Think You Have Sensitive Skin? Read This

Naturally I get facials pretty consistently to maintain my skin’s health and it’s one of my favorite skin care services to give clients here at the Spa. What I find in these facials is that a lot of clients have acne-prone skin, or combination skin, and some have oily skin. But, what I am continued to be surprised by is how many people tell me that they think they have sensitive skin. The idea of sensitive skin is a rather, sensitive topic in the world of skin care. The fact is, almost 70% of people think they have sensitive skin. The truth? Most estheticians or dermatologists will roll their eyes at this number. Why? It’s simple, the key word is think. Realistically only a very small percentage of the population has sensitive skin, a term that actually covers a few specific, medical skin conditions.

What is Sensitive Skin?

Truly sensitive skin is typically caused by genetics. So, people with skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, allergies and dry skin all fall under the sensitive category. What’s critical to take away here is that these sensitivities are diagnosed, by a doctor, not by just looking in the mirror and taking a wild guess! What I hear is a lot of people “self-diagnosing”, rather than taking their concern to an esthetician or dermatologist and getting it checked out. Most true cases of sensitive skin are identified by broken capillaries, something myself or a dermatologist are taught to look for.

Skin Reactions

So my thought is that people who think they have sensitive skin may actually have a reaction to a skin care product or environmental factor and mistake it for sensitive skin. Rule of thumb here is that, if you try a new product and your skin reacts, becoming dry or red simply stop using that product. Even something as simple as the water being too hot can cause a reaction. Same goes for over-exfoliation and combining too many ingredients (products) at once. Too much of anything is not usually a good thing! Add to that factors like, hot, muggy, cold or dry weather and things like stress and watch as your skin reacts. Key word here is reacts. Things like medicine and sun exposure up the reactivity factor as well.

The Low Down

So, what does this all mean, you wonder? A lot of people’s skin will react to different factors! This is where skin types come in, everyone is different and what works for you may not work for your friend. What this doesn’t mean is that your skin is sensitive. It just means it may react sensitively. Any skin type can be sensitive to different things. If you’re like me and your face can handle exfoliant but turns a dark shade of pink when your use a salicylic acid, your skin isn’t sensitive. It’s just sensitive to that ingredient. Now, on the other hand, if it turns a deep shade of pink after a glass of wine, you may actually have rosacea, which is sensitive skin.

Live and Learn

Most misconceptions about our skin is due to user error! Using too much of a product too often can cause us to think our skin is sensitive. Whenever purchasing something new a patch test is the best way to see how your skin will react. Better yet? Ask for a sample. We carry Dermalogica products at the Spa, and happily give out samples for our clients to try first. The easiest way to prevent a negative reaction is to do a patch test on a small area. If your skin reacts, turns red, itches, or worse, burns, don’t use it again! With time you’ll learn to notice what makes your skin react, so try to go easy on it and always consult with us at the Spa or your doctor if something is troubling you about your skin. We’re here to help!

Talk to Us!

The truth is, you’re most likely not going to fall into the sensitive skin category. This is great news! With that knowledge you can begin to find products that will benefit your skin and this will help both your appearance and your bank account too since you won’t be spending excess money on products that you don’t actually need! Call us to discuss your skin care concerns and I promise we will help you find the products to make your skin look and feel truly amazing.