Sensitive skin 101 – part one


Sick of suffering from red, burning or itching skin? Products that once worked perfectly now suddenly causing your face to freak out for no apparent reason? If that sounds like you then you may be suffering from sensitive or sensitised skin (yes, there is a difference!), but the good news is you can do something to help alleviate the situation. So stick with us over the next few weeks as we take you through the causes of, cures for, and common myths on sensitive and sensitised skin…

Sensitive and sensitised skin have a lot in common and are often confused, as both can present with symptoms such as itching, burning, redness, flushing and stinging. However, while true sensitive skin is caused by a genetic predisposition and generally continues to be reactive for the person’s lifetime, sensitised skin can occur in anyone at anytime throughout his or her life. Here is a breakdown of the main differences:

Sensitised skin

Can occur in anyone and may only last for a defined period following external irritations or internal changes in the body. Examples of these are:
– Exposure to extreme environmental conditions.
– Use of harsh skin care products that are highly fragranced or that damage the skin’s surface. 
– Hormonal changes that effect the skin, such as puberty, pregnancy and menopause.
– Medications that produce skin irritation as a side effect, such as Isotretinoin, which is used to treat severe acne.
– Any illness that affects the general health of the body.

Sensitive skin

Is generally genetic and is prone to blushing and/or skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis. There are three levels of severity within the sensitive skin type. They are:

Level 1: sensitive skin

Skin occasionally experiences unpleasant feelings such as tingling, itching, and/or tightness. Sensitive skin usually results from a mild reaction to environmental aggressors such as wind, cold and sun, and/or as a result of over-zealous cleansing.
A sensitive skin customer would have reacted to a product with redness or irritation once or more.

Level 2: intolerant skin

Skin is highly sensitive and experiences tingling and tightness, but also shows signs of redness, scaling and/or burning. Intolerant skin is easily traumatised by external factors and often reacts to the application of skincare products that are not suited to that skin type.
An intolerant skin customer reacts to most products.

Level 3: atopic skin

Skin that is highly prone to eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis, and experiences reactions including dryness, itchiness, redness and inflammation.

So what can you do to help alleviate the effects of sensitive/sensitised skin?

The general effects of sensitive and sensitised, redness, itching and burning sensations, can be alleviated by ensuring that you protect the skin from possible irritants such as sun, wind, and other known allergens, and use a skin care regime that is based on products with non-inflammatory ingredients to soothe and protect the skin and help rebuild its strength and resilience.

The dermo-cosmetic range by Avene is great for alleviating sensitive or sensitised skin types. It is formulated using Avene Thermal Spring Water, which is high in silica and trace elements and has been found to be therapeutically beneficial in alleviating inflammation when used for treatment of eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and other disorders of the skin.


Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser – a gel-based cleanser that is safe for use all over the face and on the eyes.

Avene Thermal Spring Water – use as a toner substitute to soothe, hydrate and balance the skin.

Avene Skin Recovery Cream – a moisturiser with no irritants, and containing high levels of the Avene Thermal Spring Water.

*If your skin is broken or has developed lesions associated with eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis you may need medically prescribed treatments from your doctor in addition to dermo-cosmetic skin care products.

Do you suffer from sensitive or sensitised skin? What helps you alleviate it?

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