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Mandy: What are the basic dos and don’ts for sensitive skin? For example, am I allowed to get a facial even if I have sensitive skin?


NAME: Gaile Robredo-Vitas, MD, FPDS
CLINIC: DermHQ (Makati)
DR. GAILE SAYS: Most people think they have sensitive skin because they easily react to personal care products applied to their skin. Common reactions include redness, itchiness, tingling or burning sensation, or appearance of bumps on the skin. More often than not, these patients are using more than 5 skin care products; are using products which contain allergens such as fragrances, preservatives, or antibacterials; have pre-existing skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, or skin asthma; or have exposure to harsh chemicals or too much sun on a daily basis.

The following are some tips on how to manage sensitive skin:
1. DO use a mild, soap-free cleanser and wash only 2 to 3 times a day; when you wake up, before bedtime and/or after sweating.
2. DO use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, 365 times a year, reapplying when necessary.
3. DO limit your skin products to 2 to 3 at a time, excluding facial cleanser and sunscreen.
4. DO avoid smoking and too much alcohol consumption.
5. DO use skin care products that match your skin type.
6. DO look for paraben-free products with little to no fragrance.
7. DO test products first before applying them all over your face. Patch-test behind the ears for 3 to 5 days.
8. DO throw out old cosmetics. These can spoil or get contaminated.
9. DO eat healthy. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “Diets high in vitamin C and linoleic acid and low in fat and carbohydrates are associated with fewer wrinkles and age-related dryness and less skin thinning.”
1. DON’T keep trying new creams or treatments every 1-2 weeks. Products need some time to work—about 6 to 8 weeks.
2. DON’T wash your face more than 2 times a day, as this causes skin irritation, leading to breakouts and allergies. Wash only when you wake up, before bedtime, and/or after sweating.
3. DON’T pop, squeeze, or manipulate your bumps or any breakouts.
4. DON’T scrub your skin hard, as it may worsen your already irritated sensitive skin.
5. DON’T sleep in your makeup.
6. DON’T use products which contain alcohol, alpha hydroxyl acids, and retinol, especially if your skin gets easily irritated.
To answer the second question, yes, you can get a facial even if you have sensitive skin, provided you choose one that does not use irritating ingredients and exfoliants such as AHAs or BHAs. Also, make sure that the products used during the facial are fragrance-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic. A facial is not recommended only when you have visibly irritated, red, itchy, and slightly inflamed skin.
Our Sensitive Skin Recovery Facial at DermHQ uses Eau Thermal Avène products, specifically the Micellar Cleanser, Gentle Cleanser, Alcohol-Free Gentle Toner, and Tolérance Extrême. All of these contain the mildest ingredients and use Avène thermal spring water as their base ingredient. The Avène thermal spring water soothes, softens, and calms irritated and sensitive skin.
The Sensitive Skin Recovery Facial is available at DermHQ. Exclusive BeautyMNL Price: 34% OFF at P990. Buy this treatment here.

Specialty: Dermatology, with special interest in lasers and injectables
Length of Practice: 4 years

  • Ateneo de Manila University (Pre-Med)
  • University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (Med School)
  • UP-PGH (Internship)
  • Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. (Dermatology Residency Training)
  • Board-certified by the Philippines Dermatological Society (PDS)

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