Sensitive Skin: Causes, Care and Treatments

LAST UPDATED: JAN 30, 2023 / By Nura / SensitiveSkin

Sensitive skin is the most fragile skin type that can be defined as having a lower tolerance to cosmetics and skin care product. It might be even more difficult to find makeup or skincare items that work when you have sensitive skin. This article will explain about the symptoms of sensitive skin and medicated products that is helpful for sensitive skin treatment.

Symptoms of Sensitive Skin

There isn’t a definitive list that dermatologists use to specify sensitive skin. The ideal way to know whether your skin is sensitive or not is to pay attention to your skin’s response. The breakdown of skin’s natural barrier can trigger sensitive skin symptoms. The atmosphere, dehydration, or an underlying ailment might all contribute to this. Among the symptoms are:

  • Patches of rough, flaking skin and discolored.
  • Blisters (red, inflamed and painful lesions with clear liquid in it).
  • Texture is wrinkled and rough
  • Redness – normally due to response towards irritants.
  • Swelling
  • Sores that are open or have a yellowish crust on top of them
  • Peeling
  • Bump – this happen at advanced stages of irritation.
  • Dry and itchy skin

Both factual and subjective symptoms can be caused by sensitive skin. Physical changes that can be seen by naked eyes are, such as redness, swelling, or sores, are called objective signs.

Redness is a common signs of sensitive skin. You can notice that there are visible changes to your skin’s protective barrier that are simple to spot from the outside and it can take form of a red bumps, blushing, red rash and flushing. These are all the telltale signs of sensitivity. The precaution step in dealing with these concern are you need to cross check any new products that being added into your routine by doing a patch test on some inconspicuous area of your skin. Normally it will need 24 hours to get some result.

Subjective symptoms refer to the feelings of itching, burning, and pain that sensitive skin can induce. They are just as real as you, yet you are the only one who can feel or sense them.

Causes of Sensitive Skin

Factors that cause Sensitive Skin

When it come to sensitive skin, there are only two factors that can trigger it. The first one is weak immune system, normally due to genetic and unhealthy diet. The second one is compromised skin barrier function where external harmful substance can pass through the skin barrier and cause damage to the internal layer of the skin.

Skin Disorder

Skin disorder also can contribute to a sensitive skin. For example, eczema, is a common skin disorder that affects the eyelids, cheeks, chin, and nose sides. Dryness, itching, tenderness, and even a burning or stinging feeling are common symptoms, especially when using cosmetics or skincare products that include chemicals or toxins.

Rosacea, a disorder that causes the face to seem red and irritated, could be the reason that cause sensitive facial skin. It most commonly affects the cheeks and nose, although it can also affect the forehead, back, chest, and ears. It looks like a permanent blush and can make people extremely sensitive to some products, causing a painful burning or stinging feeling.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis can also cause sensitive facial skin. It falls under two categories. The first one is allergic contact dermatitis. The second one is irritant contact dermatitis.

Allergic contact dermatitis can happens when body part has an allergic reaction to a substance that it fails to identify as hazardous. Fragrances (scented products), soaps, detergents, alcohols and essential oils (peppermint, clove and cinnamon) are common trigger for sensitive skin. Reactive skin will leave symptom such as itchiness, dryness or reddening when in touch with all these item.

Meanwhile irritant contact dermatitis happen when skin barrier of the skin were compromised due to frequently contact with irritating agent. People who work as kitchen worker and health care might develop this symptom due to nature of their work that force them to wash their hands multiple time in every hours. Common symptoms include itching, irritation, cracking and bleeding.


Dry skin and sensitive skin can happen simultaneously. It can lead to cracked and flaky skin. Cold, dry environment, wind and winter season can bring quite a problem when you have dry skin. A heavy moisturizer can help your skin to overcome this concern.

Some other serious conditions also can cause sensitive skin

  • Skin Cancer
  • Kidney Diseases
  • Liver Diseases
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Treatment of Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin product user normally will avoid harsh, stinging or burning ingredients in a product since they have a compromised skin barrier. A regular visit to dermatologist and a good consultation on sensitive skin problems can help you understand what kind of ingredients will be suitable to put on your skin. Below we list some of ingredients and; gentle and hypoallergenic products that might help you:

  • The Eczema therapy cream used to treat Eczema. It prevents skin flare-ups at the cellular level.
  • Neosporin’s Eczema Cream is recommended by the National Eczema Association because it soothes and protects inflamed skin.
  • An over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream can help relieve inflammation and itching. Cortizone 10 is a good option.
  • Aloe Vera gel is a natural selection when treating sunburn and  irritations due to its skin soothing-properties. Honeyskin Organic Aloe Vera Leaf Gel can help stimulate skin cell after long exposure to UV rays.
  • Green Tea is an anti-oxidant that can help sooth the skin, fix inflammation and slow the sign of aging.
  • Glycerin is a plant-based humectant and it have properties that helps retain moisture. It can create calming sensation and maintain skin barrier from elements that might harm the skin.
  • Ceramides. People in their 40s will lose incredibly large amount of ceramides. Normally it will be pair with retinoids and glycolic acid in a products so that these ingredients can help allow ceramide for deeper penetration into the skin. Ceramides can help restore the skin barrier and locks in moisture to prevent trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
  • Colloidal oatmeal have anti-inflammatory properties and is a really great ingredients for people that have dry skin concern because it can binds to the skin and locks in moisture.


