What really is sensitive skin

Dr. Christine Choi Kim (CCK): “It is the subjective feeling of burning, itching and stinging – either alone or after applying a skincare product. There isn’t one type of skin that is the classic picture of sensitive skin. You can be oily and have sensitive skin, blemish-prone and have sensitive skin or more traditionally people think dry skin is sensitive. But really, sensitivity affects all skin types.”

sensitive skin
Drops of Youth Liquid Peel, $34.90
sensitive skin
Himalayan Charcoal Mask, $32.90

Common types of acne and how to treat them

CCK: “Acne starts with congested pores. The congesting can look like blackheads, whiteheads and can just be under the surface of the skin and not necessarily inflammatory. In particular, inflammatory acne, the painful, deep cysts and pustules that are red and inflamed start from that congested, clogged pore, which then ruptures under the surface of the skin. Inflammatory cells then come to the area and that’s what we see as the big red spot. In terms of treatment, we prefer using the same approach. Firstly, we always have to keep our pores clean as that really is the source of all acne. The Drops of Youth Liquid Peel is a wonderful exfoliant that you could use twice a week and if you do end up having inflammatory acne, you might want to use the tea tree oil range instead because it has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a little bit more targeted towards calming down the red, painful, tender spots. Another way I like to approach acne is with masks. For instance, the Himalayan Charcoal Mask is excellent for people who have oily skin, which can contribute to congestion of the pores. For those with dry skin and have blemishes, I recommend using a spot treatment.”

The types of products and skincare ingredients to use

CCK: “Always look for products that are made with high-quality ingredients and naturally soothing and calming. The Aloe and Chamomile range from The Body Shop are very suitable because those ingredients are naturally anti-inflammatory and calming, as well as not being too harsh or drying.”

Tips for sensitive skin

CCK: “First of all, because sensitive skin is a little bit of a mystery and it’s different for everybody, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what is making your skin flare up and so, keeping a diary and writing down what foods you eat, what products you’re using, what type of weather it is that day and then seeing if there’s a pattern is important. Being observant of your own lifestyle is helpful. I also feel that people with sensitive skin should be very careful about replacing makeup regularly, removing their makeup thoroughly every night and not over-exfoliating their skin and of course, proper hydration is key because usually, people with sensitive skin have a hard time retaining or holding on to moisture. It evaporates a lot more quickly.”

Biggest skincare mistakes

CCK: “I think following trends and using the hottest and newest products is a big mistake. Many automatically jump on board without really accessing if it’s right for their type of skin. I’m guilty of it too sometimes but sometimes we just have to take a step back and be very intentional in trying to figure out what our skin type is and not follow trends all the time.”

Three skincare products every woman needs

CCK: “I’d say a cleanser that’s effective, a moisturiser that is correct for your type of skin and that you’ll actually enjoy using and some sun protection.”

A big movement in beauty

CCK: “One thing that’s really big right now is natural and vegan beauty. People are very savvy, smart and they have very high standards for what they want to put on their skin and how they want to impact the global community and what alternatives are there to the products that have been available and now people are demanding more and I think it’s a good thing. There’s a lot that I think people want to DIY and taking health and beauty in their own hands instead of just relying on external procedures.”