Over 50% of people would describe their skin as sensitive – from stinging or burning when using certain skincare products, to irritation from perfumes or detergents or perhaps skin that is dry, itchy, gets red or breaks out easily.
Whatever your experience, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll know it can be uncomfortable, frustrating and sometimes even just downright embarrassing.
With the better understanding, and maybe a few changes, you’ll be able to tackle sensitive skin, boost your confidence and make worrying about your skin a thing of the past.
What actually is sensitive skin?
Ok, so you know how sensitive skin feels (usually ouch!) but what is actually happening?
First, we need a quick science lesson (because who can remember it from school?!).
Skin has three layers – the epidermis (the waterproof outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer that has sweat glands and hair follicles) and the hypodermis (the deepest layer, containing fat and connective tissue).
Irritated nerve endings in the epidermis are the cause of sensitive skin, resulting in loss of moisture, inflammation, redness and all the annoying symptoms we mentioned earlier. But how does this happen?
The outermost layer of the epidermis is known as the skin barrier. This is made up of skin cells (if you like to sound smart, this is the stratum corneum) and the lipid matrix (fatty acids, ceramides and cholesterols).
Think of it like a brick wall – the skin cells are the bricks and the lipid matrix is the cement.
The skin barrier is essential for keeping out bacteria, germs and environmental factors, but it is also permeable and delicate, so can be damaged.
It is damage to the skin barrier that is one of the most common causes of nerve ending irritation (and therefore sensitive skin). So now you know, top marks to you!
What causes sensitive skin?
It’s important to mention that some people are genetically predisposed to sensitive skin, but often damage to the skin barrier is the cause.
What in our day to day lives could damage the skin barrier? There are a number of different triggers in both our environment and lifestyle that could do this, including…
- Skincare/cosmetic ingredients
- Chemical/synthetic fragrances
- Temperature changes
If lifestyle or environmental factors could be causing your skin to react, you may want to consider making some changes to help protect the skin barrier, and so retain moisture in the skin and keep irritants out.
What can I do about sensitive skin?
Although sensitive skin can occur anywhere on the body, many people find that sensitive skin on the face and hands has the biggest impact on their confidence and self-esteem, as they are often highly visible areas.
If you’re experiencing sensitive skin on your face and hands, it can help to:
- Wash with lukewarm water (not hot!)
- Choose a gentle cleaner or hand soap, avoiding scrubs or harsh exfoliators
- Gently pat skin dry
- Apply a good moisturiser to damp skin (ideally within minutes of washing)
- Use a good SPF, pop on a hat and avoid the sun where possible
Moisturisers for sensitive skin
Synthetic or chemical ingredients can cause skin irritation for many people, not just those who would describe their skin as sensitive. That’s why you won’t find anything other than natural, plant-derived ingredients in all our products, so we can ensure they’ll be as gentle as possible on every body.
We use only the finest butters and oils in our hand, face and body moisturisers, such as beautiful soothing and softening mango seed butter, and hydrating, restorative borage oil.
We’ve also created our Jojoba Natural range that doesn’t even include any essential oils, so even the most sensitive of souls (and pregnant people) can treat and soothe their skin.
You can take a look at our ingredients in more detail on our Making Scence page.
Deodorants for sensitive skin
Perhaps you’re someone who finds their skin reacts when they use deodorant? (we promise you’re not alone!). Modern antiperspirants are packed full of ingredients that can irritate the skin, especially the sensitive underarm area, and even more so if you’re someone who shaves here.
Why not take a look at our natural deodorants, which don’t contain any common irritants such as aluminium or bicarbonate of soda, just lovely gentle ingredients to help you smell fresh as a daisy.
Our approach to skincare also means that we don’t even need to use any preservatives, as our products are all anhydrous (meaning they don’t contain any water in which nasties can grow), so we only need to include the good stuff that does good things for your skin, hurrah!
Lifestyle changes that could help sensitive skin
You may also find it helpful to make some other changes to help prevent and reduce damage to the skin barrier, such as…
- Stopping smoking (your mum always said it was no good for you anyway)
- Drink less alcohol
- Drink more water! (hydration, hydration, hydration!)
- Test new products – pop a small amount on your forearm or wrist
- Manage your stress levels (we love a good mindfulness practice!)
- Get a good sleep routine (have you tried a sleep story?)
- Use a humidifier – more moisture in the environment means more in your skin
- Bye bye bacteria – wash your cosmetic brushes & sponges, chuck out old products, keep your bedding and cleansing cloths clean
- Detox – try to reduce irritants throughout your home, from your detergent to your washing up liquid
What if it’s not just sensitive skin?
There are of course some skin conditions that require a little more help and management, such as eczema and dermatitis. If you’re struggling to get your skin to behave, it’s worth popping along to see your doctor to get it checked out.
Although our products are not medicated, and we can’t (and would never!) make medical claims, we have had lots of wonderful reviews from customers who have told us that they have experienced relief from eczema and dermatitis using our products, which we just thought would be helpful for you to know!