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How do I know if I have sensitive skin?

Rodan and fields model applying soothe

Do I Have Sensitive Skin?  

Here’s the truth: Many people think that they have sensitive skin, when in actuality, they do not. It can be confusing! Sensitive skin isn’t just about a little irritation from a product that doesn’t work well with our particular skin from time to time. Instead, sensitivity can manifest in several forms that include redness, dryness and itchiness.  

What are some advanced sensitive skin concerns?  

Sensitive skin can also skew more serious. Sometimes people suffer from more advanced skin concerns—like eczema or atopic dermatitis—and yet, these issues fall within the wide range of what’s considered by dermatologists to be in the “sensitive skin” category.   

Here, we’ll break down how to find out if you do, in fact, have sensitive skin, and if you do, what products work best to help you manage it while addressing your skincare goals and concerns. In other words, it’s all about finding the ideal sensitive skin routine for your skin.  

What is sensitive skin and what are the symptoms of sensitive skin?  

Sensitive skin is not a skin disease, instead, it is a symptom of other concerns. “Condition of sensitive skin is complicated and caused by many factors, like barrier disruption and biome change. 20% of the population sees skin as being sensitive – anything from burning or stinging on application to scaling, redness or rashes. Sensitive Skin has no limit,” says Dr. Kathy Fields. Some skin issues that you may deal with if you have sensitive skin:  

  • Your skin easily gets irritated.  
  • You have redness that doesn’t go away after several hours or even days.  
  • You endure dryness and itchiness regularly.  
  • Your skin easily gets sunburnt.  
  • Your skin is prone to inflammation.  

What Causes Sensitive Skin?  

There are many causes of sensitive skin. “For about 20%, it’s genetic, for others it results from a harsh environment or over-use of strong irritating products. Stress also plays a big role,” says Dr. Katie Rodan.  

One is your external conditions. These include, for example, hot or cold temperatures, your exposure to sunlight, wind, chemicals or allergens.   

Simply having dry skin can lead to your skin being more sensitive over time.   

Contact dermatitis can cause skin sensitivity. Contact dermatitis is an itchy, red rash that can be caused by direct contact with a substance or an allergic reaction to it. Contact dermatitis isn’t life threatening, nor is it contagious but it can be uncomfortable. Things like soaps, cosmetics, fragrances, jewelry and plants can cause reactions like this.  

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s a condition that makes skin red and itchy. Eczema is common in children, but it can also occur at any age. The condition is chronic and tends to flare periodically. Eczema may be accompanied by asthma or hay fever. 

How do you find the best skincare routine for sensitive skin? 

“Because skin conditions are so complicated, there isn’t a singular hero ingredient that will solve any problem, including sensitivity,” says Dr. Kathy Fields. Most importantly, when it comes to sensitive skin, less is more. You want to eliminate any possible irritants, so stick with a consistent regimen that works well for your skin and avoid any unnecessary steps. Protect your acid mantle and use products that support it.  

Look for ingredients that are recommended by dermatologists that are used in over-the-counter products designed for dry skin treatment, skin redness treatment and sensitive skin treatment. “SOOTHE is formulated with the correct ingredients to address the effects of skin sensitivity. With its hydrating, healing and moisturizing ingredients, skin’s flexibility, adaptability, and natural repair mechanisms are improved, helping it to withstand the onslaught of aggressors,” says Dr. Katie Rodan. It contains skin protectants and skin soothers, like allantoin, colloidal oatmeal, bisabolol and ceramides.  

If your skin is sensitive, you want to opt for only fragrance-free, gentle formulas that won’t disrupt your skin barrier.  

Last, you never want to skip SPF if you have sensitive skin. Sun protection is important for everyone. However, you want to ensure the least likelihood of irritation, so choose a mineral SPF to protect your skin daily.  

Rodan + Fields SOOTHE Regimen 

SOOTHE Regimen is ideal for those with sensitive skin. This 4-step routine calms dry, itchy skin so those with skin sensitivity can enjoy a better sleep. This regimen even works well for eczema and atopic dermatitis. Powered by our unique Multi-Med Therapy approach, SOOTHE uses the right ingredients that are formulated to work together, and be layered on the skin in the right order to soothe skin woes.  

This routine helps to calm, rescue and refresh skin from suffering from the effects caused by sensitivity round the clock. The regimen includes a Calming Gel Cleanser, Sensitive Skin Treatment, Moisturizing Rescue Cream and Daily Mineral Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30.  

Clinical Results:* 

Results After 4 Weeks: 

  • 76% had less visible blotchiness   

Results After 8 Weeks:  

  • 100% had less visible dryness 
  • 94% had smoother skin  
  • Now calms dry, itchy skin for better sleep 
  • Strengthens skin’s barrier 
  • 78% of subjects with eczema agreed they had less bothersome itchiness  
  • 82% noticed more even-looking skin texture 
  • 79% noticed skin feels balanced and less sensitive 
  • 71% agreed skin looks calmer and more relaxed 
  • 30% better on visible redness 

*Based on an 8-week U.S. clinical and consumer study. Results may vary depending on multiple factors: age, gender, skin type and condition, concomitant products used, health history, location, lifestyle and diet. 

Photo by @Two_Scoops_Of_Style