Sensitive Facial Skin| What Causes It and How Can I Protect It

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The face is the most sensitive part of the skin. Sensitive facial skin occurs when the skin’s natural barrier function is compromised, allowing penetration of irritants and water loss. Although having a sensitive facial skin is not a disease, it is exacerbated when exposed to environmental triggers like the sun, harsh weather conditions or particular ingredients in cosmetic products like cleansers, soap, moisturizers and so on.

 Many women have no idea that their skin is sensitive facial skin until they get a bad reaction with cosmetic products that cause irritation. Signs of skin irritation include burning, stinging sensation, itchiness.

A sensitive facial skin may be as a result of an underlying skin condition like psoriasis (a condition marked by dry patches, scales and itchiness), Rosacea (otherwise known as acne rosacea, has key symptoms of swelling, redness, pus-filled bumps on the face), Eczema (characterized by dry, itch and an inflamed), Contact dermatitis (triggered by irritants or allergies that cause rashes) etc.

Consult a dermatologist to determine the cause of your problem. Generally, with few changes to your skin care routine can keep your symptoms under control.

Signs and Symptoms of a Sensitive Skin

Understanding the cause of a sensitive facial skin and the factors that can worsen it help reduce its impact and lessen occurrences.

Symptoms of a sensitive skin show similarities to those presented by other skin conditions, especially those associated with lack of moisture (dry skin). These symptoms can occur anywhere on the face. They include:

  • Redness
  • Flaking
  • Swelling
  • Scaling
  • Roughness of skin
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Prickling
  • Tightness
  • Tenderness
  • Red rashes

Hypersensitive facial skin is more common in women than in men especially if they have delicate skin. It may be as a result of

  • Cosmetic practice
  • Age
  • Increased trans epidermal water loss (TEWL)
  • Pollution
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Alcohol
  • Temperature changes
  • Excessive heat, cold, wind
  • UV radiation

It’s not unusual for someone to experience symptoms of hypersensitivity without any visible signs on the skin. Symptoms commonly occur after applying products to the skin and could occur immediately or noticed hours or may be days later.

These symptoms are characterized as an unpleasant sensation by many women. It’s has been described as a stinging and burning sensation accompanied by redness (erythema), scaling and pustules.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Beauty Skin Care Routine for a Glowing Skin

A Hypersensitive skin could be as a result of an underlying skin condition, If you’re unsure about what type of skin condition you have, consult a dermatologist or doctor for proper diagnosis and recommendation.

Skin conditions often associated with hypersensitive include:

1. Dry Skin

Dry skin is caused by an increased trans-epidermal water loss. Dry skin causes:

  • Itching
  • Cracking
  • Dry patches
  • Fine flakes
  • Peeling

An ageing skin is more prone to dry skin. Dry skin can appear any where on the body, but it’s commonly seen on the hands, arms, feet and lower legs.  

Applying topical costeriods and lubricating lotions or creams are medications that can help soothe the itching. Home remedies include reduced bathing time and applying a moisturizing cream or ointment two or three times daily. Moisturizing helps prevent your skin from drying out further by hydrating and softening your skin. Avoid using moisturizers with fragrance if your skin is sensitive, use a fragrance-free moisturizer instead.

2. Irritant Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis occurs when the skin comes in contact with an irritant ingredient in a cosmetic product like soap, makeup, toner, moisturizer. It develops a red, itchy rash when the outer protective layer is damaged by something it touches. Symptoms include

  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Red rash
  • Tenderness
  • Itchiness
  • Burning sensation
  • Bumps and blisters that may ooze fluid

Most people usually develop after symptoms after a single exposure to irritants or repeated exposure. Symptoms resolve on its own after a few days or weeks and rarely need treatment. So, its important to avoid the substance that triggered the reaction, although some people develop tolerance over time.

To help reduce itching and soothe the inflamed skin apply an over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream or numbing cream

3. Eczema

Eczema is a group of skin conditions where the skin becomes red, itchy, dry, cracked and inflamed. Eczema causes your skin’s natural barrier against irritants, chemicals, germs to be weakened. It increases the sensitivity of the skin to cosmetics, soaps and other products that do not affect regular people.

Symptoms are reduced using over-the-counter (OTC) anti-itch creams and moisturizers. Although eczema isn’t contagious, it has no cure.

Other skin conditions that could lead to increased sensitivity include Allergies, Contact urticaria, Physical urticaria, Photo dermatoses, cutaneous macrocytosis, Aquagenic pruritus.

Causes of Sensitive Skin

  • UV exposure and environmental pollutants
  • Bad skin care routine
  • Ageing
  • Hormonal changes during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause
  • Lack of sleep and prolonged stress
  • Extreme weather conditions
  • Certain ingredients in cosmetic and skin care products
  • Pre-existing skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea etc.
  • People with type 1 allergy
  • Contributing factors
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Shaving
  • Prolonged hot showers

Treatments and Solutions

There’s no specific treatment for a sensitive skin as it isn’t a disease. Symptoms are kept under control by making a few changes to your skin care routine. That’s why discovering and avoiding what irritates your skin is important. Always choose skin care and cosmetic products that are hypoallergic, pH balanced and gentle.

You should also:

  • Quit smoking
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Run a test application before using any cosmetic product
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin A, C and E which are antioxidants. Add oily fish and foods rich in natural plant to your diet for a glowing skin
  • Wear sunscreen to protect against harmful effects of UV radiation from the sun.
  • Avoid excessive heat
  • Develop a regular sleep routine
  • Apply moisturizers daily at least 2 times daily
  • Clean your skin twice daily with a suitable cleanser depending on tolerance
  • Look for skin care products with there ingredients Biotin (Vitamin B7), Ceramide-3, Coenzyme Q10, Glycerin, pH 5 citrate buffer, Nature-identical Gluco glycerol, Dexpantheniol (Vitamin B5 derivative)

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