Sensitivity is one of the most common skin complaints. Studies show that over 50% of people describing their skin as sensitive and here at Elemental Herbology HQ we are always hearing from clients with concerns about how a products may react with their skin and the best ingredients to use.
So what defines sensitive skin? Sensitive skin is traditionally a skin condition in which skin becomes prone to itching and irritation, often brought on when using cosmetics and toiletries. In extreme cases, sensitivity can manifest in a number of more sever dermatological conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and rosacea, each with their unique and defining features.
The most common skin sensitivities and dermatitis and eczema, characterized by itchy, vesicular weeping, and dry patches. Dermatitis and eczema are often synonymous terms, while dermatitis often implies a mild condition and eczema an acute one. There are many theories on the case but one key factor is a dysfunctional, interplay between our skin immune system. Other contributing factors can be internal heat (overconsumption of coffee, alcohol, hot spicy foods, stress and repressed anger) alongside washing powder, fabric softeners and body was and cosmetics.
Psoriasis (derived from the Greek word “itching condition” or “being itchy”) is a much less common, chronic, immune-mediated systematic disease characterized by skin abrasions including red, dry patches and lumps, which usually itch. A build-up of skin cells on these areas (frequently elbows, knees, feet and nails) causes a silvery-white appearance. Psoriasis is not purely a skin disorder but can have a systematic effect on many organs and develops when the immune system sends out faulty signals that cause overproduction of new skin cells. No cure is unfortunately available for psoriasis but steroid-based medications can helps to reduce symptoms.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness with small superficial dilated blood vessels on the face with pustules and swelling. Rosacea usually begins as redness on the central face across the checks, nose or forehead, but can occasionally affect neck, chest, ears and scalp. In some cases, additional signs, such as semi-permanent redness with dilation of superficial blood vessels on the face may develop.
While the pathology for each of the above skin condition is different, natural topical treatment and internal dietary recommendations remain consistent.
For skincare, a less is best approach. Using a very simple, gentle skincare infused with essential fatty acids (such as Sacha Inchi, Macadamia, Evening Primrose, Argan and Rosa Mosqueta Oil), Calendula and Aloe which all help to quell inflammation. Our Tree of life Balm is blended with Buriti, sweet Almond and Argan oils to protect and restore irritated, chaffed and damaged skin. Ingredients such as Shea Butter also helps to improve the barrier function of the skin which is an important factor in helping protect the skin against environment extremes. Also avoid SLS and synthetic fragrance at all costs as they can aggravate the skin and exacerbate a condition. Try our Purify and Soothe Facial Cleanser and Calendula and Rose Facial Moisturiser that gently cleanse and nourish sensitive skin, helping to reduce redness, regulate skin capillary action and improve the skin barrier function.
To help reduce internal heat – sip chilled chrysanthemum tea throughout the day and eat more cooling foods such as Tofu, Mint, Cucumber, Salmon or any oily fish, Seaweed, mung Beans, Aloe Vera, Watermelon, Lemon, Peach, Dill, Coriander, Green Sugar Snap Peas and Spinach.
If stress levels are high, seek to reduce worry, anger and anxiety through meditation, gentle outdoor exercise such as a brisk morning walk in the park and yoga. Needless to say reducing stress is easier said than done so if you need help de-clutter your life then enlist a professional who can help you unravel the tension and take you to a calmer, clearer and happier place.