Monday, 22 July 2019 10:16

Handle with Care: Offering Services for Sensitized Skin

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Today, more and more people are presenting with skin sensitivity and reactions, and it is only natural to ask, “Why?” Why are so many people reacting or becoming sensitive to products they have used for years? Julian Cribb, author of “Surviving The 21st Century,” says “Earth and all life on it are being saturated with man-made chemicals in an event unlike anything in the planet’s entire history.”


The average person is experimenting with every beauty treatment that promises to retain their youth. In doing this, they are overusing glycolic acids, retinoids, chemical peels, mechanically exfoliating treatments, and laser treatments. Many of these treatments require an injury to occur in order to get the best result. As the old saying goes, without a reaction there is no action to make a difference. With every reaction, the skin’s immune system kicks in to start the healing process. The body is an amazing healer if left to its own system. So often, individuals get in the way, causing injury to the skin and creating needless sensitivity, in hopes to find youth. The tissue around the eye area is another great concern where sensitivity is occurring due to so many products migrating and thinning the skin.



 Having options for sensitized skin, like facials and other treatments, will allow a professional to keep up with an ever-changing society. It would be beneficial to have a brochure if offering sensitive services. “We cater to persons with sensitivity issues and allergies. Please advise staff at the time of booking, so they can best accommodate you to ensure your experience and treatment will be relaxing, stress-free, and result driven.”


If faced with a lot of sensitive clients, invest in a miniature fridge, juicer, and a cup warmer. Get to know the owners of a local fruit and vegetable market, as well as a nutrition or vitamin store. Buy fruits and vegetables to make natural products in seconds to use on clients. Before the fruits and vegetables go bad, take them home and enjoy with family. Just like gathering favorite recipes to prepare a favorite meal, professionals can gather recipes for making products that can be whipped up for sensitive clients.


Ingredients safe for most sensitive skins

Items to have on hand to create on the spot products

Irritants to avoid

Coconut oil


Isopropyl alcohol

Jojoba oil


Sodium chloride

Aloe juice



Charcoal caplets


Salicylic acids

Calendula extract


Alpha hydroxy acids




Shea butter

Artificial sweetener

Chemical sunscreens


Colloidal oatmeal




Certain dyes

Castel soap

Cucumber seed oil


Witch hazel

Grape seed oil

Aluminum compounds

Green tea

Olive oil



Rice milk



Almond milk


Borage oil



Hyaluronic acid

Coconut oil











In doing facial treatments on sensitized skin, overwashing the skin, using exfoliants, and steam are not the best choices. This is when knowing the client and using gentle products will get the best results.



Here is a great protocol for dry, sensitized skin (make sure the client is not sensitive to any of the ingredients used).


 Make the client comfortable in the facial bed. Tell them the treatment is going to start with warm towels to their feet and apply a cream on their feet to start pampering them. Find out what products they are using. This is the best time to talk with the client and find out more about their sensitivity and reactions before shining the bright light on them and examining their skin. Stay at the client’s feet and gently apply the cream until there is a concrete sense of the direction being taken. Wash your hands, cover the client’s eyes, turn on the magnifying light, and examine the skin. It is a clever idea to also take pictures, with the client’s consent.


All facials should be done with four by four woven sponges, soft cotton, or soft, disposable, natural sponges. Facial towels tend to be too rough and sensitive skin might be aggravated by the laundry detergent. The temperature of water used on sensitive skin should tepid and more on the cooler side.


Sensitized skin facial:

  • To cleanse, combine two slices of peeled apple, half a cup of plain yogurt, half a teaspoon of olive oil, and half a teaspoon of honey in a food processor. Then, apply all over the face, avoiding the eyes, and rinse well with water.
  • Tone with green tea.
  • Next, re-cleanse, tone again, and exfoliate.


Cleansing, toning, and exfoliating facial for all skin types:

  • Make sure the client has no open cuts or blemishes on the face
  • Combine one eighth of a cup of finely ground almonds with two tablespoons of milk or cream and mix thoroughly
  • Gently use on the skin and rinse well
  • Slightly warm towels
  • Gently extract
  • Tone with chamomile tea
  • Massage in jojoba oil
  • Mask


Moisturizing, firming, and regenerating facial:

  • Mix together one egg yolk, one teaspoon of honey, and one package of plain gelatin
  • Apply to the skin and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Rinse
  • Moisturize with water-based moisturizer



When doing a massage on a sensitized skin client, it is advisable to avoid any friction in the massage effleurage movements. Long, smooth, relaxing, light pressure strokes are best. Ice balls and cool stones make for a great massage.



Dermaplaning can be a great way to exfoliate and get rid of facial hair for those too sensitive for facial waxing. Apply latex-free gloves and wash and dry your hands in the gloves, getting off any debris that might have settled on the gloves in the box. Normal preparation for dermaplaning is done with a cleanser, alcohol, and acetone. A sensitized skin preparation would be a cleanser that leaves no residue, letting the skin dry completely. Using a scalpel and 10-gauge blade, glide over the skin at a 45-degree angle, keeping the skin taught while working back and forth. After completion of the dermaplaning, apply cool compresses over the skin. Massage a rosemary gel mask into the skin. A good moisturizer might include a silver solution in it. Finish with a zinc oxide sunscreen.



