Is TOO sensitive a thing? Or are you just sensitised?

Is TOO sensitive a thing? Or are you just sensitised?

Posted by Joline Stevens on


We wanted to formulate with sensitive skin in mind, so we could offer skincare products that are more inclusive, suitable for more skin types – and our sustainable skincare message could reach more people.

Here we talk about why, what products are good for sensitive skin, what a good skincare routine for sensitive skin should look like – and how everyone can benefit.


1. What causes sensitive and reactive skin and what’s the difference?


People with sensitive skin often experience reactions such as redness, itching, burning, or stinging when using certain skincare products or being exposed to environmental triggers. This skin type tends to react more strongly to irritants or allergens compared to other skin types.


Sensitised skin, on the other hand, is a temporary condition that can affect any skin type, including normal, oily, dry, or combination skin. Unlike sensitive skin, which is a genetic predisposition, sensitised skin is a reaction to external factors and typically occurs when the skin's natural protective barrier is compromised. This compromised barrier allows irritants to penetrate more easily, leading to inflammation and heightened sensitivity. Common causes of sensitised skin include:

    • Over exfoliation or using harsh skincare products that strip the skin of its natural oils
    • Environmental factors such as pollution, harsh weather conditions, or UV exposure
    • Allergic reactions to certain ingredients in skincare or cosmetic products
    • Stress, lack of sleep, or poor diet

2. What products should you avoid if you have sensitive skin?


For some of you, it may feel like this list is endless. If you have sensitive skin its helpful to see a dermatologist who can identify your specific challenges and give you a personalised recommendation. However, there are some ingredients that often cause flare ups.

Synthetic ingredients are a common cause, frequently used in cosmetics today. These are ingredients produced in a lab not naturally. Those with sensitive skin will want to avoid parabens, sulphates, and polyethylene glycols (PEGs), as well as synthetic fragrances.

Avoid harsh cleansers, and strong physical exfoliants. Both can strip the skin’s natural barrier.


Active Ingredients – whilst many of us rely on these to exfoliate and brighten our skin, those with sensitive skin should proceed with caution when considering  products like salicylic acid or retinoids.


3. What types of products are good for sensitive skin?

 Whilst avoiding the above ingredients, it can be easier to know what you CAN use.

 The overall approach should be to simplify – we think this is the right step for all skin types. Ditch the multi-step routine of layering more and more and simplify:  cleanse  + moisturise + SPF. Add active ingredients only if necessary.


Simplify your ingredients list. For both your cleanser and moisturiser look out for gentle, non-comedogenic ingredients, ie ingredients that do not clog pores, and plant-based wherever possible.  Seek skin-soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients.


4. Who else can use skincare products formulated for sensitive skin?

This is an easy one – and a good myth to dispel. Some believe that products designed for sensitive skin are not appropriate for everyone else. However the reverse of this is true. Formulated for sensitive skin means that is it suitable for all skin types. If you have balanced, oily or dull skin you may be able to more easily add active ingredients and acids in between your cleanser and moisturising steps.


5. Our top tips if you have skin that has become sensitised.

It's important to note that while sensitive skin is a permanent condition that individuals are born with, sensitised skin is a temporary state that can be managed and improved with the right skincare routine and lifestyle changes.

  • Avoid the urge to solve the problem with more products – your skin will need some help but it is better to give your skin a break and isolate the issue rather than layer on more products.
  • Keep a skin diary if you are prone to flare ups – this will help you identify potential sources of irritation.
  • Always patch test new products before including into your skincare routine.
  • Keep your routine and skin care ingredients simple, and keep it plant based.
  • Remember what you eat, drink and how you feel will also effect your skin – keep an eye on environmental factors – stress can also cause reactions.
We've collated a sensitive skin collection to help you purchase on Clementine Suds with confidence. 



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