Reactive skin, otherwise known as hypersensitive skin, is a very common type of skin sensitivity, where skin can show visible symptoms such as dryness, redness, irritation, bumps, contact dermatitis and allergic reactions, skin reaction lines and bruising — or non-visible symptoms such as burning, itching or stinging sensations.
While there is no definitive cure for reactive skin yet, understanding how your skin barrier and function impacts upon your hypersensitivity flare-ups can help you to relieve and reduce its symptoms. So, here’s all you need to know.
What triggers reactive skin?
There are three key signs and symptoms that are commonly experienced by sufferers of reactive skin — a compromised skin barrier, hyperreactive sensory fibres in the epidermis, and redness (often as a result of inflammation).
Simply put, the skin's structure is like a brick wall. The skin cells are bricks, and everything else is the mortar that holds it together with ceramides and fatty acids. The skin barrier helps to protect your body from external aggressors and locks in moisture to help keep your skin balanced and healthy-looking. If your skin barrier becomes compromised, you’ll experience an increase in trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), which means your skin will be unable to fend off external aggressors and irritants — such as certain skincare/beauty products, cleaning products/chemicals, pollution and even climatic factors such as sunlight that can cause skin reactions to the sun’s rays — as efficiently — which can result in hypersensitivity.