Hypersensitive, reactive facial skin is more common in women than men, and may be related to conditions, age or contact and sensitisation to certain products, and a consequence is often an increased transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Sensitivity symptoms can occur after applying products to skin and may be experienced immediately, or be noticed hours or days later. They include feelings of stinging and burning, and can be accompanied by redness (erythema), scaling and pustules. Pretesting any new product on a small area first and checking after 24 hours for any reaction before general use can be key to reducing the impact of this condition.
Ageing skin is also prone to sensitivity, as thinning of the epidermis and reduced lipid synthesis can result in the barrier function being compromised. Declining levels of substances like Hyaluronic Acid, which hydrates the skin’s layers, and coenzyme Q10, which energises cells to improve their regenerative function, can exacerbate this situation. The result is a combination of fine lines and wrinkles with dry, reddened skin, and itchiness.
Facial skin can be affected by sun allergies. These share some symptoms with sensitive skin, including redness and itchiness, but also manifest as raised bumps, rashes, blisters and pustules. While most sun allergies, including Polymorphic Light Eruptions (PLE), are caused by UV radiation, some ingredients from cosmetic products can be a factor, too. Find out more about PLE and other sun allergies or how sun affects skin.