sensitive versus sensitised skin
find out your sensitive skin type
here's how to tell if your skin is sensitive or sensitised - and how to cope.
Do you hide behind the painful, hard-to-manage symptoms of sensitive skin?
It looks and feels different for everyone. Redness, dehydration, itching and burning can flare up occasionally – or maybe you deal with redness and discomfort daily. Sensitive skin can be hereditary or tied to lifestyle triggers like stress, your diet, cosmetic ingredients or even pollution. Knowing what causes your skin to react will help you determine if it is sensitive or sensitised, which is key to keeping your skin strong and healthy.
Sensitive skin is a weak protective function of the skin that can be genetically predisposed. When skin is sensitive its protective outer layer lets irritants, microbes and allergens pass through, causing adverse reactions like stinging, pain, redness or flushing. Sensitive skin can be passed down through generations – but there are ways to manage it.
some signs of sensitive skin
- Thin skin texture with a translucent appearance.
- A feeling of tightness, which can indicate dehydration and lead to skin reactions from products.
- Redness or blotchiness. This signals over-reactive capillaries or a tendency toward rosacea.
- Flaking, peeling or cracking on the cheeks and forehead. This indicates dehydrated skin and impaired barrier function.
- Flushing and itching, or burning sensations, which can also be a sign of over-reactive capillaries.
- Small, rash-like bumps or breakouts (not to be confused with acne breakouts).
Frequent irritability from lifestyle, irritants and external factors can be signs of sensitised skin. Good news: avoiding your individual triggers can actually reduce or eliminate your symptoms. When triggers can’t be avoided (think pollution, environment and temperature sensitivity), symptoms of sensitised skin can be managed through skin care and lifestyle changes.
Your skin can be affected by any of the following factors:
this includes stress, diet, smoking, dehydration, alcohol, reactions to cosmetic ingredients, trauma from laser resurfacing or peels, and over-processing caused by excess exfoliation or non-pH-balanced products
pollution, airborne allergens, weather, and sudden changes in climates or microclimates – like the transfer from cold, dry winds outdoors to dry heat indoors
stress or hormonal fluctuations
rosacea, eczema, psoriasis
No matter the trigger, strengthening your skin’s lipid barrier will help reduce the severity and frequency of your reactions. Picture your skin cells as tiny bricks. The “mortar” holding them together are lipids. A healthy lipid barrier helps keep skin hydrated and healthy by holding water in and keeping environmental pollutants and bad microbes out.
When your skin is exposed to triggers that compromise the barrier, the result is redness, dryness, irritation and discomfort, otherwise known as – you guessed it – sensitive skin.
For more information on products that can help your address your skin concern, visit our sensitive skin category.