Sensitive Skin + Rosacea
The largest growing trend in skin, I’ve discovered over the years, has been an increase of persons claiming to have sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin is skin which is easily aggravated to redness, irritated or reactive. Whether it is simple flushing or an allergic response, sensitive skin is skin which reacts when stimulated, often appearing red + inflamed.
The root cause of this redness, a sign of sensitivity, is the vascular system. Therefore the causes of sensitive skin have more to do with the internal body than just the external skin. But the visibility of growing sensitivity in the skin prompts one to seek out a remedy as the undesirable skin condition can cause the sufferer frustration + pain.
Causes of sensitivity
Genetics is common cause that dermatologists will quote. But there are many factors we can control like grooming, diet, protection that can help us manage the condition successfully. While sensitivity is related to the cardiovascular system (blood + blood pressure), allergies + skin colour + type, it simply sets a forum for inflammation, it is not uncontrollable. Sensitivity can be lessened + like in Rosacea cases, flare ups + break outs prevented.
Genetic Reasons For Sensitive Skin
Lighter skin colours have less pigment.
While there are many sensitive people with darker skins, those with fair complexions show redness more readily + are more susceptible to sun damage.
This has more to do with dehydration than skin colour, + while it is almost always sensitive, the degree of sensitivity is not as extreme as many ethnic skin types.
While Melanin provides the skin with more protection, darker skins are actually more sensitive, it is just more difficult to see irritation.
Asian skin is most sensitive of all ethnicities (generally) as they hyper pigment most easily. This is an extreme form of inflammation.
A good way to protect against sun damage leading to increase in skin sensitivity is to wear a sunscreen. A natural sun screen using minerals like titanium or zinc as the block is preferable for genetically sensitive skin as the chemical sunscreen may irritate skin, reduce skin’s own skin immunity + usually these chemical sunscreens need to be reapplied every 60-90 minutes.
To explore natural formula sunscreens using minerals, check out Pure + Simple’s SPF Collection.
Another excellent way to protect skin with the added benefit of a good quality non-comedegenic make up is to use one of our mineral foundations.
To look at them try Pure + simple Mineral Make Up or Jane Iredale Color Cosmetics.
Skin which is genetically drier. Dehydration as a cause of sensitive skin is discussed below.
Darker skin also tends to have more oil. Though it can lack water, it often has oiliness on its surface, which the body intended to provide protection against moisture loss. But usually left untended will result in clogged pores.
To prevent this you need to moisturize with a hydrating moisturizer like the Holistic Vanity Soothing Pomegranate Seed Lotion or Brightening Hyaluronic Lotion + as skin ages or feels dehydrated it is advisable to apply the Comforting Camellia Oil over your protective moisturizer.
Those with over reactive cardiovascular systems. Redness is usually caused by the blood system. This is why when we are embarrassed we blush. This flushing is caused by our heart + blood flow.
2. The Cardiovascular System:
Redness is caused by blood flow. Whether its acute flushing or constant inflammation, stimulation of the cardiovascular system is part of the aggravation. This is why it is not only important to look at the skin, but the heart of the matter (pardon the pun). Triggers + contributors to sensitivity + Rosacea range from high blood pressure to emotional stressors (quickened heart rate). In any case, one must examine the blood system when dealing with sensitive skin + inflammation, as just concentrating superficially will not aid the problem
Dehydration is almost always an element when dealing with sensitivity. This is why I always say that hydrating the skin is the first defense for healthy skin.
The lack of water in the skin causes damage to its surface, causing it to crack. These cracks in the skin due to dehydration create weakness + it is easier for bacteria, infection + other environmental intrusions to penetrate the skin + for skin moisture to be lost quicker. In short, dehydration lessens the skin’s barrier function.
Whether the skin is aggravated by other factors, or in genetically predisposed to redness etc, dehydration always worsens sensitivity + adding moisture to the skin always calms. Sometimes when the skin is moisturized + nourished, it is then in a state in which it can regenerate itself + sensitivity is lessened or healed.
To stop this downward spiral of increased dehydration to increased sensitivity, I suggest moisturizing with a protective moisturizer like.
Inherited hyper personality types. This stress + hyper behavior stimulates the cardiovascular system.
4. The Elements:
Anything which compromises the strength of the skin will contribute to sensitivity. Sun exposure, wind exposure, + pollution are just some causes of trauma to the skin. They deplete the skin + damage the skin on a cellular level. Studies have proven them to age the skin with depletion, but the will also induce reactive + flushed skin as the skin is impaired + unable to regenerate.
