Why do I have sensitive skin? Find here the main causes

Skin types

With such a wide variety of products to choose from one of the key factors in making just “a skincare routine” into an effective skincare routine that works to your satisfaction is identifying your skin type correctly. There are a lot of products on the skincare market out there with a lot of similar products carrying out different functions and not knowing your correct skin type is one of the most common mistakes that leave people unimpressed and wondering, what did I do wrong?

There is a common misconception that when it comes to skin type differentiation there are only two types to choose from: oily and dry skin. However, in fact, there are more than 5 different skin types and if you have managed to identify your skin type correctly, there are many other individual differences to consider when it comes to creating a flawless skincare routine, like diet and specific skin conditions, but at least you will be on the right way.

Dry skin and sensitive skin types get mixed up a lot, which can often lead to making the choice in favour of the wrong products, and thus, unsatisfying results, confusion and frustration. But more importantly, if your skin type happens to be sensitive using the wrong product can have an irritating effect on the skin, cause inflammation and bring around even more undesirable skin problems than before the product. So let’s find out, what type of skin types there are and how to know whether you have sensitive skin type?

With oily skin type, the skin produces more natural oils than needed, and instead of producing healthy moisturising effects, it makes your skin more prone to breakouts. For people with oily skin it is best to avoid fatty creams and moisturisers that are rich in texture, however, the skin will still require hydration and the experts recommend opting for products with hyaluronic acid, as it allows for skin to retain water and stay hydrated without producing the greasy-looking appearance of the skin.

Dry skin type is characterized by the dull appearance and rough complexion of the skin, frequently irritated or itchy skin, inflammation, more visible appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and sometimes, scaling. There are various factors as a result of which you might have dry skin. These include UV damage from overexposure to sun, hormonal changes in the organism, insufficient hydration habits, genetic predisposition, hot showers, allergic reactions to specific ingredients in skincare products and certain medications. With dry skin type, experts suggest avoiding long hot showers and skincare products that contain detergents and sulfates, which irritate the skin. Instead, you should be opting for detergent and sulfate-free, thick moisturizing products and apply them at least twice a day, daily, together with a sunscreen cream to protect the skin from sun exposure.

With normal skin type, the skin has barely visible pores, a radiant complexion, no severe sensitivity and none, or very few spots and blemishes. It is more tolerable to most products, however, there is no one concrete definition when it comes to normal skin. Expert views vary on this topic and some believe that what we call “normal” skin is just the healthy and properly hydrated skin, that is able to produce just enough oils to stay radiant and not fall into the “oily” skin type territory. While normal skin can be often considered “self-sufficient” it is still important to wear sunscreen, moisturize and clean it properly without over-stripping or drying the skin out, to maintain the healthy glow and prevent potential discomfort.

Combination skin type is characterized by patches of oily, dry and normal skin in different areas of the face and seasonal sensitivity. For example, combination skin might mean that it might be dry during the winter season and require more moisturizing, however, in the summer season, the skin will appear oily and require different care than in winter. Experts recommend that your skincare routine for combination skin should include products that carry out different functions for different areas on the face, depending on oiliness.

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Dry skin vs Sensitive

It is hard to differentiate between dry skin and sensitive skin because these skin types often go hand in hand. Dry skin is more likely to be sensitive and sensitive skin can often appear.
Dry skin is a skin type which is characterized by a lack of lipids – molecules that are responsible for making up the structure and function of living cells, such as fats, oils and certain vitamins. Reduced amounts of lipids lead to dehydration as the skin fails to bind and retain water. Thus, it can be seen that disturbed moisture balance and a lack of healthy fats is the common factor for both dry and sensitive skin. When skin lacks the necessary hydration it requires to act as a protective barrier layer, further moisture is lost, thus making the skin unable to protect itself from such irritation agent as environmental pollution, sun damage or bacteria. Sensitive skin type is a bit different, as it is a condition that can co-occur with all other skin types. More often than not, the sensitive skin is regularly inflamed and prone to such skin conditions as acne, rosacea, or various types of itchy rashes. While some people might experience mild skin sensitivity, others might notice more pronounced symptoms such as sensations of tightness and discomfort, especially after contact with water, or even more extreme symptoms, such as prolonged redness, itching and burning sensations, swelling and scaling. People with sensitive skin type might often experience a bad reaction to specific ingredients in products and thus should exclude harsh and allergenic compounds not only from the skincare products they’re using but also from other beauty and health products that they are using, such as make up, facemasks, shampoos or certain supplements.

Sensitive Skin

How to know if I have sensitive skin? The main symptoms of irritated skin.

In order to identify whether you have sensitive skin, experts recommend to take a long look at the texture and complexion of the skin and start noticing how the skin feels on a regular basis. Sensitive skin appears patchy, irritated and dry and can be sensitive or painful to the touch. Another step is to take a look at the size of your pores, as with sensitive skin type people will tend to have normal-size or large pores, while people with normal skin would appear to have small or very unnoticeable pore size. After cleansing, sensitive skin tends to feel clean, but dry. With higher sensitivity, you may also experience excessive tightness and discomfort, while cleansing products might trigger further irritation and itching sensations. If you notice that this happens often and with different products, it might be a sign that you have sensitive skin. Another sign you might have sensitive skin is if you frequently notice experiencing flakiness, swelling and flushing redness after cleansing or contact with wind or sun exposure.

