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All about Sensitive Skin

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Sensitive skin is hypersensitive to any stimuli due to increased permeability of outer layer of skin and accelerated nerve response. It occurs when skin’s natural barrier function is compromised, causing water loss and causing skin to become susceptible to external irritants, such like bacteria, chemical substances, allergens or others. 

Some people don’t show visible symptoms initially but as the level of sensitivity increases; symptoms become more profound with frequent breakouts, prolonged redness/burning/swelling and scaling leading to skin being categorised as hypersensitive.


  1. Sensitive skin falls into four different categories namely acne breakouts, rosacea, stinging reactions and allergic reactions.
  2. Sensitive skin people should refrain from changing skincare regime, treatment or products. Whenever you need to change always do it slowly over a period of 2-3 weeks. Sudden change can trigger a reaction. Always perform a patch test spanning for 48 hrs; on your inner arm or below your ear. Also always get your regimes devised by professionals.
  3. The triggers for sensitive skin: Sensitive skin varies from person to person hence one must find out individual skin triggers.
    • Environment: seasonal changes, excessive exposure to sun, artificial heating/cooling devices.
    • Lifestyle: stress, excessive use of cosmetics for regular make-up, diet lacking in essential vitamins, swimming in chlorinated pools etc.
    • Medications (oral/topical): prolonged acne medications, certain steroid medicines.
    • Certain skin conditions: atopic dermatitis, scabies, rosacea etc.
    • Hormonal changes during different stages eg pregnancy, puberty etc.
    • Allergens (allergy causing agents) like chemicals, preservatives, pollen, plants, food products etc.
    • Choosing incorrect skincare products and regime: this is extremely important but is usually overlooked. Hence make sure you use only those skincare products that are skin pH friendly, formulated specifically for your skin type/ concerns/ needs, are safe (do not contain toxic/ harmful ingredients in them) for application on human skin. And do not contain fragrances, colorant dyes, cooling ingredients like menthol, surfactants, sulphates, excessive preservatives, alcohols (SD alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, alcohol denatured, ethanol),  certain plant oils eg eucalyptus, peppermint, pure form of Vitamin C, high percentages of glycolic acid, salicylic acid etc.  
  4. People with sensitive skin should be extremely careful at beauty parlours/ salons. Avoid hot wax, steam and harsh chemicals. Make sure you use disposable/ sterilized or your personal towels, strips, combs, instruments used in facials, cleansing sponges etc. Also body spa’s are a big no for you.
  5. Always consult a dermatologist; without any delay; if you are suffering from sensitive skin issues; so that timely treatment can be provided before it flares up to a more severe condition known as hypersensitive skin.



  • Choose a daily cleanser that helps strengthens the skin barrier function and protects against moisture loss. 
  • Use a mild liquid cleanser that matches pH of skin, is free of artificial colours and fragrance.
  • Face wash with anti-bacterial properties should be used by those who are prone to acne breakouts.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of CLEANSING

Step-2: TONING

  • You can skip this step if your sensitive skin is not prone to acne.
  • Prefer water based toners over witch hazel based ones.


  • Restrict exfoliation step to just once a week unless your sensitive skin is not prone to acne. If your skin is prone to acne then exfoliate 2 times in a week. Once using synthetic scrubs and once using homemade face scrub. Read our Natural remedies section to find out how to make natural scrubs.
  • Use ultra mild, gentle scrub.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of EXFOLIATION


  • Moisturiser for sensitive skinned people should be water based, skin pH friendly, fragrance free, hypo-allergic and formulated for sensitive skin.
  • At night use a lotion/cream which is light textured and formulated for sensitive skin. Utilize skin barrier rebuilding lipids like squalane from olives and soy based lipids. 
  • You can also apply coconut oil on your dry sensitive skin not prone to acne. Coconut oil is loaded with anti-inflamatory and deep moisturising properties. But it cannot be used if you are prone to acne; then use jajoba oil.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of MOISTURIZATION 

Step-5: PROTECTING (Sunscreen)

  • People having sensitive skin would find it difficult to find to put on a sunscreen but please make sure you do not skip a sunscreen.
  • Go in for physical/mineral sunscreens that only utilize the inorganic active ingredients of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. 

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of SUN PROTECTION

Step-6: PAMPERING (Face packs/masks)

  • Avoid steaming and excessive facials. 
  • Apply face mask once a week. For sensitive skin homemade face packs/masks are better than packaged ones. Read our Natural remedies section to find out how to make useful face packs.

IF YOU have any skin concerns like (uneven skin tone, acne, post acne scars, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, dullness, stubborn blackheads, hyperpigmentation, dark circles, enlarged pores, complexion enhancement, dark spots, sun spots,  rosacea, melasma, skin allergies etc) then in addition to your daily regime you will require TARGETED TREATMENT regime which is specific for your skin concern but at the same time is also mild on your skin (eg milder forms of retinoids/pigment reducing ingredients etc).




  • Cleansing with milk: Raw milk is an excellent cleanser for sensitive skin. In addition, milk has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that help get rid of dry and itchy skin. It also helps keep the skin moisturized and enhances skin complexion. To use milk as a cleanser, dip a cotton pad in raw milk and dab it on your face. Leave it on for 5 to 15 minutes, then rinse your face with lukewarm water.
  • Honey: A super hydrating tonic, you can use it as a regular cleansing agent when mixed with one glass of water.


  • Papaya scrub: Papaya pulp is a perfect substitute for any face scrub you get in the market. Just cut a few big pieces of a ripe papaya, mash it with your hands and apply on the face like a scrub. Let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes and wash off with warm water. You can do this two times in a week for best results.


  • Oatmeal and yogurt Pack: Take three table spoons of yogurt in a bowl and add two table spoons of oat meal to it. Mix it well and add water if the paste is too thick. Apply pack over the face and scrub for few minutes, rinse off after 15 minutes with luke warm water for a smooth and healthy skin.
  • Carrot face Pack: Cook a carrot and mash it. Then add a table spoon of honey to the paste. Apply this pack on your face for 15 to 20 minutes before washing off with lukewarm water.
  • Banana face Pack: Bananas contain vitamins A, B and E. Eating them provides nourishment to the body and applying them to the skin makes it feel smoother and softer. Preparation & Application- Mash half banana (over-ripe) and then add one tablespoon of gram flour to make a smooth paste. Apply it all over the face and neck. Once it dries, wash off with lukewarm water. Apply this face mask once a week for healthier looking skin. You can also make a paste of banana, raw milk and honey to brighten sensitive skin.
  • Honey, cocoa Pack: Honey is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties.  Preparation & Application- Make a coarse mixture of unsweetened cocoa powder and honey. Add coconut oil and milk to make a wonderful scrub as well as a face pack for sensitive skin. Apply on the face and wash off with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.
*Disclaimer : Result may vary from person to person.