What is Sensitive Skin (and how can we treat it?)
Did you know that up to 50% of women report experiencing skin sensitivity?
Sensitive skin can be uncomfortable: causing itching, burning, and stinging when you try to apply your skincare products. But what is sensitive skin, and what can we do to manage it effectively? Read on for our tips for handling sensitive skin.
What is Sensitive Skin?
‘Sensitive skin’ is an umbrella term that we use to describe skin that is easily irritated for a variety of reasons. When we talk about sensitive skin, we generally mean skin that is more prone to irritation in the form of redness, dryness, itchiness, and breakouts. Often, people with sensitive skin will experience these symptoms more intensely when they apply their skincare products in the morning or at night.
Many people also find that skin sensitivity comes and goes throughout their life, depending on their environment and the products they use. Luckily, there are many ways to effectively manage sensitive skin.
What Are the Causes of Sensitive Skin?
What’s tricky about sensitive skin is that the same sensitivity symptoms (ie. redness, itchiness, stinging) can be caused by a variety of factors. These factors can be chronic (recurring over a long period) such as certain skin conditions, or episodic (occurring here and there) such as sensitivity that results from weather changes.
Common causes of sensitivity include:
- Skin conditions like acne, rosacea, or eczema
- Allergic reactions to a new product or ingredient
- A damaged skin barrier caused by using harsh products over time
- Environmental changes
How Often Can You Exfoliate Sensitive Skin?
Many exfoliating products, such as highly acidic toners or gritty physical exfoliants can be too intense for people with sensitive skin. However, gentle exfoliating products (such as those that contain low concentrations of lactic and glycolic acid) can be a good choice for people with sensitive skin that still want to exfoliate.
Generally, if you’re experiencing burning or itching as a result of your exfoliant, then choosing a lower concentration product or stopping exfoliation for a little while is advisable.
Which Products Should Be Used for Sensitive Skin?
The products you use on sensitive skin should be gentle and protective. Generally, the philosophy is to calm existing skin irritation through gentle cleansing and treatment products and then prevent
The key to this equation is using a nourishing moisturiser like the ESK Care Repair + to help calm your skin and protect it from further irritation. It’s also important to make sure that you aren’t using a cleanser that’s stripping or irritating your skin. A gentle, soothing cleanser such as the ESK Care Calming Cleanser is the perfect choice to help calm sensitivity and leave skin feeling hydrated.
Avoid using harsh active ingredients like acids and retinoids when your skin is inflamed, as this can lead to further irritation. Also, be wary of ‘natural’ skincare products that are made with strong botanical extracts: these can also be irritating for many people.
How Can You Prevent Sensitive Skin?
Preventing sensitive skin can be done by identifying and reducing your sensitivity triggers, as well as addressing underlying skin conditions when applicable.
Sun is a common trigger for sensitivity, and using an SPF every day can help reduce irritation. This is especially important if you use products (such as retinol and AHAs) that increase your photosensitivity.
When choosing your skincare, you can look for products containing calming ingredients such as niacinamide and vitamin B3, such as the ESK Care B Calm Moisturiser, which helps to improve skin barrier function and reduce inflammation.
If you find that your skin is persistently sensitive, then it’s also worth either visiting a dermatologist or getting an allergy test to identify and manage your sensitivity triggers.
Soothe and Protect Your Skin
For more information on sensitive skin (and sensitive skin-friendly products), visit ESK Care today.