Reasons Your Skin Could Suddenly Be More Sensitive

Sensitive skin is something many of us experience, and it can be a serious struggle to remedy. According to a study by Aveeno, 71% of adults struggle with sensitive skin at some point in their lifetimes. Not only that, but the number of people who stated they have sensitive skin has increased by 55% in the last two decades alone. 

When you struggle with sensitive skin, you may experience unexplained irritation and discomfort. As Amy B. Lewis, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, tells Allure, "The irritation of nerve endings occurs when the skin's natural barrier is weakened or broken down by triggers." There are a variety of triggers that can cause this, some of which include changes in your diet, stress levels, lifestyle, and hormone levels.

Sensitive skin looks different for everyone, but some of the main symptoms are dry, irritated, red, tight, or itchy skin, as well as sudden rashes. If you've started noticing your skin is more sensitive than usual, you'll want to look into what's causing it so you can get on top of things before they get any worse.

Causes of sudden sensitive skin

There are a variety of factors that could be contributing to your sudden skin sensitivity. Your environment plays a large role in your skin's health, particularly when it comes to the weather. Extreme temperatures, such as those that occur during harsh winters or humid summers, can cause your skin can react negatively by becoming more sensitive to the elements. Another major cause of sudden sensitive skin is dryness. Lack of epidermal hydration can cause your skin to feel itchy, tight, and irritated. It can also cause cracks in the skin that expose nerve endings and increase irritation, according to Epara Skincare. Avoiding frequent baths and showers with water that's too hot can help combat dry skin, as moisturizing regularly.

Another common cause of sensitive skin is fragrance. Dermatopathology specialist Melissa Piliang, M.D., tells SELF that everything from essential oils to synthetic fragrances and dyes can contribute to allergic contact dermatitis. If you notice your skin becoming sensitive overnight, consider whether you've recently added any new products to your household or self-care routines as they could be the culprit.

What to do if you have sensitive skin

If you suffer from sensitive skin, it's recommended you first check with your dermatologist to rule out any underlying problems. A persistent issue that gradually gets worse may indicate a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or rosacea, while a sudden bout of sensitivity is usually less serious. "If it's more that you put a product on and you feel stinging or burning, or you get a little red from it, that's probably [general] sensitivity," Dr. Piliang explains to SELF.

General sensitivity can be soothed by switching up your regime to build a skincare routine for sensitive skin. We recommend using products that are dermatologist-tested and fragrance-free. Aveeno's Fragrance-Free Body Lotion With Soothing Oat to keep your skin hydrated and free from any irritating fragrances. There are certain skincare ingredients you should avoid if you have sensitive skin including alcohol and artificial additives. Products that have short, simple ingredients lists are the best options