#FeelgoodFebruary: A derm’s guide to sensitive skin
Itchy, dry, red, flaky, sore: how many of these would describe your poor face during the winter months?
Don’t just write the problems off as ‘sensitive skin’: this is #FeelGoodFebruary and it’s time for you to feel your best.
To help calm your sensitive skin, consultant dermatologist at the Harley Street Dermatology clinic, Dr Adam Friedmann has these five simple rules:
1. Do some investigating
‘People use the term “sensitive skin” when they mean allergic or reactive skin, where they may have eczema, hives, pimples or redness. If there is an underlying condition such as mild eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or acne rosacea, see a dermatologist to have it treated. It might permanently improve the problem.’Read more: 1 in 10 people in the UK have this skin problem and most have no idea
2. Quench your skin’s thirst
‘Moisturise as often as possible, especially before going out in the wind and cold. Avoid irritants such as soap, wipes or fragrances and use soap substitutes and fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products, like aqueous cream.’
3. Get your beauty sleep
According to Dr. Friedmann, skimping on your sleep can do worse than a couple of dark circles: ‘Stress and exhaustion lower the immune system and make most rashes worse,’ he says.Read more: Why sleep is a feminist issue
4. Go make-up shopping
‘It’s worth experimenting with many different make-up formulations, starting with the hypo-allergenic lines. Eventually you’ll find the ones that work for you. Remember, the use of make-up for many years can actually cause development of allergy over time. So, if you think you’re allergic to your make-up, stick a little on your inner wrist, put a plaster over it and see if you come up in an itchy rash after 48 hours. If you do, avoid!’
5. Rethink your winter wardrobe
‘Natural, breathable products, such as cotton and wool, tend to be best as the synthetic ones cause more sweating and this can irritate the skin. Occasionally, however, people may have or develop an allergy to wool.’ So if you’re arriving red of chin to work, it might be time to lose that cosy mohair scarf.
Dr. Adam Friedmann is a consultant dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic and is Dermatology Teaching Lead for medical students at University College London.