Often times we are incorrectly led to believe that our skin conditions are our skin types. Our skin type is our predisposed skin that we were born with. Typically your family members will have similar types whether everyone runs on the oily side or dry side. Skin conditions are acquired over time and can go in and out of our lives. Some examples are eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne and anything else that can be triggered by your environment, hormones, nutrition or stress. The main problem is when the type and condition are polar opposites leading you to not know which products to reach for. Today I am going to talk about sensitive skin types and sensitive skin conditions. When you are dealing with these, you do have to treat your skin in a counterintuitive way. Let me break it down to answer why are you sensitive?
Inflammation is the root of all skin care evil. This means internal and external inflammation, whether you are noticing it or not we constantly adding in inflammatory culprits into and on our bodies. The key is balance and developing the ability to recognize it. Here are some main triggers:
- Coffee. Mmmm, so good but not only can the warmth of the liquid heat you up it can be quite acidic for your gut. An acidic gut can lead to heat flushing along your checks and an irritated skin. Maybe people will experience this as mildly as a flush or as seriously as chronic rosacea. Start with warmed lemon water to create a nice alkaline protecting coating to your gut. You can also add a healthy fat such as ghee butter or coconut oil to your coffee. Try an organic, fair trade, single source blend as well.
- Alcohol. All alcohol can be incredibly inflammatory. Where do you think the hangover comes from? I personally deal with major joint pain and it can be a huge culprit for me. The levels of sugar in alcohol can peek and tamper with your sleep as well. It is also incredibly dehydrating so your skin will thirst and potentially produce more oil to overcompensate. A healthy solution is to narrow down the alcohols you do best with and stick to an organic version of it. Eating chia seeds prior to going out for cocktails also really helps since break down the sugar in your system. Have a lot of water before you go to bed and the second you wake up along with a liver support to help you rest as your body works hard to break down the alcohol.
- Dairy, Gluten, Sugar and processed foods. The most delicious foods are coated in these triggers because they give a temporary high when you consume them. Not to mention these can really trigger your hormone system into a slow shock as they are usually filled with endocrine disruptors. Start shopping at your local farmers market and ask questions as to what is in season. This will help you determine the freshest options that will not come with tons of unnecessary fillers. Your skin and hormones will thank you!
- Hot classes or outdoor exercise. It feels like everyone is addicted to trying new exercises these days. It’s great because our bodies really need constant movement and oxygen flow to keep our organs healthy and happy but too much heat can start creating inflammation. If you stay red for longer than an hour after your workout that is an indication that your circulation is actively trying to fix something. It can actually be too much for you. Best thing to do is skip the steam room and go for a cool shower with lots of hydration. Take a cold towel and press it on the heated areas to softly cool down the areas of concern. *This is especially important for women on birth control as it is photo sensitizing. Try to take your BC at night or be very careful of excess sun and heat as it can trigger melasma.*
- Your skincare. If you breakout but are dealing with some inflammation it is best to simplify the routine and work on cooling the area first. If the inflammation is not under control, then the breakouts will keep happening. It may feel best to over scrub or heat the area but the opposite is actually best. Let your skin return to it’s natural state of healthy by cutting back on the enzymes, acids, and treatments. Use cool water to soothe the skin and stick to cooling ingredients such as mint, cucumber and aloe vera.
- Stress. Ever get so worked up that you literally started to sweat? That’s your cortisol levels rising which over time can create inflammation in your endocrine system and potentially lead to auto immune deficiencies. Create some meditative practices to help calm you down when you are dealing with stressors. Breath work, journaling and a quick walk around the block will work wonders for your skin and your soul.
So now that you have the tools to help your recognize and correct your inflammation it’s also important to know that we are always evolving. What may have worked for you a year ago may need to be adjusted. Creating that awareness allows you to let your body be your health coach. Start listening and use your body as a tool to maximize your healthy lifestyle opportunities.