27 Apr Why Am I So Sensitive?
With the month of April being Rosacea Awareness Month I thought I would take the opportunity to review one of the most frequent complaints I hear in the office: “My skin is so sensitive.”
The term “sensitive skin” is not a medical diagnosis. It is a general term used to describe skin that tends to be reactive to either topical products or to the environment and exposures. Identifying and treating sensitized skin typically involves finding and eliminating any triggers, using gentle products that support and repair the skin’s barrier function, and possibly prescription medication (though I try to make this a last resort).
I usually place people with sensitive skin into two categories: Those with a genetic predisposition for sensitivity (like Rosacea and Eczema) and those who may be making their skin sensitive because of something they’re doing (ie: aggressive physical exfoliation too frequently).
If you are struggling with sensitive skin that’s prone to redness and rosacea you are not alone! I was diagnosed with Rosacea in 2012 and still struggle, at times, in managing my flares.
While Rosacea is still not fully understood, it is known that people with rosacea have increased levels of inflammatory proteins called cathelicidins in their skin, which contribute to the redness, dilated vessels and the red inflammatory bumps that we see in patients with this condition. While Rosacea is genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors (like indulging in too much red wine or coffee) absolutely play a role too.
While managing Rosacea prone skin with prescriptions like Finacea foam (my favorite) or low dose doxycycline to diminish inflammation are beneficial, in office treatments should also be included in any treatment plan. Using IPL to treat the redness is an effective modality, as is the Venus Viva. Our Oxygen Dome Facial is also an effective treatment for calming and soothing any active inflammation. Consistent medical grade skin care must also be a mainstay. At Elite, we customize all skin care regimens after careful evaluation of your skin type.
Some of my favorite skin care products for sensitized skin are Skinceutical’s Replenishing Cleanser, Phyto Corrective Gel, Redness Reliever, and Triple Lipid Restore. ZO Skin Health’s Rozatrol and Daily Power Defense are incredibly restorative to the skin’s barrier. Neova’s DNA Total Repair is also a staff favorite as is their Pure Copper Mask. I keep the mask in my refrigerator and layer it on when my skin feels reactive. I love that their product line not only promotes collagen production with their patented copper peptide, but also actively repairs damaged DNA!
Whatever your skin condition may be, we can help you customize a regimen and develop a long-term treatment plan that will be effective without being harsh and irritating. Always remember that maintaining the integrity of your skin’s barrier function is essential for that glowing complexion we all desire and we are here to guide you on this life long journey!