Almost everyone thinks their skin is sensitive, but it’s important to understand the specific type of sensitivity you’re experiencing so you can know how to treat and prevent it.
What is Sensitive Skin?
Skin that is easily reactive..If you are at a point were you find yourself thinking twice before applying a new product then your fear might be rooted by the fact that you doubt your skin is sensitive.. However, it’s not the same in all cases, some have a genetic predisposition for sensitivity and others are making their skin sensitive because of something they’re doing. The latter is more common though.. Generally speaking people who experience sensitivity are usually fair, thin-skinned people such as those of European descent.
The Four Types of Skin Sensitivity
1 || Allergic Sensitivity
An allergy occurs when the body’s immune system sees a substance as harmful and overreacts to it. All skin types can experience this. Whether topically or internally. Food allergies can manifest on the skin, the sensitivity can appear around the mouth, neck, or face. Finding the root cause is key because allergic reactions typically happen within 24 hours of coming into contact with an allergen. Keep in mind that, when it comes to topical products, it’s uncommon to suddenly react to something you’ve been using forever, so try to remember if you introduced anything new in that time frame.
Allergic sensitivity can show as, erythema, redness, rash, itching, swelling and hives. It is usually triggered by an internal inflammation caused by certain foods, ora certain plant compound found in skincare products..
What To Do with Allergic Sensitivity
- Stop using suspected allergens.
- Simplify your routine and focus on calming the skin. Stick to the basics, like a cleanser and moisturizer, and stop using active ingredients, like retinoids and exfoliating acids.
- Use ice compresses on affected areas.
- Consult with your doctor. He/she may recommend an antihistamine. If the problems persist, you can also ask your doctor or an allergist to perform an allergy test to get to the bottom of it and find out the trigger.
- Check whether any of your usual products have been reformulated slightly as some companies do so in terms of ingredients without mentioning anything to their customers about the change.
2 || Breakout-Prone Sensitivity
Some skincare products, specifically heavy textured ones, easily cause clogged pores or breakouts. The thick nature and sticky oil taps in and traps dead skin cells in the pore lining and keeps oxygen from circulating through the pore, which creates the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive.
Breakout-Prone Sensitivity can show as bumpy skin texture, whiteheads, blemishes, milia, postures and cysts.. Usually triggered by cleansing brushes, liquid foundations, liquid primers, cream blushes, facial oils or water proof sunblocks…
What To Do With Breakout-Prone Sensitivity
- Use lightweight skincare products.
- Don’t experiment with products too much.
- Introduce active ingredients into your routine slowly. Exfoliating acids or retinoids can cause an initial “purging.” This refers to more active blemishes coming to the surface as the rate of skin cell turnover increases. Use calming and anti-bacterial ingredients in your skincare routine.
- Get educated about makeup and how it affects your face.
3 || Heat-Activated Sensitivity
Heat causes an increase in blood flow to the capillaries which causes them to dilate and expand, their visibility causes the skin to appear red. Cooling down the skin will constrict the capillaries again and the redness will go away. If you are someone who already has rosacea, you will be especially prone to heat-activated sensitivity.
Heat-Activated Sensitivity can show as redness, flushing and skin feels hot to the touch. Usually triggered by intense exercise, hot showers, sun exposure, saunas and steam rooms..
What To Do With Heat-Activated Sensitivity
- Avoid exposing your skin to high temperatures whenever possible.
- Look for products with calming, soothing ingredients like red marine algae, licorice extract or sea whip.
- Cool the skin down manually. Use an ice compress or try putting your products in the fridge so they are cooling to the skin when applied.
4 || Dry/Dehydrated Sensitivity
When the skin’s moisture barrier is compromised, it causes microscopic cracks to open up. These allow moisture to escape from the skin and irritants to penetrate more easily. This can sometimes lead to skin burning or stinging, which is an inflammatory reaction. Usually triggered by dry climates, airplanes, changing seasons, synthetic fragrances and perfumes, harsh drying products and over-exfoliating with acids.
Dry/Dehydrated Sensitivity can appear as flaking, peeling, eczema prone, itchiness, tightness, rough texture, stinging and burning sensations..
What to do with dry/dehydrated sensitivity
- Cut back on exfoliation. Both chemical and physical.
- Use a gentle cleanser that won’t strip the skin of moisture.
- Start using a hydrating toner after cleansing.
- Look for a moisturizer with barrier-repairing ingredients.