There are several oxygen companies that have sensitive products and many of the companies carry various serums full of antioxidants, hydration, and desensitizing ingredients. The premise behind an oxygen facial is to input highly concentrated molecules of oxygen combined with serums sprayed into the epidermis by creating a pressurized oxygen bubble with a low molecular weight hyaluronic acid. This helps to boost collagen while detoxing the skin. This calms the skin and helps sensitive, irritated skin.


Oxygen facials should be done after a dermaplaning session to give impressive results. Adding a sensitive massage with the serums at the end creates a treatment that will bring clients back each and every month for the most smoothly relaxing treatment.



 Here are the steps and a diagram for a sensitive massage. This massage is great to calm down oily skin that many extractions were performed on. It also works as a sedative on skin. For best results, on sensitized or oily skin, use a rosemary gel or sensitive gel to massage the skin. The massage is set up in 10 areas of the face, with each step repeated three times. Movements are slow without breaking contact.

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Apply massage lotion on both hands. Starting at zone 10, gently and lightly glide your fingertips across all areas in an upward motion toward zone one.


Area 10

Place palms across area 10 and stroke hands up to the jawline. Do this a total of 10 to 15 strokes and then close fists and roll knuckles upwards.


Area One

Glide hands up the side of the face to area one. Place thumbs together at the top of the forehead at the hairline and, with firm pressure, glide thumbs outward to the temples. Press with tiny circular movements to the count of three and then release. Repeat three more times while traveling to the tops of the eyebrows.


Area Two

Pinch the inside corner of the eyebrow (A in area two) with the thumbs and index fingers of both hands. Pinch gently, alternating hands, while traveling toward the outside edge of the eyebrow. Do the same on the other eyebrow. Repeat two more times, alternating eyebrows.


Areas Two, Three, and Four

Press the index fingers on the pressure point near the eye socket bones, located just below the inside of the eyebrow, for the count of three and release. Using the thumb, ring, and index fingers, place one on the outer corner of the eye, holding the skin, while taking the index finger on the other hand to circle outwards around the eye. End the circle in the inner corner of the eye and press for the count of one, then release. Do each eye three times and end with pressing on both inner eyes.


Areas One and Five

Place the index and middle fingers onto area five and glide upward with firm pressure toward the forehead in different directions. Repeat three times. Gently press in zone one, gliding the fingers away from the bridge of the nose toward area six. When stopped, gently press firmly and slightly outwards.


Area Seven

Glide the fingers to the bottom of area seven and apply a light amount of pressure. While moving in tiny circular movements toward the nose, apply pressure to the count of three. Glide back down and repeat three times by gliding the fingers to the beginning point and up in circular motions to the outside corners of mouth. Press and repeat a total of three times.


Area Five (upper mouth area)

Place the index fingers in the center of area five (upper lip) and simultaneously glide firmly outward, stopping at the outside corners of the mouth. Do this a total of three times.


Area Six

Glide the fingers around the mouth to area six. Using the fingertips, start at the chin, massaging outward from the chin to the bottom of the earlobe in circular motions. Repeat a total of three times each. Glide the fingers to the corner of the mouth, massaging in circular motions to the middle of the ear. Repeat three times and glide to the outside of the nostrils and massage in circular motions up to the temples. Repeat three times.


Chin of Area Five and Area Eight

Glide the fingers to area eight, meeting in the center of zone five near the chin. Using the index and middle finger on each hand, gently glide the fingers up area eight, ending at the base of the ear. Apply slight pressure to the end of the jaw with circular motions for a count of three and glide back to the beginning. Repeat a total of three times.


Area Nine

Gently grasp the earlobes between the thumb and index fingers and massage in a rolling motion. Gently travel upwards the entire rim of the ear. When at the top, grasp the entire ear and pull the ear upwards and downwards. Repeat a total of three times.


Area 10

Glide the hands down the neck, working the hands up towards the side, onto the back of the neck. Then, form knuckles with the hands and work the knuckles toward the back side of the neck and under the shoulders. Glide down the face and around the shoulders.


Area 10 to Three

Glide the hands around from the back of the neck slowly up the sides of the face, applying firm pressure by pressing at the temples, gliding onto the forehead and alternating hands. When finished with the massage, remove the massage gel with a moist four by four and then apply a mask with two fan brushes. After applying the mask, let the client rest or massage their hands and feet. Remove the mask with four by fours.


Chemical peels should be avoided on sensitive, thin skin. Sensitive, dry skin tends to get a buildup of dead skin cells, but peels can be too harsh to use. Mechanical exfoliation, like microdermabrasion, can easily aggravate and tear thin, sensitive skin. Physical exfoliation with any grains or enzymes can heighten sensitivity. There are so many aggressive treatments that are detrimental to sensitive skin. Skin care professionals need to be compassionate toward this skin condition.



Ellie MalminEllie Malmin is a true entrepreneur celebrating her 40th year in the beauty industry. Malmin is a licensed cosmetologist and electrologist and was an active makeup judge in the late ‘80s and ‘90s. She now enjoys being a judge in the eyelash industry and actively teaches and mentors students in her Lash Brow Makeup Academy. She is co-founder of Anushka Spa, Salon and Cosmedical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Malmin is on several advisory boards throughout the industry and she is the author of several training manuals. She has developed training programs for numerous beauty manufacturers and eyelash companies and is a national public speaker and educator. Malmin is actively working with dermatologists, allergists, and pathologists on her latest discovery of secondary sensitivity and how it is affecting the eyelash business and what can be done about it.

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