5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT… SKIN HYPERSENSITIVITY
WHEN IT COMES TO SENSITIVITY, SKIN BARRIER HEALTH IS KEY!
It often all comes down to a skin barrier that isn't protecting as well as it should be. The structure of the skin barrier is commonly described as being like a brick wall. Tough skin cells (the bricks!) are held together by lipids (the mortar!).
This amazingly thin brick wall structure makes the skin impermeable to foreign invaders, like irritants, allergens, and microorganisms. This is not a one-way street- the skin barrier also helps keep important things in- like water! The lipids (in the mortar) are responsible for maintaining the skin’s hydration, firmness, and smoothness.
According to dermatologist Dr Corinne Maiolo, the disruption of the skin barrier means that instead of those skin cells being firm, plump and protecting us from the outside world, they’re dry and drifting apart, and the outside world is coming in. This causes the sensitivity and damage we often feel "which again drives inflammation, creating redness or discomfort and stimulating nerve fibres which may give the sensations of soreness, burning or pain."
So, if it's healthy? It effectively prevents sensitivity, while protecting you from environmental stressors.
If it's damaged? Irritants and other external "aggressors" can penetrate easily, and your skin will let you know it's unhappy with sensitivity and that uncomfortable, tight feeling.
Skin hypersensitivity often comes on suddenly and without warning (which can be a real nuisance in daily life). According to Dr Maiolo, approximately 50% of people worldwide have some skin sensitivity occurring more often in women at 60%*. Some lucky skin types never react to anything, but for others a simple hot shower or a drop of perfume is enough to cause a reaction (don’t worry, we’re with you)!
Everyone’s skin sensitivity threshold is different, due to both genetic factors (out of your control) and your skin’s daily “experience” (always take care of it!).
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SKIN SENSATIONS
Hypersensitive skin can occur anywhere on the body but primarily affects the face appearing as redness or dryness. These physical indications are often accompanied by sensations of tingling, tightness and burning. Although often invisible to the naked eye, these sensations can be tricky to manage.
LEARN TO SPOT THE TRIGGERS
There are several external and internal factors at play that we need to watch out for:
• While we can't control the weather, there are well-known environmental factors! We're talking sudden temperature changes, sun, wind, and pollution.
• Don't forget the other, less familiar influences such as certain foods or spices!
• And finally, internal elements such as hormonal variations and stress (the same old culprit!) can have an effect.
Everyone's skin is different!
CHOOSING THE RIGHT ROUTINE IS AS IMPORTANT AS EVER!
Less can be best!
First things first, opt for gentle skincare, free of both potentially sensitising or allergenic substances that are for *bonus points* fragrance- and preservative free.
With this minimalist skin regime, you can restore the skin barrier while applying as few potentially sensitising ingredients as possible. Although we sometimes feel that need to (over) cleanse the skin or apply 10 layers of moisturiser, this is what could create a potential reaction in the skin.
Anything that will dry the skin out (or draw the natural lipids, sebum or oil away from the skin) will create a potentially drying effect, flakiness or feeling of tightness on the skin.
Remember: Sebum and oil are there for a reason!
For cleansing and make-up removal, choose no-rinse formulas to prevent tap water from drying out your skin. If you are someone who has skin sensitivity, using things that will dry the skin out (such a foaming cleansers) are best avoided!
Be very gentle. Mechanical stress like friction, rubbing or scrubbing and being harsh on the skin (and your skin barrier) may cause you to experience sensitivity.**
Back to Basics
We also recommend going for textures that can be applied directly with your fingertips, to avoid rubbing with cotton pads (make sure to wash your hands first!).
A rule of thumb? The fewer the ingredients, the more suitable the product is for sensitive skin. Let's take a "less is more" approach.
Feeling like your skin is overreacting? No stress!
Discover Tolerance Control
*https://www.dropbox.com/s/hsgnpxcyjypucbr/Avene%20-%2025%20August%202021... Corinne Maiolo, 34:05