A Boutique GMP Factory That Makes Handmade Natural Products. Formulated By Pharmacist


Do you Really Have Sensitive Skin?

soaplab malaysia, kulit sensitif, sensitive skin malaysia
Sensitive Skin? Really?

Here is something funny; everyone thinks they or their family members have got sensitive skin. When i started Soap Lab Malaysia close to three years ago; one of the most commonly skin type was this; sensitive skin. Even when i was working in government hospital for 7 years as a pharmacist; it was the same; almost all the patients had sensitive skin.
Its probably because of the environment im in that makes people think they have sensitive skin; hospital, natural skincare supplier that we attract these kind of clients; or maybe because they are not really sure what sensitve skin is so they just assume they have sensitive skin. But really? What are you sensitive to? Do you know which ingredient are you sensitive to?

So What is Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin basically means; you are sensitive to somethings that will eventually be cause 'contact dermatitis or contact urticaria' in medical diagnosis. Sounds very alien? No worries lets make it more layman. When you touch (or in contact) with something that you are sensitive to; you skin will eventually transform to give symptoms of reaction that eventually when you go and meet your dermatologist; will be diagnosed as those diagnosis above. Now when you say you have sensitive skin; its not because your skin is 'sensitive' to everything; its just your skin is sensitive to certain ingredient in whatever you are in contact with like in a product, or latex in gloves, or even metal or gold.

What Causes Sensitive Skin?

There are a number of ingredients or item that can cause this. Since we are in skincare and ingredient business; lets narrow it to only these.

Now every commercial cosmetic product have got thusands of ingredients inside. When you give a symptom of reaction to that product; it doesnt mean you are sensitive to that product; you are actually sensitive towards one or two of the ingredients in that product.
Easiest example is if lets say you are using a commercial soap; and the soap causes a series of reaction; its most probably because of the 'sulphate' base surfactants thats in it like sodium laurete sulphate (SLS). When you get a reaction towards this soap; it doesnt mean that you are sensitive towards soaps in general and cant use soaps anymore! (You will stink if you do!); but its just that most probably because you are allergic to that particular ingredient in the soap. So the next time you purchase any soap; make sure you find one without this ingredient! And do a simple allergic test just like this (click here)

Why sometimes; im ok with the product but when i use long time; i get reaction?

This happens because sometimes; the skin needs sometimes to become 'disturbed' by the ingredient. The skin tends to get 'weak' overtime and after prolong exposure to the ingredient; it will most likely develop a reaction againts the ingredient. In these cases usually a mild reaction will occur (something like redness, or itchiness). When you stop using the ingredient; over time the reactions will go off.
Another reason might also be the food intake or medication intake you are taking. Sometimes there are some medication that can change the 'composition' of your skin that makes it more vulnarable and sensitive towards a lot of ingredients. If you think this is what thats happening to you; speak to your health care practitioner. They will have to do a benefit vs risk assesment on your medication and the severity of your skin.

What if i must use the product and develop reactions againts it?

Now depending on your skin; here is what you can do. You can slowly increase the frequency of the product in contact with your skin. How do you do that? Lets say example you must use this acne cream for your face (benzyl peroxide usually). But because the ingredient is too strong your skin gets immediate response againts it. What you can do is either your dilute this 'cream' with another normal cream/ butter (1:1 ratio) and apply on your acne for a week; then slowly introduce the full dose of our acne cream to your acne. Or you can apply once every alternate day first for a week or two and when your skin dont really give terrible reactions againts it; then introduce the full dose.

Why do this 'tappering'?

Simply to make the skin get used to the ingredient and since your skin is 'alive' it will know how to 'save' itself. How do you think those people working in potent chemical factory dont have much reaction as compared to normal people like us? Its because your skin knows how to adjust with the environment

What to do if you get any of this reactions?

1) Of course avoid exposure to the ingredients.
2) If its terrible; go to the nearest pharmacy for steroid creams (use less than 2 weeks so you dont get any side effects of steroids) or if its very severe meet your dermatologist (skin specialist)
3) Moisturise your skin as much as possible. Irritation happens worst when its on dry skin
4) Let your skin heal. It may take up to 4 months before your skin gets back to normal.
5) Do a simple allergic test (click here) before using any new product.

What are the ingredients causing skin sensitivity?

Most of the chemicals or synthetic based cosmetic ingredients can cause skin sensitivity but it doesnt mean that natural ingredients dont cause such sensitivity. Natural ingredients have lesser documented reactions because its not well studied as compared to the synthetic ones.

Fragrance oil and essential oils could also cause such reactions so make sure that when you do make your own skincare product; purchase your ingredients from reputable suppliers. Make sure that they are safe to be used for skin and not for candle making. Fragrance oil is usually one of the culprit when it comes to skin sensitivity. Thats because of the complex ingredient blended in it to give the certain smell and stability. So make sure when you purchase them; get the ones that skin safe.

Essential oils on the other hand have lesser documented skin sensitivity reaction however; in Malaysia; avoid long exposure to sun (or use a sun block) when using essential oils that are citrus based (orange, lemon, grapefruit, lime), sandalwood, Spices based (cloves, cinammon, vanilla, ginger, anise,and all the other spices): which basically sums up allmost all essential oil.

There are of course more ingredients that can cause skin sensitivity which ive listed in the pdf file below. Do download it to find out the full list of skin reaction causing ingredients.

Thank you for reading;


  1. Not all non citrus and spice based essential oil are photogenic, least not forget flower oil like marigold/calendula and chamomile help soothe skin irritation or juniper berry helps with acne.


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