Burning, stinging, itching. No, these aren’t sensations from a bad holiday experience, these are the symptoms of a broadly termed ‘sensitive’ skin. Due to lack of clear definition of sensitive skin problems I’m hoping to iron out the issues of those who have sensitive skin and those that have sensitised skin.
There is an easy way of discovering which bracket you fall into. A true sensitive skin condition is the result of your genes. It is found in those that have fair skin and allergic diseases and skin conditions. These come under something known as the atopic triad or allergic triangle, which is the link between eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis i.e hayfever.
Sensitised skin is a reflection on your environment, lifestyle and you. Pollution, cosmetic and skin care ingredients, over-exfoliation, diet, alcohol and climate changes are all triggers, but you can improve this! With the correct skin care and lifestyle choices you will notice a significant improvement. I view skin like bricks and mortar, and as the mortar becomes weak and I suppose sensitive it allows creepy crawlies and fluids in, making it dry and cracked. This is similar to the skin, as its lipid barrier becomes impaired cracks begin to appear, this can cause a further loss in hydration levels, allowing in bacteria which can also add to the inflammation and redness.
The key is to prevent the lipid damage by eliminating stress, pollution, alcohol etc and making provision to repair it, also using key products early when the signs start to show. But the main thing to remember with sensitised skin, it is something you are doing that is causing the problem, and by correcting the factors will help with skin complaints, anti-ageing and your general health. Unfortunately those suffering with issues within the allergic triangle there is nothing you can do to prevent your sensitivity however I can whole heartedly recommend the Dermalogica UltraCalming range for continuous use rather than just for flare ups. They target inflammation and sensitisation in an exclusive complex of highly effective active ingredients.