UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN
How to Care for Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin is a term used to describe when skin easily is irritated, feels sore and tender, and often is reactive to external factors like touch, weather or cosmetic products. Contrary to popular belief, sensitivity is a skin condition, not type and can be resolved with the correct care. Some people are born with a tendency to sensitivity and weak skin barrier, but some develop it through lifestyle and habits like sun exposure or using hot water. Other potential triggers can include hormones, lack of sleep, and even air pollution. When exposed to one of these triggering elements, sensitive skin may burn or sting, turn red, or otherwise feel very uncomfortable.
Method of self diagnosis
Sensitive skin is usually quite reactive to touch and external factors like weather or skincare products. Observe your skin to see how it behaves. Does it develop redness easily when you touch it during washing your face or applying your skin care products? Do you feel stinging sensation? Does it have a tendency to flush or feel tender when exposed heat or cold? All this can be a sign of sensitivity. It is important at this stage to look into your skin and answer the questions if this is temporary sensitivity related to temporarily compromised barrier or is it a long-term disruption of skin functionality.
What can I do?
Sensitivity can be a result of many different factors and can present itself in various forms. Always listen to your body and see what the signals it sends are so you know how to best address it.
Sensitive skin requires a gentle touch. When cleansing or showering, keep temperatures cool as hot water can result in vasodilation and inflammation. Pat the skin dry, instead of rubbing too especially if you are touch sensitive.
When introducing new products, take the time to patch test on a less visible area, behind the ear for example. Then assess if there has been a response before you apply the product across the whole of the skin.
Skin sensitivity can be related to internal inflammation or it may be a result of an external factor. When suspecting internal inflammation, keep a food diary and see whether any sensitivity pops up as a result of dairy, gluten, sugar, alcohol. If you think that your sensitivity is related to internal factors, consult a nutritional specialist who will be able to work with you to improve this internal inflammation.
Stress levels can exacerbate underlying skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis or acne and increase sensitivity. Stress releases hormones that can increase sebum levels and impair the barrier function of your skin. Manage your stress as best as you possibly can by incorporating stress-relieving rituals into your routine. Exercise, meditation, and relaxing activities all reduce stress levels.
How can treatments help?
Treatments are there to restore the vital strengths of your skin. We can work on strengthening the barrier function of the skin, which in turn reduces reactivity and sensitivity. Ingredients such as live probiotics, growth factors, and essential fatty acids are advanced into the skin for intensive barrier repair.
We can also incorporate advanced technologies to encourage rejuvenation. LED sessions with Red and NIR light will reduce inflammation and boost the production of collagen and elastin to strengthen the skin. ClearLift is another great technology which is using photoacoustic effect to wake up tissue regeneration. The aim is to improve the thickness of the skin, so it becomes less sensitised.
Our favourite treatments for targeting sensitivity are:
What products support improvement?
Esse Sensitive Cleanser will thoroughly cleanse the skin without irritating and should be the first step in a sensitive skin routine. Don’t reach for acids or astringents either as these can cause inflammation and increase sensitivity. Gentle enzyme or static charged exfoliators will buff away excess dead skin cells whilst maintaining a healthy barrier function. Steer clear of scrubs as these can cause further irritation.
Look for products that strengthen the skin barrier. Niacinamide and ceramides are both building blocks of your barrier function and should be a stalwart in your routine if you’re looking to target sensitivity. Nourishing plant oils such as those in Esse Sensitive Protect Oil and Synergie De-Stress oil will help to reduce inflammation and encourage healing. Live probiotics in Esse Probiotic Serum will improve your skin’s microbiome, protecting your skin from environmental stressors such as bacteria, pollution, and free radicals.