Your skin is fine one day — then the next, it’s red and itchy. You’re experiencing sensitive skin — which, for most people, is a temporary reaction to an environmental or internal disruption, not a condition in and of itself.
“Everyone thinks that they have sensitive skin,” says Victoria Collotta, expert aesthetician and general manager for Silk Therapeutics. “I prefer to think of it as being reactive, though. You’re reacting to a product, not to your own skin.” Those reactions can stem from a number of things — an irritating lotion, environmental conditions like an office with overactive air conditioning, eating a food that doesn’t agree with you.
Here’s what’s going on biologically with skin sensitivity: Your top layer of skin (the epidermis) is there to protect the layer of tissue that lies beneath it (the dermis). Both the dermis and epidermis play a role in skin reactions. The epidermis has a degree of permeability, so it absorbs some chemicals. If a certain chemical doesn’t react well with your body, one way your body might flag it is by inflaming or irritating its point of entry — the epidermis. As for the dermis, it has internal functions beyond protection. It supports blood circulation and provides nutrients to the skin. So when something goes off-kilter inside your body, the dermis might react, potentially triggering swelling, bumps, itching, or redness.
Trouble is, we don’t always know what’s causing that disruption. Sometimes it’s obvious — your skin might flush after you’ve had a spicy meal, or you might find yourself scratching at the spot where you patch-tested a new face cream. But other times the root cause is unclear, so we lump our reactivity under the umbrella of “sensitive skin.”
You might not be able to determine the precise triggers behind your skin sensitivity, but you can help prevent negative reactions to products by using skincare formulated with ingredients that are known to be safe for the human body. All ingredients in Silk Therapeutics products are biocompatible and appropriate for even very sensitive skin. (In fact, part of our origin story comes from when one of our co-founders, Dr. Rebecca Lacouture, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and learned that none of her regular skincare was safe to use when undergoing chemotherapy, which prohibits anything remotely harsh.) If you find yourself irritated by a product from a different line, turn to C Advance Anti-Aging Serum, which soothes the appearance of redness. And if you have trouble finding a cleanser that’s gentle enough for you, stay tuned for the new gel cleanser we’re releasing next month. It’s mild yet effective—a powerhouse built of silk.