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Skin care tips for women with sensitive facial skin

Posted by mandyf on July 27, 2012

While the actual percentage of women that suffer from what would be clinically termed as sensitive skin is fairly low, at some time or another nearly all women have short term bouts with the negative effects of sensitive skin. The hallmark signs of sensitive skin redness, itchiness, mild burning, and blotchiness to a lesser degree in severe cases. Whether you have naturally sensitive skin or deal with the occasional outbreak of sensitive skin there is good news – it is completely manageable.

One of the biggest mistakes women with sensitive skin often make according to Patricia Wexler who is Mount Sinai’s associate clinical professor of dermatology, is that they don’t know what they are sensitive to which can aggravate sensitive skin, and they they use products they believe will help that actually worsen the problem. Wexler points out that anti-aging and acne formulas can present a particular problem to women with sensitive skin in her January of 2010 Allure magazine interview due to the high presence of hydroxy acids like glycolic acid that most contain. Other irritants to sensitive skin found in most anti-aging and acne formulas are retinol, benzoyl peroxide, and even Vitamin C in higher concentrations due to the presence of citric acid which can cause a burning or stinging sensation.

If you use these products, Wexler recommends ceasing their use immediately if you experience any of the above mentioned issues associated to sensitive skin. Once the problem is under control, you can begin using the products again, however they should be reintroduced one product at a time in a smaller quantity. It is advised you test a product on a small patch of skin on your neck for about one week. If there is no reaction, then the specific product can be considered safe for use on your skin in a limited scope. Wexler advises using each product cleared as safe only three times each week until you can truly determine if the product is friendly to your skin. Continue testing each product you use in a similar manner discontinuing the use of any product that causes a rash, burning, or any form of irritation.

If you are now or in the future suffering from a sensitive skin outbreak there are three simple steps to follow to help quell the symptoms. Before following these steps it is important that you identify what kind of skin you have, ie; oily, dry or combination skin. It is further important you stick with the plan to realize true benefits, one treatment is not going to solve your problems.

The first step is cleansing your skin. Rinse your face with lukewarm water and then apply a fragrance free soap to your face you have previously lathered up on your hands. Gently work the soap over your face with your hands. Do not use a buffer or facecloth as they can be too harsh and serve to aggravate your skin. When you have finished cleansing, use a towel to blot your skin until it is damp, do not scrub your skin dry. Once that is completed be sure to avoid applying any toners even if they are free of alcohol.

Step two is protecting your skin. Using an SPF 30 moisturizer which is specifically designed for sensitive skin is your best bet. Something that contains licochalcone, bisabolo, or feverfew are what you are really looking for as they naturally calm skin. If possible you ideally want this formula to have a sunscreen which uses titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as they are gentler on the skin.

The final step is nighttime care. Each night night after cleansing your skin, apply a lotion that contains ceramides. Ceramides do a great job of penetrating wrinkles and lines to help repair and build the skin barrier that keeps skin looking healthy and reduces the odds of sensitive skin breakouts. If you do have acne problems and need something to help keep that under control, you can use a lotion prior to going to bed to help treat that, but should focus on one that has a salicylic acid level of 2% or less.

As each person has unique issues with their skin and sensitive skin can be particularly difficult to treat, this treatment plan will not work equally well for all women. Most women will find this program helpful, but for serious issues associated to sensitive skin it is best to seek out the advice of a dermatologist who can better identify the exact nature of the problem and the safest and most effective treatment plan.

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