6 Mistakes People Make With Sensitive Skin

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    Caring for Sensitive Skin
    Having sensitive skin can be frustrating, and it might seem like no matter what you do, your skin still gets irritated. But you don’t have to live in a constant state of burning, itching skin—just make sure you’re not making these common sensitive skin mistakes.

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    1. Using too many products.
    We all want our skin to be healthy, ageless, and glowing—but all those different sunscreens, foundations, acne treatments and anti-aging products can do more harm than good if they’re all applied at the same time. Using too many products at once can aggravate your skin, causing itching, burning, and redness—and overdoing it can actually make skin more sensitive than it was previously! Keep it simple: wash your face and body with a gentle, unscented cleanser, and only apply one or two products at a time—dermatologists recommend an unscented moisturizer and an oil-free sunscreen. Try applying a couple products in the morning and a couple at night to give your skin some breathing room.

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    2. Choosing the wrong products.
    For people with sensitive skin, skincare products that contain alcohol, fragrances, retinoids, or alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) are a big no-no. The active ingredients in these creams, lotions and cleansers can irritate the skin and lead to a strong reaction, especially if more than one product is used at a time. Also avoid using the wrong product for your skin type—for example, don’t use an oil-based serum if you’re prone to oily skin and acne breakouts.

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    3. Taking long, hot showers.
    Often, sensitive skin is also dehydrated, which can raise the likelihood of irritation. Long, hot showers can dry out your skin even more. To protect your skin, limit shower time to five or 10 minutes, and don’t let the water get too scalding hot—warm water is best. Wash with a fragrance-free cleanser, and once you’re out of the shower, gently dry your skin by blotting with a towel. Finish the routine by slathering your body with a fragrance-free moisturizer to lock in hydration.

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    4. Washing with an irritating laundry detergent.
    Often, scents and dyes from laundry detergent can aggravate sensitive skin—and the majority of detergents on the market include them. Look for detergents that are labeled as hypoallergenic, scent-free, fragrance-free, and dye-free. This rule applies for fabric softeners and stain removers, too!

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    5. Wearing new clothes without washing them first.
    Once you’ve purchased the right laundry detergent, make sure to wash your new clothes (and towels, blankets, and sheets!) before wearing or using them. Items made from cotton and polyester may contain formaldehyde resin to prevent wrinkling and mildew—but this can cause rashes and itching. Washing new clothes once or twice before wearing them can solve this problem. Washing new clothes can also rinse out excess dye, which can irritate sensitive skin, too.

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    6. Not washing your face before bed.
    Just like you need to brush your teeth twice a day, it’s important to wash your face in the morning and at night. Dozing off without removing your makeup, lotion, and other products can irritate your skin and cause rashes and itching—not to mention acne. Use a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser every night before hitting the hay to truly get your beauty rest.

6 Mistakes People Make With Sensitive Skin

About The Author

Allie Lemco Toren is a health writer and regular contributor to Healthgrades, where she also serves as Senior Health Editor. Her work has also been featured by ShareWIK Health Entertainment, WebMD, Everyday Health, and Food Solutions Magazine. A graduate of Emory University’s journalism program, Allie particularly enjoys writing about medical innovations, the mind-body connection, and thriving with chronic illness.
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  2. Dermatologists’ Top Tips for Relieving Dry Skin. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/dry-skin
  3. How to Get the Most From Your Skin Care Products. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/skin-care/skin-care-products
  4. Misery L, Loser K, Stander S. Sensitive Skin. European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016;30(S1): 2-8. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jdv.13532/full
  5. Is Laundry Detergent Causing Your Child’s Skin Rash? Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2014/12/is-laundry-detergent-causing-your-childs-skin-rash/
  6. Misery L. Sensitive Skin. Expert Review of Dermatology. 2013;8(6):631-637. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814679
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Last Review Date: 2018 Aug 15
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