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Sensitive Skin: What Exactly Is It?

Sensitive Skin: What Exactly Is It?

Do you know how many types of skin there are? According to Federica Osti, a dermatologist at, the classification includes oily, dry, combination, and normal skin, though truly normal skin is rare.

Ideally, normal skin is smooth and soft. Oily skin is shiny with enlarged pores, blackheads, and sometimes acne.



Dry skin is thin, fragile, and less elastic, either due to dehydration or having few oils. Combination skin is oily in the T-zone and dry on the cheeks and temples.

Now, where does sensitive skin fit in all this? Dr. Osti says all skin types can be sensitive, which doesn't mean they'e unhealthy; it's just a characteristic.


The scientific definition of sensitive skin isn't agreed upon, but it's often described as a syndrome with uncomfortable sensations like burning or itching in response to stimuli that wouldn't normally cause these symptoms.

It gets confusing because sensitive skin is sometimes mistaken for allergic or irritated skin, which are specific diseases. Cosmetics can also trigger discomfort, making it hard to tell if it's an allergic reaction or sensitive skin.

To add to the complexity, conditions like rosacea and atopic dermatitis can look like sensitive skin at first.

How do you know if you have sensitive skin? Sometimes, a mix of visual diagnosis and the patient's experience is enough, and other times, specific tests are used.

Why does sensitive skin happen? Dr. Osti mentions various ideas from scientific studies, including changes in the skin's pH, a genetic predisposition, a higher density of certain proteins, and the idea that stress could make the skin more sensitive.

And remember, sensitive skin isn't just about the face; it includes the entire body. But because the face is more exposed to weather and makeup and has more sensory receptors, choosing the right cream is essential. We're here to help with that!

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