Why does my moisturiser sting?

You might have a compromised skin barrier. Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission. Advertisement

Whether youre applying products during your daytime or nighttime beauty routine, you expect your skin to feel supple, smooth, and calm after you use them. Some formulas, however, leave a stinging sensation in their wake. According to leading dermatologists, this all stems from the state of your skins health. Here, the experts break down why you experience burning or stinging during the application process, and how to get your complexion feeling its very best again.


why does moisturizer sting dry skin

A cream contains about 80% or more of water. A similar thing happens with dry skin, where the cells rapidly take up the water and swell causing the nerves in the skin to tell the brain that something is not right!

What Causes a Burning Sensation When Applying Moisturizer?

If your skin is already irritated or dry, it is no surprise that it may become more bothered when you apply a moisturizer. Do not make the mistake of thinking that a moisturizer may be the quick fix that you are looking for. If you use a moisturizer that is not made for your skin type or underlying skin issues, you run the risk of experiencing a burning sensation. For example, using an oil-absorbing moisturizer when you have dry skin can suck out all of the oil from the skin and exacerbate the dryness.

2. Sensitive Skin

Naturally sensitive skin is also more susceptible to experiencing a burning sensation when applying moisturizer. This is another reason why it is important to use the right moisturizer for your skins specific needs. Skin that is sensitive requires a moisturizer that does not contain any harsh chemicals.


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By: Dr. Wang Skincare Education Team

Ever wondered why your cream or lotion stings or burns your skin?

If so, you are not alone. In 2011, a research study published in the International Journal of Dermatology showed that more than 44% surveyed people in the USA stated that they have sensitive or very sensitive skin. A good portion of those people with sensitive skin often complains about the burning, itching and stinging sensation when they use a skincare product.

So, what causes those uncomfortable feelings?

There are two major reasons: poor skin barrier and certain ingredients in the skincare products.

Poor Skin Barrier Causes Burning & Stinging Sensation

Those of you who have been following our blogs & read our book know that we talked a great deal about the skin barrier. It is not a sexy subject, but it is one of the most important topics if you want healthy or younger-looking skin.

The skin barrier is the outer most layer of the skin. It is only a few micrometers in thickness, which is smaller than the width of your hair. It is made of dead cells, proteins, and natural lipids.

An intact and functional skin barrier slows down water loss, prevents irritants or allergens from entering the skin, and maintains the protective and functional integrity of the skin. All of these benefits translate into a smooth, moist, glowing and healthy skin.

Theres a number of internal and external causes that can weaken or destroy the skin barrier. As we age, our ability to synthesize natural oils and lipids is decreased. Those lipids and oils are the cement that holds the skin cells and proteins together. In addition, our skin becomes naturally dry and flaky as we age, which can make the skin “leaky.”

External causes include excessive washing with hot water or other harsh chemicals that can strip away the natural lipids in the skin. Also, sunburn, pollution, skin disorder such as eczema, can break down the skin.

As you can imagine, when this outer layer of protective skin is not working properly, irritants, chemicals, allergens, bacteria, viruses can penetrate and gain access to the living portion of the skin.

When this happens, it can trigger inflammation and irritation, which can lead to redness, and the uncomfortable burning and stinging sensations.

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