So, protection is essential. This has been discussed in the Protection Golden Rule.
5. Pitta Imbalance: Emotional stress
All inflammation is governed by the fire element in Ayurveda. This is called Pitta. Inflammation is heat related, + the fire of Pitta is the cause of this. When Pitta is imbalanced, it promotes skin sensitivity + redness.
Pitta also governs the blood. This is why it is important to look at Pitta characteristics + aggravation.
I have noticed a relationship with sensitive skin those who have characteristics of those who have their Pitta imbalance. Often these individuals put a lot of pressure on themselves, have sources of anger + frustration, are competitive + have a militant perfectionism. These all heighten the heart rate + produce internal heat. Also, emotional repression can cause redness. The redness is caused by burning up inside.
Calming the mind, channeling energies, eating calming foods (salads, avoiding spicy food) + using cooling oils (such as jojoba + sesame, sandalwood essential oil) are all part of aiding this imbalance.
In addition to the dietary suggestions, skincare support can come from anti-inflammatory masks like Pure + simple Purifying Green Clay Mask or the cooling Pure + simple Calming Cucumber Face Mask.
Skincare + Products
Some skin sensitivity is self-induced. Stripping skin with drying, strong cleansers + peels/exfoliation will trigger sensitive skin conditions. I personally have self-inflicted sensitive skin when I had 70% glycolic peel treatments from a dermatologist. Along with acne drying cream + overwashing the aggressive peel treatment depleted my barrier function + increased my skin’s photosensitivity (sun sensitivity). It is important to be cautious when using AHA’s, retinols + exfoliants. While those with Rosacea + sensitive skin may be able to use them once their condition is under control, these peeling agents should not be used on inflamed skin types. The best way to lessen inflammation + redness is with gentle cooling products like the Holistic Vanity Rosacea Care Line.
Clogging ingredients can also contribute to sensitive skin as it prevents the skin from being truly moisturized. It also prevents really healthy skin as it suffocates the skin + causes blockages in its surface/pores. A pure + gentle way to moisturize extremely sensitive skin is using healing face oils like the Comforting Camellia Oil. This blend of soothing organic Turmeric, Geranium, Vanilla with the healing benefits of Coconut + Camellia oils is excellent for long term moisture and maintenance of sensitive skin.
Natural, gentle skincare is so important. Using a regime geared toward calming the skin is important. Avoiding stimulating ingredients such as ginseng, an abundance of vitamin C + lemon oil is important. Also, while some sources of alcohol are okay, it is best to avoid alcohol in most cases.
Cooling + soothing ingredients include Turmeric, Coconut Oil, Camellia Oil, Calendula, German Chamomile, Immortelle, + Aloe Vera. Try to get organic products, as pesticides + chemical solvents are also irritating.
From a more scientific stand-point, products which promote collagen production + collagen themselves are also fantastic to rebuild the skin. Looking for products with a natural base is important, yet difficult. Products with cellular therapy are also beneficial.
Ingredients to Avoid!
Sodium Laurel Sulfate
Petroleum, Paraffin Petrolatum
Propylene Glycol (any glycol can be drying in the long run)
RetinolActive ingredients that are great for healthy skin can be irritating to sensitive in high amounts:
Ingredients to Slather on!
Organic German Chamomile Essential Oil
Organic Jojoba Oil
Organic Coconut oil
Organic Chamomile Hydrosol (Floral water)
Rosacea is the dermal disease of the modern age, + one of the most extreme forms of sensitivity. A cardiovascular disorder which appears in the form of reddened skin, possible pustules or skin thickness, is becoming as common as the overly stressed skin it attacks.
Acne Rosacea, is also referred to as “adult acne”, as many victims are first affected in their thirties. This is usually because most Rosacea sufferers have been in the pre-Rosacea stage for a long period of time without knowing it.
But there are different kinds of Rosacea.
Types of Roscea
Erythematotelangiectatic Rosacea: Flushing
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea is red + flushing in the central facial area. Stinging, burning sensations, + skin roughness may also occur.
Pure+ simple’s Soothing Mimosa Emulsion gives fast relief from inflamed flushing skin. Also, using a gel base of Aloe Vera, Pure + simple’s Collagen Elastin HCH Serum can reduce redness after hair removal, irritating skincare products, burning from sun, cold or wind exposure.
