There are many contributing factors that can cause stress to your skin. Interestingly, when asked what their skin type is, most women classify themselves as sensitive and in some countries, this figure is as high 91%.
What exactly is sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin can be defined as an inability to tolerate most products on the skin, regardless if they are marketed as gentle. Sensitive skin is more reactive to stimuli including irritation, exposure to UV rays, sun damage, stress, and hormonal changes. The skin tends to become red, dry, irritated, flaky, and stingy.
Sensitive skin can also respond negatively to fragrances, dyes, chemicals, harsh skincare ingredients and active ingredients. The more potential irritants your skin is exposed to, the lower its threshold for irritation and the harder it is to pinpoint exactly what may be irritating it.
Any damage that occurs to the natural barrier function of the skin results in inflammation with sensations of tightness, heat and itchiness that can be both distressing and uncomfortable. The outer layer (epidermis) acts as a barrier that maintains the balance of lipids and water and protects the skin from pollutants, debris and dirt. A compromised barrier is the first step in developing symptoms of sensitivity.
Anyone who suffers from sensitive skin or rosacea is no stranger to these symptoms, but from time to time, it can a be a problematic skin condition for many of us. With the current mandatory wearing of face masks, many more people are prone to this type of reaction especially around the lower part of the face. Skin that experiences redness and reactivity doesn’t discriminate - your skin can be either dry or oily, making product selection even more confusing.
Is sensitivity a skin type or a skin condition?
As a skin type, sensitive skin is either due to genetics or a predisposition to an impaired skin barrier function. The skin barrier is the waterproof seal that is composed of proteins, lipids, microbiome and ceramides that glue the skin cells together and maintain moisture and hydration. If there is skin barrier dysfunction or imbalance due to misuse or overuse of products, the skin can be dry and more prone to irritation and can feel sensitive and reactive.
Sensitive skin is a condition that usually occurs due to external irritants such as products that contain harsh surfactants, harsh water, and fluctuations in temperature from cold air or heat. There is also allergic contact dermatitis which is an immune response or hypersensitivity to certain products or ingredients such as fragrances or preservatives resulting in redness and itchiness.
What is the difference between allergies and sensitivities?
Sensitive skin feels tight, flaky, dry, stinging and burning. Sensitivity is usually defined as irritability, due to a compromised skin barrier function, so it needs to be repaired and restored – the waterproof seal that protects the skin from environmental stressors, elements and harsh products has been disrupted.
Sensitive skin can be acquired due to exposure or overuse of active ingredients such as AHA, retinol and acne products that contain harsh ingredients like salicylic acid and benzyl peroxide. Harsh ingredients can strip the naturally-occurring skin lipids and cause secondary irritation and sensitivities.
Allergic reactions or allergy-prone skin is an immune response in which there is a heightened or abnormal response almost as soon as a product or ingredient has been applied to the skin. An allergy response is usually itchy with hive-like rashes or a delayed reaction, like eczema and even skin blistering. Allergies tend to be worse in spring and summer due to airborne allergens like grasses and pollens. The culprit allergen triggers a series of reactions that could exhibit as hives, eczema, and skin itching.
Sensitive skin and rosacea are almost universal because there is an impaired skin barrier function. Stress can flare rosacea by sending nerve chemicals to the skin, causing dilation resulting in redness and pro-inflammatory skin. Hormonal rosacea can flare during the menstrual cycle and also during peri- and post-menopause as the skin becomes thinner due to oestrogen hormones becoming less abundant which maintain skin thickness, suppleness and skin barrier function.
Perioral dermatitis can present as rosacea, acne or dermatitis and have overlapping features such as folliculitis/acne spots.
Tips For Sensitive Skin
- Gentle, restorative ingredients are paramount in the healing process
- Maintain skin barrier function – MOISTURISE
- Avoid harsh products – skin irritation or allergic reactions – fragrance free
- Sun protection is your best long-term solution against skin ageing
It’s not only what we put on our skin but also what we put in our mouths that can create flareups. Common food triggers for rosacea include: hot and spicy foods, alcohol and foods such as chocolate and dairy, refined sugars and, carbohydrates.
These can all cause an inflammatory response in the skin cells. Emotional distress can also trigger flare ups. The same membrane found in the nerve ending of our brains is also found in our skin, so reducing stress is a good way to alleviate skin health.
Our Barrier Repair Collection is designed to help reduce the overall appearance of redness, smooth uneven skin tone and soothe irritation. It has been carefully formulated to make your skin more resilient and increase its protective mechanisms by combining a delicate balance of nourishing botanicals and calming plant oils that contribute to rectifying underlying issues and rebalancing irritated skin whilst reducing redness.
Discover our fragrance-free Barrier Repair Collection and its benefits for sensitive skin today.
Step 1: Gentle Melt Cleansing Balm
Nourishing plant oils of organic Baobab, Chia Seed, Carrot Seed and Argan oils nourish, regenerate and boost elasticity. This water-free cleansing balm is designed to gently melt into your skin, removing makeup and impurities without any irritation. This unique jelly-like balm transforms into a milky emulsion with the addition of water and, once removed with a warm face cloth or sponge, reveals a hydrated, soft and dewy complexion.
Step 2: Barrier Repair Serum
Supporting skin protection, this remarkable calming serum contains a powerful blend of plant-based antioxidants that defend the skin against environmental aggressors. Potent botanical ingredients for reactive skin help promote the repair process and improve skin texture. The soothing formula is designed specifically for hormonally-reactive and sensitised skin, so it is fragrance free and non-irritating. The silky serum quickly absorbs into the skin, leaving your complexion hydrated and glowing. Suitable for all skin types, this lightweight serum in non-comedogenic, making it a versatile serum to calm redness associated with acne and blemish-prone skin.
Step 3: Restorative Moisturiser
A deeply-nourishing and soothing facial moisturiser. This fragrance-free edition is made for skin types that require gentle-yet-restorative ingredients. It contains an abundance of soothing botanical oils and extracts leaving the skin thoroughly hydrated, nourished and protected. Plant butters and esters of Shea and Jojoba deeply moisturise. Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E and Rosehip oil promote elasticity and firmness. Hyaluronic Acid smooths fine lines and wrinkles. Native Australian extracts of Kakadu Plum, Davidson Plum and Quandong boost moisture and calm the skin.