Sensitive or allergic skin: how to tell the difference?
Your skin reacts easily and in an exaggerated manner. You don’t know whether it is hypersensitive or if you are suffering from an allergy. Here are a few pointers to help clarify things for you.
Hypersensitive or allergic skin
Cutaneous hypersensitivity and allergy are related to various factors which make the skin more reactive.
Sensitive skin is subject to discomfort, with or without redness, with the sensation of burning, itching or even tight skin. It is related to a deficit in the skin barrier which makes it more fragile in the face of external stress (cold, heat, wind, hard water, pollutants etc.) promoting the penetration of substances that are potentially irritating to the skin. The skin thus reacts in a disproportionate manner when exposed to such stress.
Allergic skin reacts to the presence of certain allergenic substances, and not to external stress. The reaction occurs each time the skin comes into contact with the allergen. Unlike sensitive skin in which the reaction is inflammatory, an allergy gives rise to an immune response in the form of redness, swelling, eczema or even hives, most often located in the area having come into contact with the product.
What can be done to make my skin less reactive?
If you have sensitive skin, you should gently cleanse it well and then apply a moisturising treatment suited to your skin, for reconstructing the skin’s protective barrier, in order to provide better protection. Only use gentle products, suitable for sensitive skin and formulated without irritant substances.
If, however, you have the symptoms of a skin allergy, see your doctor who will help you determine which substances you are allergic to. Once you have identified them, you can then simply choose products that do not contain those substances.
When we have sensitive skin or a skin allergy, we have a tendency to want to cover up redness with make-up. Always use make-up for sensitive and allergic skin.
To ensure safe use, see you dermatologist or allergy specialist.