the real facts about sensitive skin
Studies find that most women have sensitive skin.
And the numbers are growing. Just over a decade ago, studies found that one in two women had sensitive skin. But, recent research shows that sensitive skin is a potential problem for three out of four women. A 2001 study found that among 3,300 women, 51.4% reported having sensitive skin.1 Eight years later, a study of 1,039 people found that sensitive skin was definitely on the rise— 77.3% of people complained of sensitive facial skin and 60% said they had sensitive body skin.2
You don’t have to see sensitive skin
to believe it.
If your skin feels sensitive but looks normal, you’re like a lot of women. In a study that included 869 women, 78.6% reported having sensitive skin but only 18% could point to visible symptoms.3
Because sensitive skin isn’t always visible to the naked eye, many dermatologists have begun to question its physical existence.4 With that in mind, it’s no wonder so many women are left to their own devices when it comes to finding products that can help their problem skin. The good news is that more precise methods of scientific testing have found evidence of underlying physical changes. One study concluded that when a person has sensitive skin, physical changes (including inflammation and loss of moisture) occur even when there are no physical signs. And when these changes become severe enough, they develop into obvious signs of irritation, such as red or blotchy skin.5
It’s no fun living with sensitive skin.
If you have sensitive skin...dryness, tightness, burning, itching and/or stinging are everyday facts of life. And, although skin sensitivity can affect women at almost any age, it often increases as you get older. What triggers sensitive skin? In one study that asked over 1,000 people why their skin was sensitive… severe weather, product reactions and stress were reported to be common reasons.6
Be sensitive to the ingredients in your skincare products.
Caring for sensitive skin isn’t easy. That’s because so many skincare products contain ingredients that can often cause skin to react. Here are a few things to remember when looking for products for sensitive skin...
- Because certain ingredients can trigger sensitive skin...
avoid choosing products with harsh detergents, chemicals and known irritants such as phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, DEA’s and parabens.
- For the assurance that products are safe and non-irritating...
only choose skincare that’s been clinically tested and proven for sensitive skin. And, make sure the complete formula has been tested (not just one ingredient).
- To make sure skincare products are free of irritants that are known to cause skin reactions...
always choose skincare that is “hypoallergenic” and fragrance free. Also, stay away from comedogenic ingredients (like petroleum). These ingredients are known to clog pores and keep skin from “breathing.” Check the label to make sure the product is “non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores).
- Willis CM, Shaw S, De Lacharrière O, et al. Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study. British Journal of Dermatology. 2001 Aug;145(2):258-63.
- Farage MA. How do perceptions of sensitive skin differ at different anatomical sites? An epidemiological study. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 2009 Dec;34(8):e521-30.
- Farage MA. Does sensitive skin differ between men and women? Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology. 2010 Sep;29(3):153-63.
- Farage MA, Maibach HI. Sensitive skin: closing in on a physiological cause. Contact Dermatitis. 2010 Mar;62(3):137-49.
- Farage MA, Katsarou A, Maibach HI. Sensory, clinical and physiological factors in sensitive skin: a review. Contact Dermatitis. 2006 Jul;55(1):1-14.
- Farage MA. Perceptions of sensitive skin: changes in perceived severity and associations with environmental causes. Contact Dermatitis. 2008 Oct;59(4):226-32.