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Do you have Sensitive Skin?

Emoni Rochelle

Did you know that there are different types of skin sensitivity? Many people will say that their skin is sensitive, although they may not know what type of sensitivity they have. It’s important to realize in what way you skin may be sensitive so that you can know the best way to care for it.

Sensitive skin is most easily defined as skin that is highly reactive to particular ingredients or conditions. This means that you may have to be extra careful as to the types of products you apply to you skin due to resulting irritation or sensitivity.

It’s important to note that skin sensitivity can be caused by genetics and it can also be caused by the way you are treating your skin.

Genetic Sensitivity

One way that your skin can be sensitive is through an allergy. This happens when the immune system reacts to a substance it sees as harmful to the body. For example, if you have food allergies, you may see a reaction in the skin when you consume something to which you are allergic.

This type of sensitivity can be difficult to have because you will need to figure out what exactly is causing the reaction. Typically with allergic sensitivity’s, you will notice an immediate reaction within 24 hours. This makes it a bit easier to figure out what is causing your sensitivity. If you believe your sensitivity is a result of a skincare, you’ll want to look at any new products that you’ve introduced into your skin care. If this is difficult to narrow down, then you’ll want to strip down your skin care routine to the bare minimum and then re-introduce one product at a time. This will allow you to isolate the product that caused your irritation from the products that are safe to use.

Best practice when you have sensitive skin is to not introduce more than one new product at a time. This way, it will not be difficult to figure out the culprit if you have a reaction.

Signs of Allergic Sensitivity

  • Hives (raised welts or swollen skin)
  • Swelling
  • Rashes
  • Redness
  • Itching

The other types of sensitivity have to do with how you treat and care for your skin. Therefore it’s important to pay attention to the texture, ingredients and formulations of the products you use.

Breakout Sensitive

If you skin is breakout-prone or sensitive, then it means you skin is sensitive to heavier, oily substances, resulting in very easily clogged pores. If your skin produces a lot of oil, then it becomes very difficult for the pores to receive and circulate oxygen, creating an environment where bacteria can grow and a breakout can occur.

Signs of Breakout-Prone Sensitive Skin

  • Bumpy skin (closed, small bumps all over the skin)
  • Whiteheads
  • Cysts

If you suffer from breakout sensitive skin, then you’ll want to do several things. First, keep your products light in texture and formulation. Thick, heavy or greasy formulas create an environment where a collection of oil can grow out of hand within the pores. You’ll also want to look for anti-bacterial ingredients in your products such as tea-tree oil. Detox masks that contain clay are great for breakout-prone skin as they help to suck out all of the excess oil and dirt within the pores.

sensitive skin

If you have breakout sensitive skin, be sure to pay attention to the ingredients in your makeup in addition to your skincare products! Oil-free makeup will be your best bet and you should avoid any synthetic fragrances. 

Dry Sensitivity

Dry sensitivity occurs when the skin’s moisture barrier has been compromised which makes the skin more easily irritated and inflamed. If you notice that you skin is irritated, itchy or burning when you’ve applied a product, it can be a sign that your moisture barrier has been damaged.

Signs of Dry Sensitivity

  • Dryness
  • Itchiness
  • Tight Feeling
  • Redness
  • Burning/Stinging
  • Flaking and peeling

Strong fragrances as well as harsh cleansers can damage the skin’s barrier making it more susceptible to irritation. If you have dry sensitive skin, try to avoid strong cleansers such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate which strips the skin of its essential oils, making the skins barrier more susceptible to cracking and becoming damaged. Look for creamy moisturizers and hydrating cleansers and serums.

In all, if you have sensitive skin, you'll want to pay very close attention to how your skin reacts to new products. If you notice immediate changes in your skin shortly after using particular products whether that be irritation, breakouts, dryness or any of the signs mentioned above, then you may have a skin sensitivity.

If you have sensitive skin, fear not! You'll just want to pay extra attention to any changes in your skin and be a student of ingredients when it comes to new products. In doing this, you can avoid any ingredients that cause your skin irritation.


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