Genetic Predisposition to Sensitivity
Several underlying medical conditions that cause sensitive skin can be inherited -- these include acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea [source: WebMD].
Sensitive Skin Causes
You might have accepted your irritated skin as a part of life, but sensitive skin has a few easily treatable causes. Rosacea is one common culprit of sensitive skin. This chronic disease manifests in small, pus-filled red bumps on the face, and the condition can vary in severity. Although there's no cure for rosacea, there are treatments, such as topical medications and oral antibiotics, which can lessen irritation. If you think you may have rosacea, talk to a dermatologist [source: Mayo Clinic].
Another condition that's often mistaken for sensitive skin is eczema. Eczema is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the skin and patches of thick, cracked skin on the hands, feet, knees, ankles, wrists or chest [source: Mayo Clinic]. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but it's thought to be linked to an overactive response of the immune system to unidentified triggers. There are many different types of eczema, but the most common is known as atopic dermatitis, and it affects 9 to 30 percent of the U.S. population [source: WebMD]. If you have eczema, your doctor may prescribe oral medications or ointments that contain steroids [source: Mayo Clinic].
In addition to underlying medical causes, sensitive skin can also be caused by severely damaged skin or a reaction to sun or wind exposure [source: WebMD]. Ingredients in the skin care products you use can also cause skin sensitivity. Keep reading to learn more about these irritants.