Do You Have This Invisible Skin Condition?

Most women could probably write a novel of all the skin-related things that bother them, but one of the biggest offenders could very well be something we can’t even see.

“You can have itchy, sensitized, sometimes painful skin, but you may not see any visible signs of redness on the skin,” explains Annet King, senior director of global education for Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute. “For example, say you go out to lunch on a warm day and when you come back into the office, your skin feels warm and possibly a little itchy and then you apply a product, perhaps some powder or SPF/foundation that your skin normally never reacts to, but suddenly it stings and feels like it burns you.”

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We’ve probably all experienced this situation and King says there’s a name for it. “That’s invisible dermatitis or sensitized skin caused by the environment (sun and pollution are common ones); also in darker skins you can’t always see redness so you have to feel for it and the skin will feel warm.”

So what kind of threat does it pose? It all comes down to a damaged skin barrier. “That can lead to more irritants entering and more TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss),” King says. “Long-term effects are inflame-aging—premature aging related to inflammation.”

To get back to a healthy barrier function, you should exfoliate and hydrate with a moisturizer that contains skin-protecting silicones. This helps seal in moisture and prevents skin from drying out. At night, try applying an oil-based serum or night oil to areas of dry skin.

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