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Ask the Doctors: How to Care for My Super-Sensitive Skin

If you are anything like me, just a splash of water from washing your face is enough to flush your complexion into a cherry red tizzy. Whether it’s for day-to-day maintenance or treating problems like congested pores and flare-ups, sensitive skin poses some tricky challenges.

Well don’t sweat it, my fair-faced friends because help has arrived. Three New York skin care specialists weighed in to offer tips and suggestions for products and potions to protect your delicate dermis.

Q: I have clogged pores but have had bad experiences with facials and peels in the past. What skin retexturizing treatments do you recommend for sensitive skin?

A: From Dr. James C. Marotta, facial plastic surgeon and owner of Marotta Facial Plastic Surgery.

Perhaps the most therapeutic topical agent to improve skin texture is Retin-A or a high dose retinol, which is essentially Vitamin A. These agents cause skin cell turnover leading to newer, healthier skin and regeneration of skin collagen. Even sensitive skin can be treated but it’s important to start out at lower concentrations in people who are more sensitive. Of course, it is best to meet with your skin care doctor for personalized recommendations.

Q: What skincare system is safe for my sensitive skin?

A: From dermatologist Dr. Joshua Zeichner, Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

I recommend Cetaphil Gentle Skin cleanser.  It is mild and soap-free, and it can effectively clean even the most sensitive skin. A lanolin-free water-based moisturizer like Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream can hydrate the skin sans an additive that may cause allergic contact dermatitis. It’s especially good for sensitive-skinned patients who have chronic skin concerns like eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

Q: Help! My sensitive skin is having a wicked reaction to a product I’ve tried. Any tips for getting it back to normal quickly?

A: From author of “Skin Rules” cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman of Mount Sinai Medical Center.

You are probably experiencing an adverse reaction. Discontinue use of the product in question. To treat the irritation, you should use an over the counter hydrocortisone cream or gel applied to the affected area, and then take an antihistamine like Benadryl according to package instructions. Besides irritation, allergies may be the culprit. Consider taking a patch test with your dermatologist to identify which product ingredients you are allergic to and should steer clear from, if any.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing