Is Your Skin Sensitive or Variable?

Sensitive vs. Variable Almost every client that I’ve had in my chair would say they had sensitive skin.  Given the amount of things that we use on our skin on a daily basis that cause us to break out, get blotchy, itch or burn, not to mention what we rotate in and out of our routine, I would argue that more skin types are variable.  There are people with truly sensitive skin, but most likely your skin is temperamental based on other factors. There are so many things that influence our basic skin type, here are just a few:

  • Hormones
  • Genes
  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Products
  • Medications
  • Etc, Etc

You probably have a good idea of what skin type umbrella you fall under: dry, oily or combination.  All of those simply relate to your oil/water balance.  There are also other combinations such as oily with acne, dry and sensitive, combination that gets more oily or dry depending on the season.  If you use something on your skin that it doesn’t like, it lets you know, that doesn’t mean you have sensitive skin.

What to do When Your Skin Reacts

If the reaction is immediate and severe, of course, stop using it.  But, sometimes it’s not as immediate and the reactions can be cumulative.  You also don’t know if it could be your makeup or your skincare, depending on how many things you might have added to either routine.  As an example, for about a week I noticed I was breaking out with little red spots all over my cheeks, forehead and chin.  I had added quite a number of things to both my makeup and skincare routine (i.e., primer, serum, new moisturizer, new foundation).  In order to figure out what was causing it I took these steps:

  • Ask, what am I using that’s new?
  • Decide which one would most likely be causing the irritation
  • Stop using new item(s) and go back to any old faithful or something you used before that you know does not irritate your skin
  • Give your skin a day or two, if possible, without make-up
  • Continue to monitor your skin for any new signs of irritation once you’ve discontinued using the product(s)

The reason for going without a make-up for a day or two is to determine if it’s a skincare product or a makeup product that is the culprit.  In my case, it was the new moisturizer I was trying that did not agree with my skin.  I stopped using it, went back to something I had used before, went without make up for two days and treated the spots with Mario Badescu’s Drying Cream.  Voila, Clear skin! So is your skin sensitive or variable?

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9 thoughts on “Is Your Skin Sensitive or Variable?

  1. My skin is sensitive!! I break out, will get redness or cystic acne from some products. Basically, I learned the hard way that if it doesn’t say hypoallergenic or non comedogenic then I won’t use it!

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      1. From one face product the reaction was immediate with tight skin, redness and then the next day several throbbing red swollen welts appeared – not hives, more like really large painful pimples, but these were worse than an I’d had before. From a recent trial of a new blowout spray, the skin on my neck & scalp felt and looked like it was sunburned 6 hours after using the spray. It lasted 48 hours. I hadn’t been in the sun. I’ve had scalp pimples appear from using a new shampoo & conditioner. I mean, pimples everywhere! I think I only used it once or twice. My worst reaction was deep cystic acne along my jaw & neck from a leave in conditioner. The reaction was not immediate and I can’t remember how long it took to appear (maybe a week? Maybe two?). It took several weeks for the deep cysts to resolve themselves, but I had red marks for many months! I only use products that are non comedogenic and try for ones that are fragrance free or hypoallergenic. My face wash is St. Ives green tea scrub, with smaller grit than the apricot scrub and only 1% salicylic acid it is more gentle and less drying. I’ve used Cetaphil DermaControl moisturizer with SPF 30 for several years. I used to use neutrogena, but never really liked the final texture of my skin. I also used Aveeno at one point, but I prefer unscented and could never find it in stores. I know this is lengthy… But hopefully answers your question!!

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      2. Thank you for replying with all of the details. I appreciate the information since it’s helpful to see how different people with different skin types find products that work for them. You have very sensitive skin. Have you ever been to an allergist to see what you’re allergic to? I too find that products with fragrance tend to be irritating to skin. I immediately become suspicious of a product that has a strong scent to it.

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      3. I have been to an allergist, and get allergy shots for my seasonal allergies, but she only recommended patch testing if I had issues finding products that work for me. Since my mom and grandma have sensitive skin too, I was raised with everything hypoallergenic and fragrance free anyways. As long as I keep using the same products, or am just really careful with the new things I try I am fine. 😀

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      4. I mean my allergist recommended patch testing only if I couldn’t find products that did not irritate or could not identify what was causing issues.

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