Sensitivity: Please Avoid the Candy Store Approach

We have all been there.

Betrayed by a foolproof 14-step routine – your face displays sensitivity.

Impulsively you reach for every skincare product you can find.

You go all out, smearing whatever you can find on your skin, in a bid to diffuse that embarrassing inflammation.

Instead, it has the opposite effect, and your skin shines like a belisha beacon – it’s flaky, inflamed, covered in tiny bumps, and tender to the touch.

Why your skin becomes sensitive

Several factors can trigger skin irritation—allergens, pollutants, UV, and highly astringent ingredients, to name a few.

They produce an overall similar effect, in that they compromise your protective barrier to the skin’s defence system. As the outermost layer of your skin, it functions to keep moisture in and bacteria, out.

Chances are, you may have gone decades without incident, yet suddenly you have started to experience frustrating flare-ups when this happens, the knee-jerk reaction is to layer on the products in a bid to diffuse this inflammation.

But when your skin gets overloaded, it upsets the acid mantle – your skin’s delicate micro-flora – this has a knock-on effect, creating gaps between the cellular walls, which allows irritants to enter the bloodstream, causing inflammation and sensitivity.

What triggers sensitivity?

Technically, the dermatological definition of sensitive skin is reactive skin; one that easily becomes flushed and inflamed, which we discuss in greater detail here.

Literally, anything can cause. your skin to become sensitive:

  • UV
  • food
  • stress
  • allergies
  • genetics
  • pollution
  • Chemicals
  • medication
  • fragrances
  • air conditioning
  • astringent products

With such a maddeningly diverse list of triggers, you could be forgiven for not knowing how to treat your sensitivity. The real key is to support and maintain a healthy barrier function.

Treating your sensitive skin:

Sensitive skin is a complex issue, and identifying the problem is a major pre-requisite for successful treatment.

Step 1. Eliminate: Lay off exfoliants, astringents, actives such as Vitamin C formulas and low pH products, even if they’ve never given you trouble. Remember that less is best.

Step 2. Fortify: Now’s the time to fortify and heal your skin with products that mimic its composition. Ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids all work to protect your face from irritation. Products from our range specifically created with these ingredients to restore your barrier function include Ceramide barrier repair balm and fortify cream.

Step 3. Protect: The sun will always be your nemesis, UV rays can wreak even more havoc, and contribute to hyperpigmentation and inflammation.—especially when you’re dealing with a compromised skin type. Our advice, lay on the sunscreen, preferably, a reliable one with a soothing ingredient like zinc.

Step 4. Wait: All good things come to those who wait. Please stick to your pared-down routine for at least four weeks, which is roughly how long it takes for cellular renewal to take place. Only then should you begin slowly introducing skincare products back into your routine and do it gradually, that way if your skin does react you’ll quickly be able to identify the source.

We recommend asking yourself the following questions:

  • what are the symptoms of the sensitivities?
  • what are their influences?
  • when did the skin begin to develop symptoms?
  • am I doing anything different or using different products or cleaning detergents?


Bottom line. Give your skin a break, and forego the candy store approach.

After all, it is the largest organ on the body, and even your skin occasionally requires a detox.

5 thoughts on “Sensitivity: Please Avoid the Candy Store Approach

  1. Tania says:

    I am on a search for relief from Keratosis Pilaris. It is in my upper arms and seems to be getting worse on my legs. Any advice gratefully received.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Tania

      Please look for products that contain AHA’s and BHA’s they will help to bring relief from Keratosis, should you require further information please PM me and I will get back to you.

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