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6 Mistakes You May Be Making With Sensitive Skin—And What To Do Instead

People say this $12 body scrub gets rid of bumpy ‘chicken skin’
Posted at 5:30 AM, Dec 12, 2022

Does your skin show irritation quickly? Sometimes reactions can seem to come out of the blue, leaving skin red, dry and flaky. It can be hard to know whether or not your skin is truly sensitive because some of the problems can stem from overusing products, especially if they have irritating ingredients.

If you’re skin in itchy and scaly, dry or bumpy, see if you’re making any of these common mistakes below. You might be able to reverse the problem.


Not Testing Products First

The best way to ward off a major reaction is to run a small test patch test first in an inconspicuous spot, like behind your ear or on your upper thigh. Wait 24 to 72 hours to see if any signs of irritation pop up, like redness or bumpy patches. If you’re in the clear, you’re safe to proceed.

Hot Showers And Scrubbing Too Aggressively

Over-scrubbing, either physically or chemically, can set the stage for sensitive skin, stripping the barrier and leading to loss of hydration, which can trigger inflammation. If you find your skin more red and itchy than usual and have been exfoliating more than once or twice a week, try cutting back.

Long, hot showers can strip the skin of precious lipids and oils, opening the door for irritants to penetrate skin more easily. Rather than spending time in hot, steamy showers, try opting for short, lukewarm ones instead. Baths that are warm — and short — work well too.


Introducing Several Products At Once

Less is more when it comes to skin that’s easily overwhelmed. Try paring back to the basics: gentle cleaner, moisturizer and sunscreen.

When reaching for the soap, make sure it’s gentle. That means forgoing ones with dyes, fragrances, deodorants and antibacterial ingredients. The best organic body washes are free from harsh ingredients and won’t contain drying alcohols, parabens or synthetic dyes.

If you’re looking for a gentle body wash, check out our selection of the best organic body washes that have been vetted by a team of experts.

Ignoring Triggers

If you’ve had a big reaction lately, pull back to using one product per week to try to identify what caused it, or head to see a board-certified dermatologist who can run patch tests for you.

Skipping The Moisturizer

Forgoing moisturizer is also a big no-no. Moisturizing helps hydrate and protect your skin, and regular use can help reduce common issues like oiliness and dryness.


Not Covering Up

When the weather drops and the wind picks up, skin is more prone to windburn and dryness. Protect your face and neck with a soft scarf and wear gloves to prevent windburn. Of course, wearing sunscreen daily — regardless of weather — will also protect you from damaging rays that can cause redness and dryness.

When To See The Doctor

Sensitive skin can be frustrating, especially if you feel like you’re doing everything right. If you haven’t switched up any products and your skin is going haywire, it might be time to see a dermatologist to pinpoint what’s going on.

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