Sensitive Skin – Characteristics and Treatments
Sensitive or reactive skin is a type of skin that has its protective layer compromised, making it vulnerable to a variety of external aggressions.
It develops an overreactive response that can range from redness to burning or rashes, and even, over time, develops permanent hair weakness.
The sensitive reaction of this type of skin is due to the excitation of the nerve terminals of the epidermis.
It is important not to mistake them for allergic skin since, in this case, the reaction is caused by an excessive response of the immune system when it comes into contact with a substance that is identified as dangerous.
The pronounced sensitivity of these skins can be caused by vascular fragility, reaction to certain cosmetic compounds, stress, hormonal changes, fatigue, lack of sleep, atopic infections, extreme temperatures, salty water, or pollution.
There are indicators that, although they are not determining, can help us identify sensitive skin.
- Fine, Delicate, and Usually White Skin.
- The stratum corneum or external layer of the skin is usually extremely thin.
- Its blood vessels are usually more reactive compared to normal skin.
- They tend to redden very quickly.
- They may have a non-uniform texture showing signs of peeling, keratosis, and rashes.
- It is prone to spots, erythema, itching, tightness.
- A premature appearance of wrinkles may occur, especially in dry skin.
- These characteristics result in less impermeability and, therefore, less protection against irritants and pollutants and an accelerated loss of moisture.
As a result, this type of skin appears to be similar to dry skin. However, and this is very important, dry skin products are not the most suitable for sensitive skin as they contain a high level of oil and are not soothing enough.
The key to dealing with this type of skin is to prevent irritation and treat its reactivity. The hygiene of sensitive skin must be done with appropriate products that avoid dryness, that does not contain aggressive agents and have active soothing agents that soften and refresh.
Cosmetics with alcohol, perfume, dyes, or alkaline soaps should never be used. It is essential to use hypoallergenic cosmetics, with decongestant and soothing active ingredients, to prevent any inconvenience. Likewise, we must avoid undergoing aggressive cleaning or deep exfoliations.
Types of Cosmetic Ingredients Recommended for this Type of Skin
They have decongestive, anti-inflammatory, and softening properties. Within this group, we have Camomile, Marigold, Vine, Panthenol, and thermal waters.
They stimulate circulation by minimizing capillary permeability and also have anti-edematous properties. In this group, we can include Horse Chestnut, Witch Hazel, Asian Centella, and Mimosa.
Antioxidants and anti-free radicals
These are useful in preventing the emergence and spread of oxidative reactions that give rise to free radicals. Here we have Tocopherol, Ascorbic Acid or its derivatives, extracts from Calendula, Vine and Mimosa, as well as Caffeic Acid and Ubiquinone Q10.
Moisturizing Active Ingredients
They are of great importance to counteract the dryness and roughness that reactive or sensitive skin tends to present.
We can find substances from plant extracts with a large amount of mucilage such as Mallow and Cucumber, hydrolysates of oat protein, corn, soybean, wheat, and milk. We can add substances with moisturizing properties such as glycerin, sorbitol, and urea to this group.
They provide lipids absent in reactive skins, thus reinforcing the skin’s protective function by notably improving roughness, dryness, and flaking. This group includes ceramides, squalene, triglycerides, phospholipids, and cholesterol.
These modulate, stimulate and strengthen the skin’s immune system while reducing the immunosuppression caused by ultraviolet light. Within this group are algae such as Asparagopsis Amara, the beta-glucan in oats, wheat, barley, and yeast.