Many therapists struggle to distinguish between the difference of sensitive and sensitised skin and how to effectively treat these skin conditions.
Sensitive skin can be determined as a predisposition of your genetics. This predisposition in the DNA is mainly found in very fair skin or your photo type 1- 2 who will react with a quick inflammatory response when exposed to UV and have a higher potential to develop allergies, hay fever and asthma.
Sensitised skin will reflect a skin condition created due to exposure of the environment, lifestyle and product use.
In order to treat a sensitive skin or sensitised skin effectively we need to understand how the skin will function with either being genetically sensitive or being sensitised.
When the skin is compromised with an unhealthy barrier the body’s immune system will provide protection against invading microorganisms. The first form of protection for the skin will be the acid mantle consisting of epidermal lipids, the skins natural moisturising factor, sebum, sweat and bacteria. If a foreign body i.e. virus, bacteria, chemicals etc. breaks through the upper layers of the skin and gains access to the lower layers of the epidermis, the antigen will encounter a Langerhans cell and cause the immune response.
The dendrites of the Langerhans cells originate in the bone marrow. They migrate to the epidermis to settle just above the basal layer (Stratum Spinosum) where they from a regular ordered network reaching a density of some 700 to 800 cells per square meter.
Clients often use the phrase “my skin is more sensitive”. The reason for this is the detoriation of those first lines of skin barrier defense consisting of:
- An unhealthy acid mantle
- Thin & weak Stratum Corneum
- Low epidermic lipids
- Langerhan cells fail to protect the skin against external attacks lowering the resistance to many outside influences resulting in vascular/Rosacea conditions
Sensitised skin can affect any person of any ethnicity or skin colour. Sensitive and sensitised skin do have a few symptoms in common, for instance, itchiness, dryness, redness, flushing and in some cases stinging of the skin.
Sensitised skin can’t always be seen with the naked eye as it resides much deeper in the skin due to an impaired barrier function. External and internal factors will aggravate the skins condition.
The success of treating sensitized skin will be heavily influenced by a client’s homecare routine and professional treatments which should focus on repairing and strengthening the skin barrier as well as reduce the inflammation that may be present in the skin. It is important to use a sunscreen which is correctly formulated to protect the skin against UV and free radicals when exposed to daylight. Do not use hot water when cleansing, don't use excessive or abrasive movements, and stay away from artificial fragrances or colours. In addition, take note of what triggers the 'red' reaction in your skin. Certain foods such as artificial sweeteners or spices can bring about the flush look. Also be aware of your hormones, stress levels, physical exertion, adrenal shifts and alcohol and nicotine intake.
By adopting a slow and gradual treatment process incorporating ingredients to sooth, calm and hydrate the skin as well as making a few small changes to your lifestyle, can turn an unhealthy skin into healthy glowing skin.
|Article written by Nadine Vorster
Nimue National Educator at Grace Beauty Ltd.
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