Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sensitive (S) skin type - rosacea type

This is my skin type - characterized by recurrent flushing of the skin combined with facial redness and feeling hot sensations! It is an acneiform condition affecting those 25 to 60 years old. (Acneiform means it has pustules and break-outs that resemble acne, but aren't acne.) Those of us with this skin type also get the fun and excitement of salient telangiectases, or small dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin on the nose, cheeks, and chin.

Having a rosacea skin type does not mean you have rosacea, just that you have features of it, like sensitivity to ingredients and lots of redness! It may be caused by acne or too much sun and cold exposure or idiopathic reasons (doctor speak for "we don't know). You can have dry or oily skin with the rosacea skin type, and each requires a different type of product to help.

The key to treating this skin type is to reduce irritation and redness by using lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients. Ideally we could reduce those little blood vessels, neutralize free-radicals, and decrease the immune response that causes the inflammation...but those are really hard for the home crafter. And we want to prevent further damage by including occlusive ingredients in our products. So let's take a look at what we can use to help rosacea type skin.

Neutralizing free radicals is simple-ish. We can add oil soluble anti-oxidants to anhydrous things (like Vitamin E), or water soluble anti-oxidants to everything else. To get the Vitamin E, add it in or use an oil high in Vitamin E. For the water soluble anti-oxidants, there are tons of various extracts that will help us add anti-oxidizing and free radical scavenging properties to our products. (I would write a list of these things here, but it would take about 2 pages! Most of our oils and extracts contain anti-oxidants.)

Reducing inflammation is also simple-ish. We want to use lots of anti-inflammatory ingredients, which can include extracts, hydrosols, oils, butters, and other ingredients. Here are a few suggestions for anti-inflammatory ingredients suitable for dry or oily rosacea type skin...
  • aloe vera
  • cucumber extract
  • feverfew
  • salicylic acid
  • chamomile (hydrosol and extract)
  • collodial oatmeal
  • sulfur
  • witch hazel
  • zinc oxide (great for adding to mineral make up products!)
For the oily skin type, we can't really use oils containing lots of ß-sitosterol, so we must turn to water based ingredients to find our anti-inflammatory, soothing, and moisturizing qualities. Consider using aloe vera or hydrolyzed proteins for the film forming properties of the polysaccharides, and use allantoin to act as a barrier from further damage.

Those of you with a dry skin type want to use moisturizing oils and butters, so choose those with lots of linoleic acid or GLA, ß-sitosterols, and other anti-inflammatory properties. Any of the butters will help here, and consider using these oils, all of which are high in phytosterols (to reduce inflammation) and Vitamin E (anti-oxidant).
As a note, I know olive oil doesn't contain a ton of linoleic acid or GLA, but it has great phytosterols and squalane, which is fantastic for dry skin. Use this in combination with another great oil if you are a particularly dry skinned person!

Exotic oils
We can prevent further damage by using occlusive ingredients to prevent further sun or wind damage. Those of you with dry skin can use any of the three approved barrier ingredients - cocoa butter, dimethicone, or allantoin. Those of us with oily skin can use allantoin and, possibly, dimethicone. (Dimethicone at higher centistokes - like 1000 cs - will not penetrate your skin, and some oily skinned people could benefit from the layer of occlusion it can create.)

Use a sunscreen. (For the love of all that is good, do not make your own!) I know it can be hard for any sensitive skin type or oily skin type to find a sunscreen that works well because they can irritate or cause more break-outs, but it's a small price to pay for less wrinkly, less cancer prone, and more protected skin! If you have dry skin, choose whatever works for you. If you have oily skin, then try to find something that contains a lot of water soluble esters - look for words like "PEG" or "ester" - because these are better for oily skin types.

Join me tomorrow for the other two sensitive skin types - stinging and allergic.


eemee said...

Yay, I agree wholeheartedly! I have been formulating a cream for dry sensitive skin like my own by testing a whole bunch of raw ingredients for more than a year.

I am using many of the oils you mention here and I'm amazed that you can get it so right if you don't have sensitive skin yourself! Well done.

Regarding a sunscreen for sensitive skin, it can be horrendously difficult to find anything non-itching and I think a good everyday option is to go for a natural mineral powder make up with a good SPF. Use your suitable moisturising cream, give it a little while to sink in then put the powder on, you're set to go and comfortable all day.

Remember that you really need to protect your skin, whatever its type, against skin cancer - it happened to my sister here in the UK where we don't exactly have brilliant sunlight every day.

eemee said...

Oops, sorry, you did mention that you had sensitive skin - silly me!

But it does show that these things do
actually work for our skin type.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I love the mineral make-up option! Oils are not our friends!

Although, I have found one that works for me - it's gone now, but it was a mineral oil based one from the Body Shop. Mineral oil forms an occlusive layer and doesn't sink into your skin, which means we rosacea and acne types can use them. But I know that mineral oil is a no-no for a lot of people, so I don't suggest it. Personally, it worked really well for me. I still have a bit of it left - I had my mom hoard some for me last time she went to England - so I'm okay for my facial skin this year. Next year, however - EEEK!

Dianne Bowler said...

Hi Susan
Happy New Year and thank you so much for your fantastic blog. It's the first time I'm actually excited about learning Chemistry!!!

I am about to try my first gentle exfoliating and moisturiser formulation for my 19 year old daughter who suffers with redness and very sensitive skin. A friend told me about Paula's Choice so I had look at her redness notes and she lists the following products to avoid:

Skin-Care Ingredients that Make Rosacea Worse

Skin-care ingredients that make rosacea worse include the following, and, shockingly, they often show up in skin-care products whose labels claim they are specifically for those with rosacea:

Fragrant plant extracts such as cinnamon, rosemary, lavender, and rose
Synthetic fragrances
All essential oils (which are really just more fragrance)
Lemon, lime, menthol, peppermint, pine, and cedar
Alcohol (listed as SD alcohol or alcohol denatured)
Witch hazel

I was going to use Green Tea extract and some Chamomile Hydrosol and I was wondering what your thoughts are these exclusions.