Reactive and Hyper-Sensitive Skin Guide

What you need to know about your skin

Hyper-sensitive skin reacts to external irritants way more easily than healthy skin, and can feel uncomfortable and unpredictable.

While there are many common irritants, hyper-sensitive skin can also be very fickle – and what one person may react to may be absolutely fine for another. The key to managing highly sensitive skin lies in reading your ingredients lists and learning your triggers.

Skin conditions which fall under this category

  • Rosacea
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Urticaria
  • Psoriasis
  • Perioral Dermatitis

What type of ingredients should I look for in my products?

Calming: Chamomile is the ultimate sensitive skin soother, it contains a substance called azulene which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties to instantly calm reactive or red skin.

Healing: Proven to accelerate the skin’s natural healing process, Rosehip’s high concentration of Pro-Vitamin A, Carotenoids and Omegas work to restore the appearance of patchy, stressed or uneven skin.

Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream.

Which ingredients should I avoid?

With very sensitive skin, it’s more important than ever to read your cosmetic ingredients lists. Keep a note of those that rank highly on the irritancy scale (see below) as well as the common ingredients in any products you’ve reacted to in the past.

Detergents: Avoid irritating foaming detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Ammonium Laureth Sulphate in all facial and body products.

These strip all of the natural oils from your skin, leaving it dry, itchy and more prone to reactions.

Alcohol: Alcohol has a similar effect on the skin to detergents – stripping oils and leaving it exposed and unbalanced.

Parfum/Fragrance: Parfum’ is an umbrella term for the ingredients that supposedly give a product its scent. Up to 200 different synthetic ingredients can be covered by this term and do not have to be listed, including irritants like phthalates and preservatives.

Top Tips

Less is more: Stripped back skincare is always best for highly sensitive skin. By keeping your skincare routine simple you allow your skin to find its natural oil balance, and avoid over-stimulating it with too many active ingredients.

Take an Essential Fatty Acid supplement: Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are the building blocks of healthy skin and are natural anti-inflammatories. Eat a diet rich in them, or take a daily oil supplement. 

Some more information…

You may find these posts helpful:

  • Namae Inaiyo

    Thank you for this interesting post. I have hyper-sensitive skin and i feel like I’m in a constant fight. I’m following your advice, and, for example, in the morning I just wash my face with water, but I would like to ask what night routine I should follow to get the best results with this kind of skin.
    Should I just clean-tone-use rosehip oil and not using any night cream? What would you recommend me?
    Thank you very much.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Namae, I’m glad you found the post helpful. For a night routine – I’d recommend keeping it as simple as possible, so yes, just cleansing, toning and using the Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil would be best. If you find that your skin feels particularly dry then you can always add a couple of drops of Rosehip Oil to your moisturiser and apply in the evening. x

  • Emily Gregory

    Hello, I have a pink tone to my skin, with dry, red cheeks and an oily t zone which can get congested. I’m starting to think that I have Rosacea, although I’ve never been diagnosed, even when I’ve seen dermatologists, but I get unusual small raised blind bumps on my skin which can as easily disappear as they appear? It makes my life a misery. I take great care of my skin, eat well and drink lots of water. I’m 42

  • Anonymous

    Hi Emily, It does sounds as though you may have rosacea. The most important thing you can do is try and indentify your triggers – once you know what causes your skin to flare it will be much easier to manage. I’d definitely recommend our Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream – it’s fanatastic for soothing reddened, dry and sensitive skin. You may also find this post a useful starting point: http://www.paiskincare.com/blog/2009/11/01/my-tips-for-treating-rosacea/
    Remember, you can always consult our team our skincare experts on support@paiskincare.com for more indepth skincare recommendations. x

  • Selina

    When my skin is uber dry a moisturiser on top of oil really helps my face feel more nourished. Sane as applying a serum before facial oil….EFAs are a definite help and Omega3 can help reduce inflammation too :) definitely recommend. I take EPO to balance out my skin too. I love the Pai gentle hydrating cleanser it is great for my sensitive Eczema prone skin

  • Emily Gregory

    Thank you for your reply! I long for the day when my skin is clear with an even tone. I shall look into the cream you recommended now.

  • Helen

    I have been reading your hypersensitive skin posts and want to say that I am in a predicament as even though I have highly sensitive rosacea skin I am finding the chamomile and rosehip cream too rich and contributing to breakouts. I haven’t used the rosehip oil as yet and wonder if it would be worth me using this at night and the geranium and thistle cream in the morning. The chamomile and rosehip cream is great at calming rosacea flares but I don’t want to clog my skin!

  • Ed

    Hi Helen,
    All the moisturisers are formulated for sensitive skin, so you should try out the Geranium & Thistle Day Cream for Combination / Sensitive Skin.

    Pair that with the Lotus & Orange Blossom Skin Tonic which will help to calm your redness.

    Introduce the Rosehip Oil at night gradually – try once per week to start off with and then increase to two-three times if your skin is OK with it.

    Avoid harsh detergent based cleansers / face washes. You can use the Camellia & Rose Cleanser to remove makeup – using cotton pads rather than the muslin cloth. Otherwise, just use water.

    If you find the Geranium & Thistle moisturiser too rich – then there’s a new product you can try – launching in about 6-weeks.

  • Anonymous

    My upper eyelids are extremely hypersensitive and i was diagnosed with eczema- the condition has become unmanageable and i believe it is due to organic coconut oil I used to cleanse and moisturize the area :-(
    I tried organice castor oil again and seabuckthorn oil with minimal improvement but the condition persists
    Do you think your rosehip oil can help?
    The gentle eye cream has some ingredients that i suspect my eyelids can’t handle yet
    Thank you very much!

  • Anonymous

    Areas of very dry and hyper-sensitive skin often need more than just an Oil to keep them comfortable, a cream is ideal as it helps to push water into the skin actually hydrating in a way than an oil cannot. I’d definitely recommend giving the Echium & Argan Gentle Eye Cream a go – so many people with severe eczema in that area find it works wonders. If it doesn’t work out for you, we do have our 30 day money back guarantee, so you can return it for a refund or exchange within 30 days of receipt. x