My sensitive skin diary

Living with sensitive skin: The true impact on quality of life

From the moment you are born, every second of every day, your skin surrounds you with a protective barrier. It shields you against the elements, knocks, bumps and countless harmful substances in our environment. Yet we tend to take the immense role skin plays in our lives for granted.

For increasing numbers of people, however, skin has become an issue. Their skin has become sensitive and is no longer silently tolerating the stresses and strains of everyday life. It has begun to protest, expressing its discontent with symptoms such as redness, prickling, stinging… In the most severe cases, women with sensitive skin feel they have to opt out of “high risk” situations, which also means they can miss out on living a serene and fulfilled life.

Expert dermatological brand La Roche-Posay shares its insights into sensitive skin’s true impact on women’s lives – and tips on how to regain control.

Your morning skincare routine can impact the rest of the day

First thing in the morning, when you’re still half asleep, it’s tempting to slip into a long, hot shower. Yet for many women, prolonged exposure to hot water leaves skin feeling tight, as if a size too small and visibly red. Flushed cheeks are hardly conducive to self-confidence and can leave women feeling insecure. Not helpful if you have a big presentation or a job interview that morning!

The science behind women’s sensitive skin experiences: This is a classic scenario. The hot water of your morning shower triggers histamine release in the skin, setting off a chain reaction of irritation. It’s important to keep your morning shower lukewarm and brief. Alkaline soaps also strip skin’s protective barrier – instead, favor micellar waters and cleansing milks.

The wrong make-up can put a dampener on your social life

While many women see make-up as a moment of pure pleasure and self-expression, for members of the sensitive skin community, the make-up aisle can feel like a minefield. Skin can burn, itch and sting following product application, often turning uneven and blotchy – the polar opposite of make-up’s stated goal! Having lost faith in make-up, these women feel obliged to attend social events bare-faced – or simply to opt out altogether.

The science behind women’s sensitive skin experiences: Many women with sensitive skin invest time and money in allergy testing, desperate to identify a single ingredient responsible for their tumultuous relationship with make-up. When the tests come back negative, they understandably feel disappointed and frustrated. The truth is, sensitive skin is harder to define than allergy, and every woman needs to find her own trigger factors.
One strategy is to look carefully at product labels: ensure products are tested on sensitive and allergic skin, with a minimalist formulation free of fragrance, alcohol and known allergens such as nickel. Armed with products from specialist brands, sensitive skin can rediscover its beauty while you have fun experimenting with the latest looks!

Sensitive skin can rob women of their beauty sleep

One of the most distressing – and surprising – ways in which sensitive skin can interfere with a woman’s quality of life is sleep disturbance. Increasing numbers of women complain of waking up to an annoying tingling, prickling sensation on their face – a rude awakening if ever there was one, and a terrible start to the day!

The science behind women’s sensitive skin experiences: Sensitive skin symptoms often peak first thing in the morning, even waking some patients from sleep too early. The reason why? In the early hours, there is a surge of pro-itch mediator histamine, which can trigger the symptoms of sensitive skin. The most advanced nocturnal care products keep those sensations in check to help women wake up feeling serene and refreshed.