There isn’t one medical definition which would precisely explain what sensitive skin is. Skin sensitivity it’s like a large bucket of different symptoms associated with various skin conditions. If you consider your skin as sensitive, there are some important facts you should know.
1. Skin sensitivity and an allergic reaction can look very similar but are not the same.
In both instances, we can observe similar symptoms such as redness, itching, burning, redness, swelling or rash. In contact allergy, the skin reaction begins with so-called induction phase. When your body gets in contact with an ingredient, your immune system may decide that this substance is dangerous. This response triggers the process of creating custom antibodies – blood proteins which “fight” with this particular ingredient only. Any further contact with the same substance activates antibodies to attack, what we experience as an allergic reaction. In the case of skin sensitivity there is an immediate cells reaction to irritating or even toxic substances.
Ok, but how to spot the difference? The skin sanitisation will occur only in areas where the irritating agent was applied and the reaction intensity will proportional to the amount of used product. In the contact, allergy signs can manifest on different skin areas than the ingredient was used. Even a small dose of allergen can cause not only the skin reaction but also additional symptoms such as sneezing or swollen red eyes.
When we take a closer look at the skin structure, the sensitisation will appear in the epidermis causing damage to skin cells and natural skin’s hydrolipidic layer. The allergy is present in the dermis as an autoimmunological reaction without an initial mangle to its cells. Skin mutilation will be resulted by scratching or intense rubbing as a response to an itching or pain.
2. Skin sensitivity is very common among people.
Even a half of human population experience symptoms of sensitive skin on a regular basis. This problem is more common in areas of high pollution. The more toxic chemicals in the environment, the higher risk of sensitivity. According to many research, there is no connection between skin color and skin sensitivity, except sun sensitivity. The lighter the skin – the more prone to sunburn. In age-related sensitivity, children tend to sensitisation more than adults. Their skin is thinner, and the protective barrier is still developing.
3. Women tend to experience skin sensitivity twice as often as men.
The women’s skin is more delicate and less resilient than men. We can blame here hormonal differences. Higher concentration of testosterone in a male body causes the skin to get thicker by producing more layers of skin cells. Also, all androgen hormones stimulate sebocytes — sebum producing cells to more intensive work. A thicker hydrolipid protective skin barrier is less permeable to pathogens and chemicals.
4. Sensitive skin is NOT a skin type.
We can differentiate five skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination and mature skin. Skin type is defined by our genes, age, and hormonal balance. Every skin type can experience sensitivity when exposed to irritating substances. Also, the hormonal imbalance makes us more prone to certain hypersensitiveness than others. The hypersensitivity reaction heals up as soon as a sensitizing agent is eliminated while changing the skin type is most of the time impossible.
In many cases, the skin sensitivity is a subjective matter. People with the same skin type can react differently to the same ingredients. A substance which irritates the person with dry skin could do wonders to someone else with the same skin type.
5. There are four types of skin sensitizations.
Type I: blush (erythema) associated with diet or alcohol consumption, stress, and emotional reaction. Also, sudden changes in temperature.
Type II: Blush, a feeling of tightness, slight peeling as a reaction to the cold weather, wind and air conditioning.
Type III: Blush, and tingling and sudden redness associated with the use of an irritating product on the skin.
Type IV: Skin redness, hot flushes associated with menstruation and hormonal imbalance.
6. Skin sensitisation often occurs as the aftermath of other skin ailments.
Certain conditions among others atopic skin, acne or rosacea reorganize the skin structure while impairing its protective functions. For instance, the lack of sebum and water in the atopic skin increases the absorption of irritating substances.
7. Some products you have been using for years can suddenly start to irate your skin.
The state of your skin is not always the same. It changes with aging, your lifestyle or even your mental health. There is new are of medical science – psychodermatology which specialize in interactions between mind and skin. Some research proves an adamant link between psychological factors and skin health. Perhaps you’ve experienced the phenomenon of beautiful vacation skin. Your complexation clears up and looks more rested and radiant than ever, when away from work-related stressors.
In addition, It’s important to be aware that cosmetic products which suit you well for a very long time may suddenly start to irritate your skin.
If you find it hard to spot the sensitizing ingredient, try to withdraw from using any cosmetic products for several days. Then start gradually adding them back, one at the time. This skin fasting doesn’t sound easy natural for someone with an established skincare regime but in the long run could be the fastest way to eliminate the cause of hypersensitivity.
Keep in your mind that cosmetics are not the only substances to blame. Household products, especially those with detergents and fragrances have strong sensitizing properties too.
8. Sensitive skin is vulnerable to further sensitisation and infections.
Just imagine your skin being a sort of fabric. Hypersensitivity causes the damage to its structure. If the fabric is already thinning or torn, it’s very prone to any further detriment. The same happens with the sensitive skin when the exposure to the sensitizing agent is prolonged. The irritated area can turn into a wound which might be hard to heal and easy to penetrate by harmful bacteria. We often deal with the secondary mechanical sensitization. The most common example — when a piece clothing rubs over irritated skin area. The skin could be so sensitive that even exposure to its sweat — necessary for healthy skin functioning could cause further damage.
Also, we often deal with the secondary mechanical sensitization — when a piece clothing rubs over irritated skin area. Already irritated skin is so sensitive that even exposure to its sweat, necessary for healthy skin functioning, can cause further damage.
9. Minimalists are less prone to skin sensitisation.
Minimalism got a lot of hype in recent years, but in fact, the minimalistic approach is excellent for your skin health. Using fewer products means your skin gets in contact with a smaller number of potentially, irritant ingredients. Minimalists tend to resist impulse purchases while being more thoughtful when choosing the right products for their skin type and reading the ingredients list.
10. Elimination is crucial in sensitive skin treatment.
It’s not only about eliminating the irritating ingredients but also other factors which can make skin worse and more vulnerable to further hypersensitivity. Treating sensitive skin is a lifestyle decision with the healthy diet, exercise and limited exposure to sun, stressful situation or alcohol. Skip on any skin frictions such as massages which stimulate blood supply to the skin, leading to increases inflammation.References:
http://biotechnologia.pl/kosmetologia/skora-wrazliwa-rozmowa-z-ekspertem,13317 Date Accessed, April 8th, 2017
http://biotechnologia.pl/kosmetologia/skora-wrazliwa-a-alergiczna,13323 Date Accessed April 7th, 2017
http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/psychotic-affective-disorders/psychodermatology-when-mind-and-skin-interact Date Accessed, April 8th, 2017
http://dermatologytimes.modernmedicine.com/dermatology-times/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/what-does-having-sensitive-sk Date Accessed, April 7th, 2017