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Sensitive Skin: Causes, Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatment

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The sensitive skin type is a common one, with many people experiencing skin reactions for seemingly no reason. Symptoms of sensitive skin include redness, rashes, bumps, stinging, burning, dryness, itchiness, UV ray sensitivity, broken capillaries, fragrance sensitivity, weather sensitivity, and breakouts. Now, not everyone who has sensitive skin will suffer from every one of these symptoms, nor will they experience them to the same degree. There are varying levels of sensitive skin on the face and body, with some people experiencing occasional mild discomfort and others suffering from excruciating pain. Read on to discover more about sensitive skin.

What is Sensitive Skin?

The term “sensitive skin” is used to describe skin that’s hyper-reactive to certain stimuli. These stimuli include the application of creams, exposure to sun or UV light sources, or climactic changes, such as cold or dry environments. As previously mentioned, this can result in an array of skin reactions that can range from mild discomfort to severe pain.

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

There’s no one cause of sensitive skin, and the cause can sometimes be unknown; however, the most common causes of sensitive skin include allergies, rosacea, acne, and dry skin, as well as an array of other causes.


Skin can become inflamed due to an allergic response, which sends your immune system into overdrive. The skin reaction is your skin’s attempt to protect itself through the release of T-cells, resulting in itching and redness.


Rosacea causes swelling and redness in the face and neck, beginning with the flushing of the cheeks and ears. Fair-skinned people and those with a family history of the condition are most at risk.


Acne also doesn’t have a clear cause, but we do know that clogged pores can be a trigger. Acne presents itself as pimples that sit under the skin’s surface.

Dry skin

This likely won’t come as a surprise to anyone who suffers from sensitive skin, but the dry winter air is enough to affect sensitive skin, resulting in itching and irritation.

In addition to the above causes, sensitive skin can also be caused by age, weather, certain medications, hormonal changes, and an endless list of other factors.

How Many People Have Sensitive Skin?

10% of women and 5.8% of men in the UK describe their skin to be very sensitive, whilst 57% of women and 31.4% of men have reported an adverse reaction to a product at some point in their lives. Of these people, 23% of women and 13.8% of men had experienced this problem within the last 12 months. From this, it can be deduced that sensitive facial skin is a common problem throughout the UK.

Sensitive Skin Routine

When it comes to skincare for sensitive skin, the last thing you want to do is overdo it with the products. A sensitive skin care routine should comprise of no more than five steps: gently cleanse, apply alcohol-free toner, hydrate with serum, moisturise, and treat.

  1. Gentle cleanser

Not only is selecting the right cleanser that’s free from perfumes and other irritants important, but you must also pay attention to the temperature of the water. Extreme temperatures can exacerbate reactive skin, meaning you should opt for lukewarm water. Similarly, you should avoid rubbing with cotton pads or cloths and directly apply cleansers with your hands to avoid abrasion.

  1. Alcohol-free toner

Toners help soothe the skin and prepare it for moisture, but one with alcohol and harsh chemicals could have the opposite effect. Therefore, you should carefully select your toner and be very mindful of how you apply it. If you use a cotton pad, be sure to gently dab your face with it rather than aggressively scrub.

  1. Serum or hydrating oil

A lot of sensitive skin irritation stems from dryness, and a good serum will help you lock in this moisture.

  1. Moisturiser

Much like a serum, moisturiser is required for hydrating skin and can even soothe irritation in the same way that toner can. Moisturiser is vital for the hydration, softening, and strengthening of the skin.

  1. Treatment

Last, but certainly not least, is any treatments. For instance, anyone with sensitive skin shouldn’t leave the house without SPF protection, even in the winter. On top of this, some sufferers of sensitive skin will require balms or ointments to help repair broken or damaged skin.

Best Products for Sensitive Skin

Here at SkinAddict, we’re official stockists of some of the best sensitive skin products. The top brands for sensitive skin include Environ, DermaQuest, Obagi, Medik8, Dr. Levy, and Colorescience. Be sure to browse our range of sensitive skin products and fill out a consultation form for access to DermaQuest and Environ products. Alternatively, you can contact our team for advice and guidance regarding our product range or any skin concerns.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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