How to Deal with Sensitive Skin


Dealing with sensitive, easily irritated skin can feel impossible and, while it may take some trial and error, finding the right routine for your skin is attainable!

According to The American Academy of Dermatology, 50% of people in the United States report experiencing skin sensitivity, although it may manifest itself in different ways in different people. Some of the most common signs and symptoms include being prone to redness, rashes, and bumps; and reacting negatively to beauty products, especially those that contain harsh chemicals or synthetic fragrances.

If this sounds like you, take a moment to assess whether your skin is sensitive or sensitized.

While both share several of the same symptoms, their root causes differ. Sensitive skin is a skin type caused by a genetic predisposition to skin sensitivity or reactivity and is exacerbated by environmental influences. Those with sensitive skin also often experience related skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.

Sensitized skin, on the other hand, is a skin condition characterized by skin irritation that builds over time due to environmental influences and lifestyle choices and can be corrected if the proper changes are made. The biggest contributing factors to skin flare ups are stress, hormonal imbalance, seasonal changes, pollution, cosmetics, poor diet and alcohol consumption.

Both sensitive and sensitized skin share a key characteristic: a compromised lipid barrier. The skins’ lipid barrier is the protective, fatty outer layer that serves to retain moisture and exclude environmental stressors. When the lipid barrier has been compromised, whether by a genetic predisposition or by sensitization, irritants can more easily sneak through causing your immune system to issue an inflammatory response which is experienced as sensitivity.

Whether your skin is sensitive or sensitized, there are several things you can do to help treat your symptoms and relieve irritation.

First, avoid long, hot showers and wash with lukewarm water. Both temperature extremes can cause irritation so sticking with tepid water is the best way to keep sensitive skin in control.

Second, it is important to be aware of your triggers and avoid things that cause your skin to become irritated, particularly products containing chemicals and artificial fragrances. In fact, it is a good idea to do a patch test before adding a new product to your routine.

Be sure to keep skin moisturized to protect and fortify that lipid barrier, and always use an SPF as sensitive skin can be ultra-responsive to sun exposure.

Finally, sensitive skin is easily overwhelmed by an abundance of products so it is best to keep your skincare routine minimal and choose products with gentle, soothing ingredients to heal the skin and relieve symptoms.

For sensitive skin, less is more and it is best to stick to the basics of an essential skincare routine. First step, cleanse. Our favorite cleanser for those with easily irritated skin is the Stone Crop Gel Wash because it gently cleanses skin, washing away excess dirt and oil without over stripping the skin. With gentle ingredients like stone crop, chamomile, and shea butter, your skin will be hydrated, calm, and restored.

Following the cleanse, be sure to pat skin dry with a clean towel; never rub as the friction will cause irritation. The next step is to tone skin with the Stone Crop Hydrating Mist which is infused with stone crop and aloe to hydrate, heal, and refresh skin. Finally, apply 2 to 3 drops of the Facial Recovery Oil, which acts as both a moisturizer and a treatment, and press gently into skin. Created with precious herbs and nourishing oils, this biodynamic and luxurious facial oil will soothe and renew sensitive skin.

If you’re still unsure what your skin type is or what products you should be using, schedule a facial with one of our wonderful estheticians! Each facial begins with an assessment and is then totally customized to your individual needs so you know that you are getting the best possible treatments at Raw Esthetics!