Do You Have Sensitive Skin?

Do you get a rash under your rings, or when you wear jewelry that's not made of high-quality materials?

Do you avoid scented body lotion, bubble bath, or laundry detergent, knowing that it will almost certainly irritate your skin?Do you flush noticeably as a result of moderate exercise, or as a reaction to strong emotions?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, you might be a sensitive type. And if you've ever been diagnosed with acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, or eczema, you are almost certainly a sensitive type.

A note to resistant types: If you've determined that you don't have sensitive skin, you're probably ready to stop reading and go count your blessings. Before you do, though, note that one challenge accompanies your good fortune: The same strong skin barrier that keeps your skin from becoming irritated can also keep out positive skin care ingredients. When it comes to anti-aging or hyperpigmentation treatments, for example, you will need to consider stronger products.

Not all sensitive skin is created equal, though. There are actually four subtypes:

  • Acne subtype: Symptoms include acne pimples, whiteheads, and blackheads
  • Rosacea subtype: Symptoms include flushing, redness, and a hot sensation
  • Stinging subtype: Symptoms include stinging and burning
  • Allergic subtype: Symptoms include redness, itching, and flaking

But all of these subtypes share one important concern: inflammation. In my next few entries, I'll consider the four types of sensitive skin individually, with a particular focus on soothing ingredients and professional treatments that can help fight the vicious cycle of inflammation.

Wishing you great skin!

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Dr. Baumann is author of the best-selling book, " The Skin Type Solution." To learn more about her revolutionary skin typing system, visit her Web site,

All of Dr. Baumann's recommended skin care products are available online, and a portion of proceeds goes to The Dermatology Foundation.

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