Tingling eyes, burning skin and an itchy rash are three things you don't want a client to mention half way through their treatment; but skin sensitivities can provoke a range of tricky symptoms.
Being aware of specific ingredients that could aggravate the skin, and knowing how to care for sensitive complexions, can be the difference between a fantastic treatment and a trip to the dermatologist.
Here's how you can tackle sensitive skin head on.
1. Ask The Question
Although consultations are standard, some people don't instantly realise they have sensitive skin. Before you start the treatment, chat to them about the products they use, and ask them if anything has ever caused skin flare-ups or any redness they've noticed lately.
2. Do Your Research
It may be difficult to pinpoint every trigger for skin aggressors, but becoming familiar with certain product ingredients can arm you with invaluable knowledge. Here are some of the culprits to look out for:
- Methylisothiazolinone - As a common preservative, this ingredient has recently been named as the number one trigger in one of the worst skin allergy outbreaks ever seen.
- Essential oils - Yes, really. These natural oils are deceptive; although they seem mild and organic, they're full of allergens and, if the concentration is too high, can cause discomfort to those with very sensitive skin.
- Sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) - Present in everything from foaming cleansers to household products, SLS and SLES can upset the protective layer of oils on the skin.
- Petrochemicals and synthetic emollients - These are known irritants, as they create an oily layer on the skin. This prevents moisture from escaping, which may give us a subtle glow, but actually blocks pores and causes a build-up of bacteria, leading to itching and stinging.
3. Calm Down
As important as it is to familiarise yourself with the bad ingredients, make sure you're also aware of what soothing agents will help calm the skin, if a flare up does occur. Try to look for anti-inflammatory ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile, cucumber extract, vitamin E, feverfew and oatmeal to regulate moisture levels and calm inflammation. These are all items that can also be found in over-the-counter skincare, therefore suggest brands such as Pai, Elemis, SkinCeuticals and Avene to your clients, so they can adapt their daily regime accordingly.
4. Keep Cool
Skincare products aside, there's also other considerations to take into account when advising your clients of managing sensitive skin. Heat is a key trigger and can cause extreme redness, itchiness, swelling and, at times, pain as the capillaries over-dilate. Keep your treatment room cool and refrain from using hot cloths, heated blankets or abrasive exfoliators. Advise your client to stay out of the sun and to avoid spicy foods and alcohol, which can raise the body's temperature and cause a reaction.
Keep all of this in mind, and apply it when necessary to ensure you can handle any client that comes your way.
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