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Sensitive Skin

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin is skin which consistently reacts to certain (often many) products or ingredients by becoming irritated—meaning it becomes red, dry, painful, and may feel ‘tight’. The term ‘sensitive skin’ almost always refers to some form of irritant contact dermatitis (ICD) – i.e. your skin being predisposed to become irritated when exposed to a certain ingredient or product. However, ‘sensitive skin’ also encompasses certain skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, or polymorphous light eruption (PLE). Head over to the factsheet about rosacea for more information if you think that might apply.

Sensitive skin ultimately results from the nerve endings in the top layer of the skin becoming irritated, and this happens when the skin’s innate barrier function has been compromised by some trigger. Such triggers are listed below, but can include environmental factors, hormonal changes, and certain foods, drinks and products that have come into contact with your skin, causing ICD.

The irritation reaction that you experience with sensitive skin is less extreme than an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions will also always be repeated with the same trigger, whereas it’s less hard and fast with irritation reactions. A less severe allergic reaction means a rash, itching or burning sensation, a more severe one could extend to vomiting and difficulty breathing.

Sensitive Skin

Suggested Products for Treating Sensitive Skin

Which skincare products might you try, to see real results? Here is a selection of the ones I really rate - because they do a great job, and are a pleasure to use.


Albus and Flora Multi-active balm UVA/UVB SPF30

Albus & Flora is all about making everyday lip care beautiful. These are no mere lip balms – they’re more like cosmeceuticals for…

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Altrient-C Liposomal Vitamin C

Vitamin C is key both to general health and to your skin but taking high doses can be a quick route to an upset stomach. Altrient has…

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Dermalux Flex MD

Alice says “I tried the Dermalux Flex at home during lockdown in spring 2020. I used it 4-5 times a week for 3 months and had detailed…

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FOREO LUNA 3 Facial Cleansing Brush

This latest cleansing brush is brilliant. Using vibration and its soft silicone ‘bristles’, it gently shifts dirt, oil and makeup off…

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Heliocare 360° Fluid Cream SPF 50+

A runny broad spectrum sunscreen with both physical and chemical filters. Nicely hydrating and with an invisible finish. It is brilliant…

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FAQ ABOUT Sensitive Skin


MORE POSTS ON Sensitive Skin


Tips for taking Altrient

The benefits of taking Altrient far outweigh any unpleasantness in getting it down the hatch, so here’s some tips on how to take it.

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The essential fatty acids your skin can’t do without

Omega-3 supplements offer several health benefits – and they’re also vital for the health and functioning of the skin. Alice Hart-Davis fills in the details.

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Vitamin C serums and supplements: do you need both?

For brighter, smoother, stronger skin, should you take vitamin C supplements as well as using a vitamin C serum? Yes, says Alice Hart-Davis

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Answering your Dermalux Flex questions – part three

Is LED light therapy helpful for melasma and sensitive skin? Alice Hart-Davis puts these questions and more to Louise Taylor from Dermalux.

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