How to Tell If You Have Sensitive Skin?


If your skin has ever felt dry, itchy, and irritated you’ve probably got sensitive skin. You may be surprised to learn that sensitive skin is not a clinically diagnosed condition, but a symptom of a condition.

What is Sensitive Skin?

It’s important to note a difference between sensitive skin and sensitised skin. You’re born with sensitive skin and predisposed to it if you come from a northern European background. Those with sensitive skin tend to have a lower amount of pigment and a thinner epidermal (top) skin layer, so it reacts to triggers easily such as sunlight and food.

Sensitised skin can target any skin type regardless of age or race. It’s a temporary condition when skin becomes over reactive from an external factor resulting in irritation, redness, and stinging. It can be improved by finding the trigger to the irritation and halting use or exposure to the trigger.

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin can be caused by an underlying skin condition such as rosacea, eczema, contact dermatitis, by a treatment, ingredient or chemical. Many people have reactions to certain products or ingredients by overusing the products so it’s important to follow application instructions. Alpha hydroxy and beta hydroxy acids can also be very irritating to sensitive skin. Too much exposure to the sun can also cause sensitivity through redness and stinging.

Signs that You Have Sensitive Skin

A history of allergies or eczema makes you more likely to experience sensitive skin and if you have more than three of the following, you probably have sensitive skin:

✓ Your skin easily flushes
✓ You’re prone to rashes and bumps
✓ Some beauty products sting or burn
✓ You get dry patches
✓ Your skin feels itchy
✓ You’re sensitive to UV rays
✓ You have broken capillaries
✓ You react to fragranced products
✓ Your skin reacts to both hot and cold weather
✓ You breakout easily

Not all skin reactions indicate sensitive skin, some other common causes of sensitive skin include:

  • Using too many products at once and using too many new products at once
  • Exfoliating too frequently and using chemical peels that can irritate the skin
  • Not using a moisturiser each day
  • Excessive sun exposure and not using a SPF after retinol use
  • Layering multiple products that aren’t safe to use together e.g., using retinol and AHA’s together.

How To Treat Sensitive Skin?

When you have sensitive skin, it can seem like everything is irritating but with a few changes to your skincare routine and lifestyle you can see a significant improvement.

Acid Peels

Acid peels can help remove dead skin whilst also hydrating skin and calming redness. As they help stimulate cell turnover, skin looks and feels brighter and healthier after an acid peel.

Antioxidant Serum

An antioxidant rich serum helps repair and restore the skin’s moisture barrier. When you have sensitive skin, tiny invisible cracks appear in the skin barrier that allows moisture to escape causing dry, flaky skin. An antioxidant serum is going to help repair and restore the skin barrier, protecting it from external factors and will also help with fine lines and wrinkles.

Antioxidant serum - EPI-gN Serum

Lipid Rich Moisturiser

A lipid-rich moisturiser with natural oils is your best bet for sensitive skin. It’s not only going to hydrate your skin but also help repair your moisture barrier to reduce redness and sensitivity. Look for moisturisers that contain natural oils such as jojoba oil, rosehip oil or squalane.

Wear SPF

This is a must for all skin types but especially for those with sensitive skin, wear a SPF 30+ sunscreen each day. Sensitive complexions are even more prone to inflammation and UV rays than other skin types.

Lifestyle Factors

You can also make some lifestyle changes to reduce triggers. Take a shower with warm not hot water, use fragrance free laundry detergent, use organic cleaning products, pat (not rub) yourself dry after a shower and follow with the application of a lipid rich moisturiser.

Most people can treat their sensitive skin at home by identifying the problem product or substance and then avoid using it. However, if you have an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing, trouble swallowing or swelling in face) immediately seek medical advice.

Lipid rich moisturiser - Hydrating Day Defence

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