Getting Started, Know your skin type

Part FIVE in this series is SENSITIVE SKIN~

This blog will assist you in identifying the causes of sensitive skin and help you to treat it right.  Although, sensitive skin is not really a skin TYPE, it’s more of a CONDITION.  Sensitivity in skin is caused when the sensory nerve endings in the epidermis (top layer of skin) become irritated.  This occurs because your skins natural barrier function is weakened and has broken down due to a ‘trigger’.

As someone who suffers with skin sensitivity, I know only too well how the condition can cause problems on a daily basis.  I have to be extremely careful when picking makeup and skincare products.  Ensuring I check ingredient listings thoroughly to make sure there is nothing in the product that will make me react.

I never know when I wake up what my skin will look like, so I know how you feel if you are a fellow sufferer.  For many years, I didn’t even realise that I had a sensitivity.  It was only after doing some research for a friend, that I came across a great deal of information, this indicated I had a very common problem and that for me was a turning point.

Below I have listed some common signs that indicate towards you having a sensitive skin type.

Signs of sensitive skin~

  • Your skin flushes easily
  • You’re prone to rashes or bumps
  • Beauty products can burn or sting
  • You have dry patches
  • You’re sensitive to UV light
  • You have broken capillaries
  • The weather affects your skin
  • Your skin can itch
  • You breakout easily
  • Your skin and fragrance don’t mix

There are many things you can do to help ease the sensitivity of your skin.  Here are few common steps to take to help you treat your skin.

Treatments for sensitive skin~

  • Take short 5 to 10-minute showers with warm – not hot- water
  • Avoid harsh astringents and exfoliants
  • Use a gentle, fragrance-free soap/wash
  • Try essential oils instead of perfumes
  • Look at using a gentle fragrance-free laundry detergent
  • Try using organic cleaning supplies or make your own home made versions

Other causes, that are not so easily fixed are listed here.  Sometimes, these triggers may need extra help with medication or specialist products.

Causes of sensitive skin can include~

  • Eczema
  • Irritant contact dermatitis
  • Dry skin
  • Allergic contact dermatitis
  • Rosacea
  • Contact urticaria (hives)

Some people have SENSITIVE skin, whilst others have SENSITISED skin, there is a difference.  Some may think they are the same thing but there are very subtle indications that differentiate the two.  Sensitive skin tends to be a condition that you are born with or that develops throughout your life.  Sensitised skin can be an indicator that you are aiding the condition in how you treat and look after your skin.

Sensitive skin~

Common Indicators:

  • Young skin
  • Genetically inherited
  • Reactive skin
  • Allergy prone
  • Couperose
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Dry/dehydrated skin

Sensitised skin~

Common Indicators:

  • Improper use of skincare products toxifies the skin
  • Excessive use of active treatments
  • Frequency of professional treatments
  • Makeup products with high chemical content
  • Over exfoliation
  • Over exposure to the sun/UV rays
  • Dehydration
  • Allergy prone inflammation
  • Brittle skin conditions

With any form of sensitive skin, you will need to strip back the product range you use.  Opt for those that are fragrance free, natural in ingredients and designed for your skin type. Do your research as there are brands on the market that say they are designed for sensitive skin and contain no fragrance and no synthetics.  However, if you smell them, and they have a beautiful floral or citrus scent.  Steer well clear!  Anything that smells nice HAS some form of fragrance added.  Usually, this is in the form either natural or synthetic fragrance.

What is a synthetic fragrance?

Synthetic fragrance is a man made product and is usually made up of petrochemicals. It usually contains chemicals like phthalates and benzene derivatives that may be harmful to the skin.  Generally, it is labelled as fragrance, perfume or parfum on the ingredient list.

What is a natural fragrance?

Natural fragrances are extracted from natural ingredients such as rose and citrus.  You will find there are several ways to extract these molecules from the plant, distillation, fermentation or cold pressing for example.  However, compared to a synthetic fragrance, natural is more expensive as an ingredient.  Although natural fragrances are thought to be safer compared to synthetic fragrance, it may still trigger people with sensitive skin. Generally, it’s commonly listed as a natural fragrance, citrus or limonene on the ingredient list.

Fragrance in skincare products has a bad reputation. It seems like many consumers associate fragrance in skincare products as a major cause that triggers irritation and redness on the skin.  According to reports, fragrance in skincare products has  caused allergy reaction especially for people with dry skin or sensitive skin.  So my advice is to choose a range from a reputable brand that really doesn’t contain anything likely to cause adverse reactions.  I have found two brands that offer exactly this, and I have had great results from both, so do check them out.

You can check out the Neal’s Yard New Sensitive ranges in my online shop.

Also the Arbonne Calming range

I also love The Body Shop products for us sensitive folk.

I offer a great selection of facials that are relaxing and great for treating your skin.  They are suitable for every skin type and can be made bespoke to suit your exact needs.  You can check them out here.

sensitive skin-rosacea