ASCP Skin Deep

MARCH | APRIL 2016

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www.ascpskincare.com 27 expertadvice SKIN SOLUTIONS Handle With Care Dos and don'ts for treating sensitive skin by Mark Lees Sensitive skin is a condition frequently seen by skin care professionals. Genetically, sensitive skin is actually thinner skin, with blood vessels and nerve endings closer to the surface, that is more reactive to stimulants and irritants. Clients with sensitive skin often have Fitzpatrick Type I or II skin (always sunburns or sunburns easily). Sensitive skin can also be acquired, usually from the overuse of cleansers, exfoliants, or peels that strip the epidermis of barrier lipids that normally protect the skin from irritant inflammation. So, here's your go-to list of dos and don'ts for helping clients with truly sensitive skin. DON'T strip the skin. It is best to use only nonfoaming or low-foaming cleansers. Sensitive skin often suffers from an impaired barrier function—a lack of lipids between the cells in the epidermis, which allows for easy irritant penetration and trans-epidermal water loss (dehydration). Penetrating irritants aggravate the immune system, and this results in inflammation and redness. Look for gentle cleansing ingredients like decyl glucoside instead of traditional ones like lauryl sulfates. Alcohol-based toners and products can also damage the critical lipid barrier. DO use ingredients that support the barrier function. Restoring the barrier function of the epidermis greatly reduces redness issues. Ceramides and other essential lipids are important ingredients to have in products for sensitive skin. These ingredients help patch the epidermal barrier, increasing hydration, making it less susceptible to environmental irritants, and decreasing redness. Sensitive skin: Can develop hives (urticaria) easily Has subjective symptoms of stinging and burning easily Is often reactive to fragrance and essential oils Is sensitive to heat and cold May often have a form of rosacea Reacts quickly to stimulating products Reddens quickly and easily

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