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Sensitive Skin vs. Dry Skin - The Review You Need To Hear Before You Purchase

Posted on 29 June 2017

Sensitive skin, dry skin … which one is yours?

For many of us, the skin-care aisle can be a futile guessing game, with too many products to choose from. With a myriad of items formulated exclusively for dry skin, oily skin, combination skin and sensitive skin, how do you know what to choose?

It helps to know which skin type you have before you buy, so we’re breaking it down. That means the next time you reach for a skin care product in hopes of seeing specific results, you’ll select the right one, and get the desired outcome - beautiful, radiant skin.

Sensitive Skin or Dry Skin?

If you have sensitive skin, it is easily irritated, whether the result of rosacea – a potentially debilitating skin condition that can be triggered by anything from spicy food to winter wind – or some other issue.

According to the experts at WebMD.com, sensitive skin can reveal itself through redness, itching, burning and dryness, making it a possibility that you might mistake your sensitive skin for dry skin. If, however, your dry skin is accompanied by other symptoms, sensitivity is more likely your issue.

What Products Are Right for Those with Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin is often triggered by certain things, most often the wrong skin care products, so making the right choice will help solve your skin woes.

For the best results, choose products that contain as few ingredients as possible, and watch out for these enemy ingredients:

  • Phthalates
  • Parabens
  • Sulfates
  • Artificial fragrances and color
  • Petroleum

Each can cause sensitive skin to become inflamed or has the potential to clog pores, triggering outbreaks. Instead, seek out products from nature that offer healing botanicals that are more compatible with stressed-out skin.

The Sensitive Skin Diet

Sensitive skin can respond to some foods negatively, so consider erasing the following from your diet to see if food sensitivities are causing your skin issues:

  • Gluten. The protein in wheat, barley and rye, gluten can wreak havoc with your intestinal tract, where much of your body’s immune system lives. One symptom is a blistery, itchy rash. Ditching gluten from your diet – an easier task now that grocery stores label gluten-free items and have more offerings – may ease symptoms.
  • Dairy. Milk proteins can exacerbate skin sensitivities, especially eczema. Switching to dairy alternatives could restore skin health.
  • Processed foods. Foods that are not in their natural state contain a wide range of ingredients including preservatives and artificial flavorings and coloring that can trigger skin problems. Keeping your diet as clean as possible can help prevent problems.
  • Sugar. Sugar is skin’s most powerful enemy, and it is hidden is so many places we might not expect. Sugar molecules are especially attracted to the skin proteins collagen and elastin, and once the two become joined, the protein cell is damaged, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and other unwelcome signs of aging.

Dry Skin or Sensitive Skin? Which Do You Have?

You may think you’re doing everything you can to hydrate dry skin, but genetics, aging, hormonal changes, weather, sun exposure, hot water, certain medications and dry indoor heat can all contribute to dry, lackluster skin.

Symptoms of dry skin include small pores, a dull, rough complexion, a loss of elasticity, more fine lines and wrinkles and red patches.

What Products Are Right for Those with Dry Skin?

If your skin is dry, your complexion is more vulnerable to damage, so using products packed with antioxidants will offer big-time protection.

sensitive skin or dry skin reviewYou want a gentle cleanser that won’t strip away your skin’s natural oils – natural botanicals, manuka honey and soy are great moisturizers as well as gentle cleansing options – and a rich, hydrating moisturizer. Choose day and night creams that are lightweight enough that they will penetrate the skin’s surface, helping to hydrate the dermis layer, where new collagen and elastin skin proteins are formed.

Protect your skin with these skin-friendly tips:

  • Skip long, hot baths, and only indulge once a day if you can.
  • In winter, use a humidifier to help counteract the drying effects of indoor heating.
  • Use moisturizer when skin is still damp, to seal in extra hydration.
  • Don’t exfoliate too much. We know that dry skin can cause flaking as dead surface cells slough off, but exfoliating products with grit can strip away natural oils, making your dry skin problem worse. Use a chemical peel with alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acid to gently lift away dead skin cells instead.
  • Check the ingredient list. Certain chemicals (parabens, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances, dyes and alcohols) can make dry skin worse.

But What if I Have Acne, Too?

For those with dry skin who also experience acne outbreaks, we feel your frustration.

Your instinct is to scrub skin to lift away pore-clogging dirt and oil, but what usually happens is the skin responds by producing more sebum to make up for the loss of hydration. The result? More clogged pores and additional acne outbreaks.

Experts suggest the following tips:

  • Use a facial oil to keep skin gently hydrated.
  • Treat areas with acne with benzoyl peroxide, then use a gentle but hydrating moisturizer to restore skin health.
  • A beta hydroxy acid or salicylic acid can gently lift away dead surface cells, unclogging pores and helping to keep acne outbreaks at bay.

The Dry Skin Diet

Much of our skin’s issues are the result of what we put into our body. Glowing skin truly does come from within, and dry skin can be hydrated with the right diet. Some foods to include:

  • Fish. Salmon, tuna and herring are packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which not only help moisturize skin, but also help strengthen the barrier layer, making it better able to hold moisture.
  • Avocados. This fruit is packed with vitamin E, an antioxidant that is vital to skin health. It also contains monounsaturated fats, which help boost skin’s moisture levels.
  • Nuts. In addition to vitamin E, nuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, making them a skin-friendly addition to your diet.
  • Olive oil. Not only does olive oil contain the big three – omega-3s, vitamin E and monounsaturated fat – it also helps protect skin from damage caused by UV rays.

Choosing the right products can help erase skin woes, giving you the glowing, radiant, healthy skin you’ve always dreamed of while putting problem conditions to rest at the same time.

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