If you have sensitive skin, you know that it can have a major impact on your day-to-day life. Dry, red, itchy or even burning skin can be much more than just a nuisance. It can affect your confidence and can even lead to infections. People who have sensitive skin can react to a wide range of triggers from heat, chemicals and other environmental factors. It can be challenging to identify exactly which triggers lead to skin irritation; however, it is the first step to managing your sensitive skin.
Sometimes, the triggers are obvious. Other times it requires a process of elimination to identify the culprit. If you believe you have sensitive skin, below are 4 of the most common triggers that you should avoid. By becoming aware of these triggers, you can better identify what causes you to have a negative skin reaction.
Wool and synthetic materials
Wool is notorious for being itchy, and often leads to a whole lot of scratching. Tight fitting sweaters or scarves that are directly against your skin can trap in moisture and quickly aggravate your skin. Frequently, scratching the itch begins a cycle that can result in surface abrasions and irritation.
Other materials that also trap in moisture and prevent the skin from receiving adequate air-flow, such as nylon and rayon, can also lead to a skin reaction. Avoid wearing itchy materials and synthetic fabrics, especially those that are tight fitting. Loose, cotton clothing can permit your skin to breathe and are much less irritating to the skin.
Hot water showers and baths
Do you love a relaxing soak in a hot bath or decompressing in a steaming, hot shower? While it may be relaxing, hot water is a common irritant for those with sensitive skin. Long baths in very hot water will dry out the skin, making it tight and itchy.
Avoid overly hot baths or showers. Instead, choose warm or lukewarm water. If you are used to soaking for 30 minutes plus, consider reducing your bath time to no more than 15 minutes. After showering and while your skin is still damp, apply a moisturizing lotion, cream or body butter to seal in moisture and prevent dry skin.
Soaps and detergents
Many people don’t realize that their soaps and other everyday cleaning products contain ingredients that can seriously dry out their sensitive skin or cause allergic reactions. Laundry detergents in particular can contain dyes, fragrances and other chemicals that can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. When showering, apply a hypoallergenic soap that is specially formulated for sensitive skin. Apply it sparingly. Choose laundry detergents that are meant for sensitive skin. Don’t forget your dryer sheets and fabric softeners – they can contain irritating ingredients, too!
Saunas and steam rooms
There’s nothing quite like a post-workout sauna or steam session. However, the extreme temperatures can dehydrate and dry out your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you will likely notice that your skin is very red and irritated for several hours or even days after.
Another consideration when it comes to saunas and steam rooms is that there is a greater chance for bacteria to thrive in these warm, damp environments. Contact with this bacteria could cause rashes, especially on those with very sensitive skin.
Sensitive Skin Dermatologist Atlanta
Many people come into the office unsure about what is causing a particular skin reaction. If you feel that your skin is sensitive and reacting to a trigger that you can’t pinpoint, your first step should be to understand the most common triggers for sensitive skin and to record your skin’s reaction when you come in contact with these triggers.
With this information, you and your dermatologist can come up with a treatment plan to relieve your sensitive skin symptoms and treat them if they were to occur again in the future. There is no magic medicine that will strengthen your skin against these triggers. Instead, it is important to identify your triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
Do you live in the Atlanta area and want help to treat the symptoms of sensitive skin? Contact the dermatology office of Buckhead Dermatology in Atlanta and College Park. Dr. Straughn will work with you to assess your skin and provide you with the best treatment options available.