Many people with sensitive skin have a story to tell about the time they really set their skin off. Although they might work wonders for some people, common anti-aging ingredients, such as retinol, can be much too irritating for people with delicate skin, for example, leading to dryness or redness. While your skin might react in a negative way to certain ingredients, being sensitive doesn’t mean it’s not going to age. To protect delicate skin from the signs of aging, you need to take a proactive approach.
What Causes Sensitive Skin?
Before discussing how to protect sensitive skin from the signs of aging, it helps to understand the types of sensitive skin, and what can trigger them. Although there might be hundreds of variations, generally speaking, there are three types of sensitive skin. One type experiences irritant contact dermatitis, meaning that the skin flares up when it comes into contact with an irritant. Common irritants include perfume, alcohol, and soap. Dealing with contact dermatitis can make finding a skincare product to use challenging, since there’s a high risk the skin will react to something in the product.
Allergic contact dermatitis is similar to irritant contact dermatitis, except that the body experiences an allergic reaction when exposed to an ingredient. Fragrance and parabens are two ingredients that are likely to cause an allergic reaction in people. Allergy testing can help you determine if an allergen is to blame for your sensitive skin and allows you to learn to avoid that allergen.
Eczema is a third cause of sensitive skin. Usually, people have eczema from a young age and the condition is thought to be passed down through families. When you have it, your skin as trouble retaining moisture, as the protective barrier doesn’t function as it should. As a result, skin is often dry and flaky, and irritated. People with eczema are usually able to control their condition with gentle cleansers and products. In the case of a flare-up, they might need to use a cortisone cream to calm the skin.
Protecting Your Skin
Since sensitive skin is prone to reacting, in many cases, protecting the skin from the external signs of aging is often the best course of action. One of the best ways to protect the skin and minimize the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles is to use sunscreen, everyday. If you’ve had a reaction to chemical sunscreens in the past, it might be a good idea to try a mineral-based sunscreen. If you have a reaction to that, speak with your surgeon about what you can do to protect your skin from the sun’s rays.
While retinol might be off of the table when you have sensitive skin, a number of anti-aging ingredients might be gentle enough, while still being effective. Look for skincare products that contain peptides, for instance. Peptides contain amino acids, which help improve the production of collagen in the dermis. They can also help encourage cell turnover, so that your skin doesn’t look dull.
Antioxidants are another must have ingredient when it comes to anti-aging for sensitive skin. The ingredients, such as vitamin C, help fight free radicals on the skin, so that the free radicals aren’t able to cause damage.
Humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, are also ideal for sensitive skin, as they are gentle but also help keep the skin moisturized. Some types of sensitive skin can make it challenging to keep the skin hydrated, so using an ingredient that is known for attracting and locking in moisture is a must.
If you have sensitive skin, you might think that in-office treatments are off limits. While some treatments, such as an ablative laser or deep chemical peel, might be too much for your skin to bear, more gentle or less intense treatments might be just the thing to help you reduce the signs of aging. For example, intense pulsed light (IPL) is a superfical laser treatment that can help minimize fine lines and spots without causing excessive irritation or upsetting delicate skin.
People with sensitive skin who are also concerned about aging skin should discuss their concerns with a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in the aging face, such as Dr. Jessica Kulak. To learn more about your treatment options and how about you can care for and protect your skin at home, make an appointment with Dr. Kulak today. Call (703) 481-0002 to schedule a consultation at her practice in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 to schedule an appointment at the Maryland practice.