The Hydroxy Glow: Managing your sensitive skin with ASI’s SENSITIVE PRO PEEL

It can be easy to feel frustrated and ‘left out’ of the beauty game when you have a sensitive skin. Redness, itchiness, even breakouts or rashes are always a looming possibility every time you reach for a new product or try a new treatment. When it comes to choosing skincare, it may leave you feeling like you don’t have a lot of options, but the key to getting control of your sensitive skin is to firstly understand that sensitive skin is very rarely a ‘skin type’ that you have been cursed with for all eternity… sensitive skin is most often an acquired ‘skin condition’... and that, beauty lovers, we can definitely work to improve.

Why is my skin sensitive?

The surface of our skin plays one of the most important roles in the human body. Like your own pose of private bodyguards, the Stratum Corneum (a specialised layer of keratinised skin cells) together with the Acid Mantel (a thin film made up of lipids and amino acids secreted from the skin’s oil and sweat glands) and our Microbiome (a diverse collection of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and mites that live on our skin) team up to form a natural, invisible shield that acts as an interface between you and the world.

When healthy and balanced, this skin barrier not only protects our insides from environmental assaults (think sun, wind, heat) but it also secretes natural moisturising factors (NMF) that keep your skin soft, supple and hydrated as well as enzymes that break down excess sebum and antigens that retard the growth of bad bacteria. And because bacteria thrive in an alkaline environment, the skin cleverly sits at a slightly acidic PH of around 5.5.

This perfect skin biome is powered by your skin’s metabolism; skin cells communicating and working together underneath that protected surface, to produce collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid as well as fresh new baby skin cells that will eventually work their way to the surface to become part of your protective skin barrier.

Skin sensitivity is caused when your skin’s barrier function is interrupted. You may have heard of it referred to as an ‘impaired barrier function’. This impairment can be caused by external factors such as extreme temperatures, sun and pollution or by tipping your skin’s PH to alkaline through the use of soapy cleansers and aggressive astringents. It can also be caused by medications, diet and lifestyle choices such as smoking.

Once the barrier is compromised, the cells beneath the surface stop communicating efficiently and the whole metabolism slows down causing the barrier to become thin, weak and dehydrated, opening the door to allergens and irritants that cause skin reactions and sensitivities as well as inflammatory skin disorders such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. How do I restore my skin’s barrier function?

Although the makeup of your skin’s natural barrier is partly up to genetics and most definitely affected by climate, two things that you can not control; there are some steps you can take together with healthy lifestyle choices (such as not smoking, cutting back on sugar and other inflammatory foods and drinking more water) to actually restore and strengthen your skin’s barrier function.

The right kind of cleanser: Start by using a PH balancing cleanser. Air pollutants such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons can have damaging effects on cell function and while it’s important to ensure these pollutants are not left to build up on your skin, it’s equally important to ensure you are not using harsh soapy cleansers with aggressive surfactants that will cause an irritating ‘PH shift’ and cause your skin’s PH to become alkaline.

Try the Rejuvenating Foaming Cleanser or Radiant Cream Cleanser from ASI. These cleansers both contain EFA (essential fatty acids) in the form of Avocado Oil and Macadamia Oil that have a chemical profile similar to that found in human skin. They are able to nourish and relieve skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis as well as normalise the skin’s barrier integrity by maintaining a balanced PH.

Send your skin a message: Peptides are one of the most exciting revolutions in skin care because they work by actually telling your skin to produce more collagen. Made up of short chains of amino acids, Peptides are the building blocks of proteins and have the ability to penetrate through the skin barrier, diving deep into your living skin cells and commanding them to regenerate collagen and other proteins such as elastin and hyaluronic acid. It’s the perfect pep-talk a skin with an impaired barrier function needs! Try ASI’s Multi-Peptide Serum, full of hydrating hyaluronic acid and Oligopeptide; a strong anti-inflammatory that calms redness and sensitivity as well as helping to prevent hyperpigmentation by controlling melanin production. Read more about the amazing anti-ageing and skin healing benefits of Peptides on my blog: Pep-talking Your Way To A Younger Looking Skin!

Bring in the reinforcements: Adding Antioxidants to your skin care routine will prevent potential damage cause by exposure to environmental aggressors like UV radiation and pollution. Vitamins A, C and E, Avocado Oil as well as Niacinamide (vitamin B3) and Zinc are just some skincare ingredients that will help to neutralise free radical activity in the skin. R3 - Relieve, Restore, Repair cream from ASI is a potent, multipurpose remedy loaded with pure restorative Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory Calendula and is the perfect go to for any skin sensitivity or irritation. Or try Pure Hydration Concentrate; bursting with Sodium Hyaluronate, this soothing and cooling serum literally pulls water molecules from the surrounding air and binds them to your skin to deeply hydrate. The added Vitamin A and Avocado Oil helps to heal the skin by supporting normal growth and development new skin cells while blocking damage caused by free radicals.

Rev up your cellular turnover with ASI’s Sensitive Skin Pro Peel: The key to reducing skin sensitivity is to ensure your skin’s protective barrier is strong. To do this your skin’s metabolism needs to be ticking over at a steady pace, producing lots of new baby skin cells and allowing for effective cell-to-cell communication. For that to happen your skin’s protective barrier needs to be intact. Any kink in the armour may leave your skin open to reactions and sensitivities. To strengthen the skin’s protective barrier you need to first and foremost use skin care that will prevent moisture from escaping, known as TEWL (transepidermal water loss) but you also need to rev up your cellular turnover by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin and increasing ceramides; the lipids that help form the skin’s barrier and essentially lock in moisture. The Sensitive Pro Peel developed by ASI uses a gentle 5% formulation of both super hydrating Lactic Acid and regenerative Glycolic Acid to break up the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface and encouraging new healthy cells to move up faster. The Sensitive Skin Pro Peel will strengthen a compromised skin barrier by regenerating collagen and elastin plus boosting ceramides.

Available as an in-clinic facial at Brazilian Beauty or as a do-it-yourself kit from Australian Skin Institute; having a Sensitive Skin Pro-Peel once a month as part of your skin’s regular skin care routine will keep your sensitivity in check and ensure your skin has the fundamental building blocks for proper function.

Don’t skip the sunscreen: And it goes without saying that using a sunscreen every single day is a MUST no matter what skin type or condition you have. No matter whether you live on a tropical island or in the glaciers of Norway… UV radiation, which penetrates even on a cloudy day, will damage your skin’s barrier and ultimately your skin’s DNA; affecting the way your cells behave and leaving your skin open to sensitivity and reactions. An easy way to ensure you don’t forget to slap on the sunscreen is to use a daily moisturiser containing zinc. Zinc is a fantastic, chemical free option for protecting your skin from the sun. Unlike chemical sunblocks, zinc oxide effectively shields the skin by physically reflecting both UVA and UVB radiation from the second you apply it to your skin… so you don’t need to wait 20+ minutes for the sunblock to take effect before heading out. Plus, zinc is fundamental for new skin cell production, helping with collagen synthesis and DNA repair (great for wound healing and strengthening the skin) it also side-hustles as an anti-inflammatory & anti-bacterial agent, helping to alleviate Eczema, Dermatitis and active Acne. Use the Rejuvenating Day Cream from ASI, a potent cosmeceutical moisturiser full of illuminating Vitamin B3, hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, and protective Zinc and read more about the skin health benefits of zinc in my blog: That’s Amazinc!.. The 1 ingredient you must have in your skincare!