What Is Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin can be caused by excessive dryness, or a range of skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis (allergic contact dermatitis and irritant contact dermatitis). When your skin is sensitive, it means the nerve endings in the top layer of your skin are irritated or your skin barrier is compromised. Even though it’s not a medical diagnosis in itself, sensitive skin is usually the symptom of another condition, and can feel super uncomfortable.
What are the symptoms of Sensitive Skin?
Here are the common sensitive skin symptoms:
- Red, swollen or irritated skin
- Stinging or burning sensation on the skin
- Breaking out in rash or hives
- Dry skin that’s prone to skin irritation, allergic reactions, and bleeding
- Flaky, leathery, and extremely dry patches of skin
DU’IT has specially formulated products to soothe sensitive skin made with ingredients like shea butter that are suitable for all skin types and conditions, including dry, itchy, and sensitive skin types.
How Do I Know If I Have Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin is a condition which can be experienced by all four skin types – dry, normal, oily and combination.
Some people don’t show visible symptoms but comment on how certain products can make their skin feel uncomfortable. As the level of sensitivity increases, symptoms may include:
- Sensations of tightness and discomfort.
- More extreme symptoms, such as prolonged redness, rashes, itching, prickling, burning, swelling and scaling lead to skin being categorised as hypersensitive.
It is hard to distinguish between dry skin and sensitive skin because these conditions often coexist. Dry skin is particularly prone to sensitivity and sensitive skin is often dry. This can make it difficult to identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment. You can read more about the signs and symptoms for both conditions in dry facial skin and sensitive facial skin.
What Causes Sensitive Skin?
Dry skin is a skin type which is characterized by lack of lipids (oil). It can proceed to dehydration because, as a result of reduced lipids, skin is unable to effectively bind in water and its evaporation from skin increases. Dehydrated skin describes a condition caused by insufficient water content.
The common denominator for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin is a disturbed moisture balance. When skin lacks the moisture it needs to work as an effective barrier layer, further moisture is lost and it is unable to protect itself against external irritants such as bacteria or pollution. This leads to feelings of tightness and discomfort. When skin’s moisture balance is disturbed it is unable to prevent further moisture lossThe Aquaporins – skin’s own moisture distribution system – keep skin hydrated
To form an effective barrier, skin needs the right balance between:
- Lipids (oil)
- Natural Moisturising Factors (which include naturally produced substances such as Urea, Lactic Acid or Glycerol)
Glycerol (also known as Glycerine), a sugar alcohol produced naturally by our bodies, is used by the skin to help bind in water. It is one of the key components of an effective barrier function. Glycerol, along with water, is delivered to the outer layers of skin by skin’s own moisture distribution channels – the Aquaporins. When the Aquaporins are compromised, skin dehydrates, looks and feels dry and may become sensitive.