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All About Sensitive Skin

All About Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, it can have a real impact on your life. And looking at the numbers, you’re not alone.

In the United States, 44.6% of people report having sensitive skin, which means it’s a fact of life for millions of people.1

But why is sensitive skin so common? And what can you do about it, so you feel more comfortable in your own skin?


There are a whole range of reasons why people experience sensitive skin – from medical conditions, to age, to genetics and beyond.2

Medical conditions

Some medical conditions cause skin to become more sensitive. Even if you don’t experience these conditions now, they can develop at any age, so it’s good to know some of the common symptoms so you can talk with your doctor if you become concerned.

  • Eczema: dry, cracked skin, itchiness, rash and redness
  • Rosacea: a common skin condition that can appear as a rash or small, itchy bumps that look like acne
  • Atopic Dermatitis: an itchy red rash that shows up most often in childhood, often around joints and other areas that flex
  • Contact Dermatitis: an itchy rash that appears after skin comes into contact with an irritant
  • Psoriasis: itchy, flaky, scaly and/or sore skin lesions


Most of us know that baby skin is delicate, but did you know it’s 30% thinner than adult skin?3 Plus, it must adapt to a dryer environment after birth, leaving it vulnerable to drying and flakiness.

As you age, estrogen levels fall, and skin becomes thinner and can bruise more easily.4 In adults over 50, oil and sweat glands do not produce as much oil and production of collagen slows down, causing skin to become dryer and more brittle.5

And we all know, perhaps firsthand, what impact hormones can have on skin. Hormonal fluctuations during puberty can cause teenagers’ skin to produce more oil, leading to breakouts and rashes.

During pregnancy, women experience many changes to their body, including to their skin. Varicose veins, dryness, and stretched skin can cause all kinds of sensitivities6, but pregnancy makes dealing with sensitive skin especially complicated since some treatment options are off limits.7


Many people suffer from allergies which can affect skin. Our bodies react to allergens by producing histamines, which can cause skin to become inflamed, irritated and itchy.

Triggers can include certain foods or products, pet dander, chemicals like dyes and perfumes, reactions to bug bites or poison ivy, as well as seasonal allergies to things like pollen and mold spores.8

A fact of life

Sometimes, skin irritation is simply an unexplainable part of life. Perhaps it’s genetics or a hidden irritant in your routine. The time of year can also play a part in sensitive skin since sunlight, temperature, and humidity all affect skin.


Sensitive skin can be a frustrating reality for many people.

all® free clear works with leading dermatologists to understand sensitive skin. Here are some top tips you may find helpful.

  1. Careful with showers: dermatologists recommend lukewarm showers that last 5-10 minutes. Hot water strips moisture from your skin from your skin, so even though a hot shower may feel good in the moment, it can cause dryness and irritation afterwards.9
  2. Watch out for fragrances: fragrances can irritate sensitive skin. Be careful with products labeled “unscented”— they may still contain fragrance to cover a product’s natually unpleasant scent. Look for fragrance-free, gentle, hypoallergenic products instead.
  3. Look for the proof: choose products that are recommended by dermatologists, approved by the National Eczema Association and say “gentle on skin” or “gentle for sensitive skin.”
  4. Choose a sensitive-skin laundry detergent: choosing a gentle detergent is important because laundry touches your skin nearly 24 hours a day. all® free clear is specially formulated, with every ingredient specifically chosen to be gentle on skin.
    If you want to learn more about choosing the right sensitive-skin laundry detergent, check out Selecting a sensitive skin laundry detergent.
  5. Less is more: don’t overcomplicate your skincare routine. Unless your doctor recommends specific products, a moisturizer to protect the skin’s natural moisture barrier and a daily sunscreen may be all you need.
  6. Test new skincare products: With all of the skin-care products on the market, it can be hard to know how they will affect your skin. Fortunately, the American Academy of Dermatology offers simple steps on how to test skin care products at home.10


  1. Misery L, Sibaud V, Merial-Kieny C, Taieb C. Sensitive skin in the American population: prevalence, clinical data, and role of the dermatologist. Int J Dermatol. 2011 Aug;50(8):961-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-4632.2011.04884.x. PMID: 21781068.
  2. Duarte I, Silveira JEPS, Hafner MFS, Toyota R, Pedroso DMM. Sensitive skin: review of an ascending concept. An Bras Dermatol. 2017 Jul-Aug;92(4):521-525. doi: 10.1590/abd1806-4841.201756111. PMID: 28954102; PMCID: PMC5595600.
  3. Stamatas GN, Nikolovski J, Luedtke MA, Kollias N, Wiegand BC. Infant skin microstructure assessed in vivo differs from adult skin in organization and at the cellular level. Pediatr Dermatol. 2010 Mar-Apr;27(2):125-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2009.00973.x. Epub 2009 Oct 4. PMID: 19804498.

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