Papulopustular Rosacea: Pustules
Papulopustular Rosacea is just as is sounds: redness with transient papules or pustules. This is the type which coined the term “adult acne” as is looks like acne vulgaris. Some clients have mistaken it for acne, + have aggravated the problem by treating it like acne; drying it out or exfoliating. The absence of blackheads along with possible burning + stinging sensations prove it to be Rosacea.
Pure + simple Purifying Green Clay Mask can reduce the discomfort of the papules. The Green Clay from costal France is famous for it ability to purify + detoxify skin.
Phymatous Rosacea: Deformation
Phymatous Rosacea is an extreme form of Rosacea. It is most devastating, as it includes the thickening of the skin, irregular surface texture, + deformation of the face. Rhinophyma (bulbous nose) is the most common expression of Phymatous Rosacea, but it may occur in other locations like the chin, forehead, cheeks, + ears.
Ocular Rosacea: Eye Rosacea
Ocular Rosacea symptoms include: watery or bloodshot appearance, foreign body sensations, burning, stinging, dryness, itchiness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, irritation of the skin on the eye lids + irregularity of the eyelid margins.
The four faces of Rosacea
There are degrees of severity to Rosacea. Below, the stages of Rosacea are described. There is no known cure for the disorder, but with care + attention, you can prevent the condition from worsening + progressing to its next stage.
Stage one – pre Rosacea: classic sensitivity with occasional blushing + flushing
Stage two – mild Rosacea: the occurrence of bouts of flushing + heated inflammation which lasts for several hours
Stage three – moderate Rosacea: permanent flushing + redness. Easily aggravated to stinging, burning + heated inflammation. Possible pustules.
Stage four – severe Rosacea: A minority of Rosacea sufferers progress to this stage. Pustules, deformation, bulbous nose. Usually occurs in men, often induced by alcoholism.
Causes of Rosacea
All causes mentioned in sensitive skin section pertain to Rosacea. But Rosacea is primarily cardiovascular disorder, so while other sensitive + reactive skin can be rooted from harsh products or excessive sun exposure, Rosacea is always related to the cardiovascular system. According to Ayurveda, this is a Pitta imbalance to the extreme. Rosacea is definitely heat (Pitta is fire).
Even dermatologists will recommend avoiding things which stimulate the heat in the body like spicy + high temperature foods along with those that are stimulating like caffeine, nicotine + alcohol.
Cardiovascular Stimuli + Heat
Alcohol Spicy food
Avoid living normally
Emotional situations which quicken the heart rate
Digestive System Imbalance
But another aspect which is rarely examined is digestion + elimination. There is definitely a relationship between the two. Pitta governs digestion, as well as digestion is the centre of our immunity + energy. It is how we derive our nutrients. So, when concentrating on our digestive system (our diet + our elimination), Rosacea is greatly helped.
A client of mine who broke out in Papulopustular Rosacea for the first time + was so determined to control her skin, she changed her skincare, improved her diet + started a series of colonics. Her results were impressive. After approximately a year, I could not even tell she had Rosacea. It was a struggle, but with patience + without the use of conventional treatment methods, she has beautiful skin without redness or Rosacea break outs.
Treatments for Rosacea: Conventional Versus Holistic
Often when Rosacea sufferers go to a conventional practitioner, they will be prescribed cortisone + or antibiotics for internal + external use. Cortisone is a steroid. Because cortisone calms inflammation, as it is a hormone which is excreted during time of stress to calm—it takes away redness. But it is a band-aid solution + only worsens the problem in the long run.
It is a poor solution as it not only is being absorbed into our bodies, but it also thins the skin with long-term use. Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that will require long-term protection + care for your skin, + thinning the skin long-term is a harmful to skin health.
A Holistic approach must include calming, healing skincare, a Pitta reducing diet, as well as tending to the emotional + mental aspects of our personality + life.
The digestive element discussed above should also be addressed. I have discovered that lymphatic drainage for Rosacea is very important. Pressure point massage, lymph drainage massage etc help alleviate Rosacea as it drains the lymphs. The lymphatic system runs closely below the surface of the body, above the circulatory system. When this is drained, there is less between the circulatory system + the surface of the skin. This alleviates the pressure of the capillaries against the skin. Redness is reduced + the skin is detoxified.
Our holistic Ayurvedic approach involves the whole body, mind + spirit which reflects the interrelationship of the three parts in our total health + beauty. This is the long term, gentle + effective way to treat any ailment, but take patience + trials for solutions which suit your individual perimeters.