What Ingredients Should You Use on Sensitive Skin?
Many people suffer from so-called bouts of “sensitive skin”,(for chronic sufferers, it’s called “sensitive skin syndrome”) in which skin has an adverse reaction to many topically-applied products, from cosmetics to moisturizers and cleansers. While the simple solution may seem to simply formulate products with gentle ingredients, that is seldom a possibility in real life. Dermatologists and scientists have yet to reach a decision on what sensitive skin should be defined as, let alone its triggers and treatments.
At this time it would appear that sensitive skin is usually due in part to diet, environment, how frequently one cleanses one’s skin, one’s previous skin injuries and ailments, and the products in your daily beauty routine. Although it is difficult to offer a generalized set of ingredients for sensitive skin, we would like to offer some tips on what ingredients to avoid, what products you should consider using, and good practices that may encourage normal skin sensitivity.
What Causes Sensitive Skin?
Scientists are still unsure of what causes sensitive skin, or if sensitive skin is truly its own condition and not a case of misdiagnosed skin disorder. Sufferers of sensitive skin are predominantly female and mostly self-diagnosed, and seldom do they present physical symptoms such as erythematous skin or scaly, dried patches. Rather, most sufferers report a burning, tingling, or tightening sensation after applying certain products, but do no display significant signs of inflammation or damage (Skin Research and Technology, International Journal of Cosmetic Science).
Further compounding the problem is that many dermatologists do not have any tangible or prominent symptoms to use to diagnose a patient’s condition, delaying adequate treatment. Moreover, while many products are geared towards those with “sensitive skin”, cosmeceuticals and cosmetics with “active functional ingredients” (such as products for sensitive skin) are not subjected to FDA regulation. Therefore, many products make fantastic claims without adequate scientific backing to confirm a product’s efficacy and safety (Skin Research and Technology) .
It is also possible that sufferers of sensitive skin are relying too much on their own sense of appropriate treatment instead of seeking out clinical advice. In fact, most people with sensitive skin will never visit a dermatologist or any sort of clinic for their problem, leading many to misdiagnose their conditions and improperly combine incompatible ingredients or overzealously medicate the skin (Skin Research and Technology, Prevention)
How Should You Treat Sensitive Skin?
See a dermatologist: If you develop sensitive skin, you should immediately consult a dermatologist about the best course of action. Simply selecting products which claim to be safe and efficient will likely lead to a good deal of trial and error, wasted money, and potential damage and further sensitization to the skin. Dermatologists are taught specifically how to diagnosis conditions in accordance with your symptoms, age, gender, ethnicity, occupation, etc. and can also provide more accurate and scientifically-sound treatments than merely picking products from drugstore shelves.
Additionally, it is possible that your sensitive skin is the beginning stages of a condition like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or an allergic reaction, so it is best to consult with a doctor and treat the condition while it’s in its early stages.
Avoid heavily fragranced products. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, heavily fragranced products are the leading cause of cosmetic contact dermatitis in the United States. There is also growing evidence that fragranced cosmetic and skin care products may be a culprit in skin sensitization. However, you should not just avoid scented moisturizers and serums; scented shampoos, conditioners and deodorants can also sensitize skin, with fragranced deodorants being the leading cause of contact dermatitis among skin care products (Contact Dermatitis). Even if your sensitive skin is not due to contact dermatitis, fragrances are still very likely to exacerbate dried, inflamed, or compromised skin.
Use a gentle moisturizer. When dealing with sensitized skin, it is important to consult with a dermatologist as soon as possible. In the interim, however, you should use a gentle moisturizer than would hydrate dry, delicate skin, and offer some protection against other topical or environmental irritants.
We suggest using the AminoGenesis Cocoon: For All Over Body Use, which was formulated with 17 amino acids, Preventhelia, and a host of other beneficial ingredients to leave skin silky, healthy, and hydrated. Specifically, AminoGenesis Cocoon contains L-lysine, which may hydrate skin and improve the appearance of sagging skin over time (Journal of Peptide Science)
The formulation also contains glycerin, which has shown great potential as a moisturizing agent. Glycerin not only strengthens the skin barrier by encouraging cell turnover, but acts as a humectant that attracts water to parched skin (International Journal of Cosmetic Science, Dermatology Times). A study from the journal Acta Dermato-Venereologica found that glycerin was an effective topical agent in treating dry skin, indicating that it has potential in improving the appearance of sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin can be very difficult to treat, as scientists have yet to find an agreed-upon definition of what sensitive skin entails, or if the condition even exists. Additionally, sensitive skin is usually indicative a more serious, immediate underlying condition such as contact dermatitis, eczema, or an allergy.
While there are an abundance of products for “sensitive skin”, the FDA does not require cosmetic companies to validate their claims with scientific evidence, leading to an overflow of “sensitive skin” products that will actually do nothing to help the condition. For treatment, you should first consult with a dermatologist, who will be able to identify the condition’s root cause and proper treatment. You should also avoid products containing fragrances, detergents, or anti-microbial agents, as these are also likely to exacerbate sensitive skin. Finally, consider using a lightweight moisturizer such as the AminoGensis Cocoon, which will hydrate skin and potentially help to prevent further sensitization.