If you categorize your skin as “sensitive,” you most likely experience some degree of redness, itching or irritation. But because not all sensitive skin is the same, you could be approaching your skincare regimen from the wrong angle. Here are four different types of sensitive skin and what you can do to help care for each and restore a smoother, more even look and feel.
1. Naturally Sensitive
When most people think of sensitive skin, this is the type that probably comes to mind. People with naturally sensitive skin have had this skin type all of their lives, as it is genetic. You might be predisposed to inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea.
Although these are genetic conditions that are impossible to prevent, you can take steps to better manage your sensitive skin. Flares of eczema, psoriasis and rosacea can all be triggered by various external factors, including certain foods, fabrics and weather changes (American Academy of Dermatology). By figuring out your specific triggers and avoiding them whenever possible, you can help to reduce your symptoms and minimize the amount of flare-ups you experience.
2. Environmentally Sensitized
Unlike naturally sensitive skin, skin that has become sensitized by environmental factors is not a genetic condition. This means that although you weren’t necessarily born with sensitive skin, your skin has developed a sensitivity to certain extrinsic factors. These might include sun exposure, certain skincare products, smoking or air pollution.
In this case, when your skin is exposed to these things, you may notice stinging, redness and other signs of irritation that go away once you remove the trigger and your skin has a chance to repair itself. To avoid sensitivity caused by your environment, establish a healthy skincare routine that focuses on repairing and strengthening the skin barrier.
If you have reactive skin, it very rapidly reacts to harsh skincare products by becoming red, warm and irritated. This type of sensitive skin is more common among women and men with lighter skin tones, although anyone can experience it.
The best way to deal with reactive skin is to pay close attention to the ingredients in your skincare products. Look for products such as the ones contained in skinbetter science Smoothing Experience that don’t contain fragrances or dyes, as these can often trigger adverse reactions. You may also need to steer clear of harsh exfoliants and other ingredients that seem to spark this rapid skin reaction.
4. Thin Skin
Thinner skin may seem to become red very easily, or veins and capillaries may be more visible, creating a flushed appearance. This is because thin skin is more translucent than thicker skin, allowing you to more easily see the colored veins underneath.
For many people, thinning skin becomes a cosmetic concern with age as the amount of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid naturally present in the skin begins to decline. Years of sun exposure can also contribute to thinning skin (Mayo Clinic).
If this is a concern for you, try skincare products that contain hyaluronic acid, peptides and other advanced ingredients to help restore a more even, youthful-looking complexion. Intensive Treatment LINES by skinbetter science, for instance, contains five types of hyaluronic acid of different molecular weights to help revolumize the appearance of skin, as well as two neuro-calming peptides to help smooth away the appearance of expression lines.
While the symptoms of different types of sensitive skin are similar, knowing the root cause of your skin sensitivity can help you to better manage it and even improve its overall look and feel. First, try to identify the particular trigger that worsens your symptoms, then adjust your skincare and lifestyle habits accordingly. Many times, switching your skincare products to formulas that don’t contain known allergens, fragrances and dyes can help to minimize irritation and improve your skin’s appearance.