BEAUTY FIX: Super Sensitive Skin

Oh, hey there, gross and inexplicable face rash. What am I gonna do about you?

Oct 24, 2011 at 4:00pm | Leave a comment

My skin is crazy unpredictable. It’s not just sensitive, but really volatile, like that one drunk friend who goes from crying to screaming to falling asleep on a bunch of trash bags.

With fall this year came a mask of dry, rashy pinpricks tainting my face. I tried everything from prescription topical treatments to all-natural facials, but nothing helped.

As a beauty writer, I test loads of new products every day, but not many stay in my medicine cabinet for long. Except for my face wash; I’ve been on the same semen-looking stuff for years. You know the one -- the formula Cat told you she loves as well. Last week, though, celebrity dermatologist, Dr. Dennis Gross, put me on to something new.

I stopped by his ultra-chic Park Avenue office for a peel, but he immediately told me to skip it in favor of, get this -- nothing! He inspected my flaky face, advised that I leave it alone, and gave me a full list of sensitive skin care rules that I MUST share with you.

If you’ve got bi-polar skin like mine, environmental aggressors such as a change in temperature can disrupt your skin’s delicate balance and trigger a rash. But that doesn’t mean sensitive skin likes warmth, either. In fact, washing with hot water is totally off limits as it strips the skin and causes dryness. Go with cold instead. And make sure you’re drying with something clean. I use these insanely soft Kleenex paper towels on my face instead of regular towels just to be safe.

Dr. Gross explained the importance of editing down your skin care regimen if you have sensitive skin. A four-step routine feels luxe, but chances are you’re layering on excess ingredients that could potentially trigger a negative reaction. Instead, consolidate to a few gentle multitasking products. Think face wash that effectively removes your makeup and a light oil-free moisturizer.

I left with Dr. Gross’s All-in-One Facial Cleansing Foam, a lovely new wash that I’ve been using since my visit. As for moisturizer, my posh British friend is staying at mine, and I’ve been dipping into her La Mer. If you don’t have a high-end houseguest or the budget for $250 face cream, try Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture Sensitive Skin. My face is looking a lot better already.

Now I want to hear what you do to keep YOUR sensitive skin from freaking out. Am I forgetting something? Tell me in the comments!