Skin Sensitivity: Genetic or Environmental?
No other skin is as misunderstood and hard to diagnose as Sensitive skin. In fact, most of us would have had some skin sensitivity at some point in our lives.
A true Sensitive skin is caused by a genetic predisposition , mostly affecting very light/fair skinned individuals and usually of Northern European ancestry. The reason for this could be the lower amount of pigment and a thinner epidermal layer (the top layer of skin). Someone with a truly sensitive skin may experience – blushing, has a very fine complexion and may experience hay fever or asthma and other allergies.
What most people actually suffer from is Sensitized skin, which can affect any person of any racial background or skin colour. Rather than a result of your genetic heritage, sensitized skin is a reflection of your environment and lifestyle. Stress, pollution, hormonal imbalance, harsh cosmetic products, alcohol, a poor diet and over-exfoliation can all make your skin sensitized and feel irritated!. The hormonal imbalance can affect us around our periods or menopause and you may find that products you are normally fine with will cause stinging and irritation.
The symptoms for sensitive and sensitized are both quite similar, itching, burning, redness and stinging, and you need to apply the “Less is more” philosophy to your skin care routine, the less ingredients you apply then the less to irritate! But let’s get one thing straight – anyone can be allergic to anything! so looking for Hypo-allergenic products will be no fail-safe guarantee that you won’t react!
The Epidemic of Over Exfoliation
Over exfoliation triggers the inflammatory response, leading to a compromised lipid barrier that won’t protect your skin or function as it should, this could even lead to premature ageing. There are far too many micro-dermabrasion kits out there, tempting people to scrub and polish the protective barrier away! Don’t get me wrong – exfoliation has its place in skin care, but we must make sure we are using the right exfoliant for our skin’s requirements.
Some of the signs of over exfoliation are: noticeable dryness, patchy areas of dryness, skin tautness, redness and itchiness, stinging, inflammatory acne and irritation.
Maintaining your Skin’s Barrier
Maintaining this is vital, so always remember to apply moisturiser and barrier enhancing products. Sunscreen is critical because sensitized skin is even more vulnerable to UV damage, go for the chemical free sunblocks that contain Zinc Oxide, Antioxidants and Anti-Inflammatories.
A few lifestyle changes can usually solve your skin sensitization, and the right product choices will make a difference, you may find products with fairly active ingredients may sting or tingle as your barrier is letting more into your skin.
Your diet can also help your skin’s barrier, by providing your body with the right nutritional oils to manufacture the lipid barrier, your will definitely strengthen your skin from the inside, I love Viridian Organic Beauty Oil.
Smoking is no good for anyone, but for the sensitive skin it’s going to make matters worse: you will inhibit your body’s ability to provide oxygen and nutrients (vital moisture) to the skin. Excess alcohol and certain medications can also contribute to dry skin, leaving skin feeling more sensitive. Also avoid trigger factors such as spicy foods, hot drinks and caffeine, and help your skin to recover and rebuild itself.
- Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser For Face and Eyes
- Dermalogica Soothing Protection Spray
- Dermalogica Barrier Repair
- Dermalogica Gentle Soothing Booster
- Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Booster
- Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque
- Dermalogica Super Sensitive Face Block SPF 30
- Crystal Clear Skin Repair Serum
- Mineralogie Loose Mineral Foundation
Obviously you don’t need all these products, as less is more with a Sensitive skin type, so cherry pick the ones you feel you would use or request some samples!