We often hear people saying they have sensitive skin that easily gets irritated and inflamed; even changing weather conditions can trigger a reaction on their skin. Some people are born with intolerant skin, but some gradually develop it due to external factors and their lifestyle. Even regular skin profiles can become sensitive over time. There are many things that can make your skin vulnerable to reactions. But before we dig deeper into these causes, it is important to understand how sensitive skin is different from the other skin types.
What does sensitive skin really mean?
Lot of men and women would say that they have sensitive skin, but only a few of them actually have it. According to dermatologists, sensitive skin isn’t a skin type; it is a condition in which skin easily reacts in response products or the weather. This reaction causes breakouts, rashes, itching, dryness or a stinging sensation. Sometimes rosacea, a skin condition characterised by facial flushing and redness, can also make skin sensitive; so can eczema.
Here it is important to note that skin sensitivity isn’t limited to the face; it can be noticed on various parts of the body including legs, arms and back. It is possible that you think you have a sensitive skin, but it can only be certain ingredients in your skin care product that is causing your skin to react. So, before you conclude that you have sensitive skin, it is wise to have a dermatologist check your skin and see if you really have sensitive skin or it is something else that is causing trouble.
What causes skin sensitivity?
- Skin disorders
Conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea or psoriasis, might cause allergic reactions to your skin. Usually skin conditions are easy to self-diagnose as most of them have prominent characteristics. But if you see rashes and blotching on your skin that you can’t seem to relate with any condition, consult a dermatologist to find out if you are suffering from a skin conditions.
Changes in the weather can affect your skin irrespective of your skin type. In the winter, people with dry skin can experience sensitive skin as the cold breeze strips off natural moisture, leaving skin rough, tight and irritated. Summers can be painful for people with oily skin as sun rays and increased humidity can trigger acne breakouts. Even long exposure to UV rays can damage skin cells and causes a red, stinging reaction.
- Hormonal imbalance
Fluctuating hormonal activity often increases skins sensitivity, especially in women. Many women experience break outs at the time of their periods, while many develop skin reactions during pregnancy when hormone production changes drastically.
- Ingredients in skincare products
Allergens and irritants in cosmetics and skincare products can also aggravate your skin. If you develop a rash or feel itching or a burning sensation after using a particular product, it is a sign that your skin is sensitive to one or more ingredients in that product. Usually fragrances, harsh chemicals, drying agents and dyes cause reactions on skin. Therefore, many people with sensitive skin are turning towards natural products that have low risk of causing skin irritation.
Poor diet, lack of sleep, stressful jobs and vices like smoking and excess alcohol consumption are some of the lifestyle factors that can have a grave impact on your skin. Although these don’t have any direct link with sensitivity of the skin, they do affect the skin’s barrier function in some or the other way. Impaired barrier function leads to a loss of the skin’s ability to retain water, leaving skin prone to dryness and allergic reactions.
- Skincare routines
Using the wrong products or using them excessively can also make your skin feel irritated. It is therefore essential to know your skin type and use products that are made specifically for your skin type. Moreover, you must have a proper skincare regime that includes cleansing, toning and moisturising. Remember, skincare routines vary depending upon your skin needs; there is no one routine that fits all.