We know that there are various types of skin, classified according to their condition. One particular type is sensitive skin .
But what is sensitive skin? What characteristics differentiate it from other types and how to take care of it in the best way?
What is sensitive skin
Sensitive skin is usually discovered when skin care products or household products that come into contact with the skin causing burning, itching, redness.
According to dermatologists, skin is sensitive when it has the following characteristics:
- Skin reactions such as pustules, bumps or skin erosions
- Very dry skin that does not adequately protect the nerve endings in the skin
- Tendency to redness, dryness, peeling, hives
Often the complaints are found only on the face: the eyelids are particularly sensitive. But also the armpits, groin and genitals can be more sensitive than other areas due to the thinner skin thickness.
Sensitive skin is more reactive skin than usual. It is easily irritated by atmospheric agents such as wind, sun, heat or cold, or by topical products. Other potential triggers can include hormones, lack of sleep, and even air pollution.
When exposed to any of these triggers, sensitive skin can burn, turn red, or feel uncomfortable.
Sensitive skin is caused by irritation of the nerve endings in the top layer of skin. Irritation of the nerve endings occurs when the skin's natural barrier is weakened or damaged by triggers.
Another potential trigger is skin care products. People with sensitive skin are generally more responsive to soaps, detergents, dyes and fragrances in topical products, and using the wrong ones can lead to itching, dryness and redness.
Different types of skin sensitivities
- Naturally Sensitive Skin : May be linked to inflammatory skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis.
- Environmentally Sensitive Skin : This type of sensitivity is triggered by the environment in which one lives. Sun exposure, cigarette smoke, air pollution – anything your skin comes in contact with could irritate it or cause other problems.
- Reactive Skin : Gets red and inflamed from skin care products. Papules or pustules may form.
- Thin Skin : As we age, skin naturally becomes thinner, and thinner skin is more easily irritated.
Causes of sensitive skin
Several medical causes are recognized:
- Irritant contact dermatitis : inflammatory response of the skin to one or more external agents or factors.
- Allergic contact dermatitis : skin reaction following an allergic response to an external agent, is less common than irritant contact dermatitis.
- Contact urticaria : form of hives due to skin contact with an agent that causes immediate swelling and redness. There are irritating and allergic forms of contact urticaria.
- Physical urticaria and dermographism : This is due to a physical event such as pressure, heat, cold or vibration. So it can trigger after a hot shower, for example.
- Eczema/dermatitis of any type (atopic, seborrheic, asteatotic, venous, etc.): it is triggered when external agents penetrate the skin barrier, causing rashes, irritations, itching.
- Photodermatosis : Skin reaction to sunlight (photosensitivity) that occurs as sunburn, hives, blisters, or sensory symptoms such as pins and needles.
- Rosacea : Common facial skin condition characterized by a number of clinical features, such as redness, facial swelling, broken capillaries, acne-like pimple rash .
- Cutaneous mastocytosis : Excessive number of mast cells in the skin, which can release histamine under pressure, heat, etc., causing skin redness, swelling, and even blisters. The most common mastocystosis is called urticaria pigmentosa.
- Aquagenic itch : due to contact with water of any temperature.
Sensitive skin care
The skincare routine is a habit to take to keep your skin healthy and youthful. For each skin type, certain precautions must be followed, because each skin reacts in its own way.
How can you take care of your sensitive skin?
Gently remove makeup . Sensitive skin is more prone to redness and irritation, so friction should be kept to a minimum.
Cleanse your skin . Keep your skin clean with a mild cleanser: When dead skin cells remain on the surface, they can get trapped inside your pores and this can further irritate your skin.
Be aware that the buildup of dirt, pollution, makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities clog pores and can lead to rashes and irritation. Look for a gentle formula that won't strip your skin of essential oils.
Use a facial toner . Toners offer several benefits, such as balancing the skin's pH levels after cleansing and removing stubborn residue or dirt. Sensitive skin types may benefit from using a facial toner , but avoid those formulated with too much alcohol or astringent ingredients.
Moisturize your skin . While your skin is still a little damp, look for a water-based, non-comedogenic (won't clog pores), fragrance-free cream, gel, or water-based moisturizer.
Protect your skin from the sun . The sun's rays can cause long-term damage to the skin by weakening the skin barrier. It is therefore good to use a sunscreen to prevent them.
2 more steps
We recommend two extra steps to the common care steps for sensitive skin, to be added to alternate periods and from time to time.
- Exfoliation . Can sensitive skin be exfoliated? Yes, but gently. Keep exfoliating once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and refresh your skin.
- Facial Mask . A face mask is one of the best ways to soothe sensitive skin.
What to avoid and what to choose for your skin
Environmental factors and lifestyles . Being aware of certain factors that cause skin reactions helps prevent problems. These are factors that differ from person to person and include:
- Seasonal changes
- Stress and lack of sleep
Harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances . Harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances are two of the biggest culprits for damage to the lipid barrier.
To keep your skin healthy, look for products that are free from fragrance and preservatives, two common causes of irritation and flare-ups.
Choose soothing ingredients in cosmetics . It is important to choose natural ingredients, regardless of your skin type, but for sensitive skin it is extremely important.
So choose products indicated as hypoallergenic, delicate and with natural ingredients, which have anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to improve the lipid barrier of the skin, such as:
Patch testing . Do not buy a new product without first trying it in small quantities. It's called a patch test and consists of trying a small amount of product on a small area of skin and observing the reaction.
Wait at least 24 hours for any signs of irritation, redness or other skin irritation phenomena.
Final tips for sensitive skin
When you have sensitive skin, it can feel like everything is irritating. But with a few lifestyle changes, you may see significant improvement.
Here are some tips that can help you if you have sensitive skin:
- Take short showers of 5 to 10 minutes with medium hot water
- Avoid harsh astringents and exfoliants
- Use a mild, fragrance-free soap
- Use essential oils instead of perfumes
- Use a mild, fragrance-free laundry detergent
- Try using organic cleaning products
- Gently pat yourself dry after showering (instead of scrubbing) and apply moisturizer right away