Handling Your Sensitive Skin

young beauty woman checking her skin at mirror in the morning

Last Updated on August 16, 2023

For quite some time, there were only 3 official skin types recognized by the dermatology and skincare industry. Those were the dry, oily, and combination skin. But, it was not that long ago when a new type entered the market – sensitive skin. Sensitive skin has always been a topic and is present among the human race, but it was never established as a particular and separate part of dermatology. That opened the door to different skincare approaches, treatments, and products and one main question that appeared was when everyone started to wonder whether they had sensitive skin. 

According to different research, the answer to that question can be maybe. What is important to explain is that the concept of sensitive skin is much more than what pops up at first look. Many compare this to the meaning and understanding of the terms clean beauty and hypoallergenic for example. For all these terms, including sensitive skin, there is no clear and standard definition. But, one general explanation that can be standardized is that sensitive skin is a specific type of skin that can be very easily irritated. It is also intolerant to different products for topical use, and when used, there are symptoms like burning and stinging, sometimes with or without the presence of rashes. 

This type of explanation brings a difference in the perception of sensitive and sensitized skin, which is a term that is used to describe skin that is irritated. It can be understood this way: ask yourself whether you have started using some heavy scrub or retinol before you wondered whether you have sensitive skin. This is something that might have triggered sensitized skin. So, the truest definition of sensitized skin is skin that becomes irritated, after using a strong skincare product. On the other hand, sensitive skin is skin that is very easily irritated, which can be a result of products and environments that do not usually cause irritation. 

What are the first signs of sensitive skin?

The first red flags, signs that might lead to the discovery of whether you have sensitive skin or not are whether the skin turns red, or starts feeling itchy and burning after using some moisturizer or products that the majority of people do not have a problem with it. The most common signs of sensitive skin, as described by dermatologists are burning, stinging, itching and redness. They can appear after the use of commercial products like cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens. The sensitive skin appears when the nerves are triggered. Since they can really be easily triggered, they can cause the skin to itch, to hurt, and result in redness. One of the first steps to managing sensitive skin is by using mild cleaners such as Neutrogena’s Ultra Gentle Hydrating Facial Cleanser, Non-Foaming Face Wash for Sensitive Skin.


Especially redness can be quite an uncomfortable thing. If it appears after washing the face or applying sunscreen it does raise questions about what is going on with the skin. With skin irritation, there is an entire process of inflammatory reaction that happens. This process releases different inflammatory proteins, which make the blood vessels in the skin open or dilate. The increased blood flow that comes from this process makes the skin look red. That shows that the skin has been damaged and that it is working on protecting itself. This is a very similar reaction when getting sunburned. 


The environment is another common sign that can trigger sensitive skin. Cold weather is one of the factors that can lead to sensitive skin, especially cold and dry air. What helps the sensitive skin during that season is a lot of moisturizing and hydration. The way to deal with this type of skin and the environment you live in is to find gentle and non-irritating skincare products. The problem with sensitive skin is that the skin barrier produces low levels of ceramides and oils like squalene. Using moisturizing products like ceramides, oils and lipids can help restore the skin’s barrier. 

Acne-prone skin

If you suffer from acne, then you should know that treating them should include products for sensitive skin too. It is widely known that the products for treating acne are not very gentle on the skin. It is essential to stop using them, moisturize the skin properly and use a gentler approach. For example, a gentle form of a salicylic acid product like Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Fighting Facial Cleanser is less irritating on the skin. Cleansers that contains less than 4% of benzoyl peroxide are ideal. Higher concentrations of benzoyl peroxide are better suited for spot treatments

These are the most common signs that show that you might be dealing with sensitive skin. Also, the natural process of aging, as well as the change in hormones can lead to having sensitive skin. Some products that you have used your entire life might now start to cause redness and not be suitable for your skin. This is just another pointer that you need to look at the signs on your skin. That means that you instantly need to switch to products that are designed for sensitive skin. Those products will restore the balance in the skin cells, as well as provide the results that they are supposed to provide in the first place. Also, be sure to switch your skincare routine during the summer and winter time. Again, use products that are specifically labeled for sensitive skin. Increase the hydration and moisture during the colder months. All of that will lead to improving the condition of your skin and will preserve the skin from any potential rashes and redness. 

Taking great care of your skin means taking care of your health too. So, don’t worry if you have sensitive skin. Just look for the signs that might point to it and use the right products to treat it in the most suitable and proper way.

Like it? Share with your friends!