Is Your Skin Really Sensitive?

(photo credits from

Many of us think that we have sensitive skin. We’ve complained about rashes, red patches and blotches we’ve seen on our skin appear from out of nowhere. Cosmetic companies are more than happy to help with the influx of hypoallergenic products claiming to cause  fewer allergic reactions.

Occasional irritations and redness does not necessarily equate to sensitive skin. Dermatologists say that everyone, men and women, had been irritated by certain products at one point in their lives. It might not be sensitive skin, but other conditions masked  by skin irritations.

What else could it be?

Itching doesn’t really mean you’ve got sensitive skin. (photo credits from

Allergies. Make a note of the products you have used and ask you doctor to run some allergy test. If the ingredient you’re allergic to is found in many skin-care products, it’s easy to mistake your frequent itchy, stinging reactions for skin sensitivity. Don’t get yourself and your doctor confused. Here’s how  to tell the difference; with an allergy, even the smallest amount of that ingredient is enough to cause a reaction, while sensitive skin can often tolerate an irritant in low doses.

Dry Skin. Dry skin and sensitivity go hand in hand. People with dry skin have poor barrier function. The skin’s protective layer  isn’t doing its function, leaving the nerve endings vulnerable. Strengthen a weak barrier with with oil-based moisturizers. The skin fully absorbs oil-based moisturizers which will leave the skin soft and supple.

Product Overuse. Just because a little is good doesn’t mean that a lot is better. Overloading on scrubs, DIY chemical peels and combining too many anti-aging ingredients like AHAs and retinoids may result to self-induced sensitivity. Unlike true sensitivity, self induced sensitivity is easy to fix. Go back to bland solutions like gentle cleansers and moisturizers, then slowly reintroduce scrubs and peels back into your regimen. And do it moderately. Your skin will tell you when it’s too much. When you start feeling stinging and tingling sensations,that’s a sign.

Underlying skin condition. Patients complaining of redness and irritation may think that it’s skin sensitivity, but they might be suffering from Rosacea, a chronic condition characterized  by facial redness but can also affect  the forehead, nose, cheeks, neck, chest, ears and scalp. Have your dermatologist have a closer look to check  if there are broken blood vessels. Other types of Rosacea may manifest as acne-like red bumps with pustules, thickened skin and enlarged nose. Proper diagnosis will help you doctor in giving  you the right medication to cure or treat the condition.

Your skin is sensitive  if:

It doesn’t just pop up out of the blue, unless you’re menopausal. True sensitive skin is something that you don’t acquire over time. Sensitive skin had always been thin and fine-textured from the beginning.

You have frequent flare-ups. It’s not unusual to feel a burning sensation after using a strong AHA solution on your skin, unlike with sensitive skin that can be easily irritated by many common skin care products. If you’re already using gentle products but  still feel  the stinging sensation, then you might have  a sensitivity problem.

If your Mom’s skin is easily fired up, yours would probably do the same. While skin sensitivity is common for people with fair skin, there are also dark-skinned patients who have sensitive skin.


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