The skin is the body’s largest organ. It’s the natural barrier between ourselves and the world around us. Our skin is not impenetrable - in fact, quite  the contrary. Multiple exchanges occur at skin level such as water loss, and imbalances here can create conditions like excess sebum production and very dry or flaking skin. It’s this relative permeability that makes it possible for skincare products to be most effective. 

Usually, skin is able to withstand occasional irritants from our surroundings. So, why does sensitive skin overreact to certain elements? The main culprit is the skin's barrier failing to correctly fulfill its role. Each day, our skin, and our face in particular, accumulates all kinds of dirt and irritants. The skin has biological protection systems, but they can become insufficient or weakened due to the changes in our modern and more polluted environment. Today, the skin's ecosystem has a much harder time keeping its natural balance when we take into account certain lifestyle factors.

Increased skin sensitivity causes - Our top five



Some cosmetics contain ingredients that are harmful for the long term health of your skin. Heavy mineral oils and silicones can obstruct the skin’s pores causing acne or breakouts, so it’s important to keep an eye on product composition for both makeup and skincare. Removing makeup every night is very important, as long as the method used respects the skin’s balance.



This is a very real public health problem recognised by the World Health Organization. Indoors and outdoors, the air is full of ambient pollutants like dust, fine and ultra-fine particles including exhaust gas, combustion heating fumes and cigarette smoke. Heavy metals including lead, mercury, arsenic and gaseous pollutants including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide cause havoc on our environment and our skin. Also harmful are volatile organic compounds that are exuded by plastic, carpet, paint and furniture. Pollen is also one of the most common and highly allergenic environmental factors that has been proven to have a direct impact on our skin.



These come from the skin’s own metabolism. Sweat, dead skin cells and sebum are unavoidable natural impurities that can alter the skin’s normal biological functioning. It is therefore essential to properly cleanse the skin without further compromising its balance.


Tap water

Tap water contains traces of bacteria, calcium deposits and other residues that are potentially irritating. Specific water composition can also vary according to location. It can therefore provoke skin irritations and reactions, especially if the skin's barrier is weakened. This should be taken into account when choosing a face cleanser for sensitive skin.



The Covid-19 pandemic introduced a new irritant for skin. Wearing a mask is obviously essential for protecting ourselves and others from contagion, but it frequently produces new skin problems. ‘Maskne’ refers to acne that is caused by wearing a mask, with spots located on the bottom half of the face. People with sensitive skin will notice other effects including irritation, redness, itching, stinging and sometimes even flare-ups of eczema and rosacea. In this instance, washing your face is absolutely critical to restoring skin’s health.



A vicious cycle for sensitive skin

The different aforementioned aggressive factors generate free radicals within the skin, which create constant oxidative stress and overwhelm the skin’s own ability to defend itself. This oxidative stress then generates harmful particles responsible for changes in the skin’s barrier. Redness, irritation, stinging and itching are all signs of inflammation, which further increases oxidative stress.

Can stress cause sensitive skin?

Stress, anxiety and other emotional responses can cause havoc for many different functions of the body, but the most visible ones are changes in the skin. Breakouts, sensitivity and other skin reactions can be caused by a chemical response to stress. Sensitive skin can be more difficult to heal where stress and anxiety are present, so it is imperative to care for the skin during times where this response is exacerbated. When there’s excess cortisol in your system, it can aggravate the following common conditions:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rashes
  • Fever blisters

Your sensitive skin routine: Why is cleansing  so important?

Taking extra care with cleansing  for sensitive skin is an absolutely must. Cleansing your face daily is the best way to avoid the accumulation of makeup residue, pollution and impurities. A cleanser from our Sensibio H2O range will act on the triggers that make sensitive skin react.
The effectiveness of the skin’s barrier function depends on a precise day-night cleansing cycle, including the following very basic steps:

  • AM - cleanses all impurities produced and deposited on the body and during the night.
  • PM - cleanses all impurities accumulated during the day: makeup, outdoor pollution and impurities produced inside the skin itself.

Cleansing your skin is therefore the first caring step – and indeed an essential one. It’s important to choose a cleanser for sensitive skin, such as the Sensibio H2O Cleansing Micellar Water.

Discover the other Sensibio products dedicated to sensitive skin

When you suffer from irritation and inflammation synonymous with sensitive skin, enlist the assistance of BIODERMA’s dermatologist recommended skin care products for sensitive skin. Expert products from our Sensibio range that are suitable for both men and women include: 

  • AR - The long-lasting, anti-redness care for ultra-comfort.
  • AR BB Cream - The anti-redness care for skin-perfecting and protection.
  • Light - Soothing and moisturising care for your sensitive skin.
  • Rich - Soothing and nourishing care for sensitive skin.
  • Tonique - A soothing and moisturising lotion that boosts skincare efficacy.

Discover more articles on Bioderma’s best sensitive skin care products

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