The potential damage that can come from having sensitive skin, especially for aging adults, is no sensitive matter. With the types, causes, and treatment methods of sensitive skin varying so widely, it’s important for individuals concerned with anti-aging skin care to know what having sensitive skin really entails.
Even though the cause and nature of sensitive skin may be different for each individual, everyone afflicted with this skin type suffers from some degree of inflammation, resulting in a severely irritated skin surface.
As we mentioned, sensitive skin can be caused by many different factors, including the prolonged use of chemical ingredients in skin care products, as well as some medical conditions. Exposure to sun and harsh winds can also make sensitive skin worse—these weather conditions dry skin out, making sensitive skin even more susceptible to damage.
Sensitive skin generally falls into four different categories, each with its own unique causes, symptoms, and treatment methods.
Acne: Acne, caused by oily skin, can clog pores and create pus-filled bumps on your skin, along with blackheads and whiteheads—all of which make for sensitive skin. Despite being traditionally associated with puberty, acne can occur at any age; many people over 45 still have it. Treatments for sensitive skin from acne may include antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, and natural ingredients like tea tree oil; however, some ingredients are known to cause acne outbreaks instead of treating them, so check with a dermatologist before using a natural ingredient.
Burning and stinging: This type of sensitive skin is pretty self-explanatory—it results in burning and stinging sensations on the skin’s surface. The physiological cause is unknown—as in what parts of the skin and nerves is involved—so no specific treatment exists. Your medical history will help determine if this is the type of sensitive skin you have, which will then help determine the right treatment method. Some skin care ingredients that have been known to cause stinging in patients with sensitive skin are lactic, azelaic, benzoic, and glycolic acid, as well as vitamin C. Keep these ingredients in mind when you’re out looking for your anti-aging skin care products.
Contact dermatitis: This form of sensitive skin is divided into two parts: allergens and irritants. Allergens cause sensitive skin to develop a reaction to certain ingredients because you’re allergic to them. With irritants, your sensitive skin reacts to an ingredient in the same way but not because you’re allergic—bleach, for instance, will cause a reaction even without an allergy. In these cases, sensitive skin well develop rashes. Irritants and allergens can be found in the ingredients list of many anti-aging skin care and cosmetic products, including cleansers, moisturizers, fragrances, and antibacterial or deodorant soaps.
Rosacea: Rosacea appears as small red bumps on the face, causing varying degrees of sensitivity. Although there are theories, the actual cause of rosacea is unknown, but it can be treated with anti-inflammatory ingredients (caffeine and sulfur), and antibiotics. Natural ingredients like chamomile, feverfew, licorice extract, and green tea have also been known to help treat sensitive skin with rosacea.
Whether you have sensitive skin or normal skin, there are several effective ways to look younger. Use a mild, soap-free cleanser with a low pH level—it’s less likely to cause irritations. Also, stick to all-natural or organic anti-aging skin care and cosmetic products—the chemical-free formula significantly reduces the chances that sensitive skin will react.
If you suffer from sensitive skin, try anti-aging skin care and cosmetic items that contain chamomile, lavender, or rose extract to soothe the irritated skin, and use a scrub containing blueberry seeds for gentle exfoliation. If, at any time, your sensitive gets worse, or if you’re concerned about how to treat sensitive skin, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor or dermatologist, who will be able to provide the most effective means of managing it.
“Acne (Acne Vulgaris) Information for adults,” Skinsight web site; https://www.skinsight.com/adult/acneVulgaris.htm, last accessed June 19, 2013.
Jourdain, S., “Sensitive Skin Overview,” Discovery Fit & Health web site; https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/information/skin-types/sensitive-skin.htm, last accessed June 19, 2013.
“Sensitive skin,” American Academy of Dermatology web site; https://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/sensitive-skin, last accessed June 19, 2013.