touches your skin.

 

  1. Lack of sleep & stress

Lack of sleep and stress are absolute killers. Who doesn't suffer from either of these? Long term lack of sleep and stress can trigger skin sensitivities by causing our body to create cortisol which causes flare-ups and irritation such as redness, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

What can be done about it?

At least 7 hours of quality sleep are recommended each night. An improved diet and regular exercise can assist with getting a better nights sleep. This will, in turn, help lower stress levels. Another trick you can try to fall asleep, is using natural magnesium products. Magnesium helps to relax muscles and assists with hundreds of functions within the human body. The great part is, you can take it just before bed without needing to ingest anything at all. Magnesium can actually be absorbed through the skin and the best place for this (for the fastest and best absorption) is through your feet. Check out Amazing Oils (natural, safe, Aussie brand) who make a range of magnesium products you can spray or roll-onto your feet before bed, OR try their salts for a nice relaxing bath (or foot bath) just before bed. Our body’s temperature naturally drops as we fall asleep. Having a hot bath before bed helps lower your body’s core temperature (after you get out) so that you can get to sleep faster and easier. Just ensure you add pure magnesium salts, not Epsom salts, it’s not quite the same thing. Read our blog on the benefits of magnesium here. 

Overall, reducing your toxin exposure by switching to natural products, getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night, eating a healthy diet with lots of water for hydration and trying to reduce prolonged exposure to UV rays and extreme cold are some great ways to start trying to get your skin back on track.

 

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1 comment

  • Posted on by Wade C

    I switched to natural deodorants and it’s massively improved irritation in my underarm area (in fact there is none anymore)! I’ll never go back to the “mainstream” stuff.

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Our blogs are mostly guides into finding the right products to help manage acne, ageing, eczema, or how to find the best fake tan, natural sunscreen, or even natural shampoo, body wash, moisturiser or toothpaste. Our other blogs are informative pieces about certain ingredients found in some of our natural products that you may not have heard of, along with a list of their benefits and what products those ingredients are found in.
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