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Who to blame for your sensitive skin? I will tell you!

Get a mirror! It’s you.

The day after writing a blog post on glycolic acid I am writing another on sensitive skin.

Your skin is a perfect machine that makes a barrier to separate your body from the environment. It is also a means of communication with the environment. We have nerves that are almost out there telling you is something touches you, whether it is hot or cold, soft or hard. That takes a lot of nerves to communicate to your brain what is going on.

The skin barrier prevents water loss to the environment. Your skin cells die all the time in order to make up that perfect barrier that is the stratum corneum, a mosaic of dead cells bound to each other and to a lipid “cement” that makes it almost impermeable. It is a miracle of biochemistry and here we come, removing it so that our skin can feel smooth. Yes, exfoliate your skin until it is luminous, smooth, and glowing and the skin barrier is gone. Then, of course, the skin will be more likely to “hurt”, because your nerves will be there, exposed to anything you apply to your skin. What is left of your skin will be more sensitive to heat, sun, pollutant, and redox stress.

Figure. The epidermis and its layers. Illustration by Magda Levy.

And what will you apply to the skin? The same skincare company that sold you the exfoliators and peel will now sell you products to replace what you just removed. Ceramides to replace the ceramides you removed with the peel, and petrolatum to replace the skin barrier that is now gone.

What to do? Don’t. Don’t use strong detergents and bubble baths, don’t use alpha-hydroxy acids and “beta” hydroxy acids too often, don’t expose your older skin to the sun.

Being kind to yourself means not trying to get your skin look like the skin of a baby or treating it like a wall.

Skin Actives has products that will help your skin maintain its integrity. Use them but, first, don’t destroy your skin integrity. And, when your skin is older, be twice as nice to it.


I use Every Lipid serum when my skin is itchy or hurts.

I use collagen serum to promote cell division.

Be kind when you clean your skin.

See what works for you and never abuse exfoliators.

Don’t use acidic serums like Vitamin C serum every day. For an everyday Vitamin C serum, use one with a non-acidic vitamin C like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.


Claims on this page have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease.

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