The beauty industry loves labels. Acne-prone, anti-aging, natural - all these labels help us to narrow our focus in the midst of an overwhelming amount of choices. “Sensitive skin” is a label heard and used often, but the definition, diagnosis, and triggers are far more ambiguous. One thing is for sure - your hormones play a role.
Consider this your guide to all things skin sensitivity - what it is, what causes it (hormonal and otherwise), and what you can do about it.
What Classifies Sensitive Skin?
In 2016, the International Forum for the Study of Itch (yes, that’s a real thing) formally established a definition for sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is the appearance of unpleasant sensations, such as stinging, burning, pain, pruritus (itching), and tingling in response to something that would not normally cause such sensations, which can last from minutes to hours or even longer.
Studies have shown that sensitive skin manifests itself in one of two forms: objective or subjective. Objective sensitivity often presents visible signs of irritation such as redness, dermatitis, or acne. Whereas, subjective sensitivity relates only to sensational symptoms, or the feeling of your skin being sensitive. This type of sensitive skin is more common and typically self-diagnosed.
Due to the mystique of sensitive skin it has been notoriously difficult to officially diagnose.