When speaking with patients about their skin concerns, one of the words we hear often is “sensitive.” In reality, experts describe sensitive skin as a far less common condition than people may think. Was your skin once “normal,” but now seem to become irritated and dry more frequently? Do you break out more easily than you used to?
True sensitivity is in the Genes
Most of the people who have been diagnosed with sensitive skin also have very fair skin. Many are of Northern European descent. Skin that has lower levels of pigment, meaning it is lighter, and skin beneath which blood vessels are quite close to the surface, is more susceptible to redness and irritation. Inflammation is also more easily experienced due to a weak protective layer in the epidermis. Under what would be called normal stressors, such as product ingredients that would cause no reaction in most, the person with sensitive skin may experience a breakout, flushing, or an itchy rash.
Be Kind to your Skin
If you have sensitive skin, there are a number of common ingredients that you may wish to avoid. A partial list of some common irritants includes:
• Beta-hydroxy acid
The best way to know what your skin likes is to test it. If an ingredient is questionable, apply a small amount to a discreet area of skin and check the spot after 24 hours. If you notice itching, redness, or other symptoms, make a note of the ingredient or product to avoid in the future.
In addition to ingredients in moisturizers and other products, environmental factors and your own DNA affect the overall health of your skin. Sensitive people may react more aggressively to stress, cigarette smoke, and alcohol. They may also experience irritation from over-washing or over-use of a particular product.
Trust in your Skin Care Expert
Your skin is all your own. While your routine care will alert you to potential irritants, your dermatologist can help you pinpoint the products that will soothe your sensitive skin. For more information on proper dermatologic care, call (201) 836-9696.