Sensitive Skin Care Advice

Your skin is your body's largest and most visible organ. Although its main purpose is to act as a natural barrier that protects the inside of your body from stress and physical harm, it also is an important part of your appearance. When you want to look your best, even minor skin problems (dry skin, blemishes, psoriasis or cold sores, for example) can be bothersome. Fortunately, practicing certain simple techniques can help your skin look clean, clear and healthy.

Dry skin

Information from the National Institutes of Health indicates that dry skin is extremely common, especially during the winter months when the cold air outside and heated air indoors often result in low humidity. Decreased moisture in the air means your skin loses moisture, too, and shaving sensitive skin can exacerbate the problem. Dry, itchy skin can crack, providing an entry point for harmful bacteria that causes your skin to become irritated and inflamed. So what's the best strategy for avoiding dry skin?

Photo by Simona Balint
Photo by Simona Balint

Did You Know?

  • The average adult has 21 square feet of skin, which has approximately 300 million skin cells.

  • Dead skin cells make up 70 percent of household dust.

  • There are more than 2000 different skin diseases.

  • Twenty percent of the population will have a treatable skin condition at some point in their lives.

  • Nearly 11.7 million cosmetic surgery and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States in 2007. Over 6 million of those were related to correcting skin imperfections or wrinkles.

Change your bathing habits: Forget that long soak in a hot tub. Spending long periods of time in hot water contributes to dry skin. Take a brief shower or bath (10-15 minutes at the most), and make sure the water is warm, not hot. Increase skin moisture by using bath oils, or by applying a moisturizer immediately after showering while your skin is still damp. Moisturizers with lanolin, urea, alpha hydroxy acids or ammonium lactate are especially beneficial. It's also a good idea to apply an anti wrinkle cream to your face right after you wash it.

If the air in your house is very dry (often a problem with forced-air heat), use a humidifier or set out bowls of water to increase the humidity.


"Acne" is the general term for skin blemishes that typically occur on the face, neck, chest and back. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne -- blackheads, whiteheads and pimples -- affects adults as well as teenagers, although it's more common in adult women. The AAD says acne is triggered by hormonal fluctuations, not -- as was popularly thought -- by eating chocolate or other "junk food."

But Hindu Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine have their own takes on acne cures. Their acne home remedies are based on thousands of years of experience by practitioners and have therefore stood the test of time. Herbs and other natural ingredients are used but more importantly, energy flow within the body is considered. Both disciplines view these energies differently and have their own solutions to the imbalances they believe cause acne, but they share the belief that both the inside and outside of the body must be treated to affect a cure.

According to Western doctors, there is no way to prevent acne. But they do endorse acne treatments containing sulfur or cortisone that help reduce inflammation, and benzoyl peroxide that helps kill bacteria. Taking a vitamin A supplement may be beneficial for some skin blemishes, but be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the package label to make sure you take a safe amount.


Psoriasis causes inflammation of the skin, typically on the scalp, elbows, knees and lower back. The American Skin Association suggests some people may find relief by taking a fish oil supplement (10-18 g per day). Fish oil is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which the body cannot manufacture but needs for normal growth and development. Supplements of vitamins A and B also may aid skin healing, and vitamin E may soothe itching and dryness.

Cold sores

Cold sores are small, fluid-filled blisters that occur on the skin. Because cold sores are caused by a virus (not bacteria), there is no cure for this skin problem. Prescription creams or ointments may help to soothe cold sores and promote healing.

Experts at UC Davis School of Medicine suggest that taking 1,000 mg of the amino acid L-lysine seems to help sores heal rapidly. This technique works best if you take L-lysine as soon as you feel the burning or tingling sensation that signals you're getting a cold sore. Lysine inhibits the virus' ability to replicate itself.

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Comments 9 comments

Wisdom Kim 8 years ago

Great advice!

WordPlay profile image

WordPlay 8 years ago from Georgia, y'all Author

Thanks, Wisdom Kim!

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ratcliffe07 7 years ago

I get fever blisters terribly. They are far more painful than when i get cold sores. I have found the best product to be Zovorax which is acyclover, to be the best. I have tried zovorax topical and it is too painful to put on the sore, but if taken in pill form it clears up the cold sore or blister almost immediately. Like if I wake with one forming i immediately go to two pills then two hours later i take another one and then two hours later i take another one and it either gets rid of it immediately or reduces it to nothing.

I do have a question about sensitive skin. My skin is extremely sensitive and dry. Especialy around my eyes. I can not find a cream to put under my eyes that will moisterize it without irritating it. Do you have any suggestsion? Thanks!

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WordPlay 7 years ago from Georgia, y'all Author

Hi, ratcliffe07. I'm glad the Zovorax works for you. I've used it too and it's amazing.

As for the eye cream, I advise that you visit a large health food store such as Whole Foods and ask someone that staffs their cosmetic area to recommend fragrance- and irritant-free options. Fragrances are often the culprits when there are sensitivity issues, so you definitely want to stay away from them. If there's no one available to help you, try to find a cream with the least number of ingredients, or at least that has all natural ingredients. If take-home samples are available, I would definitely get as many as are appropriate so you can try them at home.

You might also want to check out to further rule out any products that might cause irritation.That site has a lot of great info, so I think you'll find it useful in general.

ratcliffe07 profile image

ratcliffe07 7 years ago

thanks! I Think we have a whole foods around here, so i will definitely seek out that option

WordPlay profile image

WordPlay 7 years ago from Georgia, y'all Author

Good luck with your search! Please let me know what you discover.

Skin care 7 years ago

as a doctor i agree with you.

Sensitive Skin 6 years ago

Great article... People with sensitive skin should look for good skin care products and be careful with sun. I would recommend using thermal spring water by Avene or La Roche Posay, great products especially if you live in hot places.

fashion 5 years ago

Great hub.full of information.I love it.

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