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What to Avoid With Sensitive Skin

By

Eric S. Schweiger, MD

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This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the HealthGrades advertising policy.

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Choosing the Right Clothes for Sensitive Skin

With sensitive skin, certain fabrics can make you feel itchy and sore. Find the right threads for style and comfort.
Washing Dishes using gloves

Sensitive skin can take many forms. Sometimes, it will be a simple case of irritation; other times, it could be a serious outbreak of eczema with severe itching, redness, and even bleeding. Even more, it’s difficult to identify the triggers that might bring about flare-ups.

But there are things you can avoid to minimize irritating sensitive skin. The first thing you should do is visit your dermatologist to see if there is any underlying medical cause for your skin issue. In the meantime, stay away from the following.

Even though sensitive skin is an common issue for many people, there's a lot we don't know about it. But recent research has uncovered some surprising information.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Jun 1, 2016

2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

  1. Misery L, Loser K, Stander S. Sensitive Skin. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016;30:2-8. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jdv.13532/full
  2. Saint-Martory C, Roguedas-Contios A, Sibaud V, et al. Sensitive skin is not limited to the face. British Journal of Dermatology. 2008;1(130-133). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17986305
  3. Dry Skin – Self-Care. MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000751.htm
  4. Stander S. Sensitive skin – a global challenge with upcoming solutions. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016:30;1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jdv.13533/full
  5. Misery L, Stander S, Szepietowski J, et al. Definition of Sensitive Skin: an Expert Position Paper from the Special Interest Group on Sensitive Skin of the International Forum for the Study of Itch. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2016: epub ahead of print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26939643
  6. Basic Skin Care Tips. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/healthy_living/hic_An_Overview_ofYour_Skin/hic_Basic_Skin_Care_Tips
  7. Skin Allergy. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/skin-allergy
  8. Muizzudin N, Marenus K, Maes D. Factors defining sensitive skin and its treatment. American Journal of Contact Dermatitis. 1998;9(3):170-5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9744910
  9. Farage M, Katsarou A, Maibach H. Sensory, clinical and physiological factors in sensitive skin: a review. Contact Dermatitis. 2006;55(1):1-14. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0105-1873.2006.00886.x/full
  10. Misery L. Sensitive Skin. Expert Review of Dermatology. 2013;8(6):631-637. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/814679
  • Avoid scented laundry products. Although the smell of clean laundry can be refreshing, chemicals found in laundry detergent can cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. Look for detergent and dryer sheets that are free of dyes and fragrance. As a side benefit, these types of products are often better for the environment. Other triggers to avoid when it comes to clothes are brand-new clothes that haven’t been washed (especially those that are heavy with dyes). New clothes may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals. Natural fibers such as 100 percent wool can also irritate sensitive skin.

  • Perfumes, bath bubbles, or scented lotions. When in doubt, read the ingredients on your cleaners and soaps, and keep it simple. Avoid using spray perfumes and body splashes; instead, consider using natural oils.

  • Prolonged exposure to water. It would seem as though moisture would be a good thing, but too much water from a long bath or swim can cause skin flare-ups. Take short baths and keep the temperature lukewarm—high temperatures and sudden changes in temperature can exacerbate or trigger eczema flare-ups.

  • Reduce stress. People tend to experience higher incidences of eczema and rosacea when under stress. Introduce a relaxation technique into your daily life, such as meditation, yoga, or walking. With increased physical activity, be careful about sweating too much, which can irritate sensitive skin, too.

If you do have a prolonged, unexplained rash or irritation, it’s always best to visit your doctor. Some forms of eczema, like atopic dermatitis, may require prescription creams and medications.

Was this helpful? (178)
Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: May 6, 2017

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

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Medical References

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