What is sensitive skin?

What you need to know about sensitive skin

According to survey conducted with people in different geographical locations, gender, age and physical groups, 70% of women and 50% of men believe to have a sensitive skin. If you think that you are in this bracket and feeling that you have a sensitive skin, this article covers the way to identify the symptoms and main causes.  

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin is a skin with low tolerance that results in reaction to products or  certain environmental factors. The reaction to products can be caused when some allergens or irritants come into contact with skin.

Symptoms of sensitive skin

Note that signs of sensitive skins can differ from each person but below list will help you to identify if you have one of these symptoms:

  • redness
  • inflammation (dermatitis)
  • rashes
  • breakouts and spots
  • appearance of blood vessels
  • flaking

People also may experience constant tingling, burning, itchiness or stinging sensation.

Causes of sensitive skin

There are different factors that may contribute to sensitivity:

1. Genetic factors

A study conducted on individuals with sensitive skin found a connection between certain genomes and sensitive skin condition. This gives us an understanding that this skin condition can be inherited and can run in the family.

2. Allergy to specific products or ingredients

People may experience allergic reactions to certain ingredients (such as alcohol), essential oils or fragrance.

It is also hard to predict when skin can react as each person react differently to ingredients or to the strength of the ingredient in the product. Therefore, we recommend introducing the product slowly to your routine or doing a patch skin test.

3. Lifestyle and stress

Your lifestyle and stress levels can also impact your skin sensitivity.

If you are stressed it may have a negative impact on your skin, such as skin inflammation due to increased cortisol in your body.

4. Physiological factors

One of the contributing physiological factors is decline of skin barrier function and decrease of ceramides production. Low level of skin barrier function allows potential irritants penetrate the skin and cause skin irritations. In addition, people with sensitive skin have very dry skin which disturbs protective skin barrier of the skin. 

 5. Environmental factors

Changing weather seasons can also contribute to skin sensitivity such as hot weather conditions, sun exposure, air conditioning and the heat, all may trigger redness and inflammation. In cold weather conditions, cold winds and drop in temperature may cause skin dryness and irritation.

If you want to know more including how to implement skincare routine for sensitive skin, check out our article here.


  1. The Prevalence of Sensitive Skin, Miranda A. Farage - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6533878/
  2. Sensitive skin: an overview, E. Berardesca, M Farage, H Maibach, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22928591/
  3. Genome-Wide Association Study Identifies Loci Associated with Sensitive Skin - https://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/7/2/49/htm