From itchiness to dry spots or stinging sensations, we take a look at the common signs of sensitive skin, why you might have it, and discuss the best ways to diagnose and treat your skin.
Sensitive skin: a common skincare concern
Sensitivity has been on the skincare radar for a long time now. Back in 2001, a UK study reported that 51.4% of women and 38.2% of men who responded to a self-assessment form described themselves as suffering from sensitive skin.
A natural skin type, or a reaction?
Skin types are broken down into five main types: dry skin, oily skin, normal skin, combination skin and sensitive skin. Sensitivity is one of the most difficult skin types to deal with, as symptoms not only vary in type and intensity, but due to this they can easily be misdiagnosed as belonging to a different skin type.
Sometimes, sensitive skin can occur due to a reaction. The body's immune system jumps into action, believing that it needs to defend itself, leading to redness, inflammation and itching. Detergents, drying cosmetics and even some materials are some of the most common triggers for sensitivity flare-ups.
Visible and invisible symptoms
The classic symptoms of sensitive skin can be instantly recognisable, such as redness, dryness, scaling, peeling and bumps on the surface of the skin. However, they aren't always visible.
Many sufferers report sensations of discomfort, ranging from tightness to stinging, itching and even burning. These can occur immediately after contact with an irritant, but this is not always the case.
Treating sensitive skin
To soothe the discomfort of sensitivity, we recommend you switch to pH-neutral skincare (moisturisers and cleansers) designed specifically for sensitive, even atopy-prone skin depending on the severity of your symptoms. This will soothe any itching, pulling or stinging sensations, and restore essential hydration to the epidermis.
A qualified dermatologist is the best person to ask if you're unsure about your skin type or concerns. Remember, you're not alone, sensitivity is far more common than you'd think!