Sensitive and Sensitised Skin

Navigating the array of beauty and skincare products available can quickly become an expensive case of trial and error for those with sensitive skin conditions. Allergy-prone skin can be aggravated by a variety of ingredients contained in commercial skincare products, and discovering which compounds trigger a reaction is a potential minefield of discomfort.

Each day, the average woman uses eight to ten different products, whether shampooing and conditioning, cleansing, toning and moisturising skin, deodorising or applying make-up. As each new product is used, the risk of aggravation is increased.

To lessen the chance of allergic reactions, sufferers of sensitive and sensitised skin are advised to check products for dermatological approval, and to choose skincare and beauty products that are organic, made from natural, nourishing ingredients, and free of artificial fragrances and preservatives. A ‘dermatologically approved’ label means the product has undergone rigorous scientific testing and has been found safe for use by those with skin sensitivities.

What to avoid

Chemical additives such as parabens are often added to skincare products to extend their shelf life. As a preservative, parabens prevent potentially harmful bacteria from forming on products. While the US Food and Drug Administration claims parabens are safe in small doses, their accumulative effect has yet to be thoroughly tested, and are best avoided.

Similarly, products containing sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate can be problematic for sufferers of sensitive or sensitised skin. These foaming agents are found in many soaps and shampoos, and may worsen existing conditions or exacerbate skin sensitivities. A careful skim of a product’s ingredients list will signal whether these synthetic elements are included.

In addition, be wary of artificial fragrances, which are added to a myriad of products, from creams and lotions to perfumes, shampoos, deodorants and sunscreens. As a fragrance is considered a trade secret, companies do not have to declare which ingredients have been used in its creation. Often these are synthetically produced compounds, some of which can be damaging to health.

Sensitive versus sensitised

Sensitive skin is a predominantly inherited or genetic condition that is found more commonly in fair skin, which has a thinner epidermal layer and less pigmentation. Environmental factors such as very cold or very hot climates, or pollution, may exacerbate this condition.

In comparison, sensitised skin conditions, which can be found in any skin type or age, are caused by a wide variety of factors, such as poor diet, smoking, alcohol, and exposure to air conditioning, heating or chemicals. Common to both conditions are uncomfortable reactions such as flushing, blotching, irritation, the breakout of acne or intolerable itchiness.

A natural choice

When choosing a skincare range, it is worthwhile remembering that less is more, especially when it comes a product’s ingredients. What is applied to the skin is easily absorbed by the body and can be passed on to vital organs via the bloodstream. Protect your body and your health by using skincare and beauty products produced from natural elements using sustainable techniques. Organic manufacturers use pure ingredients including biological oils and herbal and plant extracts rich in essential vitamins and nutrients. Naturally occurring fragrances, such as those found in berries, fruit and flowers are selected instead of synthesised aromas, and artificial dyes are also avoided.

With full ranges of natural mineral-based foundations and lipsticks also now available, lovers of make-up can also be assured of full coverage without comprising skin health. Instead of artificial and chemical-heavy foundations, many specialist beauty firms now offer mineral-based products that are lighter, health promoting and allow the skin to aerate freely. Products that are certified organic are more likely to be produced in a sustainable way, endowing the user with peace of mind, as well as happy, healthy, vital skin. For sufferers of sensitive or sensitised skin, help is at hand.

By Amanda Hurley


The Antipodes range of certified organic skincare contains bioactive botanical ingredients which are carefully selected for performance then blended with nutrient rich avocado oil to help powerfully anti-age your skin.

Check out the new Sensitive Skincare Collection containing the brand new Grace Gentle Cleanser plus Ananda and Rejoice, available now!

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