MiNDFOOD’s Style and Beauty Editor, Nicole Saunders, chats to Tracy May-Harriott, global director of education for Elizabeth Arden Pro, about what sensitive skin is, what to do if you suffer from it and how to adjust your beauty routine accordingly.
We’re seeing a lot of new launches or reformulated ranges that have been created for sensitive skin. Why is that? Is sensitive skin on the rise?
Sensitive skin claims from clients have risen to 25% from just 15% in 2009, showing there is a bigger ‘desire’ from customers for products suitable for sensitivity issues. This could be due to perception or many other environmental, over-use, more awareness issues, but even so – the demand has increased significantly in recent years.
If you think you have sensitive skin, what’s the first thing you should do where your skincare regimen is concerned?
See a professional skin specialist. Always! They will be able to walk you through some elimination steps, analyse products used, frequency etc. Treatments experienced and help you adapt your regular routine in ways you may not have considered. They will also factor in lifestyle issues, environment and maybe foods, medication etc that might all be leading to the skin condition.
What causes sensitive skin?
So many things can trigger it. The most common causes include: over-use of products or treatments, harsh products, environment, sun damage, medication, hormones, foods and also stress and the never-ending “work/life balancing act” we all have these days!
Is sensitive skin something you’re born with or something you can develop later in life?
No, we are generally not born with it. In fact sensitivity is a ‘condition’ of your skin, not a skin type. So we can all go through periods of sensitivity at any time, depending on many factors like we just listed. It can come and go. You need to always treat it correctly and seriously though. Listen to your skin – it tells you!
If you have sensitivity you should always deal with that first – drop other aspects of your routine and strengthen your skin of its sensitivity. Your skin condition is simply a mirror image of whats going on inside or around you, so you should treat it with respect and act upon any areas of sensitivity. The great thing is though as it is a skin ‘condition’, you can get reduce the sensitivity and watch out for those triggers to maintain this condition in the future.
Are there commonly used irritants in our beauty routines that we should be avoiding?
Generally speaking many professional skincare brands are very sophisticated these days. It is not always as simple as ‘avoiding’ irritants. Sometimes people get obsessed with a certain ingredient and it is sometimes how an ingredient is used, the pH of the product and the ‘recipe’ of a product that can be a problem. But as a rule I would avoid harsh perfume products, over-use of alcohol and soap-based ingredients in cleansers.
Why does sensitive skin need a different approach?
Sensitive skin has a tendency to flare up, feel hot and if not treated correctly will only always get worse. So it makes sense to use products specifically designed for sensitive skin. At the same time, you do need to help strengthen sensitive skin, in order to reduce the condition. We use an approach that is based around strength and protection for the skin, not just ‘calming’. So you still need well-made, comprehensive products in order to make a difference in the strength of the skin. Don’t just treat it delicately as sometimes you will wait a long time to get it under control.