Skin Care

Do I have sensitive skin or a contact allergy?

Itching, redness, tension – if you notice such reactions in your skin, the conclusion is usually: sensitive skin. But is there something completely different behind it? Contact allergies often show up in a similar way. The problem behind it, however, is fundamentally different. How sensitive skin and an allergic skin reaction differ, and why both require a completely different approach, you will learn in this article.



Sensitive reaction of the skin to the face and décolleté

Sensitive facial skin is a sensitive. It reacts to many care products and is particularly sensitive to cold and heat. The reactions range from skin tension and dryness on red spots to a light skin burning. On sensitive skin you can also see immediately if you are stressed. It mainly affects dry skin, but oily skin can also show the same symptoms. The good news: you can do something against sensitive skin.


While sensitive skin can have several causes, the reason is always the same: the skin’s natural barrier, the skin’s barrier, is not intact. It regulates in a healthy state almost by itself the moisture balance, repels bacteria and impurities and fights free radicals, which lead to cell damage.


Often, sensitive skin is unfortunately genetically determined, but by over-care you reinforce the effect. So even if you mean it very well, everything will get worse. With proper care, you can happily calm your sensitive skin. Here are the most important Dos and Don’ts:

Dos – The right care for sensitive skin


A horse cure: Help your skin close its holey barrier by leaving it alone for a while. You can find out how to do that under “The drenching – the emergency plan for your stressed skin.”

Use products with few ingredients, because everything you apply to your skin means work for them.

Minimize not only the number of ingredients per product, but the total number of products used.

Don’ts – Not a good idea for sensitive skin

(Strong) foaming wash gel – which foams strongly, also dries out strong.

Soap – Attention: Also some cleaning products especially for the face are soapy! Pay attention to the INCI name “Sulfate”.

Mechanical peels and fruit acid scrubs because they further irritate your skin.

Alcohol-based care products that dehydrate and irritate your skin. Look for the INCI name “Alcohol”, “Alcohol denat.” Or “Alcoholist”, usually in second or third place on the INCI list. Further back is less bad.

Care products with emulsifiers that further reduce the protective barrier. Unfortunately, almost all creams have emulsifiers in them. Instead, you can switch to a natural cosmetic face oil or our shea cream, which contains no emulsifiers.

Over-care: Too much cream makes the skin lazy and it forgoes itself to help.


Contact allergy: What is the difference to sensitive skin?

An allergic contact dermatitis, or even contact allergy, is a completely different shoe. Your immune system develops antibodies against a specific substance. It sees every contact with it as an attack and raises the defense mechanisms. Therefore, the allergy does not necessarily occur at the point where you applied the product.


The treacherous: You do not feel an allergy on first contact with the substance. The body becomes aware of it at that moment and begins to make antibodies. The next time you come into contact with the substance, the allergic reaction occurs.

The symptoms of contact allergy are similar to sensitive skin

The reaction usually manifests itself within a few hours or days. The intensity is also very different. Typical symptoms include itching, swelling, redness or eczema. Wait, that’s what we’ve been up before … That’s exactly where the problem lies: Although contact allergies and sensitive skin show some similar symptoms, the causes are completely different.


Allergic people react to one or more specific ingredients, while sensitive skin is an expression of congestion. Therefore, the handling of both states is fundamentally different. If you suspect an allergic reaction, this is a clear case for your dermatologist and allergist. Only a doctor can certainly clarify if and what allergy you have.


What is not clear to many: An allergy can get worse and the reaction can be more and more intense. It can even lead to shortness of breath and an allergic shock. With a contact allergy is therefore not fun. There’s no point in simply reducing ingredients indiscriminately. You have to know your allergens and avoid them completely.

Myths and uncertainty in dealing with allergies

Experience has shown that people with a diagnosed contact allergy are often unsure which cosmetic products are good for them. Remember, an allergy is all about avoiding the right substance, the allergen you are responding to. So let’s tidy up with two big myths to give you more clarity.

Error 1: With natural cosmetics you are safe from allergies

This myth stems from the fact that natural cosmetics are generally considered to be better tolerated. As far as there is no allergy, that can be too. But if you do, you will be allergic to the concentrated power of natural cosmetics as well as traditional products. For example, if you’re allergic to strawberries, it makes no difference whether you enjoy the fruits on the cake or you smeared on the skin pureed. The reaction does not last.

Mistake 2: With fewer ingredients, the allergic reaction is less pronounced

What applies to just sensitive skin, unfortunately, does not work in a contact allergy. Even if only one ingredient in your care product would be included: If that’s your allergen, of course it comes to the reaction.

What can trigger a contact allergy?

The best-known contact allergens include nickel and latex. But also components of essential oils can trigger contact allergies. Essential oils are highly complex and contain the concentrated plant power. They are composed of up to 200 individual substances. No wonder that it is almost impossible to even recognize which substances you are reacting to exactly.


To clearly identify allergens, the EU has defined 26 fragrances for which an allergenic potential is known. You may know this information about allergens that you have been encountering on the menu in the restaurant for some time now – something similar happens with cosmetics. Fragrance allergens are always listed separately in the INCI list, usually at the very end, because they occur in low concentration.


In almost every natural cosmetic product you can find potential allergens with such unpronounceable names as “linalool”, “limonene”, “farnesol” or “geraniol”. Incidentally, these are contained in our shea cream and come from the essential neroli oil we use for it.

Conclusion: Sensitive skin or contact allergy? Know it!

The FIVE products are specifically designed for sensitive skin that is just a little too hot and sometimes has little dislocations. The reduction of ingredients helps your skin to settle down. This gives her the opportunity to regenerate her protective barrier and to freak out in the future.


Allergic persons, however, are only partially recommended for our products because they contain essential oils. Although they are 100% natural, but that makes in an allergy, as already said, no difference. It is therefore all the more important to delineate a purely sensitive skin from an allergic one. If you have a diagnosed contact allergy – or suspect – I recommend that you consult with your doctor. He may advise you to use cosmetics that are specifically designed for allergy sufferers.