Expert Advice for Catering to Clients with Sensitive Skin
Christie Fox Lavigne, director of skin care, Oasis Day Spas in New York City and Westchester, New York: We offer several options, but one of our favorites is the Éminence Organics Calm Skin Facial (60 min./$145). It uses a combination of soothing ingredients such as chamomile, calendula and arnica to reduce signs of redness and inflammation, which is not only a leading cause of skin aging, but also hyperpigmentation. It incorporates lymphatic detox massage as well, to help the body process toxins and impurities. Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do for skin that appears sensitive is to increase circulation to help pump through those impurities.
Pamela Butler, licensed esthetician, Belleza Salon and Spa in Knoxville, Tennessee: We recently started offering the Yon-Ka Paris Sensitive/Anti- Redness Facial (60 min./$120) and are having a great response from clients with this skin type. Each product, ingredient and step is designed for hypersensitive skin, and allows for a customized approach to reactivity. The protocol relieves feelings of discomfort, redness is visibly reduced and the skin is less reactive. We recommend the facial every four weeks along with the homecare regimen.
Jacqueline Moran-Jenkins, licensed esthetician and educator, Trés Auraé Spa in Williamsville, New York: Our Repêchage Red Out Facial (60 min./$150) is perfect for skin that flushes, blushes, or is persistently red or bumpy, and ideal for rosacea and hypersensitive skin—99 percent of clients see a visible difference after one treatment. We also provide the Hydra 4 Facial for Sensitive Skin (60 min./$75), which is especially great for individuals who are reactive to fragrances and perfumes, as well as an IPL laser that helps combat rosacea.
Skin Soothing Products
Butler: My go-tos have always been chamomile because of its anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits, and arnica because it’s so calming and balancing. Also, Yon-Ka’s new cream for sensitive skin combines a sensibiotic￼￼ complex (which is a blend of pre–and probiotics, and sea mayweed) to stimulate the skin’s good ecoflora, boosting its natural defenses to combat aggressors.
Moran-Jenkins: An extremely important ingredient in our Red-Out products is micro silver, which fights hypersensitivity associated with rosacea. It, along with quercetin and rutin, has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The Hydra 4 line includes natural olive and marine extracts. Seaweed is great for sensitive skin, as well. It has similarities to human plasma, and is one of the richest natural sources of antioxidants and vitamins B12, C, E and K. It also has amino acids, trace elements and minerals.
Lavigne: We love anything that helps alleviate stress on the skin, including the aforementioned chamomile, calendula and arnica, as well as shea butter, rose, rosehip, lavender, aloe vera and horse chestnut.
Are there any treatments or products these guests should avoid?
Moran-Jenkins: Products should not contain chemical compounding, artificial dyes or heavy fragrances. We also avoid microdermabrasion, strong acid peels and facials with too much steam.
Lavigne: When the dermis is compromised, you need to take a holistic approach to healing the skin barrier that includes reducing, at least temporarily, the use of anything that strips away its natural protection. That means steering clear of strong topicals (such as retinols or alcohol-based toners), exfoliating acids (such as salicylic or alpha hydroxy acids), mechanical exfoliators and harsh scrubs, as well as anything with parabens.
Butler: Some the main ones to avoid include fragrance, retinoids, alcohols and fruit pit-based scrubs. For treatments, stay away from chemical peels and microdermabrasion, as well as excessive heat.
–by Alexa Joy Sherman