Sensitive skin is one of those skin types that can be hard to directly distinguish. In many ways, it resembles combination skin in that it can occur alongside the other skin types. Sensitive skin is simply a way of categorizing a certain set of reactions alongside the rest of your skin type. There are plenty of signs that can give you an idea of whether or not your skin is sensitive, but you should be aware that sensitive skin is represented by a long-standing pattern. Sensitized skin can give the impression of sensitive skin, but is a relatively new development by comparison. Regardless, sensitive skin presents particular challenges to those who have it and it is vital to figure out that you have it quickly to avoid hurting your skin. So keep an eye out for these signs.
A Dry Feeling
A good, but not direct sign of you having sensitive skin is having a dry skin type. The two are not permanently linked, but more often than not people with sensitive skin also have dry skin. This makes sense as the lack of natural oils in dry skin necessarily leaves the skin a bit more susceptible than it would otherwise be. Pairing with this is the fact that external weather conditions tend to impact your skin more than they otherwise would. Winter dries out sensitive skin faster and summer can lead to irritation and flaking quickly. Hydrating cleansers can help with dry skin paired with sensitivity though. This does lead to another very clear sign that turns up when caring for your skin. It may even require you to make wide-reaching changes in your skincare routine.
Sensitive skin is particularly marked by a tendency for the skin to react to products. We all expect some reaction, of course, but sensitive skin almost always responds with redness, rashes, and irritation. This is how the spot test for products came to exist as a standard habit in beauty circles. Anyone’s skin can become irritated by the wrong product, but for sensitive skin, it is more a question of finding products that don’t cause this irritation. In general, if you experience reactions to even mild products or makeup, then you probably have sensitive skin. You can bypass this issue by searching for appropriate products. Avoid harsher products, especially hydroxy acids, and seek out products specifically designed for sensitive skin. This can help drastically reduce unwanted reactions.
Allergies and Skin Conditions
An interesting footnote to trying to determine if you have sensitive skin is to look at the rest of your life. People with allergies appear to be statistically more likely to have sensitive skin. This isn’t to say that allergies themselves cause the sensitive skin reactions, but they can be indicative of a large overall sensitivity to substances. This is also connected to some skin conditions, like eczema, that frequently represent a topical allergy. Such skin conditions can contribute to the overall sensitivity of the skin depending on their severity. If you’re particularly worried about having sensitive skin, try pressing your fingers against your face at a medium strength and pulling them across your face carefully. Sensitive skin is likely to react by becoming visibly irritated and when combined with other signs should give you a clearer idea.
Ultimately, you should talk to your dermatologist is you suspect that you have sensitive skin. It necessarily entails that you’ll need to make particular changes to your routine and learn new habits. Taking proper care of sensitive skin can seem particularly frustrating early on simply because it seems like your skin reacts to everything. Making it through these early stages will let you maintain a level of beauty in spite of your skin’s particularly difficulties and help you feel all the better for it.