January 10, 2014

Do You Have Sensitive Skin? Maybe Not!

By the yearly sales of moisturizers in this country alone, you would never know that only 10% of the world's entire population actually has genetically dry skin. So, what gives?

Considering that many acne products are not well made and that some "sensitive skin" products may not even be great for sensitivity, it is important to distinguish skin that is "sensitive" from skin that may be "sensitized.

The following terms might help you to decide what type of skin or skin-related reactions you might have.

Sensitive: This typically thin type of skin gets red, burned, and itchy at the drop of a hat. Adverse reactions include welts and rashes. 
Sensitized: Skin can become sensitized when it has been bothered over time by a substance to which just about anybody might react badly. For instance, skin that is dried out too much will lose its integrity and actually become broken and thin, causing blood vessels and nerve endings to be closer to the surface, and creating sensitivity. 
Reactive: I've seen instances where there isn't sensitivity to any particular product, but every time the face is rubbed or pressed on, a breakout occurs. These pores react to any amount of friction very easily.  
Acnegenic reaction: An acnegenic reactions occurs if an ingredient slightly irritates the lining of a pore and results in in redness and swelling, within about a week. This reaction is distinguished from the more common term comedogenic, which means pore-clogging and which takes much, much longer to result in a breakout (like, months).

At the bottom of almost every pore is a special oil-making factory called a sebaceous gland. Below the gland is a receptor that is triggered by testosterone and tells the gland to gush out oil. This oil then spills onto the skin's surface as part of its system of protecting your body.

The more oil that is produced, the bigger the pores get to accommodate greater oil flow. So what about too little oil?  You got it -- small pores and less lubrication.

People with low oil production tend to have thinner skin, which can often become sensitive. In such a situation, using a moisturizer that replenishes lost lipids, in addition to attracting water to the skin, is a very important step in a daily skincare routine.

Since the majority of the world's population do produce enough oil within their pores, most people who experience dryness have dehydrated skin, not dry skin. In this case, the skin does produce enough oil to be lubricated, but has lost so much water (usually due to improper skin care) that the skin's cells act more like deflated balloons than plump, healthy cells. The biggest indicator of dehydrated skin: genetically dry skin is NEVER shiny.

If you feel like your skin is oily with dryness, or if you feel dry but your skin is not pore-less like a marble statue, your skin is dehydrated. Your current skincare routine might be the culprit! 

It's time to get analyzed. 

For a complete analysis of what's happening with your skin and why it might be giving you trouble, please fill out my Eval by Email Online Skin Care Consultation form designed specially for Gen-Xers all the way up to Baby Boomers.

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