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Why Does a Moisturizer Sting Dry Skin

Melissa Marsden

Do you ever wonder why your skin burns or stings after you apply your moisturizer? Don’t worry, you are not alone. In 2011, a research study published in the International Journal of Dermatology showed that more than 44% of people in the United States said they have sensitive or very sensitive skin. Numerous people that were surveyed about their sensitive skin stated that they experience burning, itching, and stinging sensations when they apply their skincare product or moisturizer.

What causes the burning sensation?

The two main reasons are: a deprived skin barrier and certain ingredients in your moisturizing products.

Your skin barrier is the outermost layer of your skin which is only a few micrometers in thickness. It is technically smaller than the width of a strand of your hair. The skin barrier is made of deal cells, natural lipids, and proteins. As skin matures, we lose this “strong” skin barrier, so it starts to weaken and your moisturizer can tend to burn the skin. When the outer layer is not working properly, irritants, chemicals, bacteria, allergens and viruses can gain access to the living layers of skin.

The five ingredients that are most common in causing a burning sensation are:

  1. Alpha (AHA) & Beta (BHA) Hydroxy Acid
  2. Surfactant and Emulsifiers
  3. Preservatives
  4. Alcohols
  5. Fragrances

These ingredients are not “bad” ingredients but they might give you a little sting, depending on how sensitive your skin is.

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