What is sensitive skin and how does it differ from normal skin?

Sensitive skin reacts much more violently to outside aggressors like smoke, pollution and sun damage than typical “normal” skin. Topical and internal stressors can also inflame sensitive skin, including increased reactions to drinking alcohol or even eating spicy foods. For example, prolonged exposure to the sun may cause severe burning for someone with sensitive skin while someone with atypical skin may notice slight coloring. Also, those with sensitive skin will also notice alleviated redness during cold or hot weather, aerobic exercise and even spurred emotion.

Why does sensitive skin need special treatment?

Just like any departure from what is considered “normal”, sensitive skin needs precautionary care to ensure it’s always at it healthiest and most radiant. Sensitive skin can often be painful and uncomfortable so it’s important to always prevent flare-ups or reactions when possible. I always recommend my patients to spot-test any topical agent to the inside of their upper arm first before they apply to their face. This area mimics the skin on the face in terms of sensitivity but it can also be discreetly hidden if there is some sort of a visible reaction. I also recommend spot-testing behind the ears as it can be concealed, as well.

Doctor Murad

 Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.


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