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    What is the condition of dry, sensitive skin?

    What kind of skin is "sensitive skin"?

    Have you ever had to choose between "dry", "oily", or "sensitive" skin when asked about your skin condition during a consultation at a cosmetic counter or when filling out your medical record? "Dry/oily skin is not the same as sensitive skin, which is the skin's resistance to irritation. This is because there are many cases where the two conditions overlap, such as when the skin is both sensitive and dry.

    What does "sensitive skin" mean? "There are many different images of sensitive skin, such as "unbalanced skin that breaks down easily" or "skin that is sensitive to stimulation.

    Decreased barrier function is the cause of sensitive skin

    In a normal skin condition, the stratum corneum functions as a barrier to repel external stimuli while retaining necessary moisture. However, changes in temperature, humidity, UV rays, friction, and other external stimuli can disrupt the stratum corneum and lower the barrier function. When the barrier function is compromised, it becomes difficult for the skin to protect its internal moisture from evaporation. It is also unable to prevent dust mites and germs from entering the skin, which would normally be prevented, and these irritants can cause inflammation of the skin.

    The amount of ceramide, which makes up the intercellular lipids in the stratum corneum, plays a major role in this barrier function. In the stratum corneum, where ceramides are abundant, the skin bounces back stimuli and functions as a barrier to protect moisture from evaporation. However, as ceramide levels decrease due to aging, stress, and other stimuli, the skin becomes dry and this barrier function is no longer able to function adequately. This is the so-called "sensitive skin".

    Why dry skin tends to become sensitive skin

    If you ask people with sensitive skin about the moisture/oil balance of their skin, many will say that it tends to be dry. What is the reason why dry skin tends to become sensitive skin?

    When the skin becomes dry, the water that fills the intercellular spaces in the stratum corneum evaporates, creating gaps between the cells. These gaps cause the barrier to become incomplete, allowing foreign substances to enter. As a result, the skin reacts sensitively to external stimuli that it would normally be able to bounce back from.

    In addition, when the barrier function is compromised, no matter how much moisture is given to the skin, it is unable to retain it inside and it quickly evaporates. This loss of moisture retention leads to further dryness of the skin, which in turn leads to further deterioration of the barrier function. If left untreated, dry and sensitive skin will become a vicious cycle, and the skin condition will get worse and worse.

    This is the reason why dry skin tends to become sensitive skin. This is why dry skin can easily turn into sensitive skin, and the first step in avoiding sensitive skin is to keep the skin from drying out.

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