Everything You Need to Know for Identifying and Treating Sensitive Skin
You’ve probably heard the term “sensitive skin” a billion times in your life. Maybe you have it, someone you know has it, or you hear it a lot from dermatologists and skincare gurus. But what exactly is it and do you really need to know about it?
For starters, yes. You do need to know what is considered sensitive skin and what you can do if you have it. We’ve compiled a quick guide on everything you need to know when it comes to identifying and treating sensitive skin.
What Is Sensitive Skin?
Contrary to common belief, sensitive skin isn’t exactly something you get diagnosed with. It’s more of a finding, making it hard to figure out if you actually have it. Essentially, though, skin is defined as sensitive when it can’t tolerate harsh environments, chemicals, and conditions. Technically speaking, the term “sensitive skin” refers to skin that is more prone to inflammation, and the cause of the inflammation differs per person.
Sensitive skin can easily be irritated by topical products, wind, sun, heat, and cold. It can also be triggered by lack of sleep, hormones, and air pollution. It can even be genetic. It also tends to react to soaps, detergents, fragrances, and other similar products.
How Do I Know If I Have Sensitive Skin?
Those who have sensitive skin usually find that their skin has reactions to products such as dyes, chemicals, and fragrances. Clothing or friction can also cause irritation or rashes.
If you notice that you frequently experience red, itchy, bumpy, or flaky skin, chances are, your skin is sensitive. And yes, it’s possible for skin to develop sensitivity over time, so your skin may not have been sensitive before.
What Do I Do If I Think I Have Sensitive Skin?
If you didn’t have sensitive skin before but you suspect you have it now, consult your dermatologist. Examples of this incident include noticing skin sensitivity around the same time you started using a certain skincare product or wearing a new type of face mask.
Skin sensitivity could also be a symptom of an underlying condition, such as an allergy, or eczema or rosacea. Talk to a board-certified dermatologist for help. Also, as much as possible, avoid potential triggers and soothe your irritated skin.
What Ingredients Should I Look For If I Have Sensitive Skin?
Use products that nourish your skin barrier. Ingredients that draw and seal in moisture include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and shea butter. Ingredients that replenish your lipid bilayer include ceramides and fatty acids. Also, look for products that contain niacinamide or vitamin B3. You can also opt for pure-niacinamide products or natural ingredients like algae, colloidal oatmeal, rosehip oil, and licorice.
What Ingredients Should I Avoid If I Have Sensitive Skin?
The best way to find out what to avoid is to consult your dermatologist. Since everyone is different, a dermatologist can help you figure out your individual triggers. In general, though, avoid using products that have dyes and fragrances.
Other common irritants include sulphates, exfoliants (e.g., glycolic, salicylic acid, and retinoids), creams with lots of ingredients, isopropyl alcohol, and chemical sunscreens.
An easy way to know which products are good for sensitive skin is if they explicitly say it’s good for sensitive skin, such as the Adec Vitamin Facial Moisturiser and the Mayerling Skincare Facial Cream Cleanser. A good old body massage can also soothe and relax your sensitive skin.
What Are the Types of Sensitive Skin?
It’s important to know that there are different types of sensitive skin: environmentally sensitive, naturally sensitive, reactive, and thin.
- Environmentally Sensitive Skin
Environmentally sensitive skin is easily triggered by its environment, such as smoke and sun exposure.
- Naturally Sensitive Skin
Naturally, sensitive skin comes from genetics. This can also be associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema.
- Reactive Skin
Skincare products can cause redness and inflammation to reactive skin.
- Thin Skin
Thin skin develops as we age since the skin naturally becomes thinner.
What Else Can Cause Sensitive Skin?
Other causes of sensitive skin include pandemic stress and lifestyle changes. A diet change and increased stress can also be factors.
Having sensitive skin means being extra careful in the products you choose. Go for safer options. Check out some of our handpicked skincare products for sensitive skin here.