Sensitive skin type requires frequent daily moisturizing, however, you should be careful with the choice of products. To care for sensitive skin, experts advise performing patch tests prior to choosing in order to determine whether the purchased product will cause your skin to “act out” in undesirable ways.

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What causes painful skin sensitivity?

Allodynia, or painful skin sensitivity, is an extreme condition that can take place as a result of several nerve-related conditions. The main characteristic of allodynia is experiencing pain from something that does not usually result in pain, such as painful sensations from gentle pressure on the skin, touching, applying to makeup or hair-brushing. Painful skin sensitivity co-occurs with other conditions and can be triggered by migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, diabetes, depression, peripheral neuropathy or neuralgia. Another key factor in developing painful skin sensitivity is a genetic predisposition, so if your parent has fibromyalgia, unfortunately, you are at risk. Another reason for painful skin sensations is hypersensitivity, a skin condition that varies in severity and is characterized by experiencing painful or unpleasant sensations after coming in contact with extreme environmental conditions or psychological factors. In the treatment of painful skin, sensitivity specialists recommend identifying triggers that make you experience unpleasant symptoms, a change in lifestyle or prescription of certain medication.

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Why do I have sensitive skin?

There are many various factors that might be contributing to the onset of sensitive skin. For example, certain skincare routines and habits, such as washing the skin too frequently or using the water that is too hot causes stress to the skin and strips it of natural oils that act as a protective barrier. Another reason why your skin might be sensitive is as a result of using chemical peels or other exfoliators too frequently or using the exfoliating products that are too aggressive in composition for your sensitivity level. One other common reason for sensitive skin is overheating on dry air in your living space, which can contribute to loss of moisture in the skin and result in over-dryness. Lifestyle and diet are also very important for skin composition, as well as your water drinking habits, as both contribute to overall body and skill health.

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What can I use to treat my skin?

There is a number of lifestyle changes that you can make to ease your condition. If you have very sensitive skin or struggle with dehydrated skin, using air humidifiers at home could be a step in the right direction as it acts by adding moisture to the indoor air and may help in the fight with dehydrated skin. Changes to diet are very instrumental in managing skin sensitivity. Experts recommend paying more attention to how your skin reacts to alcohol, certain foods and drinks, and avoiding those that trigger undesirable reactions from your skin. Maintaining a perfect moisture balance requires hydration. Consuming a lot of coffee, tea or other caffeinated drinks contributes to dehydration and does not qualify as drinking water. You should remember that medical guidelines state that the minimal amount of water your body needs to function properly is 12 or more glasses of water and you should make sure you’re getting enough water daily. These small steps are what you can do to help your skin in the long-term perspective and not following these steps might be one of the reasons contributing to your overall skin sensitivity.

Fortunately enough, there is also a number of skincare products and treatment procedures that will help you nourish, moisturize and keep your skin healthy and radiant. However, you should look out for certain ingredients in the products of your choice. Avoid products with fragrance or products labelled with antibacterial effect as these products tend to contain irritating allergens and drying agents such as alcohol or triclosan. Choose products with labelling “for sensitive skin”; rich moisturisers, creams and ointments; products containing petrolatum, hyaluronic acid or natural oils. Beware of food allergens, since a lot of products contain nut or fruit essences that might be irritating specifically for your skin. As we age, our skin can get thinner or drier, as a result of hormonal changes that occur over time. Consistently using sunscreen creams or moisturisers with added UV light protection is crucial for keeping the skin youthful, hydrated and wrinkle-free for as long as possible.

When it comes to professional treatments, specialists recommend Intense Pulse Light treatments and Broadband light photo facials, which treat the skin and helps improve the appearance of the skin, reduce signs of ageing and sun-damage as well as treat skin sensitivity.

To treat dry and sensitive skin, dermoi! shop recommends a wide variety of products that aim to nourish, replenish and keep your skin hydrated. For example, for sensitive skin, dermoi! shop suggests trying PCA Retinol Treatment for sensitive skin, which contains retinol, an ingredient rich in Vitamin A. Another product that you could try is Osmosis Calm Gentle Retinol Serum, which contains retinaldehyde – A stabilised form of Vitamin A that slowly converts to Retinoic Acid in the skin. Retinaldehyde encourages skin cells regeneration and collagen production, conditions complexion to encourage quicker skin rejuvenation. It tackles all signs of ageing from fine lines and wrinkles to sagging skin and weak barrier functions. It also increases nutrient supply and moisture leaving skin healthier and more radiant. It is perfect for those looking to achieve dramatic age reversal.

For dry skin, dermoi! recommends Youth Serum Treatment, which it helps to combat environmental factors that result in moisture loss and dehydration. Another product that you can try in a fight against dry skin is Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Serum, which contains low molecular weight Hyaluronic acid and Red Marine Algae extract. This nutrient-dense serum restores hydration and allows for a glowing, radiant appearance.

Hopefully, with the help of these little lifestyles and diet changes, alongside a handful of information about skin sensitivity, you will be all set and ready to make your picks of skincare routines and products that will keep yourself and your skin healthy.

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Author: Maria Ageeva