lady with blonde hair caressing her sensitive cheeks

9 Causes Of Sensitive Skin

Stress, cold, wind or even the wrong care products can irritate sensitive skin immediately. Causing irritation and impairing the skin's natural protective function. That's why sensitive skin care is especially important and needs extra attention - with NIVEA's help.

Sensitive skin: cause and effect

Irritation to sensitive skin can have many causes - everyday stresses such as showering, perfumes or even exposure to sunlight are just some of them. Which is why picking the right cream for your sensitive skin is so important.
lady with brunette hair looking at the camera

Here’s how to recognise sensitive skin

Visible signs such as redness, swelling or dryness associated with roughness or flaking skin, are particularly noticeable. These are often accompanied by subjective sensation such as the feeling of tensions, itching, burning or stinging. Sensitive skin can affect all areas of the body, but especially frequently on the face, a suitable skincare routine for sensitive skin is crucial to managing it.

There are some similarities to other skin conditions, particularly to signs that accompany a lack of moisture. The effectiveness of the skin's functions depends on enzyme activity, which is often reducing in sensitive skin. As a result, the skin's natural barrier is affected resulting in lost moisture and increased penetration from irritants.

The corneal layer is also often thinner and nerve endings are more sensitive. Picking the right skin care products such as moisturisers designed for sensitive skin can help avoid irritating your skin's biggest organ.

Triggering factors for sensitive skin

External factors such as: 

  • Cold, wind
  • UV-radiation, ozone
  • Dry air, change of climate
  • Intense body cleansing, particularly with regular soap
  • Certain medications

Internal body factors such as:

  • Age (both very young and more mature)
  • Psychological stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Tendency to allergies


Make sure your creams and moisturisers are suited for sensitive skin

If you have a tendency for sensitive skin, you should make sure you use particularly mild and gentle sensitive skin care cleansing products.

Do not use regular alkaline soap, which impairs the skin’s protective acid layer. Instead, use products that have been developed for sensitive skin. This applies in particular to cream for sensitive skin, moisturiser for sensitive skin and other skin care products (such as products from the NIVEA Sensitive range).  These should only contain skin-friendly ingredients – i.e. they should be free of alcohol and fragrances. Effective components which can prevent the symptoms of sensitive skin or alleviate the signs of sensitive skin are also important, for example, liquorice extract or dexpanthenol.

Ingredients: What helps sensitive skin?

When it comes to sensitive skin, ingredients which keep the skin moist, strengthen the skin’s barrier and have a calming effect are required in order to reduce the skin’s sensitivity. 
Particularly suitable ingredients include: 

  • Dexpanthenol, the precursor of vitamin B5. It strengthens the skin’s natural protective function and contributes to reducing its moisture loss. 
  • Glycerin, a natural moisturiser which supports the skin’s moisture balance.
  • Grape seed oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, is an important component of the natural, barrier-strengthening skin lipids. 
  • Liquorice extract from the root of the Chinese liquorice plant, which has antioxidant properties, soothes irritated skin and alleviates skin redness.

lady with brunette hair applying day cream to her sensitive skin

Your most sensitive area: your face

Sensitive skin is most noticeable on the face. This is because your facial skin is particularly intensely exposed to external influences. The right protection is therefore especially important here.

Care tips for sensitive facial skin

  • Make-up for sensitive skin: use foundations and concealers especially for your skin type. 
  • Use facial cleansing products which are particularly mild. It is best to use fluids or cleansing wipes specially developed for sensitive skin (such as the products in the NIVEA Sensitive series). Avoid scrubs. 
  • Especially in winter, make sure you regularly apply facial care products in the mornings and evenings. This will prevent the skin from drying out.
  • Use care products that are specially developed for sensitive skin. They keep your skin moist, strengthen its barriers and alleviate the symptoms of sensitive skin. 
  • Protect your face from the sun: use a day cream with a sun protection factor. In strong sunlight, it is essential to use sun cream such as NIVEA Sun Protect Sensitive Sun Lotion.
  • Do not smoke, as this increases stress on your skin. 
  • Sensitive skin is susceptible to UV radiation. Apply sun protection every day. For particularly sensitive areas of skin such as the face, neck and upper chest area, you should go for sun protection factor 50, such as in NIVEA UV Face Moisture Mousse SPF 50+, specially designed to care for the delicate skin on your face.

lady caressing her sensitive shoulder

Is your body showing its sensitive side?

The body’s skin can be sensitive for various reasons. Environmental factors such as cold or heat, as well as internal processes such as hormonal changes, are considered to be a cause.
blonde haired lady smiling and touching the sensitive skin on her shoulder

Sensitive skin care: 5 care tips for your body

  • Avoid exposing the skin to water for long periods of time: take a shower instead of a bath, but no more than once a day, for a maximum of 10 minutes, and preferably warm instead of hot. 
  • Use skin-friendly cleaning products – do not use regular soaps. Ideal products are mild, pH-neutral shower gels and rehydrating shower oils such as Natural Oil Shower Oil or Creme Sensitive Cream Shower for sensitive skin from NIVEA. And don’t rub too hard when drying yourself. 
  • Don’t forget to care for your skin: Always apply cream after showering, for example NIVEA Express Hydration Body Lotion
  • Avoid tight-fitting textiles and clothes made from ‘scratchy’ materials. This leads to unnecessary skin irritation. 
  • It’s best to go for a deodorant without aluminium salts, such as NIVEA Ultimate Protect Anti-Perspirant Deodorant.

The relaxation programme for sensitive skin

Stress gets under your skin. Our minds and personalities have a major impact on the appearance of our skin. De-stressing exercises relax sensitive skin and help you to feel beautiful. 
A healthy body needs a healthy mind – only when we manage to maintain balance in our life can we find our inner relaxation and equilibrium. And this is reflected in ourselves and our skin. Find out more about how to achieve inner balance here.
An absolute must for true inner beauty: relaxation exercises. Movement keeps us fit and healthy and reduces stress. Whether it’s classic yoga or the trendy “Nia” workout: relaxation exercises create inner equilibrium and help you to be at peace with yourself.
Is your everyday life hectic and full of stress? Do you sometimes feel like you don’t know whether you’re coming or going? Then it’s high time you said “stop”! Sit up straight and slowly breathe in and out. As you do this, listen to your breathing and feel how you start to calm down. Find out more about saying goodbye to stress here.
A massage helps you relax and gives you renewed energy. It allows you to get some peace and forget your day-to-day life. Our tip: get a couple’s massage to combine relaxation with some time together.

lady meditating on a beach to get rid of stress

Goodbye stress

Our minds have a major impact on our skin: relaxation sports such as yoga contribute to inner equilibrium.