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Recommendations for a few clients with sensitive skin who are looking for all-in-one type products

I am looking for a hydrating night cream that will also provide some exfoliation or cell renewal. My skin is reasonably sensitive, so I can’t use retinol products. What would you recommend for face and body?

The conventional approach for this person would be to put her on an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cream that would both moisturize and have some exfoliating abilities. But conventionally is not the way I would help her. She has already told me her skin is sensitive, so any of the acid products (including AHAs, topical vitamin C, and products with retinol in them) would not be wise for her to use. These types of ingredients will simply further her sensitivities.

I am not a fan of a product having several jobs. I think a moisturizer should moisturize and, in this case, a separate exfoliator would be in order to give this woman the exfoliation and cell renewal she is looking for. Why is it that we want all-in-one products? Because exfoliation is so important to all skin and ages, it is imperative to do this step separately, rather than use a moisturizer with exfoliation capabilities. Those abilities are limited, I assure you.

My recommendation for this person would be to get a good night cream that is appropriate for her particular skin type, and also purchase a good exfoliator that she can use on the sensitive skin she describes. This is where a gel-type peel or gommage comes in handy. It will do an excellent job of getting rid of the dead cells, which also helps to step up cell renewal, while at the same time not irritating her sensitive skin.

My skin seems to be a little red lately on the cheeks. I am 55 years old, so my skin needs some firming abilities and a good moisturizer. Can you give me some ideas?

Do you use AHAs or Retin-A on your skin? The cheek area usually seems to show the signs of capillary damage more so than other parts of our faces. I think this is primarily because when we get flushed, it usually shows up in the cheeks. So be sure not to use AHAs or any other irritating ingredients, including retinols and topical vitamin C products. Also if you get your face in the hot shower water, over time this will definitely cause redness in the cheek area, among other places.

As far as firming, there is nothing short of surgery that will truly lift the skin or firm it up. At 55 you are probably showing the signs of what 55-year-old skin looks like. This may not be consistent with how you want it to look, however.

There really is no cream that will tend to all of the needs of this client. She wants something to help with redness, sagging skin, and hydration. As an aesthetician, I would try to tackle the most prominent problem first. If, for instance, this person really did have a lot of redness, that is where I would concentrate my efforts. Any cream she uses will have moisturizing abilities, but no cream will really be able to firm flaccid skin. I would counsel her on the need to keep hot and cold water off her face and to be aware that sun exposure also affects capillaries, along with alcohol, smoking and caffeine. These can all affect the redness on her cheeks.
If her skin was dehydrated and true-dry and the redness was minimal, I would probably concentrate on having her exfoliate to alleviate any dead cell buildup that may be inhibiting superficial hydration. If her skin was true-dry (oil-dry), I would give her a hydration booster (a glycerin or even oil-based liquid) and an overall good moisturizer for her skin—one that had the capability to help the redness.

It’s not uncommon for people to try and get as much as they can from one product. But when it comes to skin care, especially the facial skin, you always need to start with skin type (how much oil your skin is or isn’t producing) and then look at any other particulars. With this information hopefully you will be able to make informed decisions when it comes to your skin care products.

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