Sensitive skin refers to a condition in which the skin is easily irritated by factors that would normally be well-tolerated by healthy skin. This type of skin is typically characterised by a genetic predisposition to inflammation and an excessive production of histamine, a chemical that contributes to allergic reactions.
What causes sensitive or reactive skin?
Sensitive or reactive skin can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices. While some individuals may inherit a predisposition to sensitive skin, others may experience flare-ups due to certain foods, ingredients in skincare products, or exposure to external irritants such as pollution, harsh weather conditions, or UV radiation.
Additionally, sensitive skin can coexist with other skin types, such as oily, dry, or combination skin. This can make it difficult to find the right skincare routine that effectively addresses all of your skin’s needs without causing irritation.
What symptoms suggest your skin is sensitive or reactive?
Sensitive or reactive skin can present with a variety of symptoms, it’s important to note that sensitised skin, while similar in symptoms to genetically sensitive skin, can develop over time and is often associated with external factors and triggers.
Visit our Rosacea, Redness & Sensitivity page for more information on sensitised skin.
- Flare-ups or redness after exposure to certain foods, ingredients, or environmental factors
- A weakened skin barrier that is easily irritated
- The presence of visible blood vessels near the surface of the skin
- Increased susceptibility to outside irritants, such as pollution, weather changes, or skincare products
- Prone to blushing or allergic reactions
- Sensations of stinging, itching, or burning when using certain topical products or ingredients
What can you do to manage sensitive skin?
Managing sensitive skin can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to help reduce irritation and promote overall skin health.
Maintain a healthy skin barrier
Use skincare products that contain emollients and occlusives, such as ceramides, fatty alcohols, squalane, and petrolatum, to help strengthen the skin barrier and lock in hydration. This can help protect against environmental toxins and reduce reactivity.
Track your triggers
Pay attention to what triggers your sensitive skin and try to minimise exposure to these irritants as much as possible.
Choose fragrance-free products, as fragrances can cause unnecessary irritation to sensitive skin.
Avoid harsh ingredients
Avoid using products that contain overly stripping ingredients that can exacerbate irritation, and be mindful of external factors that can contribute to sensitivity, such as pollution, weather changes, and stress.
Hydrate your skin
Use skincare products that contain humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, polyglutamic acid, and sodium PCA, to help deliver water to the skin and promote hydration.
Wear sunscreen daily
Use a gentle, mineral-based sunscreen every day to help protect against UV radiation and minimise flare-ups.