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Unfortunately, what we hear about acne isn’t always backed by medical evidence. Like how putting toothpaste on a zit can take down the swelling. Or that eating chocolate and applying moisturiser could break you out.

Instead, Dr Christine Choi, a California-based board-certified medical and cosmetic dermatologist, recommends applying a warm compress if you have a particularly inflamed spot to bring the zit to the surface and using a mask to reduce the appearance of the blemish. For more answers to this and other pesky skin concerns commonly searched on Google, keep reading.


Why do I breakout when I travel?

So breakouts are often times caused by the skin barrier being compromised or vulnerable. So anytime that we are going from one climate to another climate or one environment to the next, changing our routines, changing our sleep patterns, using products from the hotel that are not our own products, those can all be factors in increasing breakouts.


What does sensitive skin look like?

Sensitive skin can look very different in different people. It is the subjective feeling of stinging, burning and itching. Sometimes on its own or after applying a product. You can be dry and sensitive but you can oily and sensitive as well. Sensitive skin is seen in the very young, all the way up to adults and can be seen in both men and women.

There isn’t a standard test that I can run or do to tell if you have sensitive skin but it’s talking to the patient and listening to their history of concerns (do they get red, flushed or experience a burning sensation after eating certain foods or after being in certain environments), then that’s a clue for me that this person has sensitive skin.

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Why is my skin so dry?

Dryness very strictly defined is a lack of oil in the skin as opposed to dehydrated which is a lack of water in the skin. Dry skin is something that you are born with. Your skin cannot naturally hold on to and retain moisture easily or as well so oil products like The Body Shop’s Oils of Life range might work better for you.

If you have dehydrated skin which I feel that is what people are really asking about is the skin condition that can affect normal skin people in certain environments. For instance, if they are going to places with lower humidity, if they are using a product that is very astringent, or going through different phases of life (hormonal changes), you can become dehydrated easily.

So generally, someone who is dry has been dry their whole life, dehydrated skin can look the same as dry skin – rough and scaly with dry patches but dehydrated skin is a condition that is more temporary and has some triggering factor that can be controlled a bit.


Is it okay to wear makeup if I have acne?

Yes, there have been studies in scientific journals that show that when we allow people with acne to wear makeup and not ban it from their routine, it can help them with their confidence. They won’t feel as discouraged while they are being treated for their acne.

So, I usually don’t tell my acne patients, you have to stop wearing makeup. I usually steer them towards products that are oil-free and non-comedogenic and educate them to remove their makeup well at night.

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What ingredients should I avoid if I have acne prone skin?

I think in general, oils and petroleum based ingredients may not be suitable for acne prone skin. Thankfully, The Body Shop makeup line is very clean and most of the products are vegan, and all of them are vegetarian. I think that the cleaner, the most natural and simpler the makeup line, it’s less likely to be difficult to remove.


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What to do if my skin is purging?

The number thing is to not pick your acne because that will cause potential post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as well as scarring so I tell people to resist the home surgical removal of their flare ups. You can use a warm compress if you have a particularly inflamed spot. Just using a warm muslin cloth or flannel to bring it to the surface and use a mask, whether it is the tea tree overnight mask or the Himalayan charcoal mask, just to amp up your routine a little bit for blemishes.

Finally, I would say don’t be completely nervous about moisturising your skin. A lot of people with blemishes and acne are almost resistant to use moisturisers. Believe it or not, if the skin is not hydrated, you are actually more prone to blemishes. Just choosing the product that is not oil based but maybe a light moisturiser is suitable and don’t be afraid to use it.