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Sensitive Skin Solutions

By: Lydia Sarfati
Posted: August 26, 2009, from the September 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Those with sensitive skin must pay special attention to their skin care regimens. Fragranced products can irritate the skin further, and facial cleansers that contain detergents and soap have high alkaline levels, and are drying and irritating to the skin.

Moisturization is key when it comes to sensitive skin. Products that create a proper lipid barrier and have moisture-boosting ingredients are the best. Also, advise clients to wear a foundation or base containing an SPF to avoid damage from the sun. For more tips, see Cosmetic Tips for Sensitive Skin.

Rosacea

Rosacea, a condition associated with sensitive skin, is common—and commonly misunderstood—although it affects more than 14 million Americans today, according to the National Rosacea Society. What is rosacea, and why is it often misdiagnosed or even undiagnosed?

It is a chronic neurovascular disorder that causes red, thickened, inflamed skin. Characteristics include telangestasia, or broken blood vessels, and pustules, which is why the condition is often mistaken for acne. Rosacea usually occurs on the face, but may also affect the neck and upper chest. A physician will diagnose rosacea by checking the skin, eyes and chest for symptoms. It is helpful to know when the symptoms first occurred and how often they take place.

Rosacea manifests in stages. Early signs normally begin by the age of 20–30, with recurring episodes of blushing that eventually become persistent dark red erythema, mainly in the nose and cheeks. The condition may evolve into papules (small red bumps), pustules, burning and soreness in the eyes and eyelids, burning and stinging sensations on the skin and, in some more extreme cases, red, knobby bumps on the nose and cheeks.