Sensitive Skin Tips from our Esthetician

Sensitive Skin is a commonly used term to describe skin that is reactive to either topical or household products or environmental factors such as temperature, wind or humidity changes.  Curing sensitive skin often requires a bit of investigative work to identify the triggers.  Below are some recommendations from Advanced Practice Esthetician, Susannah Courteau, on how to best manage your sensitive skin.

What are your top 3 remedies for those suffering from sensitive skin?

  1. Use a gentle cleanser! Many cleansers are simply too aggressive and strip skin of its natural protective barrier leaving your face tight and dry. “Squeaky clean” should only refer to your kitchen floor, not your face.
  2. Add healthy fats to your everyday diet.  These may help decrease inflammation in your whole body including your skin.
  3. Make sure you use the right moisturizer for the season- chances are if the lotion worked great in June but by December, you’re feeling dry, it likely means that your skin’s water/oil balance is off and you’re suffering dehydration.

Are there any foods or ingredients that those with sensitive skin should avoid?

Many people have underlying sensitivities to gluten, dairy, or sugar. Unfortunately, so many things that we consume (both orally and topically) contain these ingredients.  Try doing an elimination diet, first topically, then orally by eliminating all things that come in contact with your skin for two weeks.  Then slowly start reintroducing them one at a time.  Do the same with your diet.  Keep in mind that spicy food and red wine are known to aggravate skin conditions such as rosacea, so those are good ones to omit right away.  With some time and patience, you should be able to identify the triggers for your redness or breakouts


What skin care products would you recommend for those with sensitive skin? 

When it comes to recommending skin care, I take a very personalized approach ensuring that all of the products’ ingredients are compatible and will improve the health of my client’s skin.  Since financial considerations also play a part, I try to recommend products across all price points, so my clients feel they have a range of products to choose from that will suite their skin, as well as their wallet. The products below are some of my favorites.

  1. You can never go wrong with a gentle, fragrance free cleanser. Look for a creamy formula that won’t strip your skin of moisture, but still effectively removes makeup and impurities. CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($15) features ceramides and hyaluronic acid so your skin will feel clean and fresh but not compromised, tight, or dry.
  2. After cleansing, a calming moisturizer is crucial.  BREVENA’s Daily Hydration Moisturizer ($79) is one of my go-to recommendations for those with sensitive skin.  Their Macro B Complex® technology, calms and immediately restores hydration.  This technology got its start in burn care, so they know a thing or two about inflammation.  The entire BREVENA line rebuilds the barrier function of the skin helping it look and feel.  It works for most skin types without feeling heavy, so it’s a win-win!
  3. For those that want to add something extra to their skin care routine, I highly recommend adding a serum.  IS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+ ($148) is an antioxidant-rich serum that also has Olive Leaf extract which provides anti-inflammatory benefits to compromised or blemish prone skin.  Zinc sulfate reduces inflammation, kojic acid prevents blemishes and vitamins E and A condition, nourish and neutralize free radicals.  It’s worth the splurge.

What are 3 things someone should do to ensure their best skin ever in 2019 – especially if they have sensitive skin?

  1. See a professional for a skincare consultation- an Esthetician can examine your unique skin and give you valuable feedback about what you’re doing right and what you can do better.
  2. Invest in good skincare.  Sometimes you just get what you pay for.  Better to have a simple but high-quality skin care regimen than many mediocre items in your cabinet.
  3. Get facials; at least every season change but preferably every 4-6 weeks to get a professional exfoliation, extractions, and customized masks to keep your skin stunning!

Any other insights you’d like to share?

Keeping a journal will help you detect what is the source of your problems…. perhaps you’ll discover that a stressful event or new laundry detergent is to blame.

Written by, Susannah Courteau.  Advanced Practice Esthetician and Skin Health Consultant with BREVENA Laboratories.