Sensitive skin is caused by irritation in the nerve endings in the top layer of the skin and happens because its natural barrier called the acid mantle, a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin has been weakened for one reason or another.
Sensitive skin shows up in a few ways:
Sensitive skin refers to skin that is easily irritable and often unpredictable, but reactions are rarely excessive.
Reactive skin responds adversely and excessively upon contact with products that normally would be suitable.
Irritated skin displays various degrees of inflammation including redness, heat, pain and swelling.
Today the term sensitive skin is used liberally by marketers and clientele alike. Most consumers describe their skin as “sensitive.”
What Causes Sensitization?
- Harsh skin care products
- Environmental stress (work/play/lifestyle)
- Extremes of climate: UVA/UVB/UVC radiation
- Excessive exfoliation
- Excessive washing
- Improper use of products
- Poor nutritional choices
- Lack of sleep
Studies have found that up to 52% of people report that they have a skin sensitivity of some kind. This can be anything from an occasional flare up to the kind of extreme sensitivity that can make life (and skin care) difficult.
Sensitive skin can leave the skin dry, with flaky patches, itchiness and discomfort, blemishes and redness, and this can be serious enough to affect confidence and self-esteem.
- Can feel tight and uncomfortable
- Maybe sore or sensitive
- Needs extra hydration, especially in the winter
- Dries out easily but tends to be oily in the summer
- Often flushes after drinking alcohol or eating spicy foods
- Tends to have red patches that may not fade
- Has uneven texture, dryness and flakiness in places
- Reacts to some skincare products
- Is often itchy or develops a rash after contact with certain substances
- Itches after contact with some types of fabric
- Dries out quickly after a hot shower or bath
Tips for looking after your sensitive skin
To keep sensitive skin happy, you need to treat it carefully.
- Treat your skin kindly
Always look for products that are gentle and designed to not irritate your skin. Avoid higher concentrations of strong ingredients like niacinamide, retinol, vitamin C, BHA (salicylic acid), or AHA (glycolic or lactic acid). If you have sensitive skin, always read the label before using a new product.
- Stay moist
Moisturizing is even more important for you if you have sensitive skin. Ask your esthetician for advice, or as a rule, opt for a gentle, long-lasting moisturizer that’s designed to keep sensitive skin hydrated throughout the day. Make sure that it doesn’t contain any irritating ingredients or ingredients that you know will cause your skin to react.
- Keep it simple
Most dermatologists recommend a simple three-step regimen for sensitive skin: Cleanse, Moisturize, Protect. A gentle exfoliant can be used on skin that is excessively flaky. This exfoliant should not contain any harsh ingredients such as niacinamide, retinol, vitamin C, BHAs of AHAs Don’t get stressed about the latest 10-step skincare menus and multi-tasking products; with sensitive skin less is more.
- Always stay protected
Always keep your skin protected from sun and environmental exposure. Wear gloves to protect your hands when you are doing the laundry and household tasks. Always wear a sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin and use extra hydration when you expose your skin to harsh weather and temperatures.
- Stay away from perfumed products
Don’t use perfumed products. Research has shown that fragranced beauty and skincare products are one of the most common causes of negative skin reactions, so while the unscented skincare products may seem a little dull, you know that your skin will thank you for using them. However, there are skin care products that are derived from plants, such as fruits and vegetables – these will carry the fragrance of that fruit or vegetable.
If in doubt – ask your esthetician for advice on the perfect products and treatments for your sensitive skin.
Book a Virtual Facial and get a free facial cleanser. A virtual facial will give you everything you need to maintain great skin at home. You will also get a free cleanser to jumpstart your homecare.
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