Dry, Sensitive, Pigmented Skin Tone, Wrinkle-Prone Skin
“I have many issues with my skin, including aging. I am overwhelmed by the product choices out there. It seems as if I need to use too many different products on my skin. Can you help me streamline my regimen and identify an easy skin regimen that addresses my particular concerns?”
Your skin is dry, flaky, parched, and crying out for moisturizers. Yet you react with pimples or stinging, burning, and itching to so many ingredients that few products can help. Synthetic ingredients in skin care (such as fragrances, detergents, and preservatives) can trigger a reaction. Natural ingredients in skin care (such as essential oils, coconut oil, or cocoa butter) can also trigger a reaction. When using a product to treat your dark spots, it may sting and turn your pigmented skin red. Even though you avoid the sun, people frequently ask if you’ve been to the beach, because your red flushed face makes you look sunburned even in the dead of winter. Anti-aging creams make you look like a burn victim, leaving inflamed red patches that turn brown over time and take months to heal. Though improving your skin will be a careful step-by-step process, it can be done, so do not give up.
A DISTURBED SKIN BARRIER
Your skin’s hyper-reactivity is not your imagination. With one of the most distressing Skin Types, you find it difficult to care for properly. Though friends with easier types don’t understand, I can validate your experience. Unless you’re a millionaire who can afford to buy dozens of products, then use and discard them when they don’t work, it’s nearly impossible to find your way through the labyrinth of skin care products to the select few that work for your skin.
Dry, sensitive types have a disturbed skin barrier. The cells that maintain the integrity of the skin have broken down as a result of different causes—including allergies, sensitizing products and ingredients, and environmental conditions, like dryness and cold. As a result, the barrier doesn’t keep water in, so the skin lacks the hydration it needs. On the other hand, it also doesn’t keep allergenic ingredients out. When these ingredients invade, they trigger inflammation. Your Skin Types typically does not have much protection. You are literally thin-skinned. The resulting dryness, irritation, redness, and itchiness give you the urge to scratch, but scratching further attacks your skin barrier. Next, pigmentation causes skin darkening at irritated areas, such as the back of the knees and inside of the elbows. Scratches, cuts, and scrapes are more than uncomfortable: they can result in dark spots at the site of injury because your skin’s high pigment levels react to any inflammation. It’s a vicious cycle.
The bottom line is that your Skin Type needs to avoid irritating ingredients and irritating life situations. Cultivate calm, meditate, and have a cup of anti-inflammatory green tea. Leave the alcohol and sugar alone. No other Skin type needs to take care of their skin more than you.
A CLOSE-UP LOOK AT YOUR SKIN
Both light- and dark-skinned people can have this Skin Type. Pigmentation can be treated with bleaching creams but it is most effective to stop taking any form of hormones, as they tend to increase pigmentation. Choose the right sunscreen because some sunscreen products fail to block UVA rays, which exacerbate melasma and pigmentation. Medium- and darker-skinned tones often get dark patches after inflammation, increase in hormones, or lack of good quality sleep. Once the redness and itching has gone, it is replaced by a dark patch, which can last, increasing irritation and dryness.
Drying environments, such as airplanes or desert locales, can further dehydrate your thirsty skin.
ADJUSTING YOUR SKIN CARE ROUTINE
Your ideal climate is humid. We recommend altering your skin care regimen with the seasons. Don’t just blindly stick to one regimen. Pay attention to your skin’s condition, and adjust as needed. In dry climates, moisturize more frequently, using a heavier high-quality cream or serum. In more humid locales, you can get away from with a lighter product. When dark spots develop, treat them, and when they leave, return to a maintenance program.
Skin problems will increase with age for your Skin Type. After forty, skin dryness can worsen, especially in women going through menopause, requiring frequent moisturizing and richer moisturizers.
Skin sensitivity increase with age, because as you are exposed to more topical skin care ingredients, more allergies can develop—until you reach your eighties and nineties, when allergies tend to lessen due to diminished immune function.
With your range of skin problems, find a few products that work and stick with them.
PROCEDURES FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE
Laser and light treatments may be used for those that are light-skinned. Light chemical peels that contain glycolic acid- and lactic acid-containing peels are best for darker-skin tones because they hydrate the skin as well as exfoliating it. In addition, these peels have been shown to improve fine wrinkles. Although you can get these alpha hydroxy acid peels at a salon, a dermatologist will be able to use a higher concentration, giving you better results.
Dermal fillers containing collagen or hyaluronic acid are also available to treat wrinkles from within, they feel natural, and give instantaneous results. Visit your dermatologist, not a med spa or a resort spa, for the best recommendations.
ONGOING CARE FOR YOUR SKIN
Your skin may seem high maintenance now, but with a clear plan and these easy-to-follow recommended rituals, you can finally manage your skin. Avoid cleansers that foam. Instead use an oil-based cleanser or a cold cream. Moisturize at least twice a day. Apply sunscreen daily, and use more often (reapplying hourly) if you are out in the sun.
Our skin diagnostic uses Baumann's (2004) science-based skin-type classification system comprised of 16 distinct Baumann Skin Types®.