Eat Right for Your Skin Type: Sensitive Skin

When it comes to sensitive skin, treating your symptoms holistically is one of the most effective ways to keep outbreaks at bay. And when we say holistically, we don’t mean using wooden necklaces to magically heal symptoms! We mean holistic in the literal sense — by looking at the system as a whole, rather than treating bits and pieces of the body.

Sensitive skin and diet have been proven to have a strong connection. Just ask someone with a food allergy who deals with eczema, or a person who avoids spicy foods as to not set off their rosacea. If you have sensitive skin, eating right for your skin type is just as important as choosing the right skin care products.

If you have sensitive skin, it is more reliable to avoid certain foods rather than eat certain foods. You may find that some foods help your sensitive skin, but as you’re getting started, try cutting out the following foods to see if your skin condition improves.

Source: flickr.com user takeitez
Source: flickr.com user takeitez

Dairy
Dairy is a common trigger food, especially for eczema. You don’t have to be lactose intolerant to avoid dairy — dairy allergies are entirely different, but just as legitimate. Whey and casein (milk proteins) are usually the allergy culprits, so also avoid food products made with those ingredients. Great dairy alternatives include nut milks, rice milk, coconut milk, and hemp milk.

Wine
There’s probably a lot of groaning for this one, but it’s important. The tannins found in wine (especially red wine) can be a skin irritant, especially for those with rosacea. Wine tannins can cause skin flushing and hives, and is also a dehydrator. White wine might be ok in small amounts, but be sure to be aware of how your skin is looking and feeling after you indulge.

Additives
Artificial colors, preservatives, artificial flavors, MSG…Additives are unhealthy for the system, so they’re unhealthy for your skin. Canned, frozen, and boxed foods generally contain additives, but you also have to watch out for foods masquerading as healthy but hiding a list of additives. These foods can include yogurt, diet snacks, and so much more.

Gluten
True, being gluten-free has become very popular in the last few years, but that doesn’t mean that genuine gluten allergies don’t exist. Celiac disease causes people to be unable to eat gluten without suffering from awful symptoms, including itchy, blistering rashes called dermatitis herpetiformis. Even those without celiac disease can have a gluten intolerance, which can cause skin issues like acne and eczema.

Eggs
Egg whites (and sometimes the yolk) can cause a skin rash by triggering your body’s histamine response. Sometimes this reaction happens within minutes of eating an egg, while other times you may not notice a rash until hours later. In extreme reactions, the rash will turn into hives and you’ll have a full-blown allergic reaction on your hands. If you suspect eggs to be causing your skin issues, remove them from your diet for two weeks and see if your skin condition improves.

Avoiding common foods is certainly inconvenient, but seeing your skin regain health, beauty, and comfort will be the incentive you need to stick with it.

All About Contact Dermatitis

Source: flickr.com user Care_SMC
Source: flickr.com user Care_SMC

Has your skin ever become red, inflamed, or sore after dealing with a certain substance or item? Chances are you were experiencing contact dermatitis, an annoying, though highly treatable, skin condition. There are two kinds of contact dermatitis: allergic and irritant. The latter is more common, though both types can affect anyone.

Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when a person is exposed to a material or substance to which one has become allergic or extremely sensitive. A person may have the allergy from birth, or it may develop over time due to recurring exposure. In addition, sometimes allergic contact dermatitis only occurs when the allergen is used, and then the skin is exposed to sunlight. Some of the more common causes of allergic contact dermatitis are:

  • Adhesives
  • Rubber and latex
  • Topical antibiotics
  • Poisonous plants, such as oak, ivy, and sumac
  • Certain fabrics
  • Nickel and similar metals
  • Artificial (and sometimes natural) fragrances
  • Nail polish
  • Hair dye
  • Airborne allergens, including ragweed and insecticides

Irritant contact dermatitis is generally caused by harsh chemicals, like those found in cleaning products, fabric softeners, acids, and the like. Other causes of irritant contact dermatitis include:

  • Solvents
  • Hair dye
  • Wet diapers
  • Rubber gloves
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Pesticides

Symptoms of contact dermatitis differ due to the cause of the reaction and whether one is experiencing allergic or irritant contact dermatitis. Generally, symptoms only occur on the area exposed to the irritant, hence the name contact dermatitis. Rarely, symptoms will occur in other areas as well.

Allergic contact dermatitis will appear as streaked red skin, or as a patchy red rash. It won’t appear right away; instead, the reaction will occur 24-48 hours after exposure, which makes the irritant difficult to pinpoint. The reaction may include red bumps, weeping blisters, scaling and thick skin, raw skin, crusting skin, oozing wounds, or unusually warm patches.

Alternatively, irritant contact dermatitis usually appears right after exposure to the irritant, and is rough, red, dry, and cracked. With extreme or prolonged exposure, skin may also become inflamed and tender.

If you believe that your long-term sensitive skin may actually be contact dermatitis, consider doing a product cleanse. Give your skin a two week detox from all skin care and makeup products. Then, slowly add your products back in, one at a time, allowing 3-4 days between each product. If you experience a reaction, you may have to find a replacement for the offending product.

Finally, if you know that you are experiencing either form of contact dermatitis, start treatment by washing the area with cool water. Use soap only if you know that it won’t further irritate the area. Comfort the affected skin by using a gentle emollient, preferably one which will help to repair your lipid barrier. For extreme reactions, use of a corticosteriod cream, or even pills, may be prescribed by your dermatologist.

How to Treat Eczema

Source: flickr.com user Care_SMC

Your skin is inflamed, red, and itchy. At its worst, it becomes thick and tender. If any of this is true for you, you could have eczema. Eczema is a hereditary skin condition that is extremely uncomfortable, yet highly controllable, as long as you learn how to properly care for your eczema-prone skin.

As with all sensitive skin conditions, proper diagnosis is essential to effective treatment. If you suspect eczema, you should consult your doctor or dermatologist before attempting to care for it on your own.

When you receive your diagnosis, you may be surprised to hear learn that there are several types of eczema, including atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and nummular dermatitis. Each of these forms of eczema follows a similar pattern, though they all also have unique symptoms that will help your doctor with his diagnosis. However, regardless of the type of eczema in question, eczema treatment is generally the same no matter the cause or location.

First off, limit allergens and irritants. Eczema-prone skin is very sensitive to harsh chemicals, so be sure that everything you’re using on your skin is approved for sensitive skin. Even better, try to find skin care products made especially for eczema skin. In addition, try to avoid taking excessively hot baths and showers, as well as prolonged sun exposure.

Next, try to relax. Studies show that stress can cause eczema flare-ups. Easier said than done, though, right? If you struggle with stress, consider taking on a stress-busting hobby like yoga, which will help your mind, body, soul, and skin all at once!

Finally, make sure to keep your skin properly moisturized and nourished. The best way to accomplish this is to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day, and to support your skin’s lipid barrier by using eczema skin care products like the ones created by Psoriapalm.

By following these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving healthier-looking and more comfortable skin.