We’ve all been there. Testing out a new face wash and feeling a stinging sensation. Using a new sunscreen, only to discover that it causes redness. As we switch out our products for the warmer weather months, new irritations can arise all stemming from sensitive skin. But what exactly does that mean, and how can we combat it? We talked to Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, Founder & Director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center to learn more.
What defines SENSITIVE skin?
If many types of products routinely cause redness and slight stinging or irritation, you have sensitive skin.
What are your primary concerns when you have SENSITIVE skin? Aging? Wrinkles? Redness? Dryess? What should you be watching out for?
Sensitive skin usually has redness issues.
Are there any ingredients to look for? And why? What about to avoid?
It’s more important for people with sensitive skin to look for ingredients to avoid such as fragrance, parabens, sulfates and dyes.
In general, I don’t like scrubs of any type for sensitive skinned patients. It’s best to use a glycolic wash once or twice a week or a buffered glycolic-containing clay mask once weekly.
Is it possible for your skin to become more sensitive over time? Or during different times of the year?
Yes, skin can get more sensitive in the winter when it’s drier, but also after menopause when oil production in the skin slows down.
What would a perfect beauty regimen be for somebody with SENSITIVE skin?
In the morning a gentle, non fragranced creamy cleanser followed by an antioxidant serum and a makeup or moisturizer with a non-chemical SPF (like zinc or titanium). At night a gentle cleanser followed by a buffered glycolic cream or peptide cream
Any products to recommend and why?
Best lotion or cream for sensitive skin: Vanicream. This is a dermatologist-created line made specifically for people with skin sensitivities. Although it used to be difficult to find, I’m happy to report I found it on the shelves of two major drugstore chains recently. This is even more mild than Cetaphil or CeraVe.
Good OTC anti-aging for sensitive skin is Olay Micro-Sculpting Cream, fragrance-free formulation. This has the patented peptide that helps gently rejuvenate the skin without any irritation.