So, what are the nuts and bolts of sensitive skin? For a long time, sensitive skin was something of a medical mystery, but advanced research has revealed some of the factors at play.
- Sensitive skin has an ineffective surface barrier (a lack of protective lipids) which means environmental irritants such as harsh washing powders or certain cosmetics ingredients can penetrate to the deeper layers. For this reason, it benefits from specific care products to replenish its barrier function. You’ll find out all about this approach in the articles under the subsections below.
- Over and above an impaired barrier function, sensitive skin suffers from a phenomenon called “neurogenic inflammation”. This means that nerve endings are hypersensitive and release inflammatory substances (a danger signal usually reserved for attacks on skin) in response to harmless stimuli like hard water and a change in temperature. This inflammation provokes the characteristic symptoms of sensitive skin such as stinging, tingling and itching.
In the subsections below, we’ll help you determine whether you have sensitive skin and talk you through how to best keep your skin in its comfort zone with smart lifestyle tips and product recommendations.
You’ll also discover make-up specifically designed to help shield and soothe sensitive skin.
Don’t forget to look at our overview of sensitive scalp and hair, with information on key topics such as shaving sensitive skin plus how to care for sensitive scalps prone to conditions such as dandruff and hair loss.