The top skin issue that’s on the rise

How To Deal With Sensitive Skin

Are you suffering from this skin condition? If so, you’re not alone

marie claire marie claire Beauty Director / June 25 2018

If your skin is feeling out of sorts, you’re not alone. “Nearly half the global population describes their skin as sensitive or very sensitive,” says Emma Hobson, Education Manager for the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. But what’s causing us all to feel extra delicate on the skin front? And what does sensitive skin look like? To get you on the path to better, happier skin, read on. 

How to know if you actually have sensitive skin 

Sensitive skin can look and feel different from person to person, but the common trait is a compromised lipid barrier. “Some experience mild, occasional flare-ups while others deal with constant redness and [uncomfortable skin],” says Hobson.

Here are the red flags:

Tightness and discomfort
“This indicates dehydration, which can lead to skin reactions from products.”

Redness and blotchiness
“This signals over-reactive capillaries or a tendency towards rosacea.”

Flaking and cracking
“Indicates dehydrated skin and impaired barrier function.”

Blushing, itching and burning
“Also a sign of over-reactive capillaries.”

The reasons for skin sensitivity

The reasons for sensitive skin vary. “It can be due to pollution, lifestyle stress, hormonal fluctuations, medical procedures and environmental factors like smoking, alcohol and poor diet,” says Hobson. Take a look at your skin care routine, too. “Ingredients such as alcohol, lanolin, fragrance and artificial colours can lead to sensitised skin,” says Hobson. Cherry- picking from multiple brands? This can also cause a skin upset.

Some of our favourite skin care ranges that are all about nurturing sensitive skin include the La-Roche Posay Toleriane range, Dermalogica UltraCalming range and all Avène products.

What should you do next? Read up on 6 ways to calm your sensitive skin.

For more sensitive skin care advice from marie claire, visit

Do you suffer from sensitive skin? What sensitive skin care products do you swear by?

Main image credit: Getty

marie claire Beauty Director, Sally Hunwick joined the marie claire team in 2017. Previously Sally has worked on Cosmopolitan as Beauty and Lifestyle Director, Women’s Health as Contributing Beauty Editor, and Harper's BAZAAR and Dolly as Beauty Writer and Beauty Editor respectively. An award-winning journalist with a long-running career both in Australia and in the UK, Sally is passionate about all things beauty and health.