DEALING WITH SENSITIVE AND ALLERGIC SKIN
Be certain it's not a skin disorder, many skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, eczema, and reactions to foods cause rashes, irritation, swollen, red, itchy, and or flaky skin. Do the symptom persist whatever products you use on your skin?
Isolate the cause
This may be a product or ingredient, finding it may not be as simple as it sounds. If within a few hours of using a new product you become red, itchy, and swollen, it is clear that that product is the problem.
Unfortunately, it's not always that easy. Some skin reactions don't happen immediately. Weeks, months, or on rare occasions years later, your skin has a bad reaction to a product. To make it more complicated, it may not be a single product but the combination of products that caused the problem, in this situation experiment with the items you suspect to see how your skin responds when you stop using them.
Use anti-inflammatory cream
Most Cortisone creams act as anti-inflammatory and can stop the reaction that is causing the problem. But don't rely on them long-term, used consistently for more than two months and they can damage collagen and elastin in the skin.
Avoid other skin irritants
Skin-care products with active ingredients can re-trigger irritation in the affected area and will add to the problem. Also rubbing and heat can re-trigger the reaction.
Fragrance and preservatives are the two ingredients which are often the major culprits when our skin has an allergic or sensitive reaction to a product, it's always best to go for a product without fragrance.
If in four to six weeks, things haven't improved, or if you're having an extreme reaction you should see a dermatologist, your GP should be able to refer you.
Be wary of the terms companies use
There are limited regulations for the use of terms such as dermatology tested, noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic, designed for sensitive skin, laboratory tested, and our research shows. It is best to view them just as marketing.
The ingredient list however is closely regulated, this has been European law since 1997. Ingredients are compulsory and are listed in the order of their quantity, largest at the top, that's why water (or aqua) is so often top of the list. Unfortunately the average consumer doesn't know what they're looking for and often the ingredients are given technical names. The companies producing these products are not necessarily snake-oil salesmen, but all products can't all be miracle products.
DEALING WITH ROSACEA
Rosacea is first identified by a characteristic pattern of redness which usually appears in a butterfly pattern over the nose and cheeks. In the beginning this blushing can be intermittent, eventually it almost always increases in severity and sensitivity. It can be accompanied by rashes, enlarged pores, blemishes, and noticeable surfaced capillaries.
Rosacea is extremely difficult to treat, there are very few products you can buy over the counter to help, the best to course of action is to consult a dermatologist (you can get a referral from your GP).
For more information consult The Rosacea Society, www.rosacea.org