Why is my skin so sensitive?

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 overuse products.

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin can be genetic or can be caused by lifestyle. 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.

So obviously the aim for skincare should be to 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 it can get a wee bit 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

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 how to avoid sensitive skin:

  • Cut way back on exfoliation: This includes scrub exfoliators, cleansing brushes, harsh face cloths and acid exfoliators. If your skin is dry and flaky it needs moisturisation not exfoliation
  • Use a gentle cleanser: This applies to everyone, all the time. Find one that will not strip your skin of moisture or oil. Avoid foaming cleansers, anything with SLS and do not use soap on your face
  • Stop over cleansing: I know I say you must cleanse but do it only at night if you have dry or sensitive skin
  • Use a good moisturiser with repairing oils: This delivers hydration, protection and nutrition
  • Add a facial oil: If you do not already use one now is the time to start to help decrease the dryness with powerful fatty acids that feeding and work with the skin barrier
  • Go easy on introducing new products: Only ever introduce one new product at a time and patch test first, which is to apply a small amount of product on a small patch of skin (behind the ear is good) and only proceed with using it if there are no reactions. And remember the more things you put on your face, the more likely you are to react to one of them
  • Find yourself a good broad spectrum SPF: And use it regularly to protect your skin from the oxidation effects of the sun

    Check out our popular bundle Daily Essentials for Healthy Skin. To have hydrated, happy skin this winter gently and properly cleanse with the Blam Blam Balm and protect & hydrate with the Face Oil and Face Cream. Plus you save $14 when you buy them together.
  • sensitive skin bundle