Despite working as an anesthetic Nurse Specialist for many years, where dealing with sensitivities and allergies was a big part of the job, when I started Agnes & Me I was taken aback by the sheer number of people who told me they had sensitive skin, allergies to products or just did not use any skincare for fear of reactions.
And these comments and reports ALWAYS become more frequent in winter, as the cold weather dries out our skin more.
Research shows that sensitive skin is an increasingly common problem, and it does seem to be more common in women which is thought to be because men have a thicker epidermis to protect against irritants and allergens and women tend to use more products on their bodies. As well as skincare think make-up, perfume, shampoos, conditioners, hair dyes, soaps and deodorants. According to the Environmental Working Group, women use an average of 12 products a day, containing 168 different chemicals, men average 85 a day!
What is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin can be genetic or can be caused by lifestyle and so it can develop at any time. It is a term that covers a multitude of issues including dermatitis, eczema and rosacea.
The skin's purpose is to protect us. When it's healthy it keeps the good stuff (water) in and the bad stuff (irritants) out. It is called a skin barrier for that reason.
So the aim for skincare should be to help keep your skin healthy but when there are so many products out there and people are telling you to use this acid or that peeler, face scrubs, double cleansers, layer your serums it can get a wee bit confusing, unhealthy and your skin can start to suffer and get sensitive.
Signs of sensitivity include itchy, red, rough skin with dry patches, rashes, breakouts, and a stinging sensation when you apply products.
Those with dry skin will always be more prone to sensitivity because the protective barrier of the skin is depleted when it dries out. When the skin is dry the barrier breaks down and you get tiny, microscopic cracks that allow the moisture out and allergens in.
What to do about sensitive skin
I believe that the essentials of any good skincare regime are a cleanser, moisturiser and a sunblock. Everything else is a bonus and sometimes those extra products can tip your skin over the edge.
Here's some ways to help avoid sensitive skin:
If you ever have any problems with our products or if you want advice on what to use please get in touch.