Do you have sensitive skin? Trust us, you’re not alone. In this article, we will explore causes and symptoms of sensitive skin and discuss how to treat it. We’ll also cover some tips on how you can prevent sensitive skin, including skincare and supplement recommendations.
What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is a common beauty concern for many of us. In fact, a recent systematic review reported that up to 71% of people self-report having some degree of sensitive skin. But what exactly does it mean to have sensitive skin and what should you look for? Well, sensitivity refers to skin that is prone to redness, irritation and discomfort. It can present as redness, itching, dryness, and tightness and can precede more serious skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. If you experience sensitive skin, understanding the causes and learning how to manage it effectively is crucial for maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion.
Causes of sensitive skin
Sensitive skin can be caused by various intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Some people may have sensitive skin their whole lives, whereas others may develop sensitive skin after being exposed to certain allergens or irritants that can trigger an inflammatory response. Often, the skin barrier is damaged or dysfunctional which can predispose someone to developing sensitive skin. It’s important to identify potential causes of sensitive skin so you can address their root cause. Some of these include:
Genetics play a significant role in determining skin sensitivity. Conditions like eczema and rosacea can compromise the skin's protective barrier, making it more susceptible to irritants. If you have a family history of these conditions, you may be more prone to having sensitive skin.
Our skin is designed to protect us from the environment around us. However, sometimes extreme weather conditions, like very hot or cold temperatures, can exacerbate sensitivity. Sudden shifts in the weather can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it vulnerable to dryness and irritation.
Don’t discount the impact of what you are putting on your skin. Our skincare routine can be a major culprit when it comes to triggering sensitive skin, so it’s essential to consider the products you are using. Harsh soaps, cleansers, and abrasive exfoliants (physical or chemical) can disrupt the skin's barrier, leading to sensitivity, redness and irritation. Common triggers can include products containing fragrances, alcohol, and certain preservatives.
Symptoms of sensitive skin
So, how do you know if you have sensitive skin? Symptoms can manifest differently from person to person, but some of the most common symptoms include:
- Itching and/or burning
- Dryness and flakiness of the skin
- Occasional breakouts or rashes
How to soothe sensitive skin
Soothing sensitive skin involves adopting a gentle, bidirectional skincare routine. Here are some important things to think about:
Choose the right moisturiser for sensitive skin
A good moisturiser is essential. Look for moisturisers and serums that are specifically formulated for sensitive skin. These products are often fragrance-free and contain ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid (topically and orally), which help strengthen the skin barrier and lock in moisture.
Use products formulated for sensitive skin
When designing your skincare routine, opt for skincare products designed for sensitive skin, especially a moisturiser for sensitive skin. These products are quite gentle and typically free from harsh chemicals and fragrances that can trigger irritation. Choose products that are soothing, reduce inflammation and provide lots of moisture. Always read product labels and check for terms like "hypoallergenic", "fragrance-free" and “suitable for sensitive skin.”
Practice sun protection
Sun and UV exposure can exacerbate skin barrier dysfunction which can worsen sensitivity. Always protect your skin from UV damage by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, daily. Don’t forget to reapply every 2-3 hours when exposed to the sun.
Avoid common irritants
Steer clear of skincare products containing alcohol, fragrances, sulphates and acids like lactic and glycolic acid – these can be particularly irritating. It’s a good idea to perform a patch test when trying new products to ensure they won't trigger symptoms for you.
How to treat sensitive skin
Treating sensitive skin can be challenging, because it involves identifying and removing triggers, then healing your skin barrier. We recommend speaking to a beauty professional or dermatologist for help with this. Preventing the occurrence or development of sensitive skin is as important as treating it. Here are some strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine:
Hydration and diet
Maintaining skin hydration from within is essential. Drink plenty of water and consume a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These support skin health and resilience. While Vida Glow’s Advanced Repair Clear wasn’t specifically formulated for sensitive skin, it contains several actives that can help with symptoms. DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid) that can support the skin barrier and reduce inflammation, niacinamide which can help to reduce skin redness and probiotic AcuSolve™ to optimise the gut-skin connection.
Modern life is stressful. Unfortunately, high stress levels can exacerbate skin conditions so it’s important to keep stress under control. Incorporating stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as yoga or meditation, can help improve your overall skin health. For moments of calm, you might also want to consider Vida Glow’s Destress. Destress contains clinically studied active Serenzo™ which can help to reduce symptoms of stress and promote emotional wellbeing.
Research suggests that collagen supplementation may be beneficial for sensitive skin, and we often hear stories like these from our Vida Glow community. Collagen is a structural protein that improves skin elasticity and hydration, as well as proper skin barrier function – so these mechanisms might be how collagen supplementation can help with sensitive skin. Right now, clinical studies are limited in this area, so more research is needed.
Sensitive skin is difficult to navigate, but with the right knowledge and care, it can be managed effectively. Always consult a dermatologist for guidance and recommendations that are tailored to you. By adopting a gentle skincare routine, avoiding irritants, and considering collagen supplementation, you can enjoy healthier, clearer, more resilient skin.