Sensitive skin's biological clock

duration icon 7 min read

What makes sensitive skin truly unique is the way it evolves over time: over the course of an hour, a day, a year or a lifetime… environmental and hormonal factors can all change the face of sensitive skin.

Surprising though it may seem, sensitive skin is not a skin type in the true sense of the term. In truth, it can affect any skin type, from oily and acne-prone teenage skin, all the way through to dry and mature skin. One thing all sensitive skins have in common is an excessive reaction to harmless stimuli in the environment or skin care products.

A day in the life
of sensitive skin

Skin has a biologically programmed 24-hour or circadian rhythm, which can affect its sensitivity. At night, lower levels of the anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol combined with a surge of pro-itch mediator histamine can accentuate skin’s sensitivity. The result? A rude awakening, to burning, itching and tight-feeling skin. 

But that’s only half the story. The truth is, although skin is partly controlled by pre-programmed physiological mechanisms, a woman’s daily routine can be just as important. 

You start the day with a long hot shower, before stepping out into the polluted street air. You grab an Americano on the way to your air-conditioned office. At lunch you catch up with a friend while enjoying a spicy dish on a sunny terrace, then it’s time for your hectic afternoon meeting schedule. After work, you drop by the gym for a pulse-raising workout before heading to your favorite bar for a cocktail with the girls… Any of that sound familiar? 

The truth is that each and every one of these daily moments – temperature and humidity changes, pollution, caffeine, spicy food, sun, stress, exercise, alcohol – can heighten the discomfort of sensitive skin.


Sensitive skin
through the seasons

Sensitive skin loves stability and hates change. Spring and autumn are its most feared seasons as weather conditions can be unpredictable. With its fragile barrier and hypersensitive nerve endings, skin does not have time to accustom to quickly changing temperatures and humidity levels, which leads to heightened sensitivity. 

Sensitive skin 
through the generations

Each season also brings with it peak pollen levels from different species of plant. In spring, tree pollen prevails, while summer is the season of grasses and autumn is associated with weed pollen. Each wave of pollen has the potential to trigger allergic manifestations in the skin. For many people, this leads to a predictable rise and fall in skin’s sensitivity over the course of the year.

Alongside skin’s circadian rhythm and the changing seasons, longer-term physiological changes can deeply influence its sensitivity level.

How to keep skin on an even keel

Sensitive skin is a constantly changing entity, influenced by countless internal and external factors. To maintain its balance and progressively reduce its sensitivity, expert dermocosmetic skincare solutions are at hand.


True or False Visual 1


TRUE  "True" answer image

If the walls of your blood vessels have become fragile, certain external factors like eating spices, drinking alcohol, hot baths, or too much central heating can trigger flushing and skin sensitivity
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True or False Visual 2


FALSE  "False" question image

Though tasty, the contents of your fridge or kitchen cupboards are actually more likely to harm yoursensitive skin. “Natural” or DIY home remedies such as honey, oatmeal, avocadoand chocolate masks are best avoided as they could contain potential allergens and irritants. Instead, look out for expert skincare and solutions.
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True or False Visual 3


TRUE  "True" answer image

Stress and intenseemotion cause blood vessels in the skin to dilate, triggering flushing andsensations of discomfort. Many people find mindfulness or similar relaxationtechniques a valuable ally to keep their sensitive skin in the Zen zone. This approach works best when combined with expert sensitive skincare such as the TOLERIANE range.
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True or False Visual 1


FALSE  "False" question image

One of the frustrating things about sensitive skin is that however annoying your symptoms may be, doctors will often say the skin is “normal” since it shows no visible signs. But clued-in dermatologists will recognise the features of sensitive skin and recommend specific treatments for sensitized or hypersensitive skin.
Learn More