Is it truly sensitive skin?

Many people visit their beauty therapist, stating sensitive skin as their main skin concern. They think they have sensitive skin because skincare or household products coming into contact with their skin cause stinging, burning, itchiness, redness, or tightness. But is that truly “sensitive” skin these individuals refer to, or could it be their skin just experiencing a reaction?

Thousands of Australians have “sensitive” skin, but the term concerning skin type is commonly misunder­stood, overused, and even confused with other similarly related issues like rosacea.

Because it is easy to misdiagnose, understanding the critical characte­ristics of sensitive skin and being able to differentiate between skin sensitivities and other issues is fundamental to creating an effective strategy to rebuild and strengthen the skin. With that in mind, let’s discuss a few of the attributes of sensitive skin.

Signs of Sensitive Skin

To a certain extent, skin has a degree of sensitivity. This is because the skin is a reactive mechanism that responds to various elements and disturbances inside and out. However, the level of reaction will help you pinpoint whether your skin is truly sensitive or not.

To start, sensitive skin tends to be thinner and more prone to fragile capillaries. It also easily reddens or develops a rash in response to an outside influence. All skin types react to external factors such as pollution, sun, wind and smoking. However, sensitive skin will overreact to these elements. In my experience, most sensitive skin is typically reacting to inferior ingredients or formulations in topicals, such as those containing dyes, preservatives or perfumes.

Reactions in sensitive skin will often show up as a flushing of the skin, redness or rash. It is not a chronic or progressive issue like rosacea. Instead, it is a reaction that typically subsides once the offending element has been eliminated and inflammation has subsided.

To get to the root of the issue, an in-depth skin evaluation is essential. The goal is to eliminate the possibility of rosacea, then determine what could be causing the reaction. For that, of course, a visit to your beauty therapist is essential. Your therapist is an expert in skin evaluation and will confirm the condition that is concerning you.

When do you experience sensitivities? Have you always been sensitive, or did this happen after an event (deep laser, severe burn)? Discuss your lifestyle (sleep, diet, stress level, etc.), use of any medications or supplements, the skin care products you are currently using and when you noticed a reaction.

If your skin is truly sensitive, how do you help restore it to optimum health?

The good news with sensitive skin is it can be strengthened over time and restored to a “normal” state. A combination of home care and professional treatments will be the key.

First, focus on rebuilding and strengthening

When it comes to rebuilding and strengthening compromised skin, there is not a one-size-fits-all remedy. It will require a personalised approach to fit your skin’s exact needs and will be determined based on the root cause of the reaction, the other characteristics of your skin, and your lifestyle.

With your beauty therapist:
Consider a series of treatments specially formulated for compromised, sensitive skin. These will strengthen skin integrity and desensitise it, bringing it to a less reactive state.

At home:
Remember that even the best regimen in the world won’t produce optimum results if you continue the activities causing the reaction.

Focus on reducing stress, getting adequate sleep and exercise, taking time to rejuvenate, eating life-giving foods and treating your skin with natural, certified organic ingredients. The goal is to reduce the overall stress to the skin and load it with antioxidants, nourishing vitamins, and anti-inflammatories. Also, be sure to eliminate all potential skin irritants— dyes, synthetic fragrances and parabens-remain cautious about using perfumes and opt for natural hair care products while your skin is in the healing stage.

In rebalancing the skin, plant-based ingredients are ideal powerhouse ingredients. Look for ingredients with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and strengthening properties.

In response to the particular needs of sensitive skin, Phyt’s has developed a new range of products specifically designed for this skin type: SENSI PHYT’S. This range of products is formulated with ingredients such as:

  • Magnolia extract: soothes and reduces itching and tingling
  • Mirabilis extract: soothes, reduces redness due to irritation and weather conditions
  • Cotton flower extract: calms and soothes the skin
  • Sweet Almond oil: very rich in unsaturated fatty acids, in vitamins A, B and E. Softening and nourishing
  • Shea Butter: nourishes, softening and protecting
  • Aloe Vera extract: highly hydrating
  • Plant squalene: the main component of sebum and skin hydrolipidic film. In a skincare formulation, it helps prevent dehydration and restores skin softness and flexibility
  • Vitamin E of natural origin: antioxidant

The SENSI range, from a non-water-based 3-1 cleanser to moisturisers, is formulated to soothe and calm sensitive skin, using:

  • Hypoallergenic formulations
  • Gentle surfactants
  • Natural nutritive oils
  • Moisturising and emollient agents
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Free of: fragrance, alcohol, synthetic preservatives, synthetic colouring

The result is a range of products to soothe sensitive skin, protect it from external aggressions and restore the skin barrier function for increased softness and suppleness. 

Salon treatments and homecare products combined with lifestyle choices will support the healing and regeneration process of true sensitive skin.