By Dr Shiva Farabi, Ultraceuticals Innovation and Research & Development Manager

With increasing pollution and exposure to environmental aggressors, as well as exposure to harsh cleansing and skincare products, the number of people affected by sensitive or hypersensitive skin continues to rise.

Overall, about 60–70% of women and 50–60% of men report having some degree of sensitive skin.

More reactive than average, sensitive skin is easily irritated by environmental factors or topical products, which usually manifests with redness, stinging, burning, itchiness, and general discomfort.

Sensitive skin has a compromised skin barrier, is often more dehydrated than normal skin and has a reduced tolerance to ingredients that normal skin can tolerate easily.

Understanding the causes and triggers is the first step towards addressing the skin’s needs. By eliminating the discomfort, it helps to achieve healthy skin beyond beauty.

Through considering factors including reinforcing the impaired lipid layer of the skin, intensely hydrating the skin, calming the skin’s sensitivity to relieve any unpleasant sensations, increasing skin tolerance, and giving long-lasting skin comfort, specially curated formulas  can help sensitive skin recover.

When creating products for sensitive skin, there are a few key ingredients that help soothe and calm irritated skin.

Acting as a calming messenger, Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester is a great soothing peptide that works to ‘signal’ our skin to ‘relax’ so it can instantly soothe any discomfort experienced after exposure to common climatic elements, such as heat, wind, or other environmental triggers.

In a clinical trial, the calming effect of Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester was assessed by testing the ingredient on skin irritated by Capsaicin, which is the active in chili peppers. The trial showed promising calming effects, helping to effectively relieve any burning and stinging sensations.

Prebiotics are another important ingredient in addressing skin sensitivity. Preserving the microbial diversity of the microbiota is important to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Compared to normal skin, the relative abundance of certain skin bacterium is lower in sensitive skin. Prebiotics can be incorporated into skincare products to help balance the skin microbiome to support and maintain a healthy skin barrier.

Another hero ingredient is ceramide NP, which is one of the many types of ceramides found naturally in the upper layer of the skin. Ceramides make up about 50% of the glue-like material that’s between our skin cells and play an important role in having a healthy skin barrier and keeping the skin hydrated. Individuals with sensitive skin have a weakened barrier and are often found to be ceramide NP deficient.

Ceramides in skin care products help to replenish ceramides in the lipid layer, maintaining a healthy natural lipid barrier.

A combination of ceramides, essential fatty acids and phytosterols can help replenish and maintain a healthy skin’s natural lipid barrier and can very well address some of the essential needs of the sensitive skin.

For a formula to achieve the best results for the sensitive skin, not only are the ingredients important, but the formula also needs to be designed and formulated with sensitive skin in mind. This means the formula must have a balanced pH, avoids harsh ingredients, surfactants and preservatives and is tested to ensure it can be tolerated by the most compromised and sensitised skin.

With all the crucial elements at play, sensitive skin is completely transformed, creating healthy results that go far deeper than beauty. 

Read the current issue of our digital magazine below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.