S.O.S. Sen­si­tive skin savers

With the rav­ages of win­ter, sen­si­tive skin needs all the help it can get

ZOOMER Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Liza Herz

IN A WORLD WHERE gluten avoid­ance is in fash­ion and every­one, it seems, has a food in­tol­er­ance, it’s easy to dis­miss the 70 per cent of Cana­di­ans who claim to have sen­si­tive skin, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent study.

But for women, dur­ing menopause, our skin can be­come in­creas­ingly more sen­si­tive – turn­ing an an­gry, in­flamed red at the touch of scented cream or fa­cial scrub. What is hap­pen­ing? As we age, “oil glands pro­duce less lipids, and our skin doesn’t re­tain nat­u­ral mois­ture,” ex­plains Van­cou­ver-based der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr. Jason Rivers. Our skin’s hy­drolipid film (an oil and wa­ter mix) that pro­tects against germs di­min­ishes, “the skin dries out, be­comes more sen­si­tive, red and ir­ri­ta­ble and can be more eas­ily dam­aged by ex­ter­nal fac­tors,” says Rivers.

While some suf­fer­ers think they have rosacea (which is char­ac­ter­ized by ex­treme flush­ing and may progress to acne-like pus­tules and re­quires a clin­i­cal di­ag­no­sis), it may just be sen­si­tive skin. So if the prod­ucts that served you faith­fully are sud­denly too ir­ri­tat­ing, here are some sooth­ing op­tions just in time for win­ter.

Strengthen the Skin Bar­rier

Skin bar­rier func­tion de­scribes its abil­ity to pro­tect it­self. Older, dryer skin is al­ready vul­ner­a­ble to win­ter’s loss of hu­mid­ity. Fac­tor in hot show­ers that “strip skin’s nat­u­ral oils,” says Los An­ge­les-based der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr. Chris­tine Choi Kim, and you fur­ther com­pro­mise the skin’s bar­rier that keeps ir­ri­tants out and mois­ture in.

“Fra­grance is [also] as­so­ci­ated with ir­ri­tancy,” says Rivers, who de­vel­oped River­sol, a sen­si­tive skin­care line con­tain­ing an­tiox­i­dant, anti-in­flam­ma­tory beta-thu­japlicin de­rived from Pa­cific red cedar oil.

Strengthen the skin bar­rier by bol­ster­ing its lipid con­tent (lipids are the “mor­tar” be­tween the skin cell “bricks”) with fra­grance-free mois­tur­iz­ers con­tain­ing lipids like ce­ramides and choles­terol and sooth­ing anti-in­flam­ma­to­ries. Try: Clin­i­derm RosaCalm Cream, $29; Uriage Xé­mose Face Cream, $23; Aveeno Ab­so­lutely Age­less Eye Cream, $25.

Gen­tle Cleans­ing

That bar of soap by the sink is only for your hands. “De­greas­ing cleansers like soap have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the bar­rier and in­crease sen­si­tiv­ity,” says Rivers. Look for cleans-

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