Supporting Sensitive Skin

Rosacea is a common inflammatory skin disorder that requires a medical diagnosis. Knowing which ingredients and products to use when recommending services and home care to clients with rosacea will help you feel confident in your treatments and the support you provide.

Clients with rosacea will typically have hypersensitivity, visible vascularity with notable telangiectasia, chronic flushing of the skin, and, in some cases, papules and pustules.

Rosacea is commonly treated with prescription topical vitamin A, antibiotics, steroids, and antihistamines (including oral medications) to help with flare-ups and breakouts. Devices such as non- ablative lasers, vascular lasers, and intense pulsed light therapy are excellent treatment options for telangiectasia and persistent erythema.

Some of these medications are contraindications for some esthetic services due to the increased photosensitivity and overall impairment of the acid mantle. A thorough consultation and skin analysis
is important for client safety and to offer proper treatment options and home care recommendations.

The goal for rosacea clients is to reduce flare-ups, breakouts, and sensitivity, and achieve overall skin health. Thankfully for esties, there are many product ingredients that support these goals!


Hydration and a balanced acid mantle are essential. The acid mantle has a low pH of 4.5–5.5. It creates a barrier to prevent transepidermal water loss (TEWL) and protects the skin from allergens, bacteria, and environmental aggressors.

Prescription medications and/or lack of proper home care can result in dry, sensitive, dehydrated skin with an impaired acid mantle. Many ingredients help with hydrating the skin and maintaining an optimal barrier function.

An intact barrier can help decrease sensitivity and increase cellular protection in rosacea skin types. A balance of oil and water is critical. The following ingredients in particular are excellent for supporting healthy barrier function.



  • Naturally occurring sphingolipids found in the upper layers of the skin
  • Provides a protective barrier, reducing TEWL
  • Repairs dry, dehydrated skin by improving hydration
  • Beneficial for stressed, sensitive, scaly, rough, dry, aged, and sun-damaged skin
  • Acts as a barrier against bacteria and environmental pollutants

Hyaluronic Acid


  • Powerful humectant that draws moisture from the environment
  • A glycosaminoglycan naturally found in skin
  • Boosts skin’s natural moisture content
  • Protects against TEWL
  • Can hold up to 1,000 times its own molecular weight in water
  • Has multiple derivatives and sizes for different penetration capabilities

Niacinamide (B3)


  • Stabilizing effect on epidermal barrier function
  • Improves water content of the skin
  • Stimulates ceramide creation
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Defends against oxidative stress
  • Helps treat inflammatory acne

Article by Tina Buckley
This article appears in the Summer 2022 issue of ASCP Skin Deep magazine.


ASCP Skin Deep magazine, Summer 2022ASCP Skin Deep magazine

The award-winning ASCP Skin Deep magazine is the premier estheticians' source for the latest trends, techniques, products, and news from the biggest names in the industry. In this issue:
6th Annual Reader's Choice Awards: Your choice, your voice
Merging Physical and Virtual Client Care: Merging physical and digital customer service for spa success
     • A Peel Protocol for Skin Rejuvenation: How Professional chemical peels induce healthy resilient skin




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