All kinds of people from all walks of life experience skin irritation every day. It can range from a purely cosmetic problem, like mild dryness or flaking, to extremely uncomfortable ones, such as rashes, hives, or painful inflammation. Have you ever heard the old saying, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’? It holds especially true when it comes to skincare! Like many conditions, proper care and maintenance can stave off skin problems before they get out of control. Here are my top 5 tips for preventing skin irritation.
1. Give your skin a break.
You probably spend some time and effort exercising, taking care of your heart health. You might try to eat healthy to take care of your digestive system, liver, and kidneys. But the skin is the biggest organ in your body. When was the last time you gave it a break?
Soap and hot water can be very harsh on your skin. Whenever possible, use very gentle soaps. If you suffer from skin allergies or acute irritation, avoid bathing or showering in very hot water. It can increase itchiness, soreness, and inflammation. Also, be sure to cover up from harsh sun and wind – UV radiation, dust, and dry air can damage your skin or aggravate existing conditions.
2. Don’t sweat it!
Did you know sweat is an irritant? As we approach summer, and all the sunshine and hot weather that comes with it, you may experience heat rash. Heat rash is a common, uncomfortable skin condition that occurs when the skin’s sweat glands get clogged. The sweat cannot reach the surface of the skin, causing inflammation beneath the skin’s surface. Of course, staying cool means you aren’t sweating, so you aren’t susceptible to heat rash. When you venture out into the heat, wear lightweight, breathable clothing. This will let your sweat glands do their job without clogging, and reduce the chance of heat rash.
3. Stay hydrated – Inside and out.
Hydration is critically important to skin health. Your skin contains over 60% water – imagine what happens to it when you’re dehydrated! In order to maintain good skin health, always drink enough water each day. The old ‘8 glasses’ rule is somewhat outdated, and doesn’t account for other liquids, like tea, broth, or fruit juice that count toward your fluid intake. The simplest rule of thumb is just to not let yourself go thirsty – If you feel a bit parched, drink some water!
For added maintenance, consider using a hydrating lotion, such as my Fresh Cucumber Body Lotion. It contains ingredients like shea butter and aloe to soothe and hydrate your sensitive skin.
Sometimes it’s very hard to identify the source of skin irritation. Research has proven that stress and negative emotions can trigger rashes, hives, and other skin conditions, or worsen the severity of existing skin conditions. Most of us lead busy lives with a lot of stressors weighing on our minds. If you’re experiencing ongoing skin issues, you may want to try some relaxation exercises, like meditation or adult colouring books. Perhaps take up a meditative hobby, like knitting, crocheting, or sketching. It seems too simple to be true, but it can really reduce your symptoms!
5. You are what you eat
It’s an old cliche, but it holds true. Your diet makes a big difference in your skin’s health and resilience. Skin needs EFAs – Essential Fatty Acids – to stay healthy, soft, and problem free. EFAs are found in a range of foods, from certain types of fish to flaxseed and avocados. Make sure your diet includes a good balance of these essential fats to promote good skin health.