• Question: How do we stop having sensitive skin?

    Asked by doctoroctopus to Thiloka, Shobhana, Ryan, Rebecca, James, Ettie, Anabel on 21 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 21 Jun 2019:

      I don’t think it is possible to stop having sensitive skin, but the best way of managing it is to work out what the triggers are that make the skin flare up. Also depending on what you mean by “sensitive”, there might be creams/moisturisers that will help. For example, the best way of managing eczema is really frequent moisturising with gentle emollients (creams).

    • Photo: Anabel Martinez Lyons

      Anabel Martinez Lyons answered on 21 Jun 2019:

      The answer to this question is of huge interest to cosmetics and toiletries companies (since makeup is the number 1 cause for sensitive skin currently known). Here’s a paper that highlights some of the other identified risk factors and known triggers, including heat/humidity, genetic predisposition and gender (females are more affected than males): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5595600/pdf/abd-92-04-0521.pdf.
      From this and other articles I found, it seems the accepted way to stop symptoms is avoidance of triggers as best you can but there doesn’t seem a way to completely prevent sensitive skin in future populations just yet. An interesting thing it mentioned is that the ideal pH of the skin (how acidic or salt-rich the skin surface should be) is around pH = 5.5, meaning it should be slightly acidic (which I didn’t know!). Taylor-maid cremes and moisturisers for sensitive skin (+ avoidance of known triggers) seems the best way to stop reactions at the moment.

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 21 Jun 2019:

      If by sensitive skin, you mean skin that is prone to eczema- the key is to moisturise and then moisturise some more! We advice families to avoid any unnecessary skin products such as soaps or any creams that might contain ethanol or other ingredients such as salicylic acid in them that can irritate the skin.
      If you mean skin that is prone to rashes as a result of allergies or contact reactions, the best way is to identify triggers (keep a diary of when the rash comes on and what you might have eaten before then or what you might have been doing at the time..) then it helps pinpoint what the skin might be reacting to! This helps the doctors then target the treatment strategy for these contact reactions!

    • Photo: James Streetley

      James Streetley answered on 24 Jun 2019:

      Unfortunately, I think trying to work out what causes the irritation and avoiding it, rather than finding a way to ‘stop’ it. I’ve been lucky to mostly avoid this, but some scratchy fabrics in jumpers can make me itch. I’m not sure if moisturisers always help, but I am a big fan of moisturizing, just makes my skin feel nice!

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 25 Jun 2019:

      Avoiding the triggers that lead to a reaction, eating foods which reduce the level of histamine (a substance released when you have an allergic response), using topical creams if there is eczema, and avoiding too many chemicals in the products used on the skin, are some strategies.