Dry, Sensitive Skin Options

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Treatment Options for Dry, Sensitive Skin

If you suffer from dry, cracked or sensitive skin – skin that easily reacts to chemicals and temperature fluctuations – then keeping your skin hydrated is essential. If you live in a humid climate where natural moisture is more prevalent, then you are halfway there to better skin. On the flip side, if you live in a high-altitude or desert climate, artificially creating humidity in your home may be the second best option. Since many of us can’t just pick up and move to a new seaside location, using a humidifier in your home or bedroom while you sleep can do wonders for your dry, cracked skin.

While drinking more water will help hydrate your skin to a degree, it isn’t the cure-all for sensitive skin issues. However, the water you use to bathe is very important. Bathing with hard water (which contains increased amounts of calcium) can contribute to dryness and redness. Reverse osmosis water filters will help convert hard water to soft water, if it fits in your budget, it could be a consideration. Water temperature also matters. Dermatologists warm that very hot water temperatures, such as 104 degrees F, can dry out your skin and lead to redness. Gentle hydrotherapy, meaning moderate temperatures with little fluctuations are best for your skin type.

When choosing a special spa treatment, do so with care. Be wise in selecting spa and beauty treatments like exfoliating massages, loofahs, acid-peel facials, and hot steam rooms, which can all strip oils from sensitive, dry skin. Scalding temperatures, intense treatments, running from hot saunas into wintry snow is good for those with resilient skin – not for you. For those with especially sensitive skin, even perfumed bath oils and massage products can be irritating. Aromatherapy massages may be counterproductive if the oils used cause any form of burning or redness. Even getting a manicure or pedicure can cause hyper-reactions when the acetones in nail polishes and removers are irritating.

If you have had serious reactions to spa treatments in the past and need a gentler alternative, consider thalassotherapy. Thalassotherapy was developed in seaside towns in Brittany, France during the 19th century. Based on the belief that the properties of seawater have beneficial effects upon the pores of the skin, trace elements of magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium, and iodide found in seawater are believed to be absorbed through the skin. The therapy is applied in various forms, as either showers of warmed seawater, application of marine mud or of algae paste or the inhalation of sea fog. Spas make hot seawater and provide mud and seaweed wrapping services.

Very popular throughout Europe, thalassotherapy treatments are used for relaxation, stress management, muscle and skin restoration, and to fight cellulite. If you cannot afford the actual spa treatments, home products containing seaweed or algae can also be effective in hydrating dry, sensitive skin.
Another great option to provide more oil distribution to dry skin is massage. Massage is also great for eczema. A recent dermatological study at the University of Miami showed that children with severe dry skin were treated with moisturizer and massage therapy improved more compared to those who were not massaged and were treated with moisturizer alone.

So these are simply guidelines to use when choosing products and treatments to help alleviate your dry skin conditions. As with all hydrotherapy treatments, it is important to limit your immersion in the water to less than one hour so as not to impair the skin barrier. And when purchasing products, always be sure to read the ingredient list for potential irritants.

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