May 18, 2023
Twenty years ago, sensitive skin products weren’t really a big deal in the beauty industry. Those who were unlucky enough to have that skin type were relegated to bulk buying sorbolene cream. But, according to a 2019 survey 60-70% of women identified as having sensitive skin (red, blotchy, itchy), which is kind of huge. Naturally, the beauty companies have responded by treating the category seriously and increasing its ranging of sensitive skin products. So,why is this such a modern-day affliction? Well this is where some nuance is needed. Let us explain.
Sensitive skin vs sensitised skin
The first thing to know is that although people refer to them interchangeably, there is a difference between sensitive and sensitised skin, and the latter is the true modern-day issue.
Sensitive skin: This is a skin type, so something you have from birth and is part of your genetic makeup. This skin type is very reactive, easily irritated, is often dry, tights, red, itchy, flaky and can often have a burning feeling, especially when products are used. To look at the skin can often appear translucent and the skin type is often linked to other allergies (think: runny nose, swollen or itchy eyes, asthma). The reason it’s sensitive is because it has a thin, weakened epidermis (outer layer of the skin) which allows more irritants to pass through.
Sensitised skin: Sensitised skin on the other hand, while it may present the same as sensitive skin, is actually triggered by your environmental habits including where you live, your diet, UV, lifestyle, pollution, temperature, what products you use — or on the case of many people nowadays — which ones you overuse. It can also be sensitised from a product or ingredient. All of this compromises the skin barrier, letting the irritants in so that skin is more susceptible to redness, bumps, and all that other fun stuff. Unlike sensitive skin, a lot of these symptoms can be managed, and even changed when certain lifestyle issues are addressed, but it’s likely to flare again if you revert back to old habits.
What products are best for sensitive and sensitised skin
The common theme for both types is a compromised or fragile skin barrier, so try adding in a cream that is “lipid rich” with repairing ingredients like ceramides, jojoba oil, linoleic acid, squalane, rosehip and grapeseed oil - just to name a few. The other important thing is to limit other potential irritants to the skin, so steer clear or common ones like fragrance and alcohol to minimise the angry skin factor.
Here’s what to try for sensitive skin ~
We Are Feel Good Inc Sensitive Lip Balm, $19.95: Fragrance free, dermatologically tested and clinically proven — all this and it protects your lips from all the other aggressors (looking at you UV,) too.
We Are Feel God Inc Sensitive Body Milk, $27.95: With a bunch of incredible, soothing ingredients (niacinamide, Kakadu Plum, aloe vera) and a few hydration heroes in there too, it gives the skin a drink of water while nourishing it — and all without irritation.
Salt and Stone Bergamot and Hinoki Sensitive Skin Natural Deodorant, $29.95 : Sensitive skin can affect your underarms too, and in the natural deodorant category the biggest culprit for that is baking soda, which Salt and Stone have conveniently left out in this variant.
Ingredients Natural Face Oil Complex, $42: You know all those nice repairing, healing ingredients we talked about before? This has a bunch of them which will help the skin repair and feel nourished.