Treating Sensitive Skin

Dr. Joseph Hkeik

Cosmetic physician

 Sensitive skin is a term used loosely used to describe skin that forms a reaction to any product. This reaction could be redness, flushing, stinging, burning, itching or the development of rashes, swelling or breakouts. With so many non-prescribed skincare products available over the counter, more men and women are suffering from sensitive skin. Although some causes of sensitive skin can be due to eczema or dermatitis, the majority of cases are due to a compromised skin barrier that is caused from a harsh chemical on the skin and excessive exposure to environmental elements such as sun, wind, air-conditioning, water and so forth.


Although some patients might require medical treatment with corticosteroids cream to reduce the inflammation in the skin, corticosteroids are best avoided as a long-term solution as they can thin the skin.

Untreated skin can result in severely compromised skin barriers – this can lead to the consequence of dry, cracked, red and inflamed skin. Chronic inflammation of the skin results in premature ageing of the skin.

Treating sensitive skin requires a thorough medical history and examination. A physician needs to complete a full medical to ensure conditions such as eczema or contact dermatitis are not missed.  A medical history is not only limited to skin care product usage and should also include questions about detergent, soap and makeup usage. Water is the common irritant to our skin and frequent washing of the skin be compromising.

Sensitive skin is sign of unhealthy skin.  One way to improve the health of the skin is to exclude food allergies. Oral supplement can be added: Zinc, magnesium, Vitamin B3 to improve skin immunity, and antioxidants taken orally such as resveratrol and vitamin C.

Your skin care regime should be adjusted according to the outcome of the examination, and my advice is to start fresh. Depending on the cause of the “skin sensitivity” a specific remedy is put in place. The purpose of the treatment is to improve skin health and to normalise the skin. A gentle cleanser or an oil cleanser should be used and all exfoliating cleansers should be avoided.

Skin care should include anti-inflammatory ingredients such as C buckthorn fruit oil, and algae extracts. Antioxidants are also needed to protect the skin from further sun damage due to an already compromised skin state. Powerful anti-irritant and soothing ingredients including salicin and allantoin (such as Ultimate Red action complex) are recommended for sensitive skin – including those with a rosacea component.

The use of slow release vitamin A helps to strengthen the fragile skin. Products such as Serum 16 help to repair any DNA damage and can normalise the cells. The use of Vitamin C should be used to support the skin matrix and fight against oxidative stress – I recommend the ultimate C firming serum.

For all articles by Dr Joseph Hkeik click here 

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