Have you noticed that we’ve all gotten a little more sensitive lately?
Our skin, that is.
We’ve noticed it here at CV Skinlabs because our Calming Moisture—which like all our products, is made specifically for sensitive skin—is more popular than ever. But apparently we’re not the only ones seeing this trend.
Researchers recently reported that 60-70 percent of women and 50-60 percent of men said they had some degree of sensitive skin.
An earlier study found similar results, with over half of women and about a third of men saying they’d experienced an adverse reaction to a personal product at some stage in their lives. The situation was so compelling that the researchers pointed to the need for the development “of personal products designed for this skin phenotype.”
In the year 2020, mask mandates have caused even more people to suffer from sensitive skin. What can we do about it?
What is Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive skin is an overarching term used to describe skin that more easily reacts to environmental factors or ingredients in skincare products. Common triggers include chemicals, dyes, and fragrances in cosmetic products; detergents in cleansers; pollution, cold, heat, the sun, and moisture in the air; and clothing or other items that may create friction against the skin.
Symptoms associated with sensitive skin include:
- Redness and inflammation
- Acne breakouts
- Dryness, flaking, and chapping
- Irritated skin
- Stinging, burning
- Scaling and peeling
Signs You May Have Sensitive Skin
If you’re not sure whether you have sensitive skin, see if any of the following describes you:
Your skin reacts at the slightest provocation.
Like a touchy relative, your sensitive skin gets all up in arms at the slightest hint of offense. You wash your hands with a different cleanser and a few hours later, your skin is inflamed. You try a new foundation and end up with red bumps and hives. You go out on a windy day and suffer from unusual dryness.
You have dry skin.
Dry skin is a sign that your skin barrier is compromised, which means it can no longer protect you. Whatever comes into contact with the skin affects it more than usual because of this compromised barrier, resulting in sensitive, reactive skin.
You notice redness.
Red, inflamed skin is often a sign of sensitive skin, particularly if you notice it happening regularly. You may have a rash, red bumps, flushing, or dilated blood vessels. They may come and go, depending on how the skin is doing and what it’s exposed to.
Rashes and you are frequent acquaintances.
If you frequently get rashes anywhere on your skin, you probably have sensitive skin that’s “triggered” by a variety of substances. Your rashes may develop immediately after touching something your skin doesn’t like, or in response to stress, heat, or ultraviolet rays.
You hate your acne breakouts.
It’s normal to suffer from acne during puberty when your hormones are all over the place, and even during your monthly menstrual cycle, but if you have sensitive skin, your face breaks out more frequently. Every time you use a new product, forget to apply moisturizer, dare to touch your skin, or experience a stressful few days, out come the pimples.
You’re wary of beauty products.
You love experimenting with new beauty products, but some have burned or stung your skin, so you’re wary of experimenting. People with sensitive skin have a more fragile outer barrier, which can allow ingredients in cosmetics to sink in and burn.
Your skin itches.
For no apparent reason, you find yourself scratching your skin. It could be that it’s just dry, but if this is a frequent symptom for you, you could have sensitive skin.
Why Sensitive Skin Requires Natural Skincare Products
Considering all of the above, you may be able to see why natural products are so important for those with sensitive skin.
First, the outer barrier of your skin is compromised.
That means you can’t apply products that may contain harsh chemicals to your skin. Those chemicals will sink in and cause problems, including inflammation, dryness, flaking, and even stinging and burning.
Second, you easily react to chemicals.
If you turn any beauty product over and read the ingredient list, you’re likely to see several chemical ingredients you aren’t familiar with. These chemicals could cause your skin to react. Common offenders include synthetic fragrances, colorings and dyes, harsh detergents, and cleansers like sulfates, preservatives, and even some essential oils.
Third, your skin needs the good stuff to be able to heal.
As someone with sensitive skin, you have to pay extra attention to the health of that outer barrier. You need products that will nourish and heal so that your skin can rebuild that barrier and better protect itself.
Common cheap moisturizers, for instance, like petrolatum (mineral oil), will not heal the outer barrier. At most, they form a layer over the top of the skin, but they don’t nourish the cells or the fatty acids underneath.
Too many chemicals in today’s products.
Would you be surprised to use that on average, women use 12 personal care products a day, exposing themselves to about 168 chemical ingredients? It’s no wonder more of us have sensitive skin!
Chemical, processed skincare ingredients also are more likely to contain contaminants like formaldehyde or benzene that are linked with cancer and other serious health issues. Many chemical ingredients, preservatives, and additives are also commonly linked to allergies and skin reactions and are known to be more likely to irritate sensitive skin.
Natural ingredients, on the other hand, help nourish and heal the skin. You can think of the difference in terms of your diet. You know that wholesome foods are best for your body, and that processed, fast foods are not. If you’re feeling ill, it’s even more important to eat well.
It’s the same for your skin. Natural and non-toxic ingredients nourish and heal, while conventional chemical ingredients only make you “think” they’re working. It’s even more important when your skin is sensitive or compromised that you use the best ingredients possible.
How to Find Natural Skincare Products
We made it easy for you by creating our CV Skinlabs products to be 100 percent free of toxic ingredients, including those linked with skin reactivity and allergic reactions. We also included only nourishing, healing ingredients that can help shore up your skin barrier and make your skin happier and healthier.
In shopping for skincare products for sensitive skin, avoid synthetic fragrances, chemical sunscreens, harsh exfoliants, sulfates, and parabens. Below are some ingredients that are likely to help your skin:
- Aloe vera: it’s a natural moisturizer that does not lead to skin irritation.
- Oat-based ingredients (including beta-glucan): It helps relieve itchiness.
- Shea butter: It’s a rich moisturizer that contains natural fatty acids to help nourish and moisturize the skin, but it does not clog pores or cause acne.
- Natural oils: They all contain fatty acids that plump and moisturize the skin without causing inflammation or redness.
- Calendula: It comes from the marigold flower and helps tame inflammation.
- Chamomile: It also reduces inflammation and has antioxidants that help relieve skin irritations.
- Glycerin: It’s a safe, effective moisturizer.
- Bisabolol: A main component of chamomile oil, it helps natural skincare ingredients better penetrate the skin.
- Triglycerides: Typically made from coconut oil and glycerin, these are effective moisturizers that help smooth skin.
- Turmeric: It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and can help calm skin.
Do you struggle with sensitive skin?
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.
Environmental Working Group. (n.d.). Personal care products safety act would improve cosmetics safety. EWG. https://www.ewg.org/Personal-Care-Products-Safety-Act-Would-Improve-Cosmetics-Safety
Farage, M. A. (2019). The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin. Front Med (Lausanne), 2019(6), 98. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2019.00098
Misery, L., Sibaud, V., Merial-Kieny, C., & Taieb, C. (2011). Sensitive skin in the American population: Prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. International Journal of Dermatology, 50(8), 961-967. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-4632.2011.04884.x
Willis, C. M. (2001). Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study. Br J Dermatol, 145(2), 258-63. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2133.2001.04343.x