Sensitive skin is the most complicated and annoyed one of all skin types, because it usually comes to the genetic side, thus, it is difficult to avoid it. However, it was not common to talk about sensitive skin back to 30 years ago. In the 1980s, only 30% of people thought they had sensitive skin, while today, a whopping 70% of people think they do. The reason of this hot debate about sensitive skin for the last decade is due to more and more people are having a “sensitized” skin caused by the wrong use of aggressive products like retinols, alpha hydroxyl acids.
Sensitive skin is a description, not a diagnosis, so there isn’t a real test for it. Sensitivity is not an isolated condition, but as a symptom usually caused by an underlying condition like eczema, rosacea, and irritated skin from things like allergies or medications.
But the good news is, believe it or not, only a small portion of the population actually has sensitive skin. Read on to find out what is sensitive skin type and what cause it.
Why I Have Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin can be caused by many different factors. Sometimes, it is more of a genetic issue. People are born with genetic predispositions for rosacea, eczema, dry skin, allergies, etc. These conditions can be detected when the patient is younger, but most of the people will not realize it until their adulthood . Patients with eczema have what Dr. Grossman calls a “leaky” skin barrier — meaning it allows in irritants and lets out hydration. Folks with rosacea tend to have dilating blood vessels, more inflammation, and improper barrier function.
Having a sensitive skin is not something you should just by not just by looking in the mirror and guessing what you’ve got, all of these genetic predispositions should be diagnosed in the dermatologist’s office, and treatments for sensitive skin need to be done by a professional. With the helps of dermatologist, you can identify sensitive skin by broken capillaries — something a derm or licensed aesthetician is qualified to spot.
Wrong Skin Care Products and Procedures
Although there are only few people have genetic sensitive skin, a lot of external factors can affect skin sensitivity. For instance, over-exfoliation, using water that is too hot, combining too many active ingredients, and doing too many procedures — or too many of the wrong procedures, can also cause sensitivity. Medicine and sun exposure can also cause sensitivity in the moment.Therefore, more and more people have a “man-made” sensitive skin nowadays.
So what does this all mean? You may have a sensitivity but your skin is not necessary to be classified a sensitive type, and that is an important distinction to make. Many people will have some sensitivity to strong ingredients, which makes total sense — not everyone’s skin is meant to handle every ingredient. In addition, every skin type can have some sensitivity, what works for one face won’t work for another.
Misconceptions About Sensitive Skin
Most misconceptions about sensitive skin are from people’s own wrong experiences. A lot of this is due to over-aggressiveness by using skin care products. Many people will scrub their faces twice daily, apply acids, retinoids, peels, bleaches, and just overdo it. The easiest way to see if you have a sensitivity is to patch-test on a small portion of skin. If you break out, get red, or feel itchiness or burning, set aside the product and take note of the ingredients. Over time, you may start to recognize patterns in what makes your skin freak out, which will make shopping a lot easier. And go easy on your skin, will you? No need to scrub yourself raw.
The best part of this process is that once you’ve discerned you’re not sensitive — you just have a sensitivity — you can get to work finding products that will actually benefit you. While there won’t be a huge negative impact if you’re using sensitive-skin products on non-sensitive skin, it may keep you from finding ingredients that actually work for you.