Skin Nerd: Do you have sensitive skin? Here's how to help

… to your trusted skincare arsenal. 
The good … sensitive skin. 
Sensitised skin differs from sensitive skin in … cosmetic intolerance or emotional stress. 
Often temporary, you can manage your skin … or chapped skin, try Eucerin Ato Control Face Care Cream (€12. …

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Is your skin giving you more drama than season one of the Derry Girls? You may be at tipping point with your (over) reactive skin but you are far from alone, as recent research has revealed that a whopping 71% of adults have sensitive skin. 

The State of Skin Sensitivity Report created by Aveeno, was compiled to raise awareness of the causes of skin sensitivity and the effects it can have on the mind – and the results point at a rising issue when it comes to irritated skin. 

The report details that 71% of adults identify as having sensitive skin, which is a 55% increase in the last two decades. 

Aveeno’s report also focused on how sensitive skin conditions can influence emotional well-being, with findings including 50% of adults with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis reported that it affects social functions, sleep, work productivity and relationships. 

The report also revealed that 90% of patients with rosacea claim that their condition lowers their self-esteem and 1/3 of patients with skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and rosacea are estimated to struggle with emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression.

So, what can we do about this increasingly present concern? 

A huge segment of the population will be with me when I say that caring for sensitive skin can be challenging – especially when it comes to trying new products and ingredients. 

Even those formulated for sensitive skin can feel like a gamble when taking the plunge and adding a new contender to your trusted skincare arsenal. 

The good news is that 2022 has been a big year for the skin barrier and as such many of the trends you may have had to sidestep from previously now prioritise a gently, gently approach. With this in mind, I present to you the latest trends and products that don’t leave those with sensitive skin left behind…

Ingredients to try 

Squalane: With a structure akin to our skin’s natural sebum, squalane oil is subsequently praised for its suitability for sensitive skin. It is also anti-inflammatory (and so helps to calm and reduce redness), light weight and won’t clog pores.

Oatmeal: Oat helps to maintain the skin’s moisture barrier with its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Applied regularly, oat can soothe and calm dry skin and dermatologic inflammatory diseases such as pruritus and atopic dermatitis. 

Try Aveeno Face Calm and Restore Oat Gel Moisturiser (€8.99,, which contains prebiotic oats to nourish and repair a delicate moisture barrier.


Retinol and exfoliating products are celebrated for their transformative effect on the skin; however, the excitement of visible results has led to many of us overdoing it and causing damage to our skin barrier. 

Drip-feeding your skin an active ingredient via micro-dosing can be a smart way to acclimatise your skin to a new product and minimise discomfort. 

This measured approach to introducing a new or higher strength ingredient into your regime could be via low-percentage serums or pre-dosed products, often seen in ampoules. 

This is a great method to try if you are suffering FOMO over an inability to join in on a skincare trend for fear that you will upset your skin, but you do need to make sure that you are micro-dosing the right ingredient for your skin goal.


Refreshingly simple, Skinimalism involves following a stripped-back routine that champions quality over quantity. 

This means focusing on the right ingredients at the correct levels for your skin rather than complicating things with multiple formulas striving to achieve the same goal. 

For those with sensitive skin, a simple self-care routine including cleansing, moisturising, and applying sunscreen is most effective. Keeping up with a consistent daily routine can also help to lower stress and improve your mood!

Hot products

Skin Rocks Retinoid Duo: Vitamin A is likely to be an ingredient you would have approached with caution in the past, but Skin Rocks Retinoid 1 may be a great introduction to retinol for your skin. 

The Skin Rocks Retinoid Duo has just landed on the skin market and is already gaining fans with their barrier considerate approach. Start with Retinoid 1, an entry-level serum that has been created for those who are new to retinoids, or those who have previously found retinoids too strong. That said, I recommend patch testing any new product before first use.

Keeping your skin hydrated is a must but if you suffer from blemishes too, it is important to not overload your skin with heavy products. 

Look for a scent-free formula such as Green People Scent Free Day Moisture that not only adds vital nourishment but helps to rebalance the microbiome to gently calm blemishes and redness. It’s ideal for those whose skin is easily irritated by astringent spot creams and anti-blemish moisturiser.

A mineral daily sunscreen such as Skingredients Skin Shield SPF50 PA+++ (currently €42.75 at is also a daily must-have. Mineral SPF is advised over chemical formulas as they are generally better tolerated by sensitive skin because their ingredients aren’t absorbed into the skin itself. 

Instead, the physical filters in mineral sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and act as a screen that deflects UV radiation. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, can cause photo-allergic contact dermatitis because their ingredients penetrate the epidermis.

Nerdie knowledge

What is sensitised skin?

Whilst many of us experience redness, irritation, and uncomfortable feeling skin, it could be that you have sensitised as opposed to sensitive skin. 

Sensitised skin differs from sensitive skin in that it is not a skin type, and it is triggered by external and internal factors such as cosmetic intolerance or emotional stress. 

Often temporary, you can manage your skin by identifying and avoiding your triggers (common ones include fragrance and chemical sunscreens). 

For those suffering with seasonal soreness or chapped skin, try Eucerin Ato Control Face Care Cream (€12.75, Packed with barrier boosting ingredients such as omega fatty acids, this product applies with an ointment-like consistency to settle into the skin comfortably and relieve any tightness or itchiness.

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