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Signes d'une peau sensible.

What does it mean to have sensitive skin?

Having sensitive skin increases exposure to feelings of discomfort, tightness, and redness. Weakened, the skin barrier tends to react to the slightest external or internal aggressions. Discover here all the characteristics of sensitive skin and how to take care of it.

Published February 16, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 8 min read

How to recognise sensitive skin?

The sensitive skin is a skin condition : it can affect all skin types. However, dry skin is more prone to hypersensitivity. Producing less sebum than normal to oily skin, they are less protected against external aggressions. The barrier provided by their hydrolipidic film is also less effective. In some cases, sensitive skin can be painful and peel.

The main symptoms of sensitive skin are as follows: tingling, tightness, sensations of heat, redness, irritations, as well as acne outbreaks or inflammations. Various elements can cause skin sensitivity. This can be of genetic origin or caused by an intolerance to certain external or internal factors such as pollution, the sun, stress, hard water, certain products, or hormonal disorders. A change in environment can also alter the state of your skin. It then sends several signals to express its discomfort.

From a biochemical perspective, according to recent studies, the level of corneocytes is reduced in individuals with sensitive skin, leading to enhanced transcutaneous penetration of water-soluble chemicals. Corneocytes are constituents of the stratum corneum, located on the surface of the epidermis, and play a protective barrier role. The expression of certain transglutaminases, proteins that also contribute to the skin's barrier function, is also lower in sensitive skin. It is also observed that the synthesis of filaggrin, an epithelial protein playing a key role in the skin barrier, is less significant in individuals with sensitive skin. Lastly, it appears that these individuals secrete an excess of certain pro-inflammatory cytokines, partly responsible for the observed irritations and redness.

Sensitive skin or sensitised skin?

Although their external manifestations are very similar, it is important to distinguish between sensitive skin and sensitised skin as the care methods differ. Sensitive skin is a permanent epidermal state, whereas sensitised skin manifests sporadically, in response to an intrinsic or extrinsic change.

In order to determine whether your skin is sensitive or sensitised, cease using skincare products containing potent active ingredients such as AHA, retinol or essential oils for a period of 3 weeks. If your epidermis subsequently appears healthier, your skin is sensitised. It will then be necessary to identify which active ingredient was responsible for these irritations in order to avoid using it in the future. If, on the other hand, your itching and redness persist, your skin is sensitive.

A sensitive skin being particularly reactive, it is appropriate to care for it with suitable products.

How to take care of sensitive skin?

When one has sensitive skin, it is recommended to favour gentle moisturising and nourishing treatments and to avoid any product containing perfumes, essential oils and irritating surfactants such as sulfates. The use of grainy scrubs and cotton pads for makeup removal is also discouraged. We recommend adopting a minimalist routine when you have sensitive skin:

A minimum of care equates to a minimum of stimuli that can trigger a response in the skin.

What morning routine should be adopted?

  • Step 1: Cleanse.

    In the morning, start by cleansing your skin using a gel or a hydrosol. We recommend our exfoliating cleansing gel at 5% of PHA (INCI name: Gluconolactone) for those with sensitive skin. It provides a gradual micro-exfoliation of the skin to unclog pores, smooth the skin texture and reveal a radiant and even complexion.

  • Step 2: Hydrate and nourish.

    You can then apply a serum, followed by a moisturiser. At Typology, we offer two serums suitable for sensitive skin. Minimalist and fragrance-free, our soothing serum with 9 ingredients hydrates and soothes the skin, while reducing redness and sensitivity. Based on beta-glucan, a natural polysaccharide, it reduces skin hypersensitivity by stimulating the self-defence capabilities of the skin barrier. You can also use our nourishing serum with 100% squalane, the application of which helps to reduce feelings of tightness.

    The beneficial effects of these serums can be enhanced by combining them with our moisturising cream made up of 9 ingredients. With a light texture, this treatment nourishes and hydrates the epidermis to strengthen the skin barrier. Enriched with hyaluronic acid (INCI name: Sodium Hyaluronate) and coconut oil (INCI name: Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil), this cream provides instant hydration to your skin, while reinforcing the skin barrier.

minimalist formula treatments have been tested and approved for sensitive skin under dermatological control.

  • Step 3: Protect from UV.

    It is crucial to shield sensitive skin from the sun's rays, especially fairer skin types whose melanin production capabilities are limited. To this end, we recommend applying our SPF50 sunscreen before any exposure. Enriched with hyaluronic acid and aloe vera (INCI name: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder), it provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and prevents photoaging.

What evening routine should be adopted?

  • Step 1: Remove makeup and cleanse.

    This crucial step to remove makeup and daily impurities should be carried out using very gentle treatments. At Typology, we have formulated a makeup removal oil with 7 ingredients, whose minimalist and fragrance-free formula is suitable for sensitive skin. You can then perfect this step by using a cleansing gel.

  • Step 2: Hydrate and nourish.

    To hydrate and soothe your epidermis, apply the same moisturising cream as you do in the morning. You can enhance this step by using our soothing serum or our squalane serum beforehand.


  • MAIBACH H. & al. Sensitive skin: an overview. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2012).

  • LANE M. & al. A fundamental investigation into aspects of the physiology and biochemistry of the stratum corneum in subjects with sensitive skin. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2016).

  • STANDER S. & al. Sensitive skin. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (2016).


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