The main characteristic of sensitive, irritated skin is sensatory responses to irritating substances that are more rapid and intensive in comparison to people with "normal" skin. People with sensitive skin describe a feeling of discomfort, and in many cases of irritation, as a result of the skin's contact with specific cosmetic products. A large number of them describe these reactions as a tingling or burning sensation. In most cases, the subjective sensory reaction to the irritation isn't accompanied by redness or other visible signs of irritation. However, in some cases a connection has been found between the reports about the subjective sensations and the actual symptoms.
One of the main reasons for an over-sensitivity of the skin is damage to the skin's protection barrier. Several researches have revealed that the number of ceramides in the stratum corneum (the outermost, top layer of the skin) is significantly lower among people with sensitive skin, in comparison to people who don't report about having skin sensitivity. Ceramides are essential, large waxy lipid molecules, which are found in high concentrations in the membranes that surround the cells. They constitute one of the lipid components in the inter-cell "cement" which binds the skin cells in the stratum corneum, and creates the skin barrier, assisting in preserving its wholeness. Apparently, the decrease in ceramides is related to the development of sensitivity.
Since damage to the skin barrier is one of the causes of the over-sensitivity of the skin, the treatment of the sensitive skin must be based on products with neutral acidity (PH), which will not interrupt the equilibrium of the protective layer of the skin. The skin's neutral acidity level is 5.5. Products with this level of acidity will balance the skin, and won't dry or irritate it.
In cases of sensitive, irritated skin it is highly recommended to use suitable products, which will prevent irritation and help rehabilitate the skin. Nowadays there are specialized products, which were specifically developed to regenerate the skin, and treat sensitive, irritated, damaged skin. These products operate to naturally repair the skin by accelerating the natural healing process of damaged skin cells, and encouraging the renewal of the cells, assist in reducing pain, redness, inflammations, and swelling of the skin.
The typical components used in specialized and advanced products for sensitive skin include antioxidant vitamins which protect the skin, such as vitamins A,C, and E, and plant extracts like coneflower (Echinacea), aloe vera, chamomile, jojoba, calendula, green tea, ginkgo biloba, and ginger. These components sooth the sensitive skin, strengthen its natural immune mechanisms, and assist in repairing the damaged protective barrier.