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20 Common Questions About Sensitive Skin

1. What is sensitive skin?

Many people say they have sensitive skin because skin care products, or household products that contact their skin, cause stinging, burning, redness, or tightness. Or they say they have it because even though they have no visible effects after contact with a product, it always makes their skin feel uncomfortable.

But here is what dermatologists look for when diagnosing sensitive skin:

  • Skin reactions such as pustules, skin bumps, or skin erosion
  • Very dry skin which doesn't properly protect nerve endings in the skin
  • A tendency toward blushing and skin flushing

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2. How do I know if I have sensitive skin?

Have a dermatologist check your skin. That’s the best way to find out if you have sensitive skin or whether something else is causing your skin condition.

3. What causes sensitive skin reactions?

Causes of sensitive skin reactions include:

  • Skin disorders or allergic skin reactions such as eczema, rosacea, or allergic contact dermatitis
  • Overly dry or injured skin that can no longer protect nerve endings, leading to skin reactions
  • Excessive exposure to skin-damaging environmental factors such as sun and wind or excessive heat or cold

Genetic factors, age, gender, and race differences in skin sensitivity are less well-defined but still may play a role in causing skin reactions.

4. Are there medical tests for sensitive skin?

Patch testing may identify signs of allergies that are causing or contributing to sensitive skin. Otherwise, it's difficult for doctors to test for sensitive skin because so many factors can cause it.

5. Should men be concerned about sensitive skin?

Yes. The look of healthy skin is just as important for men as it is for women.

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