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Whether your skin is normal, oily, dry or combination, you may also have sensitive skin. And since we are all individuals, there is no one-size-fits all skin regimen. Skin sensitivity is one factor that may make it challenging for you to choose appropriate treatments.

You may have sensitive skin if:

•You flush easily. If harsh wind or everyday topical beauty products cause your face to turn red, it's possible that your skin has a weakened barrier function. A weakened barrier function means 2 things: irritants may penetrate through the skin and moisture may be lost from the skin. It may also be a symptom of [Link Removed], a skin condition that's accompanied by broken blood vessels and acne on the face and neck. Rosacea and sensitive skin often go hand-in-hand.
•Topical treatments often trigger tightness or burning. A weakened barrier function can make skin less resistant to ingredients found in many skin care products, especially fragrances and soaps
•Your skin itches. While sensitive skin is more likely to feel the effects of harsh chemicals and ingredients, it's also more prone to losing moisture. For this reason, those with sensitive skin often experience dryness – which can lead to uncomfortable itching. Dry, itchy skin is commonly triggered by excessively hot showers or baths and cold weather.
For some people, signs of sensitive skin are ever-present. Others only experience symptoms from time to time or during hormonal or health changes. This can make it difficult to diagnose sensitive skin – and even tougher to treat. These 5 tips can help you to manage your sensitive skin:

1. Read Labels. Look for products which are fragrance-free with a minimum of ingredients. Also, watch out for words like "natural". Plenty of natural ingredients (think poison ivy) cause irritation. Essential oils, often included in many natural skin care preparations may also be problematic.

2. Patch Test. Perform a patch test with every new product by dabbing a tiny bit of the product in an inconspicuous area (like behind your ear) before bedtime. Examine when you wake up and Repeat for five days. If no irritations develop, repeat this on skin below the eye, avoiding the eye contour. If no irritation arises, go ahead and use the product.

3. Cleanse gently. While this holds true for everyone, it's more important if you have sensitive skin. Opt for soap free cleansers and limit cleansing to once or twice daily. Always remove makeup at the end of the day and avoid the drying effects of hot water, using warm water instead. [Link Removed]  are gentle yet effective.

4. Moisturize. Hydration creates a protective barrier that sits on the surface of skin, locking in moisture and helping to deflect dirt and debris. Always apply lotion to damp skin for maximum absorption. For sensitive skin, look for ingredients like ceramides, glycerin and shea butter. Try [Link Removed] , especially designed for sensitive skin.

5. Protect. The sun can cause further damage to already sensitive skin. Because you may not be able to tolerate chemical sunscreens, consider one that contains physical blocking agents like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. [Link Removed]  are good options.

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Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed]
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