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20 Common Questions About Sensitive Skin

13. Which clothing fabrics are less irritating to sensitive skin?

Smooth, soft, natural fabrics, such as fine cotton and silk, feel best worn next to the skin. Cotton is cool where silk is warm; both are absorbent, helping to draw body moisture away from the skin. Rayon and linen are also comfortable for sensitive skin but are heavier than cotton or silk. Clothing should be loose fitting with a minimum of creases and folds.

14. What diseases and conditions may be associated with sensitive skin?

If you have skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis, contact dermatitis, rosacea, or eczema, you’re likely to have sensitive skin.

15. Does the FDA regulate the safety of cosmetics?

The FDA regulates the manufacture and marketing of cosmetics -- but not in the same way it regulates prescription medications and medical devices.

The FDA cannot require that cosmetic manufacturers provide manufacturing data on their products, conduct product recalls, or report cosmetic-related injuries. However, it can inspect cosmetic manufacturing facilities. And it can take action against manufacturers whose products or any of their ingredients are found to be:

  • Unsafe
  • Improperly labeled
  • Adulterated
  • Misbranded


16. Are skin care products labeled “hypoallergenic” safer for sensitive skin?

Hypoallergenic skin care products are not necessarily safer for sensitive skin. There are no federal standards governing manufacturers’ use of the term “hypoallergenic.” So it can mean whatever a particular company wants it to mean.

17. How can I tell if a particular skin care or household product is likely to irritate my sensitive skin?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Specialized Information Services group maintain a Household Products Database online. You can look up products by brand name to see what’s in them and whether anything they contain could irritate your skin.

18. Can healthful eating help sensitive skin?

Eating healthfully is good for your whole body, including your skin.

19. Can a child with a disease or condition related to sensitive skin outgrow it?

A child with sensitive skin due to eczema has a very good chance of outgrowing it before age 5 and a 40% to 50% chance of outgrowing it by the time he or she is a teen. About 80% of people aged 11 to 30 have outbreaks of acne. For most of them, acne typically goes away sometime in their 30s. Psoriasis is considered a chronic, lifelong disease.

Brush Up on Beauty

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