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Sensitive Skin
Skin Conditions

Sensitive Skin

Different signs and symptoms:

  • Tingling, tightening, cutaneous discomfort without visible signs.
  • Easily reacts to products
  • Overreaction to external factors: shaving, stress, aesthetic procedures
  • Diffuse redness, drying, recurrent irritation of the skin

What are the statistics?

  • 56% of Canadian women suffer from sensitive skin
  • 24% report having had a reaction to cosmetics products
  • 46.4% of women with sensitive skin also have dry skin
  • 46.3% of women with sensitive skin have consulted a dermatologist
Sensitive skin is often a marker for other skin conditions. Here are 3 profiles of intolerant or sensitive skin:

  1. Skin altered temporarily due to aesthetic or dermatological procedures
    • Mechanical procedures: shaving, waxing, medications (accutane, retin-a type creams)
    • Environment: heat, cold, wind, pollution,...
    • Aesthetic procedures: laser, chemical peels, dermabrasion
    • Dermatological solution:
      • Avoid irritants, occlusive ointments
  2. Allergic skin or atopic skin
    • Contact dermatitis: Sudden appearance of erythema and edema (redness and swelling), accompanied by itchiness.
    • Atopic Ezema- a very common cause
    • Dermatological solution:
      • Prevent dryness/moisturise
      • Topical corticosteroids
      • Topiocal immunomodulators
      • Antihistamines
      • Avoidance of the allergen
  3. Rosacea skin
    • Diffuse redness, small visible blood vessels, skin dryness
    • Dermatological solution:
      • Medical therapy
      • Laser for redness
      • Changes in the patient’s lifestyle

Diffuse Redness:

A specific concern for women aged 25-35 years marked by a physical discomfort.
  • These women define themselves as being skin sensitive, and more precisely as having fine, fragile and reactive skins.
  • Overreacting to everything (emotions, temperatures changes, food…), they distinguish themselves by feeling uncomfortable socially and physically.

Almost 50 % of women aged 18-64 experience redness

Age         Percent of Women Whose Skin is Sensitive to Certain Factors

65+    34%
Age Percent of Women Whose Skin is Sensitive to Certain Factors
14-14 40%
18-24 49%
25-34 50%
35-44 44%
45-54 49%
55-64 46%
65+ 34%

Source: L’Oréal Usage and Attitude Study , January 2003. N = 2689

At the dermatologist’s office:

Have already consulted a dermatologist :
  • Prone to redness            35.8 %
  • Acne-prone       39.9 %
  • Couperose         23.3 %
  • Rosacea             13.3 %
Have already consulted a pharmacist:

  • Prone to redness            34.3 %
  • Acne-prone        44.2 %
  • Couperose         16.2 %
  • Rosacea  8.4 %
Source: L’Oréal Canada study- January 2003 Usage and attitude – all ages

The Redness Evolves:

From redness to inflammatory rosacea

25+ years:     Fine and reactive skin, prone to redness 25-35 years:  Flushes 40+ years:     Permanent redness (erythro-coupoerose), visible blood vessels (telangiectasias) 50+ tears:      Inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules)

At the Dermatologist’s: Rosacea

Stage 1: Flushes and reactive skin
  • Redness appears very quickly, lasts a few minutes than disappears.
  • It is embarassing sometimes because it reveals feelings you would rather hide…
  • Starts as early as the teenage years.

  • Dermatological Advice:

  • Avoid hot liquids or food, cafeine, spices
  • Avoid intense physical exercise.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures (hot and cold) like saunas, jacuzzis
  • Always use sun protection.
  • Use rinse-free cleansers and perfume-free cosmetics.
  • Recommend the use of green-tinted concealers.
  • Avoid stressful situations
Stage 2: Erythro-couperose

  • The redness becomes permanent
  • Patients continue to experience flushing or blushing
  • Small veins become visible

  • Dermatological Treatment and Advice:

  • Medical Therapy: Laser treatments, electro-coagulation
  • Camouflage: make-up
  • Sun protection
Stage 3: Inflammatory rosacea
    Dermatological Treatment:

  • Cyclines
  • Metronidazole
Stage 4: Advanced rosacea
    Dermatological Treatment

  • Dermabrasion
  • Surgery

The origin of redness : A Vicious Circle

The time around the age of 25 years old can be the pivotal period for the onset of a vicious circle responsible for the development of redness:
  1. Repeated stress
  2. Inflammatory reaction
  3. Aggravation of vessel fragility

The risk

Redness takes hold and no longer disappears.

Delicate, reactive skin -> Erythrosis -> Rosacea

Recommendations for a Higher Quality of Life:

  • Diminish alcohol intake, spicy foods and caffeine

  • Avoid excessive variations in temperature

  • Use appropriate cleansers, moisturisers and cosmetics

  • Wear a concealer (in a green shade) to mask redness

  • Control and manage stress as much as possible

  • Always wear UVA/UVB protection.