You feel it before you see it. That familiar burning and stinging feeling. You dread looking in the mirror. Your reflection confirms your dread. Your skin is puffy, swollen and covered in red blotches. This can’t be happening today. You need to be in work in an hour for a major presentation. The mere thought of applying any kind of make up to your tender skin makes you cringe. Would it be too noticeable if you showed up to work in a ski mask? Damn that new perfume you bought! Ok, deep breath, you can handle it.
Believe it or not, inflammation is really a good thing. It’s a sign that your body is protecting itself against bacteria, viruses, and injuries. However, when the cause of the inflammation is gone, so too should be the inflammation. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case, and chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, Alzheimers, arthritis and even cancer.
Why Has My Skin Betrayed Me In This Way?
There are a lot of possible explanations for skin inflammation, Stress, lack of sleep, unhealthy pollution, second-hand smoke, and sun exposure are all noted causes. The “stress hormone” cortisol can also cause inflammation and so can saturated fats, fried foods, refined sugar, and carbohydrates. But, no matter the culprit, the root of inflammation is sensitive skin.
The Four Types of Sensitive Skin
Dermatologist Leslie Bauman M.D. and director of Cosmetic Medicine and Research says there are four types of sensitive skin:
- Burning and Stinging
- Contact dermatitis (allergies and irritants)
Though each of these have different symptoms, there is one commonality: they all cause inflammation.
The Quick Fix
Green tea is a natural anti-inflammatory that brings down redness and puffiness. It can be applied to your skin in two ways:
- Boil water and steep 4-6 tea bags for 5 minutes. Soak a washcloth in tea and rub the cloth on your face.
- Squeeze water out of teabags and put them directly on your face.
- You should notice a difference after 5-10 minutes of application.
Oatmeal has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds which will take the redness out of your skin and soothe itchiness. It will also fight dryness, reduce pore size, and moisturizes. Here is a good recipe for an oatmeal mask.
- 2 tablespoons colloidal oatmeal ground into powder by coffee grinder/ food processor
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
Mix ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes. Apply to the skin as a mask, leave it on for 10 minutes and rinse it with warm water.
For The Long Term
- Avoid Hot Water and don’t spend too much time in the shower. It will strip skin of natural moisture. Apply toner and moisturizer immediately after you get out.
- Avoid Soap Swap them for soap- free cleansers with nourishing ingredients.
- Avoid fragrances and chemicals These can be irritating to the skin. Also, check the amount skin products your using daily. If it’s more than 4, consider scaling back.
Now go out there and Enjoy your lovely skin!