Proactively Managing Your Sensitive Skin

 Some things don’t just happen naturally. For example, running a race requires preparation and practice to build endurance.  Staying healthy requires some combination of a balanced diet, exercise, and even vitamins. Similarly, if you want your skin to be healthy and to function properly, you need to be proactive with your skincare routine to ensure your skin can handle the challenges it may face like harsh weather or dehydration.
        Unfortunately, many people find themselves reacting to problems like dry, itchy skin only when they begin experiencing symptoms. But a reactive approach can lead to a never ending cycle of symptoms and can even result in worsened symptoms or discomfort.

Common Behaviors that Prevent a Proactive Skincare Approach

Prioritizing skincare can sometimes feel unnecessary, especially if you aren’t currently experiencing uncomfortable symptoms like dryness or irritation. But, just because skin looks hydrated on the surface, doesn’t mean it is.
        Plus, people are busy. And when time is limited, and symptoms aren’t disruptive, skincare can become a second thought.
        Sometimes, neglecting skincare is a simple misunderstanding. People shower daily, and may consider that “skincare.” But just washing the skin is often not adequate. In fact, if you have sensitive skin, there are common washing habits that can actually cause irritation learn more HERE.
        Additionally, “skincare,” can be mistaken for just the face. Yes, washing your face can help prevent the build-up of dirt and grime, but total skincare involves all of your skin, not just the parts people see. Dry skin, itchy skin, psoriasis or dermatitis – these can bother the skin on the rest of our body too.
        That’s why it’s important to implement a daily body moisturizing routine. By taking a more proactive and holistic approach to skin care (including cleansing and moisturizing), you can not only keep your skin looking and feeling its best, but you can ensure a healthy moisture barrier, which is vital to maintaining a regular, healthy skin cycle.

Why A Passive Skincare Approach Doesn't Work

 If you wait until you notice symptoms or irritation to begin caring for your skin, you’re already beginning at a disadvantage. The damage will need to be repaired before the skin can become rejuvenated.  
        You may be wondering what damage needs repaired. Consider your usual reaction to itchy skin. You probably scratch the itch, but scratching the skin is never an effective solution to stopping itch. You’ll accelerate the breakdown of your skin’s barrier, which increases the itchiness and can even lead to cracking, bleeding, and even potentially infection.  This breakdown of the skin’s barrier is what first needs to be repaired.
        And it’s not just the scratch. When your skin is dry, it can appear flakey. And your natural reaction is probably to exfoliate to remove the dead skin. Exfoliating skin that’s already dry can not only create “micro-tears” in the skin, which can turn into abrasions that welcome bacteria, but over-exfoliating can give you dry skin!
        Those are just examples of two symptom, but if you wait until symptoms surface to treat your skin, you’re too late to focus on enhancing healthy skin and instead must first take steps necessary to repair your problematic skin.

How to Proactively Care for Your Skin

 The key is to apply your moisturizer daily, even after your skin heals. Many people stop applying moisturizer when their skin starts to feel better. But if you stop, the moisture barrier will slowly break down again and the problem will return causing the cycle of battling these symptoms to continue.
        Start by reaching for a moisturizer containing ceramides. Ceramides are a family of waxy lipid molecules that naturally occur in your skin. They help the skin retain moisture and keep irritants out of the skin. When ceramides are lost due to the environment, genetics and other factors, skin is not able to retain moisture, resulting in visibly dry skin. A moisturizer that contains ceramides will help to replenish skin's ceramide levels, allowing skin to retain moisture to prevent symptoms of dry, tight skin from returning.
        If you have trouble finding the time or remembering to apply your moisturizer, there are a few ways to help you form a habit.
        Set calendar reminders for yourself, or place a bottle of moisturizer on your bathroom sink so you can apply it to your skin immediately following your shower. Keeping the product within reach will help you get in the habit of applying it daily. 
        Additionally, try to avoid common allergens , and irritants like heavily-fragranced perfumes, lotions and certain fabrics.
        And lastly, think of your daily shower. While it can be tempting to take long, hot showers, extreme temperatures can damage your skin’s barrier, exasperating dryness and irritation. Instead of taking showers with hot water, opt for lukewarm instead.

Benefits of Proactively Caring for Your Skin

 When your skin is properly hydrated, your skin’s barrier will become stronger and more resilient, making it less likely that you’ll experience unwanted symptoms of dry skin such as itchiness and flaking. By proactively managing your skincare routine, you can keep your skin healthy, and greatly mitigate irritating symptoms. 
        Experiencing uncomfortably dry, irritating skin doesn’t have to your reality. With a simple and consistent routine, you can keep your skin healthy and comfortable.
Learn more about other steps you can take to proactively give your skin what it needs to stay healthy.

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