Friday, November 7, 2008

Beauty Talk: Sensitive Skin

Photo by obo-bobolina at
Does you skin react with redness and itchiness to skincare or physical manipulation? Or do you suffer from tightness and irritation during certain seasons? Does makeup give you rash outbreaks? In all of these cases you are dealing with skin sensitivity. Sensitive skin is characterized by hyper-reactivity to external stimuli. Such external factors include: sun, cold, wind, cosmetics, fragrances, makeup, rubbing etc. Sensitive skin can be a permanent skin characteristic or temporary condition. In any case it has to be treated with special care.

I developed skin sensitivity about 1.5 years ago. It all started with a feeling of dryness, tightness, burning. I thought my skin type is changing… dramatically changing… turning from mixed/oily to a dry one. And, sure enough, it did become somewhat dryer but the major problem causing the symptoms was sensitive skin.

Symptoms of Sensitive Skin

So when do you know you may be dealing with sensitive skin? Here are the symptoms:
  • irritation in reaction to external stimuli
  • persistent/recurrent redness
  • recurrent irritation, rash or/and scaling
  • persistent feeling of tightness, stinging, burning and discomfort

    Why sensitive skin occurs?

    In most cases the reason for sensitive skin is a lowered skin barrier. Stratum corneum of epidermis is responsible for keeping our skin protected from “invaders”. Skin’s lipids are particularly important here. Due to the content and structure of the skin lipid mantle, bacteria cannot penetrate into the skin. In fact, our skin is almost a 100% waterproof! However, if there is a defect in this protective barrier, bacteria, allergens and irritants can penetrate into deeper skin layers and cause irritation and inflammation.

    Causes of Sensitive Skin:

    Reasons why we have/develop sensitive skin include:
    1. Incorrect use of skin care products
    2. Use of certain medications
    3. Hereditary
    4. Hormonal and immune dysfunctions
    5. Chronic or intense stress
    6. Allergies
    7. Environment (pollution, hot/cold weather etc.)
    8. Life style involving smoking, alcohol, unbalanced diet

    In my case it was a combination of several factors: incorrect use of skin care products, stress and cold weather. I have to admit to one bad indulgence which is kind of a side-effect of beauty blogging – I love to try out new products! If I lay my hands on a sample of an interesting product, I just immediately turn into a guinea pig and start testing it on myself. Eventually my skin had enough of this. Now I am very selective and I am not going from one sample to another anymore…

    Diseases Associated with Sensitive Skin

    One more bad news for those who suffer from sensitive skin. There are several serious skin disorders associated with this condition. For example, people who have sensitive skin are more prone to developing rosacea and eczema. So, the bottom line is that you should not ignore sensitive skin but should take proper care of it!

  • Related posts:
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Sensitive Skin: Triggers and Causes
  • Sensitive Skin: Soothing Ingredients
  • Sensitive Skin and Makeup
  • Beauty Review: Verite line by Estee Lauder

    Read More:
  • Sensitive Skin
  • Sensitive Skin Care
  • Feel like shopping? You can buy sensitive skin products online.

    William said...

    Great blog - thanks. You say you've stopped trying all the new products and you're now much more selective, but how do you make your choices? What are the key things you look for when choosing products that won't aggravate sensitive skin? I'd love to know!

    BeautyTalk said...

    Hi William! Thanks for your comment! Now I mostly use products for sensitive skin and I do not buy a product unless I can get a sample and try it out. Works with skin care... but not with makeup. However, thanks God, I don't have many problems with makeup sensitivity.
    I have tried several lines for sensitive skin and among the products I tried there were some that I was not satisfied with. Once I had to even return an expensive product from a well-known brand (it was not possible to sample it before buying). What I am looking for when I choose a sensitive skin care product, is that it doesn't simply sooth or moisturize skin, I want it to have anti-oxidants... and some anti-aging effect.
    But very soon I'm going to make a separate more detailed post on care and products for sensitive skin... I will mention ingredients to look for and the ones to avoid. I will also review some skin care lines I've tried out.

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