Signs of Sensitive Skin – Causes, Prevention and Care for Sensitive Skin

What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone says sensitive skin? Is it that tight, uncomfortable feeling that comes with exceptionally dry skin? Is it break-outs? Perhaps it’s redness and blotchiness. Or scaly and rough patches of skin. Red bumps that appear after you have tried a new product.

Sensitive skin comes in a variety of forms and it doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what your skin type might be, everyone can be susceptible to it. If your skin is reacting, let’s examine the most common complaints and the best ways to treat them.

Red bumps that appear after using a new product

One or more ingredients in the product might be bothering you. The most common causes of allergic reactions are fragrances, certain types of preservatives and alcohol, but truthfully it can be just about anything.

How to avoid it – introduce one new product at the time. And always patch test the product first.

How to fix it – go back to your baseline routine and stop using products with active ingredients. Stick with a gentle cleanser and a soothing moisturizer. In cases of a more severe reaction, you might need a cortisone cream.

Dry, itchy, uncomfortable skin

It might be over-exfoliation or your new cleanser doesn’t agree with your skin. Alternatively, extreme cold or heat, flying, and other factors can lead to severely dehydrated and/or dry skin. When your moisture barrier is compromised, it leads to transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Different irritants can penetrate the skin more easily. Your moisture barrier needs to be restored.

How to avoid it – stick with a pH friendly cleanser that will not strip the skin. If you use acids (AHAs, BHA or PHA) remember that less is more. If you are travelling a lot, layer your Hyaluronic acid serum with a heavier moisturizer.

How to fix it – switch to a gentle cleanser with the right pH. Soothe your skin and introduce skincare products that will repair the moisture barrier (look for lipids, ceramides, cholesterol). Discontinue actives and let your skin recover.


Any number of reasons might be the cause of a break-out – it could be something you ate. A comedogenic product. Stress.

How to avoid it – sometimes break-outs cannot be avoided. Stick to a regular routine that includes a pH friendly cleanser. If it is stress that affects your skin, try and lower your stress levels (we know, it’s easier said than done). If at all possible, mind your diet.

How to fix it – introduce a gentle cleanser that will not strip the skin and cause even more problems. Use topical products that contain Mandelic acid to calm down the skin and prevent new break-outs. Likewise, products with Niacinamide will regulate oil production, soothe, prevent new blemishes and treat postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Is your skin sensitive? What are some of the symptoms you have experienced? How do you adapt your skincare routine and what are some of the products you swear by to help soothe your skin?

Roberta Striga