Sensitive skin typically presents as sensations of itching, burning and stinging, and observable changes such as redness, scaling, dryness, peeling, bumps and hives. But these reactions can also be allergic manifestations to skin care products that the skin cannot tolerate.
So what does 'sensitive skin' really mean to a dermatologist?
A skin care specialist looks for the following signs when diagnosing sensitive skin:
Unusually dry skin, which offers little protection to nerve endings (making skin hyper-reactive to stimuli)
Skin erosion, pustules, bumps
Prone to skin flushing (blushing, redness), usually in the face, neck and upper chest
To be sure, a dermatologist conducts a patch testing to identify causes of sensitivity. This is the best way to determine if you really have sensitive skin, or are just allergic to a product you used.
How do you care for sensitive skin?
Because sensitive skin manifests differently from one person to another, it's hard to pin down what cleansing methods really work best for sensitive skin.
However, most dermatologists agree that highly-fragranced products should not be used on the face, as they contain strong detergents that are highly likely to irritate sensitive skin. Alcohol- and soap-free cleansers, on the other hand, are less likely to cause irritation.
This is why the Gentle Foaming Wash of Dr Sylvia Skin Care doesn't contain soap, because soaps strip the skin of moisture vital to its role as a protective layer. The Gentle Foaming Wash is infused with chamomile and green tea and a powerful blend of phytonutrients to calm the skin and soothe inflammation and redness.
Use this wash after removing your makeup with Dr Sylvia's Ultra Gentle Makeup Remover that’s both oil- and alcohol-free.
Are toners really that important?
Your cleanser may be soap-free, but your tap water may contain minerals that leave residue on sensitive skin, causing the skin to feel dry, flaky and tight.
Toners are meant to remove residue left by cleansing, and prepare the skin for proper treatment by lightly hydrating it without adding any oil that can leave the skin over-moisturized and congested. The Gentle Soothing Toner from Dr Sylvia Skin Care is alcohol-free, and helps restore the natural pH balance of sensitive skin while desensitizing it to keep redness and inflammation at bay.
Dr Sylvia Skin Care is a line of products developed by Dr Sylvia Ramirez, medical and scientific director of a highly trusted aesthetic clinic in Singapore. This is why Dr Sylvia Skin care products are highly effective; they have been formulated using evidence-based standards customized to each skin type.
What moisturizer should I use?
The skin can only perform its role as a natural barrier of protection when it is well-moisturized, so it's crucial to find a moisturizer that is light enough to be absorbed quickly by the skin, and yet effective enough in sealing in moisture without congesting the skin.
Most commercial moisturizers are thick and are not well tolerated by sensitive skin because they clog the pores and cause breakouts.
What about sun protection?
When it comes to sun protection, it’s important to use a ‘physical’ sunblock than a chemical sunblock because the former sits on the skin and creates a protective barrier rather than reacting chemically with skin cells.
This is why sunscreens with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are better at protecting sensitive skin from UV exposure because they act as a protective coating on the skin without causing chemical reactions with an already sensitive skin that is prone to contact dermatitis, which happens when a sunblock triggers sensitivity when the skin is exposed to the sun.