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Sensitive skin... or something else?


Sensitive skin... or something else?

A friend called me recently with a question about sensitive skin care. She told me she never had sensitive skin before she moved to the Southwest, where she quickly took to the outdoors – relaxing outside and swimming almost every day in her pool.

I had to stop her right there. Truly sensitive skin doesn't just happen. It's like eye color – you're born with it. "Your skin's not sensitive" I told her. "It's sensitized." And there's a difference. The low humidity, the drying chlorine – these factors were causing her skin's sudden irritation.

Skin can get red, irritated, blotchy and uncomfortable for many reasons. Let's break them down:

SENSITIVE SKIN – Just like Dry, Oily or Combination skin, Sensitive skin is a skin type, although all skin types could possibly be Sensitive. But truly Sensitive skin needs to be cared for differently than the other types. People with Sensitive skin usually have "fair" complexions that flush easily or swell a bit to the touch. They may even get red and blotchy on the face or neck for no apparent reason. This is the skin they were born with.

SENSITIZED SKIN –Most of the population experiences Sensitized skin, which can be brought on by environmental factors (sun, wind, pollution), harsh ingredients, over-exfoliation, medications, or even aging. This is just a temporary reaction to an environmental cause or even a food. (My husband gets hives when he eats shrimp.) The trick here is to avoid or minimize the triggers that cause the reactions.

ALLERGIC SKIN –Ah, the allergy sufferers! Allergic skin can have strong, sometimes painful reactions – like hives, rashes, and welts – which appear due to allergies with mold, pollen, dander and more.

The good news (of course I have good news!): you can calm the irritation, redness and sensitivity with sensitive skin care designed specifically with ingredients that calm, soothe and desensitize.

Have you ever dealt with Sensitive, Sensitized or Allergic skin? What products do you use to calm and soothe redness and irritation? Let me know in the comments.


One of the first-ever licensed estheticians in the U.S., Barbara Salomone is the architect of the modern American facial. Since launching Bioelements Professional Skin Care in 1991, she has trailblazed the industry, incorporating nutritional supplements into topical skin care products, and pioneering the introduction of antioxidants, calcium, probiotics and lutein. Visit Bioelements on FacebookTwitter or Youtube.

3 Responses


Having touch sensitive yet resistive skin is a particular challenge for me. Thank God for Sensitive Skin Cleanser and the Calmitude Products! I also find Gel Therapy is a wonderful mask to keep my skin hydrated- since the less dehydrated I am, the less sensitized my skin feels.


I have redness in my cheeks that just started in the last few years (mid-30’s) I’m trying to stay away from irritating products and just started using Stress Solution and love it!

Beth Kenerson
Beth Kenerson

I have allergy induced skin sensitivity. I find however, that if I work to keep it well nourished and hydrated (VitaMineral +Moisture x 10 year round, it is far more resilient.

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