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How to Combat Aging When You Have Sensitive Skin

A variety of factors contribute to aging skin – getting older is inevitable after all – and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all panacea for sagging or fine lines. 

But if you also suffer from sensitive skin, you may deal with harsh reactions to some of the anti-aging products that are available on the market.

The good news is you’re not the only one out there whose skin gets irritated easily, and countless people have dealt with the same thing you are. The skin is your largest organ, after all, so whether you’re looking for a nighttime skincare routine or the best anti-aging serum for sensitive skin, there are many ways you can fight aging while still being kind to that most-delicate of organs.

Signs of Sensitive Skin

If you’re reading this, chances are you probably know what type of skin you have, but there are a variety of warning signs that can indicate your skin may be more sensitive than others:

  • You have a history of hay fever, eczema and allergies
  • You’ve experienced three or more bad reactions to a specific brand or skincare product, including soap, hand creams, or lotion
  • Your skin is itchy when you apply certain products
  • You’re sensitive to fragrances
  • You have had bad reactions to sunscreens or topical prescriptions

There’s a difference between sensitive skin and allergies, too. Allergic reactions are typically more robust than dried out skin or light sensitivities.If you have an allergic reaction to an ingredient in a skincare product you’re using, some common symptoms include redness, burning, rash, extreme itching, and hives. If any of these occur, seek medical attention. 

Signs of Aging

The world of “anti-aging” skincare treatments can be confusing: what exactly are these solutions doing, and are they actually reversing aging? Not really, but the right products can help to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and restore a more youthful brightness to your skin. 

Anti-aging skincare is about maintaining and protecting a youthful look, and certain ingredients have demonstrated in repeat clinical studies that they can do exactly that. Most are intended to speed up the skin cell turnover process, smoothing scars and damage while supporting strong elastin and collagen underneath the surface.

Starting an anti-aging skincare routine earlier in life can help prevent the look of aged skin later in life; however, many people don’t even think about using these products until aging signs begin. If you begin to notice that your skin is changing, you should consider switching up your skincare products too. Maybe it’s time to begin introducing those anti-aging ingredients -- of which there are a few -- to minimize the look of aging skin. Some tell-tale signs include:

  • Loss of elasticity, which causes your skin to become loose and saggy
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Dry, flaky patches 
  • Sun spots
  • Dark under-eye circles
  • Pale, sallow complexion
  • Dullness

If you notice any of these signs, there are a variety of well-vetted ingredients that can help combat the aging process. 

Factors that Contribute to the Aging Process

There’s nothing you can do about getting older, and changes in your skin are inevitable. However, there are contributing factors that speed up the aging process and cause additional, avoidable damage to the skin. That’s right: some of the causes of aging skin are avoidable with the right steps. If you know what these are, you can limit damaging factors and help to slow and minimize the aging process.

Sun exposure is a major factor. UV rays damage elastin in the skin, and this loss leads to saggy and stretchy skin. Sun exposure also causes age spots. UV damage is a key factor in how fast we age, and for anyone serious about youthful skin a regular sun protectant is a must. 

Obesity affects the skin too, causing stretching and the loss of luster. Dryness can lead to older-looking skin and makes skin even more sensitive. Other factors that lead to excess lines and wrinkles on the face include smoking, environmental toxins, stress, and lack of sleep. Staying hydrated and a healthy diet are also important to great skin, so get plenty of water and don't neglect what you eat.

General Advice When Choosing Anti-Aging Products for Sensitive Skin

The challenge for those with sensitive skin when it comes to finding the right anti-aging products is that many of the effective treatments contain harsh ingredients that can cause irritation – even for those with regular skin. They’re not always appropriate for those with skin that’s easily irritated.

For example, one of the most effective treatments for skin conditions of all types, and especially for the improvement of fine lines and wrinkles, are retinoids. These Vitamin A derivatives accelerate skin cell turnover, aiding in the healing process and restoring brightness to the complexion. 

