What is a sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin can affect both men and women. It is common to hear people say that they have a sensitive skin whenever they use products that cause redness, stinging, burning, blotchiness, irritation, dryness, rashes, breakouts, tightness or their skin feels uncomfortable.
Sensitivity is often down to the skin being thinner in the affected areas. It is very important to know the difference between skin sensitivity and skin allergies. Sensitive skin usually responds to certain agents being applied such as skin products or by friction or abrasive actions, one’s own sweat and external factors such as heat, cold, humidity and UV exposure. Sensitivity is not caused by allergies but rather an intolerance to certain things.
Sensitive skin is often times just a skin types, but other factors such as medication, stress and diet can also contribute to skin sensitivity.
The caracteristics of sensitive skin is:
- Any reactions on your skin such as skin bumps, erosions, pustules, blotches, redness, rashes, etc.
- A very dry skin that cannot protect your nerve endings well
- High skin flushing and blushing tendencies
- Warm feeling
- Irritated feeling
- Localised skin swelling (in severe cases)
How do you care for sensitive skin?
- Avoid a cleanser that may be too drying as this is one of the biggest culprits. It is best to use a cleanser that doesn’t contain ingredients such as salicylic acid, alcohol, witch hazel, sodium laurel sulphate and ammonium laureth sulphate
- Don’t cleanse the skin more than once a day, but if you do need to, it is best to use a cream cleanser that can be removed with cotton pads.
- Too many anti-ageing products. This can cause skin to respond negatively due to their highly active ingredients. A lot of anti-ageing products contain retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids to enable exfoliation to reveal glowing, younger looking skin. Too much in excess can cause skin to become over sensitive and irritated
- An SPF30 is a must on a daily basis. Sun exposure breaks down natural collagen in the skin and in return causes further redness around blood vessels (rosacea)
- Cut back on the wine! Ever noticed how pink your skin goes with alcohol consumption, especially wine? The reason for areas of rosacea responding to alcohol in this way is down to the sulphates which is especially present in red wine. These drinks dilates capillaries increasing the blood flow and resulting in further redness.
- Exfoliate, but use a gentle product, only once a week
- Look for products that is not only suitable for use on sensitive skin, but also treats the sensitivity
- Avoid strongly fragranced or perfumed products
Ingredients that are suitable for sensitivity
- Aloe vera
- Green tea
Allergies can also contribute to sensitive reactions, however these would need to be treated differently. It is best to know your different skin allergies and to communicate this well with your therapist before having a facial.
Have any questions about your skin type? I’d be delighted to hear from you!