While all ethnicities are more or less equally prone to sensitive skin, having light-toned skin does not mean that you are destined to suffer from sensitivity. As Dr. Katie Rodan notes, “Despite all the studies, the medical and scientific communities’ ability to predict who will be sensitive to what is still not very good.” While genetics do play a role, there are many other external factors that can trigger sensitive skin.
Skin tone, or color, is actually linked to how our skin reacts to the environment and how it shows signs of aging. Fair skin is at a higher risk for melanoma (the deadliest skin cancer), yet all skin tones and types need protection from the sun to look good and stay healthy.
Your skin and its sensitivity are unique to you—based on a combination of factors, like age, hormones, climate, and skin hydration and more. Common scenarios related to sensitive skin include:
Cosmetic Intolerance. Many people who suddenly exhibit dry, chapped, cracked or red-looking skin without any prior history of sensitive skin are really experiencing intolerance to cosmetic products, even ones they have used for some time. It can come on suddenly; your skin can no longer take the products you’re using, so it reacts by flaring up.
Stress. Let’s face it…the many forms of stress that we deal with every day can wreak havoc on the skin’s protective barrier function, making skin more likely to show the signs of dryness and damage. When skin is stressed, it literally loses water at a greater rate, jeopardizing its natural ability to repair and renew itself, which perpetuates a cycle of sensitivity.
Environmental changes. Traveling from a warm, moist region to a dry climate with cold temperatures, low humidity and wind results in skin that’s likely to become sensitive. Anytime the barrier function is weakened, the skin leaks moisture and its natural defenses are compromised, allowing irritants to enter. Travel tip: SOOTHE Sensitive Skin Treatment is a multi-tasking formula that reduces visible redness in 5 minutes and fortifies the skin’s barrier to relieve dryness—so you can rescue your skin on-the-go.
No matter what the cause of sensitivity, you can take daily steps to help your skin find its equilibrium. Avoid harsh or chemical exfoliants, rentinoids, alcohol, fragrances and chemical sunscreens. Look for gentler ingredients like dimethicone, allentoin, oatmeal, chamomile, lipids, vitamins C and E and green tea, to name a few. SOOTHE Regimen shields against the biological and environmental aggressors associated with dry, chapped, cracked, sensitive skin to help restore a healthy-looking, even-toned complexion—no matter what your skin tone.
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