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  • Writer's pictureLorraine Avanessian

How to manage sensitive skin

Updated: Feb 19

Sensitive or compromised skins is now a regular sight in my clinic, so what can we do to manage it?

Sensitive skin or compromised skins simply means your skin is vulnerable. The degree of vulnerability though, various from person to person.

A person with very mild sensitivity can go about their daily lives without it causing too much of a problem for them, compared to someone who suffers from skin conditions such as rosacea, contact dermatitis, eczema and acne.

Sensitive skin can occur in all skin types such as dry skin, oily skin, combination skin. A balanced skin (normal) there should be no signs of sensitivity or redness, the skin will be as we call it, resistant.

How do I know if I am a sensitive skin type?

Sensitive skin is the first sign indicating that the skins natural barrier function is not functioning correctly. A healthy natural barrier function is a good balance of oils (lipids) water and Ph, therefore keeping that beautiful layer of skin cells on the very top of the skin (horny layer) intact, allowing no irritants from the outside to enter the skin and preventing any excessive water from escaping. If by any chance this barrier function becomes impaired then the consequences will be dry and/or irritated, inflamed skin.

What can cause the skin to become sensitive?

There are several things that can disrupt the skins natural barrier function causing it to become sensitive, dry, or irritated.

  • Insufficient intake of water

  • Stress - constant release of cortisol triggers inflammatory reactions, flareups and the ability for skin to heal itself. Excess oil production causing acne breakouts.

  • Hormonal changes - reduction in Oestrogen, causing dryness and the skins ability to hold water.

  • Excess intake of alcohol – highly dehydrating.

  • Poor skincare or using incorrect skincare products and makeup (very common)

  • Harsh environment – heat, cold and pollution.

  • Hot and spicy foods

  • Exposure to allergenic substances. Naturally, some individuals are allergy-prone

  • Acne-prone skins.

How can I take care of my sensitive skin?

  • Let’s first address what could be the cause of your sensitivity. Try working with some of the causes above. Keep a diary if you wish of the occasions when your skin becomes very sensitive or reactive and make a note of what you were doing, eating, applying at that time. This will help deal with the source of the problem.

  • Increase your water intake. This can be achieved through drinking lots of water daily as well as using products that contain hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid holds 1000x its weight in water, it’s a miracle molecule, who doesn’t need this?

  • Have a look at your skincare, does it contain the right ingredients for your skin? See a list of recommended ingredients below. When it comes to make-up, I highly recommend mineral-based makeup, or simply try using very little make-up.

  • Always protect your skin from the following external factors: Heat – avoid saunas, direct sun exposure, even simple things like being careful when you are opening a very hot oven. Cold – especially during the winter, wear scarves and a thick moisturiser. Sun – always wear mineral-based sun protection daily even throughout the winter months.

  • Help protect your sensitive skin from the inside, with the following nutrients: Omega 3 and 6 – oily fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds, this increases the skin lipidity (oils)

What ingredients are suitable for sensitive skin?

Ingredients are so important when it comes to skincare for sensitive prone skins. Here are some of the ingredients you should be looking out for when choosing a product. My mantra is if you cannot see a list of active or normal ingredients on a product clearly then you do not buy it. You know exactly what is in your sandwich you wish to eat, yes? Then why take the risk with your skincare?

  • Hyaluronic acid – holds and attracts water to the skin

  • Ceramides and Vitamin B3 (niacidimide) – moisturises

  • Honey, vitamin E, sunflower seed oil, argan oil – replenish lost moisture

  • Glucosides and honey – powerful calming ingredients.

  • Aloe vera

  • Copper peptides – rehabilitates the skin

  • Lactic acid

  • Zinc oxide and titanium oxide – sun protection.

Always check that products are fragrance-free, sulphate free, paraben-free, soap-free, mineral oil-free, dye-free. A great example of these products is at Alumier

What treatments are suitable for sensitive skin?

Superficial peels that contains lactic acid, much gentler and hydrating on your skin.

Guided by your own pulse, this unique treatment reenergises and repairs your skin cells, promotes healing by reducing irritation, redness and inflammation and deeply hydrates the skin directly from the cells.

To exfoliate or not to exfoliate sensitive skin

Now here is a good question. We are so obsessed with the term of getting rid of those “dead skin cells”, and we are forever being told by skincare professionals and skincare advisors of how important this stage is. But we are forgetting that “dead skin cells” does have a job to perform and so therefore in my book we should be treating them with the utmost respect, especially if your skin is prone to sensitivity, therefore we should not force exfoliation.

There are two ways of exfoliating:

  • Physical scrub – using a mechanical gadget or a product that contains a gritty agent. I always recommend this approach 1 x per week, or not at all if you have very sensitive or rosacea skin.

  • Enzymic exfoliate – these products contain natural fruit acids and lactic acids, it helps to encourage and help with skin renewal, a much gentler but effective way of exfoliation.

Remember, hydration, hydration, hydration – the key to healthy and functioning skin cells.

If you would like to know more about how I can help your skin, and how in-clinic treatments can help make a significant difference.

Why not book a free discovery call at Lorraine Avanessian Bookings Location

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