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SKIN FOCUS: Sensitive Skin

December 11, 2009

Stood in the sun and turned red few minutes after? Tried a new cosmetic product and developed rashes the next morning? Drank alcohol and became flushed immediately? If you have experienced such conditions before, then you may have sensitive skin. However, little known to many, the generic label of “sensitive skin” hides a far more complex reality. This week’s Skin Focus tells you all.

Sensitive skin

Cutaneous sensitivity is characterized by an extreme reaction of the skin to factors which are normally well tolerated: skin is more vulnerable to external aggressors. This hyper-reactivity does not stem from allergic origins; it is linked to the irritability of nerve endings which are present in the upper layers of the epidermis. 

Signs of sensitivity

Sensitivity can manifest itself through several different symptoms:

  • Stinging sensations
  • Tightness
  • Itching
  • Inflammation
  • Burning sensations associated with redness

Types of reactivity

La Roche-Posay’s Laboratory has found out, through its research, that four types of reactivity stem from the generic label of “sensitive skin”. Each sensitivity type is not unique to a person; sensitive skin can suffer from several types of reactivity.

  • Reactivity of Environmental Origin

Your skin reacts to certain environmental factors such as wind, heat and pollution.

Your skin reacts to sudden changes in temperature.

Exposed to heat, cold or sudden changes in temperature, the skin can suffer stinging and burning sensations, redness or inflammation. It is also sensitive to the wind, sun and atmospheric pollution.

  • Reactivity of Vascular Origin

Your facial skin is subject to temporary or permanent redness.

Your facial skin reacts to spicy or alcoholic drinks.

This is linked to a fragility of blood vessel walls. Under the influence of certain external (sudden changes in temperature) or internal (overly spicy food, alcohol) factors, it causes the onset of flushing, redness and heat sensations.

  • Reactivity of Contact Origin

Some cosmetic or toiletry products make your facial skin itch, sting or burn.

You avoid certain cosmetics which you feel may cause your facial skin to react.  

The triggering factor for a cutaneous reaction could be the application of a product containing a poorly tolerated ingredient, contact with very hard water or with certain textiles. In the moments following contact, sensations of discomfort i.e. itching, stinging, pulling or redness develop. This reaction does not correspond, however, to an allergic phenomenon.

  • Reactivity resulting from Atopy

You are currently suffering from eczema or dermatitis.

You have ever suffered from eczema or dermatitis.

Atopic-type skin which is prone to eczema is particularly delicate and reactive. You must, therefore, be very careful when choosing skincare products and toiletries.

Degrees of sensitivity

Sensitivity can manifest itself through several different symptoms:

  • Very sensitive
  • Sensitive
  • Slightly sensitive
  • Barely or not sensitive

La Roche-Posay’s recommendations

La Roche-Posay establishes the first complete hygiene and skincare program for all intolerant skins. Rigorously tested on all signs of sensitive skin in a clinical environment, all products in the TOLERIANE range are made with purified formulas containing a minimum number of strictly necessary ingredients, with 0% fragrance, preservatives and alcohol content.

  • EAU THERMALE Thermal Spring Water, with its soothing and therapeutic properties, is a good alternative to toners for those with hypersensitive skin.
  • TOLERIANE Purifying Foaming Cream safely cleanses without over-drying the skin.
  • TOLERIANE FLUIDE Soothing Non-Oily Emulsion soothes irritation and provides long-lasting hydration.

 

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