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Sensitive Skin vs Skin Allergies

sensitive skin with redness

Often, I hear patients say that they have sensitive skin and therefore cannot undergo treatments like chemical peels or laser therapy, and can’t use medical skincare products either. But after diagnosis, I find that many of them don’t actually have sensitive skin and that various types of medical beauty treatments are suitable for them.

So, what is sensitive skin? Sensitive skin is typically characterized by redness or irritation. However, I often find that people attribute their reaction to a product to sensitive skin when in reality, the product they used may contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, vitamin A derivatives, vitamin C, and fruit acids. Having a reaction to a product does not necessarily mean that someone has sensitive skin, it could just be a normal or more intense reaction to a specific ingredient.

True sensitive skin includes symptoms such as redness, thinness, itching, dryness, and a tight, burning or stinging sensation. This is different from skin allergies or eczema, although both of these conditions can make the skin more sensitive to external irritants. Roseacea and eczema are two skin conditions that can also cause the skin to be particularly sensitive to external irritants. Many people confuse these conditions with sensitive skin. Roseacea and eczema are both chronic skin inflammations that can cause redness, swelling, and dryness. Early diagnosis can help alleviate symptoms, and using products containing irritating ingredients can exacerbate these conditions.

For those with sensitive skin, it’s best to use gentle, fragrance-free, soap-free skincare products to reduce irritation. Avoid using exfoliating scrubs, fruit acids, and whitening products. Choosing a cleanser with a pH closest to the skin’s natural pH of around 5.5 can help preserve the skin’s protective layer and prevent moisture loss.

Are you someone with sensitive skin? It’s best to consult with a doctor to determine the best skincare plan for you.