Do You Actually Have “Sensitive” Skin?

In my post, Do You Really Know Your Skin Type?, I listed all the characteristics each skin type has, as well as a huge beauty “myth” concerning skin types – that at the end of the day, we all have a mix of them, at one time or another.

sensitive skin

But the one skin type that really confuses people, or should we even say is totally overused, is sensitive skin.

I suppose I understand – I mean, it’s so easy to say that your skin is “sensitive” just because you might get a reaction to a product. But I was reading an article in GlamourΒ recently on the myths of sensitive skin, and how women are so quick to claim they have sensitive skin. They said that most women who think they have sensitive skin, actually don’t have sensitive skin at all.

I kept reading and wondered,Β Could I be one of those paranoid women? I mean, I pretty much self-diagnosed myself. I kept reading and found out I wasn’t, as I have a lot of the “symptoms” listed below (4 out of 6, actually), but I still wanted to share and talk about this, because I thought some of you might find this useful, too.

Signs that you have sensitive skin:

So without further ado, here are some signs that could mean you actually have sensitive skin. They say you need at least 3 of these symptoms to conclude you have sensitive skin (or at least a little sensitive):

  • a new cleanser or moisturizer, even without potent ingredients, make your skin burn, itch, sting, and/or turn pink.
  • mosquito bites swell bigger and redder than normal
  • your skin seems so dry and parched that no amount of moisturizer seems to “satisfy” it
  • a strong gush of wind irritates your skin and causes it to itch and sting
  • your pimples tend to be bigger (and badder!) than regular zits
  • your nose and cheeks tend to get flushed easily


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  1. This has a really good point. For instance, a LOT of people also claim to have oily skin when in fact their skin is pretty normal. It’s just that society portrays perfect skin to be absolutely flaw-free, oil-free and magically even. It’s actually okay for your nose to get a bit oily during the day, and that your cheeks are a bit redder than the rest of your face (a lot of people also have hyperpygmentation around the mouth). It’s just the way your skin behaves & looks! I also think many companies attribute to this through categorising. You can never have dry skin AND pimples; it’s either oily or combination, dry, etc, e.g. I believe it’s important to ask a person how they like their skin to feel. Some people actually like a bit of grease (or are used to it) and they don’t really WANT or NEED products to remove oils/strip their skin, you know? But many sales assistants look at them and go “Oh, I know exactly what you need!”.

    …Okay, sorry about my mini-rant. To answer your question: no, I don’t have sensitive skin πŸ˜‰ It is pretty sensitive to silicones, though, which is in nearly every product nowadays. UGH!

    1. Which by the way doesn’t make sense to me – if you release a product that does what it claims to, why would you need something synthetic to “fake” softness? Okay, I’m done πŸ˜€

    2. Hey Roxanne! Your rants is valid, and I totally agree! Some of them are just normal skin characteristics. I remember that a sales lady once commented that I had pores and recommended me a pore minimizer. And I was like, yeah… I have pores, doesn’t everyone? Why should I minimize it?! (Anyway, pore minimizing products are fake products, pores cannot close!) The beauty companies are just full of BS most of the time.

      P.S. You are always welcome to rant if you feel like it! πŸ˜€

  2. I only have one out of the 6 so I guess I’m “safe”. I sometimes choose sensitive skincare products because I don’t like the idea of too many chemicals on my skin (I assume sensitive products contain fewer chemicals although I’ve never actually checked. I probably should at some point!), but I’ve always considered myself quite lucky that I can chop and change the products I use without any adverse effects.

    I’ve only ever had a skin reaction on my face once (Clarisonic + BHA + AHA = BIG mistake! Never again!) and it took about 10 days to calm down. I usually have smooth but oily skin, and it just transformed into this dry, horribly itchy, stinging, red, bumpy mess and it sounds ridiculous but I was terrified that it wouldn’t go back to normal! Even after everything else went back to normal the bumpy texture persisted (thankfully now gone though!) I can’t imagine how it must feel to go through that every time you try a new product!

