The Science of Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin, although not very well-defined, is characterized by symptoms that are generally not seen but felt, such as itching and burning. Sensitive skin generally describes a condition of hyper-reactivity to substances that are applied to the skin including any cosmetic treatment. Even simple cleansing can cause suffering.

Atopic Hyper reactive Skin

Atopic hyper reactive skin is defined as a frequently-appearing skin condition characterized by symptoms such as stinging, burning, itching and a sensation of tightness, but also may appear with visible signs like reddening and shedding of skin. Anywhere up to 50% of the population may suffer and it is more frequently seen in paler skin types with up to 60% of women and 50% of men suffer some level of sensitive skin.

No Known Cause

The cause is not known but the barrier functions of the skin tend to be altered in people with hyper reactive skin. This can lead to a triggering of inflammation, especially at nerve endings, which then leads to a release of inflammatory chemicals - called Interleukin-1-Alpha and TNF-alpha. These inflammatory chemicals cause certain cells known as mast cells to degranulate and capillaries to dilate. This then causes the skin surface to become more reactive, resulting in stinging, burning, itching, tightness, and possibly even skin flaking and reddening.

There is also noticeable loss of lipid levels in the epidermal layers. This leads to an increase in water loss (which is down to a reduction in the skin's barrier function) and a tendency towards dry skin.

Barrier Function

lady with sensitive skinThe top layer of skin cells is the most important function in maintaining the effectiveness of the barrier function of the skin. Here the individual cells overlie each other and are tightly packed, preventing bacteria from entering the skin and also maintaining the water-holding properties of the skin.

Fatty substances (lipids) are secreted by the cells during the course of their journey from the base layer of the skin to the top. These lipid molecules join up and form a tough connecting network; in effect acting as the mortar between the bricks of a wall.

An alteration in the barrier function of the skin is often the reason behind skin sensitivity. In particular, the levels of lipids within the skin layers are known to be reduced in people with particularly sensitive skin. This might partly be due to defective production by the skin cells as well as by excess removal through repeated washing with soaps.

In such skins, cells of the immune system release chemicals under the skin surface, which can cause some inflammation.


sensicure product range bigSensicure® is an effective product which delivers a calming action to rapidly & effectively control the signs of irritation; as well as a desensitizing effect whereby the products increase the tolerance thresholds of easily irritated skin, to reduce the frequency and degree of itching and burning. It also has the ability to maintain the natural protective functions of the skin while also hydrating to reduce unpleasant tightness.

Its triple-action formula comprises barrier lipids which help prevent water loss and boost Essential Fatty Acids in the skin; Xylitol, an effective water-binding agent which boosts the level of water in the upper layer of skin; and MSM which is an excellent anti-inflammatory with a desensitizing and anti-irritating effect.

sensitive skin treatment

Sensicure® is safe and does not damage skin cells or and when compared to hydrocortisone, a well known medical agent for calming skin conditions, it was shown to be just as effective at reducing irritation but without thinning the skin as steroid creams can do. It was shown to calm skin receptors effectively and should be seen as a non medical alternative to hydrocortisone.