Watch Out! These 10 Things May Be Irritating Your Skin

Dolce and Gabbana Beauty

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014. Photo: Imaxtree

Your bar of soap or scented moisturizer may not be as innocuous as you think. Here’s a look at 10 things that may unknowingly be irritating your skin.

  1. Soap: Soap and water strip skin of moisture, which will often cause dry, irritated skin.
  2. Fragrances: The first thing most people do is smell their beauty products. But whether natural or synthetic, fragrance is the most common irritant in skincare. This also applies to the products you’re using to wash your clothes and sheets.
  3. Petroleum: Petroleum is often found in moisturizers (Vaseline is the most common petroleum jelly). But ironically, while it’s used to hydrate skin, it often has the opposite effect. Petroleum is water-repellent, meaning it forms an oily layer on the skin to block moisture from leaving, giving you an instantly hydrated feel while it traps dirt (potentially leading to breakouts) and dries out pores because it’s keeping air and moisture out.
  4. A diet rich in salt: Salt not only causes your body to retain more water leading to swelling, but it can dry out skin.
  5. Heat: Warm weather and sweating aggravate redness, chafing, acne, rosacea and hives. That said, it’s not all bad — heat/hot water will open up pores and is great for circulation. When you’re exposed to heat, make sure to drink a lot of water and load up on these dietician-recommended foods.
  6. Spicy food: Hot dishes and spices will raise body temperature and dilate blood vessels, which may irritate skin, especially for those that are rosacea-prone.
  7. Fabric softeners and dryer sheets: Chemically rich, they are one of the most common skin irritants.
  8. Wool: Because of its coarse consistency, wool clothing can lead to rashes and itches.
  9. Scrubs made with walnut shells: If you have sensitive skin, avoid using these on your face as crushed walnut shells have rough edges.
  10. Alcohol-based toners: Alcohol is not only known to dry out skin, but often leads to breakouts and skin sensitivity.