If you‘ve ever experienced flaky skin, itching or redness, you know how having dry and sensitive skin can affect your confidence and how it can even be painful. Dry and sensitive skin has one thing in common: a damaged moisture balance. This means that the skin becomes compromised and is unable to protect itself from environmental factors. As a result, everyday things such as showering or going outside can exacerbate the condition. The good news is that small tweaks can make a big difference so adopting preventative methods is crucial to treating dry and sensitive skin. Read on to learn more!

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of dry and sensitive skin vary from person to person but they can include:

  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Flaking
  • Tightness
  • Burning
  • Cracked skin

Below you‘ll find out how you can provide relief for your skin.

Rethink Your Bathing Habits

I‘ll set the scene: There‘s a snowstorm outside and you‘re wearing your warmest sweater. You step into the shower and turn the knob to the hottest setting so it warms your soul without completely scalding your skin. We‘re all guilty of this. The thing is that although hot showers can be amazing at the moment (especially during winter in Iceland), they can damage the skin by drying it out and compromising the skin barrier. Here‘s how to prevent showers from worsening your skin:

  • Use lukewarm water instead of hot water
  • Don‘t wash your face in the shower
  • Limit the time you spend in the shower to 10 minutes
  • Moisturize while skin is still wet to lock it in
  • Pat your skin gently instead of rubbing it
  • Use gentle skincare products (avoid alcohol and fragrance)

If you prefer taking a bath, I recommend putting two handfuls of organic oats into a gauze bag and let hot water run through it, but don’t enter the tub until the water has cooled down quite a bit. This is an old home remedy that I’ve used for children with eczema because it softens the skin.

Stress Less

Did you know that stress can cause your skin to retain less water by weakening the skin‘s barrier? Stress can also lead to other skin problems such as acne, wrinkles and rashes. If that isn‘t reason enough to start meditating and caring for your mental health, I don‘t know what is! Everybody has a different way of coping or avoid stress but here are a few ideas:

Exercise

Getting regular exercise releases endorphins and lowers stress hormones, such as cortisol, in your body. It can also improve sleep quality, which in turn can help even more with stress reduction.

Meditate

Deep breathing exercises can slow your heart rate and help you escape the fight-or-flight mode we‘re prone to go into when we‘re stressed. Here is an excellent FREE 40-day online training in mindfulness meditation. I can highly recommend it since I’ve taken it myself and I always recommend it to my patients.

Reduce stress triggers

By identifying the things that make you stressed you can avoid them or learn to not let them affect you as much.

Listen to music

Upbeat music can help you be more positive, especially if the lyrics inspire you. If you are trying to relax, you can try classical music or yoga music.

Practice journaling

Writing down how you feel can help you get a better perspective of why you feel like you do and realize what you can do about it. Another approach to stress reduction is writing down all the things you‘re grateful for, as it forces you to appreciate the positive things in your life and diverts the attention from the stress.

Pair all this with my Age-Defying Value Set and you‘ve got a recipe for success! It contains a powerful duo of creams, both of which provide deeply nourishing hydration for your skin. They are also designed to reduce redness and rosacea and minimize the appearance of fine lines.

If you have extremely dry skin, I recommend the Ultra Hydration Value Set. It is designed to repair dry skin and reduce itching. It neutralizes environmental damage and is easily absorbed so it provides a perfect base for make-up.

If you have eczema or psoriasis I recommend the Ultimate Healing Value Set for you. It contains a combination of products, which together create an intensive healing treatment for repairing dry skin, itching, eczema, psoriasis and inflammations. This Value Set is for the whole body, not just the face.

Internal Factors to Consider

Drink enough water

Dehydration can show on your skin so make sure to drink enough water every day.

Food allergies

Allergies to certain foods can mess with your skin. The reactions can appear immediately or take days to appear. Although relating certain symptoms to a certain food can be tricky, identifying the trigger food quickly is important to avoid future discomfort.

A healthy diet can help your skin recover

Proper nutrition is the best way to keep your skin healthy so make sure that you get enough healthy fats to nourish your skin. Try avocado, olive oil, salmon and nuts and seeds.

External Factors to Consider

Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent

Trace amounts of laundry detergent can remain in your clothes and cause itching, irritation and rashes when they come in contact with your skin. By using a detergent that‘s designed for sensitive skin you can remove one of the factors that affect your skin.

Choose fabrics that allow your skin to breathe

Some fabrics can aggravate dry and sensitive skin. Synthetics are common culprits because they don‘t breathe as well as natural fabrics but dyes and glues can also cause problems.

Use a humidifier

Dry skin is often caused by dry air and can exacerbate sensitive skin and cause itching and flaking. Note that heat sources such as fireplaces and wood stoves can lower the humidity in a room. Therefore, adding moisture to the air can be very beneficial.

Wear gloves

During winter, your hands are exposed to merciless, cold winds. Wearing good gloves can make a big difference by protecting your hands. You should also wear gloves for housework because repeated contact with water and cleaning products can irritate your skin.

Watch out for toxic ingredients

I’ve often seen dry skin or eczema appear in the face because of shampoos that contain harmful ingredients. Ingredients such as parabens, synthetic fragrances and sodium lauryl sulfate can affect your skin and have been linked with skin irritation. I wrote a blog about the top 10 toxic ingredients to avoid if you’re interested in learning more.

What I Recommend

I make clean skincare products with wild Icelandic herbs (which I pick myself), organic ingredients and responsible packaging. They are not only healthy for you, but also for the planet we love. I do everything by hand. Lovingly. My creams don’t have any toxic chemicals such as parabens, fragrances or other ingredients that can cause dryness and allergic responses. However, they will give you long-lasting hydration and are especially hydrating and nourishing for dry and sensitive skin.

Pair all the advice above with my Age-Defying Value Set and you‘ve got a recipe for success! It contains a powerful duo of creams, both of which provide deeply nourishing hydration for your skin. They are also designed to reduce redness and rosacea and minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

If you have extremely dry skin, I recommend the Ultra Hydration Value Set. It is designed to repair dry skin and reduce itching. It neutralizes environmental damage and is easily absorbed so it provides a perfect base for make-up.

If you have eczema or psoriasis I recommend the Ultimate Healing Value Set for you. It contains a combination of products, which together create an intensive healing treatment for repairing dry skin, itching, eczema, psoriasis and inflammations. This Value Set is for the whole body, not just the face.

About the Author

Anna Rósa is a medical herbalist and author of the bestselling book Icelandic Herbs and Their Medicinal Uses. She’s the CEO and founder of Anna Rósa Skincare and a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists in UK. It’s the oldest herbalist institute in the world, founded in 1894.

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Anna Rósa CEO and Founder of Anna Rósa Skincare