Having sensitive skin is very common. Tell-tale signs of sensitivity include skin that is red, itchy, dry, flaky, swelling or irritated. This occurs when the function of the skin cells that act as a barrier are blocked by irritants. Common signs of sensitive skin include:
Skin that goes red easily, from chilly wind or after washing, means that its skin barrier is compromised. Redness in the skin can also be a sign of rosacea, a skin condition associated with broken blood vessels. This is typically seen around the chin, nose and cheeks. If you have symptoms of rosacea, consider consulting a dermatologist for remedies to control it.
Some skin care products can result in a burning sensation in people with sensitive skin. Skin products containing fragrances can penetrate the skin easily causing stinging. Many people with sensitive skin who experience this have the symptoms alleviated when they switch to fragrance free products.
If you have itchy skin, it may be that your skin barrier isn’t doing its job properly, is letting irritants in and perhaps moisture out. Dryness of skin can cause itching. Experts say that cold weather and excessive washing in hot water are the prime causes of dry skin. To avoid dry skin and itching, moisturise regularly and often use a ceramide-containing lotion. Ceramides and lipids are key ingredients in the skin barrier and can help restore your natural defences.
Skin that cannot retain moisture can result in flakes. Often this is caused by overuse of chemical exfoliants like retinoids and glycolic acid. Reduce the frequency of their use to relieve the flaking. It’s essential that you support your skin’s ability to self-moisturise by eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and healthy fats, and drinking plenty of water.