Hypersensitive facial skin with a tendency to redness
In contrast to many other skin problems, very sensitive facial skin does not always show visible signs despite the severe discomfort. The problem is quite common. Studies have shown that skin subjectively perceived as sensitive is widespread in industrialized countries, and according to dermatologists around the world, the number of claims in this regard is increasing. However, in view of the subjective symptoms, no exact figures can be given.
Which signs appear with very sensitive facial skin?
Very sensitive skin – highly sensitive skin – shows three common signs, known as the triad of very sensitive skin: a disturbed barrier function (by which the skin reacts much more strongly to irritants than healthy skin), overreacting nerve fibres in the epidermis and redness, often caused by inflammation.
The disrupted skin barrier also causes increased water loss through the skin, which can lead to dry facial skin.
The nerve fibres in the epidermis react much faster and stronger than in normal skin. They are activated by stress factors that cause unpleasant sensations. These are often described by those affected as stinging, burning or a feeling of tension. As a result of the disturbed skin barrier, the skin reacts susceptible to external stress factors in case of hypersensitivity.
These skin sensations, which are not visible, can only be assessed on the basis of the description of the affected persons. This makes diagnosis difficult, as both the sensation of pain and the description of the signs vary from person to person.
The skin sensations change depending on the presence of the triggers. Hypersensitive facial skin is particularly susceptible to psychological, environmental, mechanical and hormonal factors. Sensitive skin often reacts to external factors such as chemicals, fragrances and detergents. These factors are rarely the source of irritation in normal, healthy skin
Hypersensitivity can also occur in connection with dry skin and skin prone to acne
Redness due to hypersensitivity usually occurs on the cheeks, in the T-zone and on the chin
More information about hypersensitivity in general. Check our article
More information about acne prone skin. Check our article
More information about rosacea and skin prone to couperose. Check our article
If you suspect that you have rosacea, you should consult a doctor or dermatologist as early treatment can reduce the likelihood of progression.
Causes and triggers of hypersensitive skin
Although the signs are individually different, continuous tingling, stinging, burning or similar skin sensations are typical for hypersensitive facial skin. Some people have dry or pimply skin, while others have a tendency to redness (couperose or even rosacea).
These visible and non-visible signs can be triggered by various internal and external stress factors. Here, too, the triggers are individually different, but there are general irritating factors that are known to worsen the skin’s appearance. These are:
Environmental factors such as strong temperature changes, extreme heat or cold, wind, sun and air pollution. Air pollution, especially in the cities, is blamed for the increasing number of very sensitive facial skin
External factors. These are usually skin irritating chemicals or inappropriate ingredients in cosmetics, such as certain facial cleansers, fragrances, inappropriate detergents, particularly hard water, baths, showers and swimming pools. The increasing number of reports of allergic reactions has raised awareness of “pure” or “0%” cosmetics and detergents in recent years. These contain only a limited number of selected ingredients.
Psychological factors such as stress, anger or strong emotions can trigger hypersensitivity, as can hormonal factors, for example the menstrual cycle
Mechanical factors exerting pressure on the skin can damage the already disrupted skin barrier and irritate the underlying nerve fibres.
Other additional factors
For very sensitive facial skin there is a rule of thumb: less is more. In other words, less effort is better. Do not use products with fragrances and preservatives.
You should also be careful with your diet, as spicy food and alcohol can be stress factors.
Everyone reacts to different irritants, so it is important to determine the individual factors. In the case of cosmetics and skin creams, for example, it makes sense not to use several new products at once, but one after the other. Ideally, they are first tested on a small area of the forearm. It is possible that a reaction only becomes apparent later, so that a new ingredient should only be used when the previous one has definitely not caused any side effects.
Another way of avoiding triggers is to keep a diary in which temperature, pollution, emotional state and contact with cosmetics or cleaning products etc. are recorded every day and compared with visible or invisible reactions. By determining the triggers, you can adjust your lifestyle to minimize the consequences. Psychological factors can be reduced by yoga or meditation, for example.
For some people the sunlight, sometimes even only the SPF additives of certain sun creams are a problem. But there are also numerous sun creams with “pure” formulations, whose containers protect against impurities.
Care recommendations for hypersensitive facial skin
Very sensitive skin without redness is a problem that does not have to be a permanent burden and can even return to normal. It requires a coordinated, preventive skin care in combination with some rules of conduct. Successful care for very sensitive facial skin counteracts all three characteristics of very sensitive skin (known as the triad of very sensitive skin):
- Disturbed protective barrier: With very sensitive skin, the skin barrier is disturbed. It is therefore more prone to irritation and more quickly.
- Hypersensitive sensory receptors: In sensitive skin, the sensory receptors react faster and more irritated than in normal skin. This then triggers an unpleasant skin sensation
- Redness: Internal and external factors can lead to increased stress on the skin and thus to redness. If necessary, a medicinal therapy is required which should be combined with the right skin cleansing and care.
The function of the disrupted barrier can be improved by regular moisturising to counteract water loss through the skin and prevent dehydration. Moisturizing products for hypersensitive skin should contain only a limited number of ingredients to reduce the likelihood of intolerance and allergic reactions. To prevent oxidation of the formulations, the container should protect against contamination.
Eucerin is now using a new active ingredient in its new UltraSENSITIVE skin care range: SymSitive*. SymSitive* reduces the excessive reaction of nerve fibers and balances the skin’s sensitivity threshold. The active ingredient immediately soothes irritations and unpleasant skin sensations such as stinging and burning for a long-lasting feeling of well-being for the skin.
For skin prone to redness, Licochalcone A, a natural anti-inflammatory antioxidant, immediately soothes skin irritations and visibly reduces redness