One of the commonest descriptions a dermatologist or aesthetic dermatologist hears from clients is that they have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is not a medical condition but a subjective self-assessment based on some adverse effects or discomfort on the skin with the use of most personal care products. The discomfort may range from the skin becoming red and itchy to dry and flaky or breakout in the form of bumps and pustules. Many individuals are allergic to the fragrances, preservatives or colours present in most cosmetics and toiletries and therefore their skin reactions are enhanced. Skin could be sensitive to physical touch or it could be sensitive because of excessive dryness. The dryness could be as a result of conditions like atopic dermatitis, eczema, rosacea or psoriasis or it could be a manifestation of ageing skin with inactivity of the normal oil glands. Skin can also become sensitive after sunburn or the use of certain medications like Isotretinoin. In all these conditions because of the defective skin barrier functions whatever product is applied on the skin is absorbed in greater amounts than normal leading to stinging and burning sensations. Overuse of certain products containing exfoliating agents like lactic acid, Azelaic acid, Benzoic acid, Glycolic acid and vitamin C can cause sustained stinging feeling of the skin.
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