Winter is upon us, and that means dropping temperatures and harsh winds depleting moisture in the skin. Already-sensitive skin can become flaky, itchy, red, dry, and overall irritated. Ridding your regimen of scented products is not always enough, but fortunately, ongoing preventative treatments can help dramatically.
Let’s begin with the causes and signs. The natural origins of sensitive skin conditions include the use of cosmetics, home care products, and complex synthetic skincare products. Many people suffer from the most significant cause is damage to the skin’s protective acid mantle.
While it may be a commonly used term, “sensitive skin” is not an actual medical diagnosis, it’s a complaint,” says Deirdre Hooper, co-founder of Audubon Dermatology. Though causes can be environmental stresses, menopause, climate changes, or even reaction to alcohol, the dryness, and itching of sensitive skin are both familiar and are usually signs of one of three skin conditions- allergic reactions, genetic predisposition/sensitivity due to harsh chemicals, or lack of proper nutrition.
Allergic Reactions: “Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when small chemicals get into the skin and become immunologically recognized,” explains Sharon Jacob, professor of dermatology at Loma Linda University. “Each time this happens, the skin’s memory of the chemical grows, and eventually, even a small amount can cause a reaction.” (This is why you can seemingly suddenly develop an allergy to something that’s never caused an issue before.) Common causes of dermatitis are nickel and fragrance (found in jewelry and perfume correspondingly) with the chemicals in both damaging skin cells. Though you may initially believe symptoms to be a sign of allergy (which will occur within 3-5 days and itch), it may merely be irritation (which occurs within a day and burns.)
Allergen Treatment: If you suspect contact dermatitis, pare your skincare routine down to the bare necessities: a non-soap cleanser, mineral sunscreen, and a chemical/fragrance-free moisturizer. Stick to this minimal regimen until your skin improves. Then, slowly add back one product at a time, using each one for two to three days before adding another. This process will help you determine which product is causing the allergy or irritation!
Genetic Predisposition and Harsh Chemicals: Several conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and rosacea are related to genetics. These conditions come with frustrating symptoms such as redness, itching, inflammation, and flaky skin, and make effective daily skincare extremely difficult. Skin conditions that fall under this category are Rosacea, Dermatitis, Eczema, Perioral Dermatitis, Fungal Infections (such as vaginal infections and athlete’s foot), Candidiasis, and other types of yeast overgrowth. Extreme sensitivity to severe chemicals in products causes symptoms of already sensitive skin to increase and worsen. Chemicals such as formaldehyde, dyes, rubber, latex, and those found in certain soaps irritate the skin.
Nutritional Considerations: Leaky gut, a condition in which a lack of good bacteria causes increased intestinal-wall permeability, may worsen inflammatory skin issues. Inflammation in the system can occur as well. To reduce this, you need to minimize or eliminate sugar and grains (wheat is very pro-inflammatory). These foods are enemy #1 to healthy skin and are at the root of all inflamed, sensitive skin conditions.
Another nutritional way to help skin? Start juicing! Juicing is the #1 nutrition strategy for clear skin. A healthy colon and properly functioning digestive system are where good health and great skin begin. Daily juicing (especially green juice recipes) can help alkalize an acidic system and can help flush toxic waste from the body and heal chronic disease conditions. My two favorite sites for great juicing information are www.allaboutjuicing.com and www.rebootwithjoe.com.
How Can Sunshine Botanicals Help? Sunshine Botanicals Calming Collection is an ideal option and provides practical solutions for all stressful skin conditions. This collection of products combines highly effective herbal extracts known for their calming and healing abilities, powerful antioxidants to help repair environmental damage, and essential fatty acids to nourish and restore fragile tissues.
Also, the collection includes Colloidal Silver and Pau d’Arco to banish yeast and candida on the skin and incredibly gentle, soap-free skin cleansers that detoxify and calm irritated skin. The powerful ingredients found in this collection are concentrated and potent. Grape Seed Extract and St. Johns Wort provide balance, reduce skin inflammation, and calm and protect challenged skin while providing a gentle and protective shield against damaging free radicals. Licorice root, burdock, honey, and lavender work synergistically to restore damaged leather, essential fatty acids replenish the skin’s natural lipid barrier, and lemon balm provides natural anti-viral benefits.
Holistic Strategies to try on your own:
- 1. Avoid irritating chemicals in cosmetics and skincare products.
- 2. Improve diet and detoxify the system to reduce inflammation.
- 3. Increase Essential Fatty Acids in the Diet.
- 4. Nutritionally support the adrenal glands. -Stressed adrenals lead to inflammation and can make this situation worse. B Complex Vitamins are essential.
- 5. Avoid hot, spicy foods and alcohol consumption – they cause the skin to flush.