Is Sensitive Skin a real skin type?

I’ve had arguments about this for years, but I stand by the evidence that sensitive skin is not a skin type. Sensitivity is a skin concern. A single area of skin cannot be simultaneously oily and dry (lacking in oil – dehydration is different). But a single area of skin can be both oily and sensitive, or dry and sensitive or ‘normal’ and sensitive.

So when companies release lines of ‘sensitive skincare’ that have a single pronged approach, this is where things go horribly, horribly wrong.

Sensitive skincare is often very rich, oil-filled and calming. However you might only need the ‘calming’ bit. I’m normal/combination (used to be oily combination) yet every single area of my skin is prone to reactions and can sometimes flare up more often than I’d like due to the weather or body-changes. So where does this leave you?

Firstly, do you have sensitive skin? Do you reeaally? From my past life as a cosmetic consultant, I had customer after customer who protested to high-heaven that they were the world’s most delicate flower. Usually this is because they reacted to one product five years ago; or they used a scrub too hard and went a little red. Having rare reactions is not particularly a sign of sensitive skin, this is a sign of your skin being intolerant to certain ingredients.

If your skin is truly sensitive, speak to an aesthetician or dermatologist to get your skin properly looked at. Skin analysis is key before any kind of treatment. There are specific treatments and remedies for sensitive skin but they’re often very specific to you and take into account the rest of your skin health and concerns.

Try and avoid ‘sensitive’ skincare lines. More often than not, a product is labelled as sensitive but is loaded with alcohols and fragrance (among other things). Always go for products that contain ingredients such as caffeine, algae and other calming ingredients. Avoid fragrance, avoid alcohol and most importantly, avoid soaps and things that foam.

French Pharmacy skincare is a life-saver for sensitive skin that has other concerns. I recently trialed Avene Tolerance Extreme, which does have a few different moisturisers depending on how much oil your skin needs, all whilst delivering plenty comfort. Clinique are also a great shot, but just check out the alcohol content of the product you’re using as they can sometimes be a little heavy handed with it.

My advice is to treat your skin as it’s asking to be treated, so water-based hydration if you’re oily and emollient/oil based skincare if you’re excessively dry – all whilst looking out for ingredients that can, have or might set your sensitivity off.

Posted at 06:33 December 24, 2016

Well, my skin is also an oily and sensitive one. I’m using Clinique liquid facial soap for oily skin twice a day. It makes my skin feel refresh and clean for hours. It also helps prevent acne without any medical treatment whatsoever.
Thank you for this useful article. I really like your blog posts ;)

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