Last Updated on January 6th, 2020
When it comes to curing acne, sensitive skin requires sensitive treatment. Acne remedies that work well on resistant skin can make acne on sensitive skin worse, especially ingredients that are added to make a formula seem organic, herbal, and natural.
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Sensitive skin is a type of skin that is highly reactive to stress. When we undergo mental or physical stress, the pituitary gland in the brain releases a hormonal messenger known as corticotrophin stimulating hormone to activate the adrenal glands. When the skin undergoes stress, it also releases corticotrophin stimulating hormone to sebum glands.
Sensitive skin responds to stress by making oily sebum. Corticotrophin stimulating hormone also instructs mast cells in the skin to release histamine. This is the same chemical that causes allergies. In sensitive skin, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction without coming in contact with an allergy-inducing substance. Sensitive skin is “allergic” to stress. And it responds to stress by becoming red, itchy, irritated, and oily.
How can you know whether you have sensitive skin? Here are some reliable indicators:
If three or more of these characteristics apply to you, chances are that you have sensitive skin. And it’s also possible that you have rosacea.
Rosacea is a condition of skin inflammation that begins in blood vessels, not in pores. People who have rosacea tend to have weak capillaries, especially in the skin of the face over the cheeks, on the nose, and around the eyes. When these tiny blood vessels expand to cool the blood, they begin to leak. This makes the skin red in tiny dots around the leak. If this happens too many times (usually over a period of years) the skin can develop lumpy scar tissue around repeated leaks, giving the skin, especially the skin of the nose, a bumpy, lumpy kind of disfigurement known as rhinophyma.
Trying to get oil out of your pores won’t do you any good if you have rosacea. But trying to get oil out of your pores won’t do you any good if you have common acne on sensitive skin, either. All you will accomplish by using harsh chemicals or detergent treatments of either rosacea or common acne on sensitive skin is stimulating even more redness and even more sebum production. It’s possible to have both common acne and rosacea—which is the likely result of treating rosacea with the methods used to treat acne on resistant skin. Sensitive skin requires sensitive handling.
Many people who have sensitive skin have a problem with acne, but they are more likely to be concerned about spots left behind once acne heals. If you have sensitive skin, your skin overreacts to inflammation. The melanin pigment that darkens the skin also protects it against free radicals and inflammation. If you have sensitive skin, chances are you will have brown spots in your skin left over from its fight against inflammation long after the acne inflammation goes away. The darker your skin, the more prominent the spots.
Minimizing inflammation minimizes discoloration of the skin. Here is what you need to to prevent lasting reminders of acne flares long after they have healed:
And what about day-to-day skin care if you have active acne on the skin?
A good product for keeping the skin clean is Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash, Redness Soothing Facial Cleanser. If (and only if) you don’t experience any kind of redness, irritation, or peeling of the skin after using the product, you may use up to 10% benzoyl peroxide gels as a spot treatment for pimples, but you should not use more than 2.5% benzoyl peroxide over your entire face. You should also not use tea tree oil over your entire face, although a dot of 10% tea tree oil cream (it has to be about 10% to do you any good, just smelling like tea tree oil is not enough) will often take the red out of pimples while it kills acne bacteria.
Whatever you do, don’t place hot steamy washcloths or ice cubes on a pimple. Heat and cold damage blood vessels and can make redness worse—and permanent.
You can cover up pimples with concealer you apply with a feather brush to the skin. Place a tiny bit of yellow concealer, less than the size of a pea, on the back of your recently washed hand. Add a tiny amount of:
and work them together. Apply the mixture of concealer and pimple treatment to the pimple with the brush, and then use your clean fingers to smooth out the edges of concealer on the skin around your pimple. Be sure to remove the concealer at night to help pores stay open.
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