Atopic skin and sensitive skin – differences and characteristics

The skin consists of the epidermis and the dermis, under which lies the subcutaneous tissue. The skin also contains skin appendages, such as sweat glands, sebaceous glands, hair follicles, nails. It protects the body against mechanical damage, prevents water loss and regulates body temperature. Thus, it is an organ that, like the liver or the heart, performs very different functions. Therefore, just like other organs, it can have its deficits as well as get sick.

Sensitive skin

Skin sensitive to external factors behaves completely differently than normal skin. It itches, it burns, it’s tense. Redness and even a rash appear quickly. This happens when the defense mechanisms are disturbed. Most often, this is due to insufficient moisture of the epidermis and damage to the protective hydrolipid layer by preparations that change its acidic reaction to alkaline.

The skin becomes sensitive to air pollution, preservatives and pesticides taken with food. It is also adversely affected by air-conditioned rooms, central heating, chemical ingredients of cosmetics, hot spices, stimulants, i.e. cigarettes and alcohol, lack of fresh air, poor diet, excess detergents, hard water, synthetic fabrics, stress, as well as poorly selected cosmetics.

Until recently, it was believed that only dry skin can be sensitive, while oily and combination skin are more resistant. Meanwhile, hypersensitivity and tendency to irritation is independent of it. Dry skin under the influence of irritating substances additionally dries, burns, small red spots appear on it. Combination and oily skin also burns, flakes, sometimes there are large patches of redness. Light-skinned people with fair or red hair tend to have more sensitive skin. Sensitive skin occurs on the face, neck and cleavage.

However, the most important thing is that when we use appropriate care for sensitive skin, i.e. appropriate preparations or cosmetics, change our hygiene habits and reduce the impact of external factors, persistent symptoms will disappear.

Atopic skin

The opposite is true in the case of atopic dermatitis. Atopic skin will not heal with skin care alone. AD is a very serious disease that needs to be treated dermatologically. What’s more, treatment sometimes also requires constant consultations with an allergist, pediatrician, psychologist and nutritionist. Cosmetics can only alleviate unpleasant symptoms, but they will not stop them.

Atopic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease with periods of exacerbation and remission. It is a virtually lifelong disease. Over the past several years, a steady increase in the number of cases has been observed. The occurrence of AD clinical symptoms depends on many factors, both genetic and environmental.

How does AD manifest itself?

The main symptoms of atopic dermatitis are redness and dryness of the skin, itching, flaking and a tendency to recurrent bacterial infections. AD is also associated with lichenification (thickening) of the epidermis. Changes are most often located on the elbows and knees, on the face and neck, but can cover the whole body.

AD is also strongly associated with allergic respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergic rhinitis, hence the name “allergic triad”. According to allergists, 80%3 of children with AD develop other allergic diseases later in life.

Author: Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a passionate advocate for healthy living and skin wellness. Through her work, Emily aims to empower individuals to take control of their skin health and lead happier, eczema-free lives.