Everything About Skin Sensitivity

Sensitive skin” is a term that appears almost everywhere in the skincare industry — whether it’s being used in product labels, beauty headlines, or in simple conversations about skin concerns, it doesn’t refer to just one condition. Rather, it covers a range of skin issues, such as eczema, rosacea, and severe allergies.

But how can you be sure that your skin falls under this category? While itchiness is a characteristic that sensitive skin types share, it is not the deciding factor of what makes skin sensitive. In fact, many people can have a skin reaction at some point to a treatment or product that will develop into a rash and become itchy. Only those with persistent issues, however, fall under the “sensitive skin” umbrella.

We’ve only scratched the surface of a broad subject. Let’s take a closer look.

Understanding Sensitive Skin

Your skin is considered sensitive when it tends to be more reactive than average. It is easily irritated either by topical products (e.g., fragrances or lotions), or environmental factors (e.g., wind, sun, or cold weather). The irritation manifests in symptoms like hives and blotchiness, as well as general discomfort after your skin comes into contact with an environmental trigger or a particular ingredient.

The issue of skin sensitivity is connected to the protective fatty outer layer of your skin (lipid), which performs two main jobs: keep water in and keep damaging elements (e.g., harsh chemicals, UV rays, and wind) out. People with sensitive skin have a weaker and thinner barrier, making it easier for irritants to penetrate and cause inflammation. The thinner your skin’s fatty barrier is, the deeper it will absorb external irritants.

A thin lipid barrier also makes it easier for moisture to escape your skin. This is why the conditions of sensitivity and dryness often go hand-in-hand.

How Do You Determine if Your Skin Is Sensitive?

Individuals who suffer from sensitive skin conditions have several symptoms in common:

  • Redness - This can take the form of red bumps, red rashes, flushing, and extreme blushing. In some cases, people also experience red dilated blood vessels. The redness will go away with minor treatment or after removing the irritant.
  • Dry Skin - People with sensitive skin are more prone to developing dry skin during the cold season.
  • Breakouts - Dry and sensitive skin tends to produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture. This clogs the pores, causing the skin to breakout.

No Such Thing as One Type of Skin Sensitivity

If you categorize your skin as “sensitive,” you most likely experience irritation and redness to some degree. But because not all cases of skin sensitivity are the same, not every skincare product or treatment for sensitive skin will work. It pays to know your type first before investing in a new skincare regimen.
  • Naturally Sensitive - People with naturally sensitive skin have had this skin type since birth due to their genetics. External factors, such as certain foods, the weather, and skincare products, are responsible for the consequent flare-ups. Rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis are common among people with skin that falls under this category of sensitivity.
  • Environmentally Sensitized - Environmentally sensitized individuals are not necessarily born with sensitive skin. Unlike people genetically predisposed to having sensitive skin, these individuals developed their sensitivity after exposure to certain external factors. These might include air pollution, sun exposure, smoking, and certain skincare products.

    In this case, when you expose your skin to these factors, you may notice redness, stinging, and other signs of irritation. These symptoms will go away once you remove the triggers or give your skin a chance to repair itself.
  • Reactive Skin - Also known as extremely sensitive skin, reactive skin is more common in people with lighter skin tones. If you have this type of skin sensitivity, your skin immediately reacts to harsh skin care products or procedures by becoming warm, red, and irritated.
  • Thin or Damaged Skin - If your capillaries or veins are easily visible, you might have thin type of skin. Thinning skin is a natural cosmetic concern that comes with age. Over time, your skin’s level of collagen and hyaluronic acid — both essential for younger-looking skin — declines. Years of sun exposure also contribute to the condition, making it more sensitive.

Skincare 101: How Do I Care for Sensitive Skin?

Whether you struggle with persistent rashes and breakouts or itching and flaking, your skin requires extra care and protection. Your skin care for sensitive skin should include the following steps:

Moisturize with Coconut Oil

Extra-virgin coconut oil is a natural moisturizer for sensitive skin. It has a healthy amount of fatty acids to keep your skin moisturized and prevent dryness. Coconut oil moisturizes and nourishes the skin from within by deeply penetrating into the pores. This natural moisturizer also treats conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema. Before you go to sleep, apply coconut oil on your face, legs, and arms and wash it off in the morning. Repeat this step daily to keep your skin smooth and soft.

Embrace the Aloe Vera

This succulent is popular for its rejuvenating and soothing properties, which nourish and pamper your skin. People with sensitive skin love aloe vera products because it reduces inflammation without causing any irritation. The plant’s anti-inflammatory properties also help treat blemishes, acne, and other skin problems.
Give your skin some extra love by mixing aloe vera gel with cucumber juice. Apply it on your face and neck and wait for 15 minutes before washing it off with water. This natural pack will clear your skin of dirt and impurities.

Add Asian Centella to Your Regimen

Asian Centella, otherwise known as Centella asiatica, is a perennial herb that promotes collagen production and inhibits skin inflammation that leads to scarring. Asian Centella has madecassic acid, which is known for its ability to deal with redness and irritation effectively.
Incorporate products with Asian Centella to keep your skin calm throughout the day. Give your skin some extra love by mixing aloe vera gel with cucumber juice. Apply it on your face and neck and wait for 15 minutes before washing it off with water. This natural pack will clear your skin of dirt and impurities.

Choose Skincare Products Carefully

Be it a moisturizer, cleanser, face pack, or a simple soap, you need to buy specially formulated products to prevent flare-ups or skin flaking.
Avoid using cosmetic items or skincare products that have harsh exfoliants, alcohol, coloring agents, petrochemicals, or synthetic fragrances as these can irritate your skin. Instead, go for products like green tea, white tea, aloe vera, and chamomile that have anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Lastly, don’t always trust products with a “for sensitive skin” label; they may not be formulated with your particular sensitivity concern in mind. When in doubt, ask your dermatologist for other ingredients you need to steer clear of. You can also do a small patch test before putting the product on a larger area of your skin.

Eat Healthy Foods

Get the right balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, antioxidants, and omega-3s in your diet to keep your skin healthy and nourished. Also, increase your intake of anti-inflammatory foods (e.g., garlic, olive oil, wild salmon, blueberries, and turmeric) to calm the skin.

Most people with sensitive skin can treat flare-ups at home. This involves avoiding products or environmental triggers that irritate your skin. If your symptoms do not improve, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. They can get you started on a gentle skincare routine that relieves the discomfort and keeps your skin looking great. Do you still have questions about sensitive skin? Let us know. Get in touch with Vita Max Prime today at click@vitamaxprime.com.

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