Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Smart Guide to the Best Sensitive Skin Care Products

How to choose sensitive skin products
How to choose sensitive skin products
If you suffer with frequent bouts of itching, redness, flaky or scaling skin, you have sensitive skin.  You may have spent hours at store shelves determining which product to choose for sensitive skin.  Not surprisingly, over 50% of the women in the US report that they have sensitive skin.  The main cause of sensitive skin, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), is irritation to an ingredient.

Most people report they choose their sensitive skin care based on what's printed on the label.  In general, many consumers assume "natural" products are better.  According to AAD it's false to assume organic or natural products are healthier.  They warn consumers to be very cautious when choosing organic or "natural" skin care or cosmetics, since contact dermatitis may be a side effect.  For example, if you get a rash from an allergy to ragweed, you could also develop a rash from products containing chamomile, calendula, marigold, or feverfew.   The reason being that plants may cross react with each other, without you being aware of it.  Most plants may have been sprayed with pesticides, which is not a good thing either.  Plants also have side effects, which is why many drugs are first discovered from botanicals.

Types of Sensitive Skin
There are various types of sensitive skin, and understanding them helps you get closer to the products you should use.  However, since there are many varieties even within the general types, it's difficult to determine the cause.
  • Rosacea
    - Facial redness, pimples and broken blood vessels are common characteristics of rosacea.  Genetics, too much sun exposure, irritating ingredients and bacteria may be some of the contributing factors.
    - Gentle skin care that calms and comforts your skin without causing inflammation, are what your skin loves.
  • Allergies (contact dermatitis)
    - Your skin can react if you are allergic to an ingredient.
    - An ingredient may be irritating your skin, but you may not have a true allergy to it.
    - Fragrance, certain preservatives, dyes, formaldehyde and harsh ingredients are some of the culprits.
    - To determine if you have a true allergy, dermatologists recommend performing a patch test (see below).  
    - If a product causes stinging, it may be irritating your skin.
    - Organic or "natural" products often contain essential oils and fragrances, that can cause allergy.
  • Acne
    - Oily skin and bacteria are the main cause of acne and skin breakout.
    - Other causes or contributing factors include clogged pores and poor skin care routine.
    - Certain oils, such as coconut and avocado, can make you more susceptible to acne.
    - Products meant for treatment that contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide and retinoids may further irritate your skin, although providing temporary improvement.
  • Burning and Stinging
    - If a particular product causes burning and stinging, you may be sensitive to an ingredient.
    - Common ingredients that may cause burning and stinging include benzoic acid and lactic acid.
    - The cause is unknown, and there is no treatment for burning and stinging.  Dermatologists think the mechanism may involve nerves and other components of the skin.
How to Perform a Patch Test  
  1. Clean a small area on the inside of your arm.
  2. Apply the product you would like to test on the area.
  3. Wait 24-48 hours for any reaction, such as a rash.
  4. If no reaction appears, then the product should be safe for your sensitive skin.
How to Choose the Best Sensitive Skin Care Products
Unfortunately, most brands of cosmetics or skin care for sensitive skin, also contain botanicals.  As stated by AAD, these may be the cause of your sensitive skin problems.  The following are guidelines in how to pick the best sensitive skin products.
  • Decide what type of sensitive skin you have: rosacea, acne, dermatitis, burning or stinging.
  • Determine if you have oily, dry, or combination skin.
  • Choose one brand to test that is free of botanicals but made for sensitive skin, free of fragrance, salicylates (found in most plants), parabens, and other harsh ingredients.
  • Perform a patch test as described above with the product.
Cleure sensitive skin care products are formulated for all sensitive skin types and are free of salicylic acid, gluten,  and harsh, irritating ingredients.  You deserve to have skin that is healthy, youthful, radiante and beautiful, free of irritation.

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