Sensitive Skin: Signs, Symptoms, and Causes

a lady covering part of her face with her hand

Many people have sensitive skin and can have an adverse reaction to different products. While there is no set checklist for people with sensitive skin, it can generally become itchy, red, and dry. Nerve endings in the top layer of your skin can be sensitive, resulting in these reactions. 

Dealing with irritated skin can be overwhelming. It can be challenging to know what products to use and what to stay away from when you have sensitive skin. 

We are going to go over everything you need to know about your skin. Find out how to tell if you have sensitive skin, how to treat it, and what products to use. 

What Causes Sensitive Skin? 

When the nerve endings in your skin are vulnerable, they are more likely to react to different things. If your skin is overly dry or injured, it leaves your nerve endings unprotected, resulting in sensitive skin. You can injure your skin by being exposed to specific environments. 

Overexposure to the sun can be very damaging to your skin. On the surface, it can cause sunburn that damages your skin's top layer. The sun's ultraviolet light can also penetrate the top layer of your skin and impact the deeper layers causing damage to those skin cells. 

Frequent sun exposure can lead to sensitive skin as well as a plethora of other issues. It's one of the leading causes of premature aging, and it can also cause skin cancer. 

Wind and extreme cold can also be damaging to the skin. Cold temperatures draw moisture out of your skin and can cause various skin conditions. If you add wind into the mix, it can result in even more skin damage. During the winter months, it is essential to protect your skin by moisturizing daily.

Genetics, age, gender, and race can also play a role in how sensitive your skin is. It can be challenging for a dermatologist to test for sensitive skin because there are many different causes. However, they can identify allergies you may have that could be contributing to skin irritation. 

Other Things That Cause Sensitive Skin

Here is a list of other things and issues that can cause sensitive skin.

  • Rosacea (a skin condition where blood vessels are prominent) 
  • Fragrances (use fragrance-free products)
  • Certain skin-care products
  • Certain detergents
  • Allergic contact dermatitis 
  • Soaps and cleansing products

There are many ways your skin can react if it is sensitive. You might get hives or blisters, your skin’s barrier can become compromised, or you can experience bumps, a sting, or an itch in various areas of your skin. 

What To Stay Away From if You Have Sensitive Skin 

Those with sensitive skin types should keep it simple when applying products. You should always be looking for ways to improve your skin’s moisture barrier and your skin’s barrier function overall. You also want to look for an ingredient list that's not a mile long (unless your dermatologist has recommended it). 

Seek out products that are gentle on your skin and don't contain harsh ingredients. Everyone with sensitive skin is not going to react to the same things. However, there are common irritants like alcohols, dyes, and certain oils. You can't always go off of "sensitive skin" labels since your skin may react to particular ingredients and not to others. 

The ingredients you want to look for are the ones that help your skin retain moisture. You also want to look for ingredients that replenish the lipid barrier of your skin. You want to keep water in your skin to create a protective layer that can make your skin less sensitive. 

When in doubt, do a patch test. Apply a small amount of the product to the inside of your arm every day for a week. If it never shows signs of irritation, try using a small amount on your neck or side of your face. 

If the patch tests show no signs of sensitivity, you can use the product as directed. However, if your skin shows signs of irritation, then stop using it. You can also consult with a dermatologist about any issues and before using a new product.  

You may also want to stay away from any abrasive scrubs and chemical exfoliants if you have sensitive skin. For example, products that contain microbeads may not be your jam. They can cause tiny tears in your skin that can make you even more sensitive. You should also be careful with face cleanser brushes. Use the patch test by scrubbing only on a small area of skin to see how it reacts. 

Makeup for Sensitive Skin 

The ideal makeup products won't overwhelm your skin with pore-clogging ingredients. However, sensitive skin is not the only concern you may have, so you also want to get adequate coverage that is long-lasting. Ideally, you'll find makeup, like HIDE products, that can even out your skin tone, conceal dark circles, and cover imperfections without causing skin irritation.  


HIDE Premium Foundation and concealer works great for all skin types. Both products are made with a custom oil-free formula that resists sweat and won't clog your pores. Before applying a new makeup product, do a patch test to ensure it's safe before using it all over your face. 

Once you know your skin won't have an adverse reaction, you can implement it into your makeup routine. Another step you may want to implement is moisturizing before makeup. Any skin type can benefit from hydration, but it can be especially helpful for people with sensitive skin. You can also apply thermal water, which can soothe the skin. 

Another critical thing to remember is not to overlook the product expiration dates. You may remember to check if the food in your fridge has gone bad, but don't think twice about the products that you're applying to your skin. 

Cosmetics and skincare products also expire. When your makeup is past its use-by date, you should stop using it. Usually, products will have a small symbol of "6M" or "12M," which stands for the number of months it lasts after being opened.

Sensitive Skin Treatments 

There are various things you can do to help your sensitive skin. Some of these things you can implement yourself, and others are medications you can only get by seeing a dermatologist or doctor. 

  • Steroid Creams: Steroid creams can stop inflammation and itchiness if you have a negative reaction to a product. 
  • Analgesic Creams: Numbing creams may also be beneficial to keep on hand. They can help reduce itchiness, so you don't have the urge to scratch your skin and cause more damage. 
  • Antihistamines: If you have an allergic reaction, you may need to take an oral antihistamine. 
  • Sunscreen: As previously mentioned, wearing sunscreen will stop your sensitive skin from further damage. Sunlight contains UV rays that damage the skin. Use a broad spectrum SPF every day. 
  • Moisturizer: Hypoallergenic moisturizers can help reduce dryness without causing skin irritation. Some ingredients are better for sensitive skin, like lactic acid, which works for most people. Others may find shea butter is better for them. 
  • Oatmeal: Oatmeal has been shown to be especially helpful for people with sensitive skin. It can help relieve symptoms like rashes, dry skin, and eczema. Oatmeal doesn't just treat symptoms, but it can also improve your skin's barrier. When used in products, it is referred to as colloidal oatmeal. 

You may find it helpful to keep a list of products that trigger a reaction from your sensitive skin. It can help you identify what ingredients you need to stay away from when looking for new products. You can also go over the list with your dermatologist when going over treatment options. 

In Summary 

If you have sensitive skin, you may have to do a little extra work when introducing new products. You should pay attention to the ingredient lists and expiration dates before applying anything to your skin. 

The patch test should be your new best friend. It will keep you from having significant reactions to a potentially harmful product for your skin. HIDE premium products work for all skin types and provide excellent coverage without clogging your pores. Your skin will thank you for using high-quality products. 



Article 20 Common Questions About Sensitive Skin | Web MD

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