Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It helps protect your body so it’s important to keep it healthy.
What's especially crucial for health is understanding what you put on your skin, goes in your body. Examples includes skin patches used for a variety of conditions – birth control, pain management, and to help stop smoking to name a few.
The American Academy of Dermatology reports approximately 50% women and 40% men have some type of sensitive skin that is even more affected by what you put on it.
If you have sensitive skin, you may notice dry skin that cracks and bleeds easily, itching, burning, red patches, and rashes. If an irritating ingredient even touches your skin, it can trigger a reaction. It may be an immediate reaction or take time to show.
There are 3 main types of sensitive skin:
- Irritant contact dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
All of these types will cause flareups, and the flareups may be caused by an ingredient in your personal care products like soaps and lotions.
A visit to a board certified dermatologist can patch test and give you a list of ingredients you should avoid and medications that may help.
What you can do individually to help is to keep your face and body clean and moisturized. Never use very hot water for washing your face and body. And don’t rub hard when drying after washing. While waiting to see a dermatologist, you may even do a self-patch test for products you currently use.
Certain ingredients have been shown to be a common irritant and you should avoid them. These include:
- Fragrance is a common irritant and recommended by dermatologist to avoid.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (referred to as SLS) is a foaming ingredient which was developed as an engine degreaser during World War I and is now used as a foaming agent.
- Parabens are on the American Contact Dermatology Association list of irritants
- Salicylates and botanicals are other ingredients to avoid. Plant extracts and essential oils are more of a marketing gimmick than helpful. When you see natural on a label you think it’s good for you, but dermatologists warn they could have side effects, be irritating and cross react with medication you may be taking.
Always choose dermatologist recommended, not dermatologist tested products. Just because it’s dermatologist tested doesn't mean they recommend it.
For more information on sensitive skin care visit our Advice by Concern Blog.