Sunday, 21 December 2008

What is Sensitive Skin?

I was at a skin care shop buying things to put into Christmas packages ... and the nice and well-meaning SA who was serving me asked me about my skin ... *boohoo* ... She said, "Oh dear, your skin has so many dry patches and small bumps! What happened?" I told her I probably had a reaction to something I used, probably because my skin is sensitive. That was when she tried to explain to me that I do not have sensitive skin but that I am adapting to the new product. She said, "If you put something on your skin and it right away feels prickly, then your skin is sensitive. But, if there are reactions like dryness, itchiness and pimples/small bumps then it's just the skin detoxifying and getting used to a product. Use the product a bit more and it should all go away." Because her demeanour was friendly and nice, I didn't want to argue with her, so I smiled and said, "Ok, I'll go back and try some more." (Just to clarify, this SA wasn't from Kose, so she wasn't trying to defend her product, and I didn't tell which product I used anyway.) ... Dear friends, Do not. I repeat, DO NOT. Do not listen to anyone who says that to you. Do not go home and continue using the product on your precious face, thinking it is detoxifying and that one fine day it will get used to the product, and all will be well. Because that was what I did years ago and I had a bad case of skin reactions that caused my skin to become so very weak as it is now. Sensitive skin is not restricted to having a limited and immediate prickly sensation or reaction to products. I know I have sensitive skin because if left unprotected, even things like dust from a gust of wind or a sudden change in temperature will cause dry, itchy red patches to appear on my skin. It happens all over my body, arms, legs but mostly the exposed regions of the neck and face. If I use a product that I cannot tolerate, the allergic reaction is almost but not always immediate. Sometimes it takes a while, but there will be symptoms like contact dermatitis that some people get from eg. wearing nickel jewellery, which is another sign of sensitivity. I also cannot wear cosmetic jewellery, it makes my skin react. So, I list for your benefit below, some signs and symptoms of sensitive skin, which I collected from the web. I have sensitive skin, and maybe you do too, so try your best to listen to your skin, not those well-meaning SAs who might not be as aware of your skin as you are.
"A sensitive skin is a thin or a fine-textured skin. It reacts quickly to both heat and cold; therefore, it sunburns and windburns easily. It is commonly dry, delicate and prone to allergic reactions. Temperature changes, some detergents, cosmetics and alcohol (used on the skin) can all cause irritation, leaving the skin red and blotchy, with visible surface veins."
  1. Does your skin get extra dry after you wash it with soap?
  2. Does your skin get extra oily and break out after you use particular types of moisturizers?If you answered Yes to one or both of these questions, you may have sensitive skin.
  3. Does your skin get red, itch, burn, or feel "tight" after coming into direct or indirect contact with perfumes and/or particular shampoos, shaving creams, detergents, dish soaps, hair sprays, cleaning products, or deodorants? What irritates sensitive skin includes many household and personal products. The fragrances and dyes in just about every household product, and many personal care products, can cause irritation either from direct contact or even from deposits left on your clothes, towels, or bedding. If you have any of the classic signs and symptoms of sensitive skin in Question 3, try to use hypoallergenic products without ingredients known to cause skin reactions.
  4. Does your skin get red, itch, burn, or feel "tight" after extended exposure to sun, wind, heat, or cold? Sensitive skin often reacts to extreme weather conditions. In fact, anything in the environment that damages your skin's natural protective barrier against water evaporation -- called sebum -- can irritate sensitive skin.
  5. Do you have acne or psoriasis? People with acne, psoriasis, or skin conditions like eczema often have sensitive skin. These conditions impair immune system functioning and/or destroy the skin's protective barrier. If you have of these conditions,you may have sensitive skin.

Classic Signs of Sensitive Skin
  • Tingling, tightening, cutaneous discomfort without visible signs.
  • Easily reacts to products
  • Overreaction to external factors: shaving, stress, aesthetic procedures,…
  • Diffuse redness, drying, recurrent irritation of the skin

Contact Dermatitis Symptoms

Telling allergic contact dermatitis apart from irritant contact dermatitis can be very difficult. Allergic dermatitis is usually confined to the area where the trigger actually touched the skin, whereas irritant dermatitis may be more widespread on the skin

  • A red rash is the usual reaction. It appears immediately in irritant contact dermatitis, but sometimes in allergic contact dermatitis the rash does not appear for 1-2 days after the exposure.
  • Your skin may blister, or you may get a raised red rash, called hives, sometimes in a pattern that points to the offending agent.
  • Your skin will itch and perhaps burn. Irritant contact dermatitis tends to be more painful than itchy.
  • Irritant contact dermatitis often affects the hands, which have been exposed by resting in or dipping into a container (sink, pail, tub) containing the irritant.
  • Once a reaction starts, it may take as long as 4 weeks to resolve completely.
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pinky"the-middle-name-is-princess"beanie said...

*BIG sympathetic hug* I completely get this post cos I've sensitive skin too! Was contemplating Jurlique recently esp when I saw SGD$1 > AUD$1. Keep you updated if and when I do buy. Think cheaper to buy online than in stores here.

There's this other brand which I'm trying at the moment - So far seems pretty ok. You may want to check it out too.

fuzkittie said...

Hey girl~

I have been using Yu-Be cream on my lash line... do you really think my lashes look longer?? I think it works!

coyohti said...

Wow! What terrible advice from that SA! The symptoms you described could also match my rosacea and if I'd believed the advice of that SA and continued to use a product I could have irreversibly damaged my skin (even more than it already is).

On the plus side, I discovered if I mention rosacea and that I have advice from my dermatologist the cosmetics SAs don't try to "hard sell" me on products. ^o^

Anonymous said...

Okay, the SA probably meant well, since she wasn't pushing products at you, but my God, she needs some lessons in basic skin care.

Skin detoxifying?! What a load of nonsense! When the skin reacts, whether it's sensitive or not, it means that the ingredients are irritating it, and therefore should stop using.

I contracted contact dermatitis from some of the mineral makeup I've been using, and it wasn't pretty. And I don't even have sensitive skin :(

Thanks for the post by the way. I do so enjoy reading about your experiences at the beauty counter :)

Anonymous said...

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