Do you have sensitive skin and not know it? Your skin type may change with age. Working as an esthetician, I will have at least one guest every day who will describe their skin as a sensitive type. In the 1980s, only 30 percent of the population had sensitive skin. Nowadays, 50 to 60 percent of people have this skin type, and this number goes up every year. Sensitivity is caused by external factors such as climate, seasonal condition and of course internal factors. In this modern age, many foods, plants, and chemicals cause an allergic reaction in our bodies. As we know, most of the sensitivity depends on our immune system and how our bodies react to allergens.
According to Dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, FAAD, director of the University of Miami’s Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute, there are four distinct types of sensitive skin: rosacea, acne, stinging and burning, and contact dermatitis like allergies and irritants. All of these types have one characteristic in common- inflammation. Inflammation is caused by an increased number of red and white blood cells that rush to the site of an injury to help the skin recover. Pimples, burns, insect bites, bruises, rashes and allergic reactions are common causes of inflammation, and unfortunately your sensitive skin can make any inflammatory response worse. All kinds of inflammation may share many common triggers including sun exposure, extremes of hot and cold, stress, alcohol consummation, spicy foods, wind, humidity, medications and irritating products/cosmetics.
This makes us think a little further when you come and tell us that you have sensitive skin. We must carefully consider what causes it (in your specific case) and to choose the best treatment for you. Hence, we often encourage clients to visit for a consultation instead of getting your heart set on a trendy or popular treatment that you’ve heard about in a magazine. For the most severe cases, estheticians will work with a physician such as a cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist. As an esthetician, we do our best helping them look and feel better.
WE ASKED SOME OF OUR TENURED ESTHETICIANS SOME OF YOUR MOST POPULAR QUESTIONS REGARDING SENSITIVE SKIN.
Q: What professional skin care services are there for Rosacea, Eczema or sensitive skin types?
A: Something as simple as a hydrating and calming facial with manual lymph drainage can do unbelievable wonders for Rosacea, Eczema and/or irritated skin. The idea is to hydrate, soothe and assist natural lymph flow, thereby promoting the skin’s own natural regeneration and healing process. However, there are more invasive options that directly address these conditions. IPL is a light therapy modality used in treatment of Rosacea, a chronic inflammatory condition. This procedure targets oxyhemoglobin (blood) to reduce inflammation or dilated capillaries. This clinical treatment in conjunction with an appropriate skin care regimen is very effective in the management of Rosacea.
However, what about Rosacea or Eczema skin types, can they tolerate chemical peels? Lactic acid is great for dehydrated, lack luster skin. A low lactic percentage will gently exfoliate and refresh sensitive or compromised skin. However, dependent on skin type and severity of dehydration or sensitivity, a mild enzyme is probably a safer bet for eczema or severely dehydrated skin. Enzymes are not as invasive as chemical peels. They eat away at dead skin cells; whereas a chemical peel loosens up that cellular glue bonding the upper most superficial skin layers. Regardless of skin type, the notion that you must shed like the Grim Reaper in order to have a successful peel is untrue. And on that note, the thicker the skin, the more shedding you’ll typically see.
Above all, those with compromised skin types should be adhering to a strict application of a (physical sunscreen) 30 SPF or higher. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays (as opposed to physical SPF bouncing UV rays off surface of skin); and can irritate sensitive, Rosacea or Eczema skin types. – Joanie Almaguer-Brown, LE
Q: CAN I USE A PRODUCT LINE SUCH AS SKINCEUTICALS OR PCA IF I USE A TOPICAL PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION?
A: The answer is yes… as long as you use the product as directed by the prescribing physician. For example, if the prescription directs you to apply the product to clean, dry skin, cleanse and towel dry your face and apply the prescription. Only after it is fully dry, can you supplement with a moisturizer or serum etc. The prescription will list if it counteracts with anything (like benzoyl peroxide – some prescriptions when mixed with this can cause a discoloration the skin).
Also you want to make sure you aren’t applying an over the counter product that is attempting the same outcome as the prescription, meaning, if you use a prescription retinol (or anything classified as a retinoid), don’t apply a product that has retinol listed as an ingredient. If you are at all unsure about whether or not you can use a certain product in conjunction with prescription, if never hurts to consult with a physician. – Annie Diaz, LE
Q: CAN I USE A CLARISONIC IF I HAVE SENSITIVE SKIN?
A: I have sensitive skin myself, and I use the delicate skin brush head on my clarisonic. I prefer to use it once a day, however, it can be used twice a day and plenty of people do. Typically if someone is very sensitive and nervous introducing something new I recommend building up. Start out using the brush three times a week and each week add an additional day. – Kaitlin Walker, LE, Esthetics Director of True Skin Care Center
Q: WHAT DO I DO IF I’M AT HOME? (6 DOS AND DON’TS FOR AT-HOME SKIN CARE)
A: The best treatments for sensitive skin that can show improvements include IPL , laser, peels and of course a good home skin care regimen.When you’re away from our office here are 6 easy rules by which to live when caring for your sensitive skin.
1. Use sunscreen. Every day. It’s important regardless your skin type. It’s should be non-comedogeic SPF, fragrance-free and and paraben free.
2. Use the right products. Look for those that have powerful antioxidants and anti- inflammatory ingredients.
3. Don’t strip the skin of natural oils by using harsh cleansers filled with soap, sulfates and fragrance
4. Don’t use hot water to cleanse the skin.
5. Don’t over-exfoliate skin. Avoid harsh exfoliants such as nuts, shells and crystals Use a chemical exfoliants that contains AHA’s.
6. Schedule a consultation with an esthetician. If you are not sure what products to use or what skin care procedures you make have.