Here’s What You Should Know About Sensitive Skin
Roughly 1 out of every 2 women or men complain of sensitive skin.1 Sensitive skin is a syndrome whereby unpleasant sensations (such as burning and pain) occur in response to a trigger (or stimuli) that normally would not cause such sensations.1-4
What Causes Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin results from the damage of skin’s natural protective barrier which allows external irritants to penetrate the skin more easily.5,6 Potential causes of sensitive skin include:
Usage of skin products: Health and beauty products (such as soap, facial cleansers, cosmetics, sunscreen, and perfume) are commonly linked to reports of sensitive skin by people who experience negative reactions after using them.1,5
Medical causes: Skin disorders such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, rosacea, and contact urticaria have been associated with increased skin sensitivity.1-3,5,6
Environmental factors: Sun exposure (ultraviolet irradiation), air pollution, air conditioning, heat, cold, and wind may have a role in the emergence of sensitive skin.1,5,6
Other factors: Sensitive skin can also be induced by psychological factors (such as stress) and hormonal factors (such as menstrual cycle).6
What Are The Symptoms Of Sensitive Skin?
The symptoms of sensitive skin range from visible signs of irritation such as redness, dryness, peeling, and scaling, to more subjective symptoms such as stinging, burning, itching, and tightness.1-6
Are You At Risk?
Some people are more prone to developing skin sensitivity than others.1,4 For example, women complain of having sensitive skin more often than men, which may be due to women having thinner skin layers.1,4 Ethnicity is also known to be a risk factor in one’s sensitivity to skin irritants. For example, Asians are more likely to be affected by irritants as opposed to Causasians.1,4 The skin of younger adults have also been found to be more sensitive as compared to the elderly’s.4 In addition, people with fairer skin are more likely to report having sensitive skin in comparison to people with darker skin.1
What Can You Do About Sensitive Skin?
If you have skin sensitivity, you should take note of the cosmetics or skincare products that may cause irritation, and stop using them.4,5 You can try using products with moisturising and calming ingredients to help soothe stinging sensations and discomfort.6 Usage of soap-free cleansers (or mild skin cleansers) as well as non-irritating moisturisers and balms is advisable to treat acne and minimise further irritation of sensitive skin.2,6
Improving sun protection is another step in preventing skin irritation, and also protects the skin against the negative effects of ultraviolet A and B.2,7 Wearing sunscreen with high sun protection factor (SPF) and protection grade of ultraviolet A (PA) values helps to reduce the harmful effects of sun exposure.7 In addition, switching to irritation-free cosmetics with moisturising properties is especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin.6
Furthermore, you can look into the ingredients and claims of skincare products to lessen the risk of triggering your skin’s sensitivities. Try picking out products that are free of fragrance, paraben, mineral oil, colourant, and alcohol, with labels such as ‘dermatologically tested’ and ‘hypoallergenic formula’.
The aforementioned ingredients can be harmful to skin, while ‘dermatologically tested’ means a product has been tested extensively by certified dermatologists to ensure it is skin-safe. As for ‘hypoallergenic formula’, it means a product is formulated to not trigger any irritations or allergies.
A product range that checks all the boxes above is the brand new Nutox Youth Restoring. If you happen to have ageing concerns on top of sensitive skin, it might just be what you have been looking for.
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Do not suffer in silence; seek professional dermatological advice if the solutions above do not provide sufficient relief.6
- Farage MA. The prevalence of sensitive skin. Front Med (Lausanne). 2019;6:98.
- DermNet NZ. Sensitive skin. Available at https://dermnetnz.org/topics/sensitive-skin/. Accessed on 6 February 2020.
- Willis CM, Shaw S, De Lacharrière O, et al. Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study. Br J Dermatol. 2001;145(2):258-63.
- Inamadar AC, Palit A. Sensitive skin: an overview. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2013;79(1):9-16.
- Lev-Tov H, Maibach HI. The sensitive skin syndrome. Indian J Dermatol. 2012;57(6):419-23.
- Misery L, Loser K, Ständer S. Sensitive skin. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2016;30 Suppl 1:2-8.
- Ngoc LTN, Tran VV, Moon JY, Chae M, Park D, Lee YC. Recent trends of sunscreen cosmetic: an update review. Cosmetics 2019:6:64.