Sensitive Skin: What Type are You?

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Soothe Sensitive Skin

Not all sensitive skin is created equal. From Itchy, dry skin to a red, blotchy face, your symptoms may look wildly different from the person standing next to you in the skincare aisle. Sure you’re both desperately trying to soothe your inflamed, irritated skin. But what’s right for your particular skin might send hers into a tailspin (and most likely won’t be found in a one-size-fits all bottle of moisturizer at the local drug store anyway). So what type of sensitive skin are you? Here’s more:

1. Naturally Sensitive Skin

You can thank mama for this one. You’ve inherited thin skin, which makes your skin naturally sensitive from the inside out. Since it’s genetic, your skin cannot be healed of its sensitivity; however, the sensitivity can be managed with a little know-how.

What Naturally-Sensitive Skin looks like:

  • Thin, sometimes almost translucent, skin
  • Usually fair skinned (predominantly Northern European)
  • May have visible capillaries on the face
  • Prone to facial redness and flushing
  • Prone to inflammatory diseases like Eczema, Psoriasis and Rosacea
  • May have allergies to foods, dust, pollen or pet dander
  • Skin responds to environment triggers, like certain foods or weather

What you should do for Naturally Sensitivity:

If you are naturally sensitive, you’ll likely struggle with facial redness and inflammation at different points in your life, By really getting to know your skin and figuring out what triggers your skin, you can minimize the symptoms and tailor a skincare regime that includes products and treatments that are designed to keep your skin in balance. It’s a lifelong journey that means your skin needs a little extra TLC.

2. Reactive Sensitive Skin

The opposite of naturally sensitive skin is reactive sensitive skin. If your problem came on in the blink of an eye, it’s likely you’re having an allergic reaction to one or more of your products.

What Reactive Sensitive Skin looks like:

  • Extremely warm, red irritated skin (almost like a sunburn)
  • Extremely reactive skin
  • Tiny, red bumps in the area that look like pimples but are not.
  • Blotchy or scaly skin

What you should do for an allergic reaction:

It’s important to discontinue use of all skincare products and reintroduce them using the patch test method, in which you apply product to a small area of the face and see if any skin inflammation occurs.

3. Environmentally Sensitive Skin

Unlike a genetic predisposition to sensitive skin, an environmentally sensitivity develops as the result of extrinsic factors or an acquired change to the skin. An environmental sensitivity can be permanently healed with the right skincare regime.

What are some triggers that create Environmentally Sensitive Skin:

  • Pollution
  • Stress
  • Extreme or adverse temperature
  • Hormonal shifts
  • Inflammatory diseases

What you should do for Environmentally Sensitive Skin:

Environmental sensitivity occurs when the acid mantle of your skin has been compromised by one or more of these triggers. When this barrier is breached, it can leave skin vulnerable to bacteria and irritants, which can lead to inflammation and infection. The first step in treating an environmental sensitivity is figuring out which stressors caused the breach and avoiding them. Then, you can work to restore the mantle. Choose nourishing products and treatments, like an oxygen facial, which are designed to keep moisture in the skin.

4. Thin or Damaged Barrier Function

Similar to environmentally sensitive skin, the barrier function has been compromised, which leads to micro cracks in the skin of those with thin or damaged barrier function. It’s commonly found in aging skin, as the skin’s natural lipid levels decrease and moisture levels plummet. When water leaks out through the cracks, irritants and bacteria can get in.

What Thin or Damaged Barrier Function looks like:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Taut and itchy skin
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Transparent skin
  • May have visible capillaries
  • Prone to facial redness and flushing

What to do for Thin or Damaged Barrier Function:

While factors like aging are out of your control, there are things you can do to repair the barrier function and be sure not to damage it further. Generally, you should avoid overdoing it. The key word is gentle. Avoid products with harsh ingredients like alcohol, parabens and fragrance. Instead, choose products with skin-identical ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Explore gentle exfoliation methods and treatments that calm the skin, like a calming mask or a light infrared (LED) treatment.

Find an Esthetician Near You to Care for Your Skin

Getting to know your skin is the first step in managing sensitive skin. That’s where a professional esthetician comes in. She has been trained to get up close and personal with your skin, which means she knows the ins and outs of each specific skin type and has a track record with thousands of clients to prove it. And for sensitive skin, in particular, it’s so important to get root of what is causing things like dry, itchy irritated skin. It’s the first step in finding the skincare regime that’s right for you. Call Smooth Synergy at 212-397-0111 to speak with an expert in beauty about your specific skincare concerns.

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