Sensitive skin - its signs, reasons and things to avoid

Sensitive Skin, signs, reasons and what to avoid.

It is frightening to try new home care products if your skin is sensitive. Your friend tells you about the amazing new product she tried and you want to try it too but then, all you see is a flare up of red spots, rashes, stinging, peeling……nightmare continues. More than half the clients we see at the clinic believe they have sensitive skin.

How do you know if you have sensitive skin?

“Sensitive skin” is not really a clinical term. It is more a way of describing skin that gets irritated easily. It could be an allergic reaction or an adverse reaction to an ingredient in the product. Anyone can have a reaction to one or many irritants, but if your skin is constantly reactive and sensitive it could be a sign of some underlying conditions like psoriasis (patches of dry scaly skin and rashes), eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), rosacea(characteristics of which are visible facial veins, extreme redness and swelling in some cases).

The most commonly observed contributors of an allergic reactions are fragrance, soaps, detergents, solvents and impaired skin barrier. Skin barrier is the top most layer of our skin which protects our skin from the environmental pollutants and stops the infiltration of bacteria. It is most essential for preventing the trans epidermal water loss. Exposure to harsh environment, unprotected sun exposure, use of tanning beds are some of the reasons for the damage and thinning of the skin barrier. The damaged skin barrier makes it easier for the irritants to penetrate the skin, causing inflammation. Having a thin lipid barrier means the skin losses moisture easily resulting in dryness and sensitivity.

What you should you avoid :

Frequent washing:

Think for a moment you are washing an oily dish with cold water, are you able to get rid of the oil? NO, right..but all the oils flow away as soon as you put it under the hot water. Similarly all the natural oils are washed away with use of harsh cleansers and hot water. Whether you have dry sensitive skin or not always use tepid water to rinse your skin. Washing once at night with gentle cleanser is enough for dry sensitive skin.

Scrubs & Exfoliants

Scrubbing the skin daily is just not necessary, nor it is any more effective than scrubbing once or twice a week. The skin has a natural renewal cycle of approximately 28 days, and exfoliation helps to support this natural biological cycle by breaking down oil, debris and dead surface skin cells. Using harsh gritty exfoliants are a big no no for reactive and sensitive skin, so what are the best options exfoliation is still a part of skin routine. Opt for natural and soft products that are more gentle. Our recommended exfoliants for sensitive skin are Clayton Shagal gentle Oat Bran Scrub, Corpa Flora Rock’nRose exfoliating powder.


All fragrances, be synthetic or natural from essential oils can be irritating to sensitive skin. It’s best to stick with products that are fragrance free and keep a simple routine. Often times products listed as ‘fragrance-free’ are formulated with ‘alternative’ fragrances that do not need to be labelled as fragrance. These alternative ingredients can be more irritating than regulated fragrances.” It is important to discuss your skin with a trained professional to guide you in finding the right skin care products.

Ingredients to avoid

Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is widely used in skin care products as a humectant that draws moisture into your skin. It is safe and is easily broken down. Propylene glycol can sometimes cause irritation and might induce an allergic reaction due to the two alcohol groups in its chemical composition. It is best to find moisturizer with pure hyaluronic acid and other safe ingredients. All of our moisturizers are free propylene glycol and give superior hydration without compromising skin health.

Benzoyl Peroxide

Most commonly found in acne fighting products it can be very harsh for sensitive skin. Benzoyl peroxide works by stripping the skin of excessive oil thus laying with your skin lipid barrier that protects our skin from environmental pollutants. For people with sensitive skin fighting acne becomes a concern for most over the counter products are designed to treat acne with oily skin……consultation with a good skin therapist can solve such confusion. There are many options available to gently and effectively address acne even for most sensitive skin. Lactic acid gently removes skin buildup with out messing up with skin barrier. AlumierMD uses Hinokitiol extracted from western cedar tree a superpower ingredient with soothing, ant-irritant, antioxidant and brightening properties to target skin redness and blemishes. To mention a couple more such ingredients—- sea whip extract, oligopeptide-10, resveratrol, allantonin. However it is important to work with a professional who can guide you and walk you through the process of finding the right home care.

Recommended products HydraClarité, HydraCalm

Vitamin A

When it comes active ingredients, vitamin A is known as the gold standard. However, it’s also known to cause irritation to the skin – and there a few specific forms you’re better off avoiding. According to strength, retinoic acid (a prescription vitamin A) is the most potent form. Once applied to the skin it has a direct effect, and it also has the highest potential for irritation.” So, does that mean vitamin A is a total no-go? Well, not necessarily – not all types of retinoids are equally irritating. The delivery method of Vitamin A plays an important role in safe delivery of the ingredient for the most sensitive skin types. Micro encapsulated retinol combined with soothing and hydrating ingredients like niacinamide, honey and sodium hyaluronate can give maximum results with minimum irritation.

Recommended products Corpa Flora Antidote 02, AlumierMD Retinol 0.25%

Vitamin C

Despite the antioxidant being such a powerhouse ingredient for free radical defence and anti-ageing, Vitamin C is another active ingredient that may cause irritation and skin sensitivity often resulting in red bumps and itchy skin. So, finding a gentle form of vitamin C in the right concentration is super important.

Recommended products EverActive C&E +peptide, Antidote H+

Hope you found this helpful. Do you have any tips for ingredients to use and avoid when it comes to sensitive skin? Please share your idea’s with us at

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