Sensitive Skin, Skin Concern

Treating Sensitive Skin

Get The Best Advice For Sensitive Skin 

Some of us are unlucky with a reactive and red skin even when applying the most ‘gentlest’ of skin products. Often the reaction is due to certain ingredients or even due to an incorrect skin regime. Excessive exfoliation or using too rough exfoliating granules can cause even a normal skin to become sensitive.

If you have sensitive skin or a skin that is predisposed to allergic reactions such as dermatitis more often than not you would have experienced some form of a reaction to an ingredient or product either on your face, hands, chest or body some time in your life. For most of us just simply stopping using the product or ingredient will clear the reaction but unfortunately for some of us we may need medical attention such as a prescription strength cortisone cream.

The first step is to be sure that an allergic reaction is taking place as certain skin disorders may mimic these symptoms such as rosacea, inflamed hair follicles, autoimmune skin disorders and even allergies to certain food types. If you are unsure it is best to consult with your family doctor or use our Face2Face Online Skin Assessment and Consultation.

Avoid Problem Ingredients

The best approach would be to avoid certain known sensitising skin ingredients as prevention is better than cure. One would need to start by finding what skin product(s) or ingredient(s) are causing the problem and then obviously stop using them.

This can be easier said than done as we tend to use a number of ingredients on our skins the best way is to use a process of elimination. My advice would be to start with the most newest addition in your skin care regime and remember it may even be a makeup or primer or even a new shampoo that you are using.

Remember To Always Avoid The Following:

  • Overly abrasive scrubs, brushes and mitts
  • Products that contain ingredients such as alcohol and menthol


  • Toners containing the above irritating ingredients
  • Bar soaps and bar cleansers

Sensitive Skin Care Regime:

The best ingredients for true sensitive skin are the ones that help to calm and soothe inflammatory responses and that do not aggravate the skin or skin conditions.

Gentle facial cleansers such as:

Exuviance Gentle Cleansing Crème, SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser, Dermaceutic Advanced Cleanser and NeoStrata’s Facial Cleanser are perfect for irritated and sensitive skin types. Ingredients such as orange oil (found in SkinCeuticals Gentle Cleanser) are soothing and antiseptic and are known for its ability to help calm sensitive or irritated skin.

NeoStrata and Exuviance use Gluconolactone a PHA found naturally in the skin provides full strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation, even for patients with clinically sensitive skin or rosacea and gently removes makeup, surface oils and impurities without altering the skin’s natural moisture balance.

Dermaceutic uses an exclusive combination of high performance cleansing agents, selected for their optimal skin tolerance properties, and fused with a powerful purifying active removes excess sebum and skin impurities. A unique hydrating complex helps keep skin soft and supple, for superior comfort. Ingredients include:  Xylitol – Anti-dehydration agent which promotes and controls water flow, and improves the appearance of skin micro relief for perfectly hydrated and smoothed skin; Zinc – This anti-seborrheic active (associated with the penetration vector L-PCA) improves the appearance of oily skin and has an anti-microbial action, helping skin to regain clarity; Urea – Optimal moisturizing agent for the epidermis which removes scales from the skin’s surface and restores suppleness; Glycerin – Hygroscopic substance of vegetable origin which provides a hydrating and protective film and removes scales from the skin’s surface.

Skin calming ingredients should also be considered and thyme and cucumber extracts have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiseptic and circulation-stimulation properties. These ingredients can be found in SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective.

The Exuviance Soothing Toning Lotion contains an infusion of botanical extracts, including chamomile, rosemary and cucumber to comfort and hydrate sensitive skin.

Key ingredients for sensitive skin moisturisers include Lactobionic Acid and Gluconolactone.

Lactobionic Acid, a patented non-irritating “Bionic” PHA derived from milk sugar, helps prevent and reverse the appearance of photo-ageing, including fine lines and wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, enlarged pores and roughness. A potent antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to transplant organs, Lactobionic Acid promotes firmness by inhibiting the MMP enzyme responsible for degradation of collagen and consequent wrinkling and skin laxity. A natural humectant, it binds water to create a moisturising barrier on skin.

Gluconolactone, a PHA found naturally in the skin, provides full strength anti-ageing benefits without irritation, even for patients with clinically sensitive skin or rosacea, or those who have had cosmetic procedures. Gluconolactone strengthens the skin’s barrier function, reducing sensitivity to irritants and skin redness over time. It helps preserve skin’s collagen by reducing glycation. Gluconolactone does not increase the potential for sun sensitivity. Products to look out for include NeoStrata’s Bionic Face Cream, Bionic Face Serum and Ultra Moisturising Face Cream.

Dermaceutic’s Restore range is perfect for sensitive skin and includes the Regen Ceutic, K Ceutic, and Hyal Ceutic.

As always a sunscreen is essential for preventing skin ageing and reducing pigmentation marks. My recommendation is sun screens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as these ingredients reflect harmful UV light. My recommendations for sensitive skin include the Heliocare Range, Dermaceutic Sun Ceutic and SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense and Physical Eye UV Defense.

I hope you found the above article beneficial in treating and understanding sensitive skin. Pease feel free to send me any questions you may have regarding ytour skin or feel free to take the Face2Face Skin Assessment (a free online skin consultation and skin assessment) for a personal skin care regime recommended by me.

Kind regards

Dr Alek Nikolic


About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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One thought on “Treating Sensitive Skin

  1. Helen says:

    I’ve just started using the phyto corrective and it has made a big difference for my sensitive skin, would highly recommend it

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