The Beginner's Guide to Sensitive Skin

When it comes to problematic skin, I’m your gal. I’ve dealt with a slew of skin problems for as long as I could remember. I have gotten eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, chronic keratosis pilaris, and the occasional hive that spontaneously appears on my cheeks.And so, today I want to talk about how you can diagnose whether or not you actually have sensitive skin and also share my tips for keeping the skin conditions that accompany it at bay.

The first thing you should know about this pesky skin type is that the signs vary depending on the person. Sensitive skin can actually be quite spontaneous. Some people may experience severe reactions to certain ingredients or fragrances in beauty products, while others get inflammation easily. Second, self-diagnosing sensitive skin is not an easy thing to do, according to the top dermatologists. There are several obvious indicators. The beauty editors at Allure say that you can even blame it on your allergies. Studies show a correlation between being allergy-prone and having sensitive skin, so if you suffer from allergies from time to time, beware.

So how exactly do you determine whether or not your skin is sensitive? Before you rule out a laundry list of skincare products you’ve always wanted to try because you believe you have sensitive skin, go through this checklist of key indicators.

Redness and itchiness

This is usually the most common sign of sensitivity. Look out for rashes, bumps, or splotchy skin.A possible culprit of redness may be inflammation caused by fragrances. Furthermore, itchiness can be aggravated by washing your face in cold or hot water.


Always look like you’re blushing? Chances are you have sensitive skin.

Stinging or burning

Your skin may be left feeling raw after using certain products like acid peels or products that contain alcohol or benzyl peroxide. Keep in mind, skincare should never be painful! Treat your skin with care.

Scaly, dry skin

These problems persist seasonally and no matter how many moisturizers you layer on, those random dry patches of skin continue to crop up. Some of these skin conditions include seborrheic dermatitis (common for oily skin types) and eczema (common for dry skin types).


You may be prone to breakouts due to excessive oil production that occurs when your skin feels dehydrated.

My “tried-and-true” tips for sensitive skin:

  • Moisturize religiously.

Hydration is the key to less sensitivity and ultimately, fewer breakouts! I like to keep my skin hydrated with Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer. It’s fragrance-free and hypo-allergenic.

  • Wash your face with warm water only.

  • Steer clear of fragrances, simple alcohols, and sulfates(including in shampoos).

  • Refrain from using harsh physical and chemical exfoliants.

The best way to exfoliate is to use a very mild AHA peel or a konjac sponge like this one from Honest Beauty.

  • Lastly, use rosewater to soothe any irritation.

Rosewater is great for bringing down any redness or itchiness. I’ve been using this Mun Anarose Toner nonstop to calm my skin.

Until next time, Megan.