Sensitive skin can be tricky to diagnose, but the most common symptoms include rashes, redness, blotchy patches, tingling, burning or even excessive dryness and flaking. “Sensitive skin has a compromised protective barrier and can react to almost anything and that means physical things like certain fabrics like wool, nylon and even Nickel in jewellery can start an itchy, red flare-up,” says Dr Greg Goodman from the Dermatology Institute of Victoria.
What causes it?
Goodman recommends taking your lifestyle and beauty routine into consideration when trying to treat sensitive skin. “Frequent bathing and excessive use of soaps can cause dry skin and increase irritation especially in cold, dry weather,” he says. “Sensitive skin can even be a deficient immune system or high stress levels.”
3 sensitive skin facts
- It doesn’t just pop up out of the blue. True sensitive skin is usually something you have had forever.
- Flare-ups are frequent. Common skincare products frequently irritate sensitive skin.
- It’s hereditary. If your mother’s skin is easily fired up, it’s likely she’s passed it onto you. It’s also more common in those with fair skin and light eyes.
Fast skin savers
- Wash your skin every day with a body wash that is soap-free and pH balanced to encourage optimal skin function like Aveeno Active Naturals Daily Moisturising Body Wash, $11.99.
- Moisturise using a lightweight lotion containing natural oatmeal like Aveeno Active Naturals Stress Relief Moisturising Lotion, $12.99.
- Look for ranges that are dermatologist tested and hypoallergenic.
How to prevent sensitive skin
- Keep your skincare regime simple and opt for specialist ranges like Neutrogena and Aveeno Active Naturals.
- Avoid vigorous exfoliation, toners, microdermabrasion and everyday soaps.
- Avoid active skincare that contains potent vitamins like A and C and fruit acids.
Treatment for sensitive skin
To put out the fire on your irritated, inflamed skin you need to protect the barrier function. Dr Goodman says to start with a diligent skincare routine using products that are specially formulated for sensitive skin.
- Go for a cleanser like Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser, $12.99, which contains glycerin, a humectant, which improves the skin’s ability to retain moisture.
- Moisturise with Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Sensitive Skin, $13.99. This sheer, feather-light formula vanishes into the skin and is gentle and irritant free.
- Protect. Apply a sunscreen like Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF50+, $16.99 every day over your moisturiser. This water-light lotion absorbs instantly for non-shiny finish and is non-comedogenic so it won’t clog your pores and cause sensitive skin issues.