Retinoids like retinol are available in many over-the-counter skincare treatments. They can help, but they’re not as powerful as prescription-grade retinoids like tretinoin or tazarotene. 

People with sensitive skin might start with an over-the-counter retinoid like retinol or its even weaker cousins retinal esters (retinyl palmitate for example) or retinaldehyde, both of which tend to be a little more tolerable for those addressing aging with sensitive skin. To help brighten the skin, look for those that contain ingredients from natural sources such as fruit. Fighting free radicals is an important part of fighting the aging process too, and antioxidants are one key factor. Vitamin C is one of the best options for the skin, and it can be great for sensitive skin. When searching for skin-friendly skincare products, look for those that also contain soothing ingredients like green tea, chamomile and aloe vera.

OTC Retinoids or Prescription?

The problem that many people find when they begin using OTC products for aging skin is that their effects are so mild they never even notice them! 

Still others start with prescription retinoids that are just too strong, like tazarotene. Be careful when getting started, as some prescription ingredients are newer than others, and their safety & potency may not be as well understood. 

That’s why at Nava MD we’ve focused on making prescription-strength skincare with the help of a clinician easier than ever. It’s all done through telemedicine, which is when a patient and their clinician communicate without ever being together in-person. Nava MD provides trusted advice and patient-specific formulas from licensed medical professionals. 

Our anti-aging formulations are blended for your condition and at variable strengths to accomodate any skin type. They contain tretinoin, one of the most trusted and well-known retinoids on the market, plus niacinamide, another prescription-strength ingredient known for its gentle anti-inflammatory properties and ability to aid in diminishing fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also intended to help reduce the sensitivities that many people experience with retinoids.

Younger-looking skin is as easy as filling out our online medical intake form and completing your order online. If approved, your custom prescription cream will be in the mail in no time, and your clinician is only a message away through the Nava MD patient portal if you have follow-up questions or concerns.

Sun and Facial Protection for Sensitive Skin

Proactive treatment is great, but one of the best ways to get youthful skin right now is to prevent aging in the first place. 

Start by protecting your skin from the sun. What’s the issue? Sunburns and UV rays are incredibly bad for your skin.

For background, melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color and defends it against the sun’s rays. Melanin works by darkening your unprotected skin during sun exposure, and the amount of melanin you produce is determined by genetics. A sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to UV radiation damage to the skin’s outermost layers. Due to melanin, some people burn in the sun while others tan, but both are signs of cellular damage. That’s right – even your summer tan is a sign of damage. Sunburn is when unprotected sun exposure causes skin cells to become red, and swollen – due to radiation damage. A burn that peels is your body ridding itself of those damaged cells. Yikes. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, just five sunburns can double your risk of skin cancer.

Using sunscreen daily is imperative, but not all products are created equal. Look for sun protection that contains natural ingredients, such as minerals, and are hydrating. You can also protect your face by wearing a large-brimmed hat. The eye area is one of the most sensitive areas of the face, and it’s also one of the first places aging signs begin to show. When applying sun protection or anti-aging creams, use a light and gentle touch, especially around the areas under the eyes.

Don’t neglect your neck, chest and hands either. Over time, the neck skin gets saggy and wrinkly as collagen and elastin production fall off with age, and the chest shows wrinkles as well. When you apply any anti-aging creams to your face, make sure you’re also applying to the neck and chest area at the same time. The hands are especially sensitive to aging, and dry climates further accelerate the aging signs. Apply a natural hand cream regularly.

Get Anti-Aging Advice from Experts

Navigating the vast anti-aging skincare world can be overwhelming, especially if you suffer from sensitive skin. Instead, let an experienced clinician develop a customized skincare formula and routine for you. At Nava MD, you can get anti-aging advice without leaving your house. Through an online consultation, our clinicians can prescribe the right products for your skin's needs, delivered right to your front door if approved. 

Get started today – quickly and easily – by clicking here.


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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice.
Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency