Skin Tips From the Experts for Those With Sensitive Skin

06.22.2015, 15:53 CDT | Posted In: Sensitive Skin, Health & Beauty

Woman applying skin product in mirror

If you have sensitive skin, you have probably spent some time searching for information on the best way to care for it and what skin care products are gentle enough for sensitive skin. In this article, we asked our skin care experts to help provide some insight on sensitive skin skin care tips. As always, consult with your skin care physician if you think you have sensitive skin to learn the care that is best for your unique skin type.

  1. How do I know if I have sensitive skin?  Typically, patients with sensitive skin experience burning, stinging, redness, or general skin irritation/discomfort after the application of skin care products.  If you tend to blush or your skin gets flushed easily, that is also a sign that you may have sensitive skin. Severe signs of sensitivity may be present in the form of pustules, scaling, or rash-like symptoms.1
  2. Who is most likely to have sensitive skin? Is it a function of age? Gender? Heritage?  Sensitive skin can affect anyone, however, we see it more often in individuals with thin, dry, and/or damaged skin.  These individuals generally have a damaged skin barrier function, which could be hereditary or may result from environmental or hormonal damage.1
  3. What makes some skin sensitive, and other skin not sensitive?  Several factors can contribute to sensitive skin, such as overly dry skin, injury to the natural skin barrier function, skin disorders such as rosacea, eczema, or contact dermatitis, and even environmental factors like cold, wind and pollution.2
  4. What skin care products should I use and not use if I have sensitive skin?  Talk to your doctor first, but in general, patients with sensitive skin should always use products that are gentle in nature.

    Products with fragrance and artificial color may need to be avoided as they can cause potential reactions for a patient with sensitive skin.  A patch test can be conducted to rule out any potential triggers.2
  5. Is sensitive skin hereditary?  Sensitive skin can be hereditary.2  We usually see hereditary sensitive skin in those with very fair skin and in those of Northern European descent.  This could be from a lack of pigment and thinner epidermis.
  6. How do environmental factors (sun, wind, pollution, for example) affect sensitive skin — is it different than those with normal skin?  Extremes of environmental factors can affect all skin types, not just sensitive skin. It’s especially important to protect the skin during extreme weather conditions. In the winter, don’t overheat your house or take hot showers (warm only); humidify your house if the climate is too dry; and wear broad-spectrum sunscreen. Topically-applied antioxidant L-Ascorbic Acid (the active form of Vitamin C), such as that found in the Obagi Professional-C™ Serums, may also help defend the skin against oxidative stress.2
  7. Is there an Obagi skin care regimen gentle enough for sensitive skin?  If sensitive skin is the main concern, Gentle Rejuvenation is a perfect fit.  This skin care system is designed to be gentle and replenish the skin’s natural barrier function with soothing ingredients and growth factors.

Last updated: 4/27/16



  1. International Journal of Dermatology. 2011, 50, 961-967 (Introduction).
  2. 20 common questions about sensitive skin. WebMD Web site. Reviewed June 4, 2015. Accessed May 26, 2015.



®/TMs are trademarks of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. or its affiliates. All other product or brand names are trademarks of their respective owners. Distributed by Obagi Medical Products, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC.

©2016 OMP, Inc. 5/16 GRS.0022.USA.16