Hyper-reactive skin: when the skin barrier loses its stability

Sometimes our skin is not in great shape and can become intolerant and reactive to certain agents it comes into contact with.

Most common causes for hyper-reactive skin

This kind of skin is called “hyper-reactive”: it reacts excessively to physical external agents (like sudden changes in temperature, wind, cold, some cosmetics or synthetic fabrics) which are usually well-tolerated.

The skin is no longer able to protect itself and becomes particularly reactive, and therefore sensitive, a condition which can also occur when we are under extreme psychological stress or feeling emotional.

How to recognise hyper-reactive skin

Hyper-reactivity causes a temporary alteration in the organisation of the “bricks and mortar” of the epidermal “wall” and this leads to skin disorders such as:

  • itching
  • pins and needles
  • tightness

Sometimes these disorders are accompanied by visible symptoms such as redness, dryness or minor desquamation.

In most cases, skin hyper-reactivity is reversible (when the cause which triggers off the reaction is eliminated), but it may signal the beginning of an intolerance or an allergy to a certain substance, as the skin and organism are in a particularly sensitive state.

How to restore stability to the skin

It is important to help our epidermal barrier restore stability to its “bricks”. The first step is to cleanse the skin gently, using a skin-friendly cleansing product, free from irritants such as fragrances and surfactants.

If you suffer from skin hyper-reactivity, you should also take extra care when choosing cosmetics, as they should be emollient, help repair the epidermal barrier and restore hydration and softness to the skin, so it becomes healthy and functional once again.


The above information is not medical advice. It is given purely as an indication and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.


  1. Duarte I, Almeida FA, Proença NG. Excited skin syndrome. Am J Contact Dermat. 1996 Mar;7(1):24-34.
  2. Schliemann S, Breternitz M, Elsner P. Handbook of cosmetic science and technology. 4 Ed.