Chapter 1: True or false? Myths about sensitive skin

Worried about your sensitive skin, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! To help you take the first steps on your skincare journey, we take a look at some of the most common misunderstandings when it comes to looking after sensitive skin, so you can sort the facts from the fiction.

Your sensitive skin FAQ

  • Regular use of cosmetic products causes sensitive skin

FALSE: While using makeup and skincare products that aren’t right for your skin can certainly exacerbate existing skincare problems, using cosmetics on a regular basis has not been shown to cause or provoke reactions in sensitive skin. Using makeup or skincare products with poor quality or ingredients unsuitable for sensitive skin can irritate delicate skin from the first application, but studies have proven that there are no links between frequent use of cosmetic products and sensitive skin1. In other words, feel free to blush, bronze and contour to your heart’s content - just be sure to check the label first.

  • Sensitive skin can change over time

TRUE: As the body’s largest organ, it’s not surprising that our skin undergoes some serious changes throughout our lives. The aging process is one of the most visible signs of our skin’s development over time, but that’s not all that can change as we get older: our body’s hormones, stress levels, and even where we live can all have an effect on our skin’s sensitivity. Studies have shown that over half of women in their twenties experience symptoms of sensitive skin, compared to just under 30% of women in their seventies2. Women with sensitive skin also report increased skin sensitivity at certain points in their menstrual cycle.

  • Dry skin is more prone to hypersensitivity

FALSE (-ish): While very dry skin is noted for being particularly prone to oversensitivity, with a majority of women with dry-to-very-dry skin noting increased sensitivity, all skin types can suffer from problems linked to delicate or sensitive skin. In fact, skin sensitivity isn’t limited to a specific skin type, as it’s a result of a deregulation in physiological balance - nothing to do with how oily or dry your skin is!

  • Sensitive skin vs. skin with allergies - isn’t it just the same thing?

FALSE: Unsurprisingly, products containing hypoallergenic ingredients tend to be specifically formulated with sensitive skin in mind, making them a good choice for anyone worried about potential inflammatory or allergic reactions when making changes to their skincare routine. Vichy Aqualia Extrasensitive’s hypoallergenic formula avoids ingredients that typically tend to irritate very sensitive skin, such as alcohol and parabens. That said, certain ingredients can provoke allergic reactions in sensitive and non-sensitive skin alike. Be sure to check your skincare labels, and if you think one (or more) specific ingredients might be causing your skin problems, consider an allergy test.

1 C.M. Willis et al. Sensitive skin: an epidemiological study. Brit. Journ. of Dermatol. 145 : 258-263 (2001)
2 O. de Lacharrière et al. Sensitive skin – a neurological perspective. (Poster)