When it comes to sensitive skin, it’s not as easy to define as you may think.
In some dermatology circles, acne, rosacea, stinging and burning, and contact dermatitis are all considered sensitive. The common core to all of these conditions is the dreaded inflammation.
So what is at the root of your sensitivity?
In acne, inflammation is a result of overactive oil glands producing sebum that mixes with dead skin cells and other debris, clogging the pores. This creates an optimum growth opportunity for bacteria. The body’s defense system wages a war against the bacteria, which results in an inflamed pimple.
Rosacea is a skin condition with no clear cause; however, there are known triggers, such as sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, spicy food and heavy exercise, just to name a few. Rosacea symptoms can vary by type and can appear as flushing, persistent redness, bumps or pimples, and visible blood vessels.
Stinging and Burning
This is the inflammation response when something hits your skin and causes it to burn or sting (like an acid or strong retinol).
Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory response that happens when something comes into contact with your skin and causes irritation or an allergic reaction. Common culprits are jewelry, cosmetics, personal care products, fabric softeners or plants (i.e., poison ivy).
For each condition, reducing inflammation is key. Avoid overuse of harsh peels and scrubs, and stick to gentle, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic skincare. Look for anti-inflammatory ingredients such as green tea, soy, cucumber and niacinamide (a vitamin B3 derivative).