  3. I have sensitive skin – face and body unfortunately πŸ™ I have to be so careful with anything containing sunscreen which makes life difficult since I live in Australia and its pretty much a daily necessity. I can have reactions to things I have been using for months and suddenly my skin just has enough of it, it’s a real pain. I am slowly converting to natural products as I tend to have less reactions to those but I admit I will find it nearly impossible to change EVERYTHING, ie. makeup, skin care, face care, hair care… my new favourite brand is L’Occitane, in particular their Red Rice Cleanser – its to die for. Oh – and their Almond Oil is heavenly!

  4. Happy new year Renee! May this dragon year bring you and your family good blessings!
    I have a request please, can we pls have more pics of Bailey? She’s adorable

  5. I think that list describes skin that has been sensitized by the use of poorly formulated products. A lot of people think they have sensitive skin when they really just use lousy products. Decisions on skin care should be informed, but most people buy products based on their advertising or the price. There’s a lot of non-sense in the cosmetics industry, and women’s magazines (including Glamour) are definitely spreading this non-sense.

    I particularly disagree with item #1 (“a new cleanser or moisturizer, even without potent ingredients, make your skin burn, itch, sting, and/or turn pink.”). This will happen if you use products that are not well formulated, that are loaded with fragrance (which can be sneaky, and sometimes listed in the ingredients with other names), alcohol or other irritants. I think one needs to become an expert con interpreting ingredient lists to avoid a bad reaction and damage to your skin. I have sensitive skin because as a teenager I used very abrasive products to combat acne (which is gone now, but left my skin pretty much defenseless), and I have successfully incorporated new products to my skin care without any problems by researching the ingredients and looking for good formulations.

  6. Yes I do! I have 4 out of 6 of the symptoms you listed too πŸ™ Trying out new products can be a real problem! But I pretty much know what ingredients work on me and what doesn’t, so yeah πŸ™‚

  7. hahaha!!! i have 1/6 listed! but my mom is so determined that i have sensitive skin. i believe i’m more acne prone. funny thing is, i became acne prone after 18 :(( so flawless face in secondary school and jc… then terrible skin now. my mom swears that it’s because i don’t use good products… now i know. i don’t have sensitve skin, just really… temperamental skin πŸ˜›

    good post, as usual!

    1. Oh no! What a shame. πŸ™ It is probably your hormones, Christina! Those crazy hormones are always giving us trouble, haha!

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you enjoyed the post πŸ™‚


  8. Hi there Ladies.
    Jock Reynolds from Australia here. Now Im not the kind of bloke who goes in for ths make up stuff but just wanted to poke my head in here and say what a great internet web site you have going here.
    Have a great one – Ive got a bit of Exzma can you fix that?

  9. Interesting post & I score 6/6 from your list and throw in eczema on top. I opt for skincare which is free from chemical nasties like parabens and sls, avoiding these ingredients makes a world of difference for me πŸ™‚

    1. Oh dear, what a shame. πŸ™ Yes, I think avoiding chemicals and especially SLS seems to aggravate a lot of people! That’s why I love organic/natural products! πŸ™‚

  10. You always point out the most interesting questions, Renee! I’ve got four out of the six characteristics on that list…so I think I do have sensitive skin… I can’t really use products with fragrance or preservatives on my face….I’ll break out in rashes. Le sigh…

  11. I think I’m either combination/dry/sensitive skin! I have no idea.. But my cheeks are dry I mean very dry. But then my nose is very oily also! My skin gets quite irritating when I put on foundation and after applying foundation, my face have some skin rashes and peeling off ? Also, my face gets very tight after washing my face? help?

  12. Lol…guess i don’t have sensitive skin…. that’s ok though. NOW, the real problem lies with THIS question:
    What kinda problematic skin DO i have? πŸ˜›

  13. Hi Renee! Thanks for your post, this has really helped. I, like you, scored 4/6 for the questionnaire. I used to have a nice complexion with a bit of oil at the end of the day (which the sales assistant kept insisting I had to use the matte foundation). Then I decided to buy an oil free skincare range. Results = dry patchy skin! I had to go without make up for days just so my skin would restore to normal. I think for sensitive skin, Cetaphil is a great cleanser, no? Or do you recommend any natural go-to?

  14. i have all theses problems and more. my skin gets so dry it flakes off and my skin gets red from sleeping on pillows that havent been washed in the past 2 days. my skin is very fussy soemtimes it itches and burns for no reason and my skin is so place that my acne looks even worse than it actually is all my acne spots are so large and red it looks horrible

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