Skin Routine

Take proper care of your skin to improve skin sensitivity and prevent symptom flare-ups. The following advice may be useful.

Step 1: Hydrate yourself with lemon water

If you have sensitive skin, it is recommended that you drink a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning. Lemon’s vitamin C and antioxidants help regulate free-radical damage, thus this can be beneficial.

Lemon water also helps to purify your blood, which helps to prevent pimples, acne, and wrinkles while also giving your skin a natural glow. This should be accompanied by drinking plenty of water at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your skin nourished from the inside out and eliminate pollutants.

Step 2: Cleansing

Find a gentle and balanced pH cleanser that have a properties in retaining moisture on your skin. Avoid ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulfate, alcohol, AHAs and BHAs.

Step 3: Moisturize Regularly

Moisturizing your skin on a regular basis is an important part of any skin care routine because sensitive skin is often associated with dryness. Moisturizers help in skin hydration, moisture enhancement, skin soothing, skin lipid renewal, and moisture barrier improvement.

Make sure to use a moisturizer that is suitable for your skin type. Avoid moisturizer that use propylene glycol as it can trigger allergic reactions especially for user with eczema concern. Another ingredients that need to be avoid is alcohol, glycolic acid, sulfates, lactic acid and salicylic acid. Make sure to damp your face first before applying moisturizer as water present can help seal in moisture.

Read more here about: 11 Best Moisturizers for Sensitive Skin

Select new Product Carefully

It’s critical to choose your skin care products wisely, including cleansers, soaps, face packs, and moisturizers. Chemicals such as parabens and artificial colors should be avoided because they might irritate sensitive skin.

Choose items with the words “no artificial colors” or “hypoallergenic” on the label. Opt for a fragrance-free product because they are better accepted by sensitive skin.


Consume Balanced Diet

Your skin’s health is heavily influenced by your diet. It is recommended that you eat a diet that is rich in natural foods and low in processed meals.

To improve your skin’s health and speed up recovery, include the following anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods in your diet:

  • Apples, blueberries, tomatoes, and leafy greens are examples of organic fruits and vegetables. These are high in polyphenols and antioxidants, both of which are good for the skin.
  • Avocados, almonds, and extra-virgin olive oil are all good sources of healthy fats.
  • Sardines, wild salmon, and herring are cold-water fish. Omega-3 fatty acids abound in these. Eat these twice a week, or talk to your doctor about taking fish oil supplements with EPA and DHA.
  • Beans, whole grains, berries, and squashes are all good sources of healthy carbohydrates.

Avoid Abrasive Detergents

The remnants of washing detergent left in your garments might potentially cause skin irritation. As a result, if you experience sensitivity after changing your clothes, it’s time to switch your laundry detergent.

Detergents that are gentle and soft should be used. To avoid skin sensitivities, it’s also a good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling detergents and other cleaning products.

Read more here about: Best Body Wash for Sensitive Skin

Protect your Skin from Excessive UVA and UVB Ray exposure

Sensitive skin normally is more susceptible to the effect of UV ray and it can cause skin rash on the face. Since some active ingredients in sun blocks can create sensitive reactions, look for ones with ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is suitable for 1 to 1.5 hours of protection under direct UV exposure.

Best Splurge for Sensitive Skin

+ Olay Facial Cleanser with Hungarian Water Essence, $14

Because of its simple components (no soap, oil, or smell), and foamy texture, this ultra-gentle face cleanser is great for sensitive, yet oily, skin. Olay Cleanser can help remove impurities and pollutants that can disturb the skin’s barrier. To offer your skin a gentle but effective cleaning, lather it up in the morning, at night, or both.

+ Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunscreen, $24

This fragrance-free and hypoallergenic sunscreen is lightweight, non-irritating, and very effective for sensitive skin and, let’s be honest, all skin. This one will need to be applied on a daily basis.

+ Dermalogica Calm Water Gel, $52

This daytime moisturizer is a no-brainer thanks to a mix of sensitive-skin-friendly ingredients. Consider apple fruit extract (which softens skin), ultra-hydrating glycerin (which draws moisture into your skin barrier), and skin-soothing cactus pear extract (to lightly calm irritation).



If you’ve ever had skin sensitivity, you understand how irritating it can be. The majority of the causes, fortunately, have answers. It’s important to remember that finding treatment usually only requires a good moisturizer and a visit to your dermatologist. Keep track of any activities or environmental factors that tend to aggravate your skin and devise a defense strategy.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]