Returning to catch up at work after a restful summer holiday, the onset of winter colds, more indoor living, and a dramatic change in the weather can all add up to making sensitive skin even more sensitive and lead to flare ups.
But sensitive skin can be caused by a number of different factors, and sometimes not always the same ones. If you have sensitive skin, it’s likely that you may be suffering from perhaps more than one condition that can trigger sensitive skin problems at problematic times of the year such as Autumn.
Here’s a guide to 5 specific types of sensitive skin conditions that are typical causes of sensitive and problematic skin during Autumn.
1. Contact dermatitis
At the root of any sensitive skin condition is dermatitis – a general term for inflamed, irritated skin that includes several specific conditions. Dermatitis is also known as “eczema” and includes chronic forms such as atopic dermatitis.
Contact dermatitis, on the other hand, is a temporary reaction to a specific irritant. There are two types of contact dermatitis:
- Allergic contact dermatitis refers to allergens that cause reactions even after a very brief exposure; for example, poison oak or poison ivy. Other forms of allergic contact dermatitis include allergies to certain metals found in jewellery, pet allergies or reactions to pollen. [quote]Pet allergies tend to get worse in Autumn because we are shut indoors more with out pets and also animals are growing thick winter coats for winter. [/quote] Also hayfever and pollen contact allergies can also rear up again in Autumn as some plant pollens begin to re-generate, particularly if it’s a mild Autumn.
- Irritant contact dermatitis occurs after repeated exposure to an irritant, which includes common ingredients in skincare products or products found in your household – such as chemicals, detergents, fragrances, alcohol or artificial preservatives. We often start using heavier skin products in Autumn and a return to the office means more hair and body washing with soaps and shampoos which may also heighten the risk of a product contact allergy.
The most important part in dealing with contact dermatitis is narrowing down the specific irritant, so you can avoid further irritation.
2. Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is most common in infants and children, but unfortunately, some cases of eczema persist into adulthood. Chronic eczema affects 1 in 3 adults and there is no definitive cure.
Doctors often prescribe topical or oral steroids to treat atopic dermatitis. However steroid use is only recommended for short term use.
You can do your part at home by starting with a gentle daily skincare regimen in Autumn that includes daily use of non-steroid products to relieve itchiness and dryness and prevent yourself from scratching.
Sudden changes in temperature, wind and stress are all triggers for rosacea, as is spicy food and alcohol, in particular red wine. Autumn is a time of heightened stress, dramatic temperature changes and changes in diet, making it a prime time for rosacea flare ups.
Rosacea is often mistaken for acne; however, typical acne treatment products can make rosacea symptoms worse. Instead, look for formulas for very sensitive skin that reduce redness and relieve inflamed skin.
Start treating rosacea now, before the weather turns even colder and get your skin under control before the weather takes over.[quote]Also it’s a good idea to start treating your skin now before the Christmas season kicks in, where typically dramatic changes in diet and increased alcohol consumption can add to the problem.[/quote]
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease caused by the overproduction of skin cells. The most common type is plaque psoriasis, which is characterized by raised red patches and silver or white scales that build up and flake off.[quote] Autumn is often a time of back to work or back to school stress, and psoriasis is directly linked to stress levels.[/quote]
Medical treatment options include creams and ointments that help to shed layers of built-up skin cells. contain steroids or milder options are those containing salicylic acid or coal tar. There is no definitive cure and often its combinations of treatments that work best for psoriasis.
However studies show that daily use of milder no-steroid anti-plaque moisturizers and skin and scalp serums and the consumption of daily fish oil supplements can significantly improve psoriasis symptoms aside from medication or steroids. Psoriasis is a skin condition that needs to be managed on a daily basis rather than only treated during flare ups.
Believe it or not, acne skin is also sensitive. While many acne sufferers believe that the key to treating acne is to dry up excess oil and acne lesions, harsh treatment products will only cause more redness, inflammation and discomfort, especially when it comes to adult acne.
The best way to treat acne is to maintain a healthy daily skincare regimen that includes a cleanser, moisturizer and treatment products that have milder more natural anti-bacterial actions but that also protect sensitive skin and do not contain harsh chemical anti bacterial agents.
So while you may not be able to cure your skin condition or prevent symptoms from returning, you are in control of how you care for your skin, which can make a big difference in the health and look of your complexion during the Autumn months.[quote]Keep in mind that if you start managing your skin now in Autumn, by the time we get to Christmas and New Year, which is when many of us like to look our best, your sensitive skin should be under control.[/quote]