Skin sensitivity is a leading skin concern throughout the modern world with more than half of women claiming to have sensitive skin. Generally, what people mean by having sensitive skin is that they react to skin care products. Other triggers include environmental exposures, heat, friction, food and medications. Most people have experienced a skin reaction to a product or ingredient at one point or another, but individuals who suffer with persistent issues are classified as having sensitive skin.
Truly reactive skin is easily aggravated, and is described as environmentally sensitised or vaso-reactive.
Sensitivity is generally the result of an impaired barrier function, which results in nerve endings being more prone to irritation, and a hyperactive immune response. How the skin responds to triggers can include symptoms of swelling/oedema, redness, blemishes, stinging or tingling, itching and dry, scaly patches.
How do you know if you have sensitive or reactive skin?
- Skin might feel dry and itchy for no apparent reason
- Skin might sting and tingle when applying products
- Skin might be reactive or easily stimulated by heat and/or friction
- You may be prone to breakouts and develop rashes easily
Sensitive skin can be greatly improved by following some easy steps that don’t need to be expensive or time consuming.
What can you do to reduce and prevent skin sensitivity?
- Strengthen barrier function by supporting a healthy skin microbiome, choose pH balanced products that do not contain harsh preservatives.
- Supplement your skincare routine with pre- and probiotics.
- Avoid all foaming products – use a cream-based cleanser and don’t cleanse in the morning.
- Avoid fragrances – these are often synthetic and can trigger an exaggerated immune response.
- Avoid synthetic and chemical ingredients – these can harm beneficial skin micro-organisms and are not compounds that skin would be exposed to naturally.
- Avoid alcohols and astringents in products – these act as anti-bacterial agents, disrupting the skin’s microbiome.
- Avoid extreme temperature or climate changes.
- Manage your environment, lifestyle, diet and water intake – skin health is better managed holistically.