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Any skin type including dry skin, combination skin and oily skin can become sensitive if the skin barrier is damaged. Damaging external factors include over-exposure to the elements like the sun which leads to sunburnt, damaged, highly sensitive skin. Very cold weather which can dry the skin and make it feel flaky and sensitive, and using extra strong skincare products too often or too zealously. Sensitised skin is a very common skin condition which can be nursed back to health by the consistent use of calming, gentle products that support the skin microbiome and leave it hydrated and smooth. 

What Is Rosacea?

If, like millions of others, you’ve been diagnosed with suffering from rosacea, you’re not alone. In the UK, it’s estimated that as many as one in 10 people suffer from the chronic inflammatory condition that can cause facial redness or the face to flush (AKA erythema) and flare up, particularly around the cheeks, forehead, chin, and nose. A rosacea flare up can occur in all skin types, but it is more often seen in those with fair skin. Severity can differ, as can types of rosacea and not everyone experiences all its symptoms, but some of these include chronic redness, irritated skin that is sore to touch, visible blood vessels, and broken capillaries, bumpy spots and pus-filled pustules (the latter is often called acne rosacea).

Common Rosacea Triggers

While no one factor has been proven to cause rosacea, there is some evidence to connect it with genetics, bacteria in the gut and the immune system, it is also connected with some types of pollution. Experts believe that these factors can cause issues in the blood vessels of the face, causing them to enlarge and be more sensitive. Sun damage has also been linked to the dilation of blood vessels, and a weakened skin barrier is believed to encourage irritants to enter the skin which causes free radical damage that may intensify inflammation and increase blood flow to the surface of the skin. Alcohol, stress, spicy hot foods, exercise, hot drinks and extreme temperatures can also lead to flare ups of rosacea symptoms. 

Rosacea And Sensitive Skin 

You’ll often find that rosacea and sensitive skin go hand in hand, and people who suffer from rosacea usually have sensitive skin, too. That’s perhaps not surprising as more and more people consider themselves to have sensitive skin (at least 52%, according to a recent European study). There’s not one but several types of sensitive skin. As skin is a reactive organ, it's constantly changing and can be affected by a variety of internal and external factors, meaning all skin can have some degree of sensitivity. How serious the reaction is will show how sensitive your skin is to any particular trigger. You might find some washing powders irritate your skin, while eating hot food doesn't cause any reaction.

The All-Important Skin Barrier 

A strong and healthy skin barrier works to protect the lower layers of the skin from external aggressors such as the sun and pollution. Sensitive skin occurs when this function is weakened, and free radicals can penetrate the skin causing damage to the lower layers. As the facial epidermis is more delicate than other parts of the body, you’ll often find that the face is most affected. It is also usually the most exposed to potential triggers. These can include environmental damage, stress, chlorine, changing temperatures, dehydration, and hot water. Sensitive skin shares many of the same symptoms as rosacea and other dry skin conditions. You may suffer from blotchy skin, flaking, skin feeling sensitive to touch, tight and uncomfortable, textured skin, dry skin during winter and when taking flights, itchy and, like with rosacea, skin flushes easily after a hot shower, a spicy meal or drinking alcohol. 


How to Keep Rosacea-Prone Skin Healthy

So, what’s the best rosacea treatment? Unfortunately, there’s no cure for rosacea, but various measures including a supportive skincare routine can help to relieve your symptoms. Your doctor may be able to prescribe topical medication and some in-clinic light therapies are worth researching. While a strong skin barrier might help to calm symptoms and will certainly stop some issues from worsening, so we recommend choosing products that support the skin barrier, such as our Ultra Facial collection. 

It's even more important for skin with rosacea to apply sunscreen every day, as the sun's rays can penetrate the lower layers more easily if the skin barrier is compromised. We also recommend protecting your face with a hat in summer and a scarf during the colder months. Avoid food and drink that may trigger symptoms of rosacea including alcohol and spicy dishes and skin products that contain alcohol and may irritate causing persistent redness. Skin prone to sensitivity, facial redness and rosacea can react badly to some skincare, so it's important to test new products slowly and gently. You might find that skin can be tolerant of many ingredients and then during a flare up will find almost everything an irritant. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition, so when you have a flare up like this, it's worth seeing your doctor for expert recommendations and help. 

Products For Rosacea And Sensitive Skin 

A gentle cleanser is an important start to both your morning and evening skincare regime. Removing potential irritants such as pollutants and the debris from the day or night will help to avoid damage to the lower layers of the skin. Choose a mild formula such as our Centella Sensitive Facial Cleanser. A toner can be beneficial for all skin types but choose an alcohol-free formula like Calendula Herbal-Extract Toner which helps to soothe and reduce visible blotchiness. Skin serums are lightweight and beneficial for all skin types, our Ultra Pure High-Potency Serum 5.0% Niacinamide is formulated with just 10 ingredients and helps to calm skin redness, visibly reduce oil and minimise the look of imperfections. When skin feels dehydrated, our fast-absorbing Ultra Pure High-Potency Serum 1.5% Hyaluronic Acid formulated with just 7 ingredients, works to visibly replenish and intensively hydrate skin. Care for rosacea by replacing lost moisture with a soothing hydrator like our Ultra Facial Cream, the world-renowned daily moisturiser that loves all skin types. While Centella Sensitive Cica-Cream is formulated especially for sensitive skin and works to gently soothe and hydrate. To help soothe skin when the skin barrier is damaged, reach for Ultra Facial Advanced Repair Barrier Cream, an intensive skin barrier cream which works to instantly relieve and repair dry, sensitive skin. Formulated with Colloidal Oatmeal and Beta-Glucan, and equipped with our unique Advanced Barrier Technology that mimics skin’s lipid structure to help support the moisture barrier and visibly reduce redness caused by dryness. Our powerful barrier cream helps to relieve skin dryness up to 10 surface skin layers deep to support skin barrier recovery.  

Personalised Advice With a Skin Pro 

Meet with a Kiehl’s Skin Pro in person at your nearest store to receive a complimentary Healthy Skin Consultation with our advanced assessment tools which measure your skin's hydration level and skin barrier strength.​ This will give you and your Skin Pro a clearer idea of what your skin might need to help build barrier strength and calm any symptoms. You'll receive an in-depth skin assessment and discover the product recommendations best fit for your skin.  


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