What Causes Sensitive Skin and How to Treat it

What Causes Sensitive Skin and How to Treat it

Expert spotlight

Dr Sonia is an NHP GP with a special interest in Dermatology. Dr Sonia is passionate about all areas of medical and cosmetic dermatology, but has a particular interest in acne and dermatology for skin of colour. She writes about skin health and education on her Instagram page (@dermgp).

Skin is pretty complicated and sometimes it can be a bit reactive. Whether you’re looking in the mirror one morning and asking yourself ‘why is my skin so sensitive all of a sudden?’ or you’re someone who has suffered with very sensitive skin for a long time, the struggle can be all too real.

We spoke to Dr Sonia, a skin expert, as well as one of our favourite sensitive skin brands (MV Skintherapy) to bring you everything you need to know. So scroll down, your sensitive skin care 101 awaits...

What is sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin is skin that is more reactive - it’s easily irritated by different factors that are generally tolerated by non-sensitive skin.

What are the signs of sensitive skin?

Sensitive skin will usually show signs, such as:

  • - Inflammation (bumps/rashes/redness)
  • - Itchy/dryness
  • - More prone to breakouts
  • - General discomfort after it comes into contact with a particular ingredient or environmental trigger

What causes sensitive skin?

Sensitivity has a lot to do with the outer layer (skin barrier) being compromised, which causes increased water loss and increased penetration of irritants. For some, sensitive skin can be a chronic issue due to underlying skin conditions like eczema or rosacea. For others, sensitivity can be triggered by skincare products, medications or changes in their environment.

The skin barrier can become compromised due to several factors:

  • - Internal factors such as genetics (conditions like rosacea/eczema) and age (loss of ceramides in skin over time) or immune system.
  • - Skincare habits – washing too much, over-cleansing and over-exfoliation
  • - Environmental factors - UV exposure, pollution

MV Skincare

How do you treat sensitive skin?

  • It’s important to:

    1. Simplify your skin care routine and go easy with exfoliants/acids

    2. Pay attention to the pH of your products so they don’t upset your skin’s acid mantle.

    3. Look for moisturisers that are non-comedogenic and contain gentle ingredients that help with your skin barrier, like ceramides (the good fatty acids that make up your skin), Glycerin (is a humectant, so it holds moisture), niacinamide and squalane.

    4. Keep showering time 10-15 mins max with lukewarm water (not hot) and apply your moisturiser immediately after showering while your skin is still moist.

    5. When introducing new products – start low and go slow. Always do a patch test!

    6. Protect your skin with sunscreen!

    7. Look out for products labelled “suitable for sensitive skin”.

    What should I avoid if I have sensitive skin?

    1. One of the worst things you can do is wash your skin too frequently (it can compromise your skin barrier).

    2. Over-exfoliating! This level of physical exfoliation can be very damaging to the skin and worsen symptoms of sensitive skin.

    3. Take it easy on fragrance (both natural from essential oils and synthetic).

    4. Avoid really hot showers and harsh soaps.

    - Follow Dr Sonia on instagram (@dermgp) -

    Sharon McGlinchey on Sensitive Skin

    So next up on the expert panel, we have Sharon McGlinchey, founder of the sensitive skin range loved by celebrities and beauty gurus everywhere - MV Skintherapy.

    MV Skincare

    What inspired you to create a range of skincare for MV Skintherapy sensitive skin?

    I was inspired by the lack of petrochemical-free skincare available on the world market almost 25 years ago. I desperately wanted to help a client who’d developed an extreme reaction to a very common cosmetic ingredient. The cream I created was a huge success, not only with this client but with many other clients, especially those with sensitivity.

    I knew instinctively that I could use my own experience of skin trauma with my skin health knowledge, to provide simple solutions for those with ALL manner of sensitive skin issues. The key was in the formulas.

    What is it about the MV range that makes it so suitable for sensitivity?

    I went against the grain of traditional skincare and focused instead on improving skin health with a ‘less is more’ approach that was both kind and respectful to the skin. Fewer ingredients in higher concentration for greater efficacy. Every product has been formulated to work ‘with’ the skin, supporting its natural processes, and respecting the skin microbiome.

    MV products also work to strengthen the skin. By supporting the structure of the skin itself, its ability to regenerate, repair, retain moisture and produce collagen are also positively impacted. It’s a win-win-win.

    Can you tell us more about how you create the formulas?

    We make EVERYTHING in house at our headquarters on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. This allows us to produce in very small batches, which is critical in ensuring that our high-quality ingredients are incorporated into the blends to retain their therapeutic properties. So, we go slow, we go small, and we handcraft it all.

    What is your top tip for soothing sensitivity?

    Less is more! And the ultimate ‘less is more’ MV product is Pure Jojoba. It’s a unique consistency that is similar to the skin’s own oil and can be used on even the most difficult skin conditions. My top tip to anyone with sensitivity is to smooth a few drops over freshly cleansed skin (face and neck) before hopping in the shower. This simple tip is transformational for those of us who often emerge from the shower red and blotchy with uncomfortably tight skin. A total game-changer.

    Shop Naturisimo’s Sensitive Skincare Range

    Shop the MV Skintherapy collection at Naturisimo, our go-to range for sensitive skin types, formulated with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients.


    Looking for more products to add to your skincare routine? Discover how to deal with sensitive skin with Naturisimo’s complete range of products from brands committed to creating organic and natural skincare.

    Naturisimo Team Test


    Assistant Buyer

    (Hypersensitive skin type)

    “I was so excited to try MV Skincare due to my skin being hypersensitive - The Rose Hydrating Mist is one of my favourite products from the range as it smells gorgeous and creates the perfect base before applying the Native Power Serum. Meanwhile the Gentle Cream Cleanser is hands down the best cleanser for sensitive skin I’ve ever tried. Overall I love MV Skintherapy and feel confident the products are aiding my sensitivity and redness.”


    Brand & Product Coordinator

    (Our resident beauty expert)

    “I’ve seen a lot of celebrities rave about this range and let me tell you, it did not disappoint one bit. The luxurious formulas and incredible aromas bring me so much joy each morning and evening. My dry skin found them to be incredibly nourishing and soothing. The quality of each product is undeniable and transformed my dry skin in these winter months.”

    Shop MV Skintherapy

    Shop Sensitive Skin

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