Sensitive skin is a condition of cutaneous hyper-reactivity induced by physical factors such as temperature change, wind, stress, alcohol, ‘cosmetic intolerance’ and humidity.
It can be a very distressing condition with symptoms including itching, burning, tightening, redness, dryness and stinging. People often report an inability to tolerate any skin care products or make-up.
It typically occurs in fair skinned individuals and often accompanies disorders such as rosacea, demodex folliculitis, atopic dermatitis, seborrhoeic dermatitis and contact dermatitis.
Management includes taking a careful history to eliminate known sensitising substances such as nickel; using cleansers that don’t alter physiological balance and have normal pH 5.2-5.4; appropriate moisturising to improve barrier function; and treatment of associated medical conditions.
Newer skin care ranges contain anti-inflammatory ingredients such as feverfew (from chrysanthemum) chamomile, green/white/black teas, licquorice, aloe vera, echinacea and other calming botanicals.