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IMAGE: Sung-il Kim/Corbis

If there was a Nobel prize for the most problematic skin, I would probably be one of the shortlisted candidates. You see, I grew up with oily skin, went to study overseas (and ended up with dry skin), and now I have a combination of both. My skin is dry on the surface, but oily deep inside.

So while I’m busy moisturising the surface, blackheads and pimples are busy sprouting below. To top it off, the ridiculous skin change resulted in skin sensitivity ─ a problem far worse than having to deal with my skin’s mood swings.

Sensitive skin results from a variety of problems: you’re either born with it or you were overzealous in your skincare regime. The first step to quelling the redness is to identify what causes it in the first place.

For starters, figure out how often your skin turns red. Has your skin always been sensitive, or is it just a sudden red flush due to climatic or hormonal changes?

Long-term skin sensitivity can be dwelt with by using products that build your skin’s resilience. You will also have to figure out what exacerbates your skin’s condition: Is your skin flushed after cleansing? Or only when you’re in the sun? Once you’ve identified when you go red, you’ll be able to slowly address the reddening issue. At the same time, you can use products that improve your skin’s tolerance.

On the other hand, short-term sensitive skin can be fixed using calming agents that soothe irritated skin. These include fragrance-free and gentle products that contain minimal ingredients. Whether you’re dealing with perpetual sensitive skin or dealing with a random burst of sensitivity, these products will come to the rescue.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil B.pngThe tree-hugging brand’s bestseller, this tea tree oil is apparently sold every ten seconds. Promoted as a zit-zapper, this product also works really well in calming sensitive skin. Containing anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, the oil works great in soothing pesky red skin almost immediately. Simply mix one to two drops with your regular moisturiser or serum, and slather on generously.

Eau Thermale Avène Skin Recovery Cream

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I chanced upon this gem of a product a couple of years ago. Faced with a sudden skin flare-up, an enthusiastic brand promoter suggested I try this; and a desperate red-faced me said yes.

I found out this product worked really well in quelling short-term sensitivity. Using a two-pronged approach, Avène claims that the Skin Recovery Cream tackles irritation while repairing the damaged skin barrier at the same time. Using the active ingredient parcerine and its signature spring water, I found my skin is slowly repaired to its original state. A note of caution though, this isn’t a long-term moisturiser: Only use it in times of reddening need!

Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Collection

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Mushrooms aren’t just for eating (apparently). Origins’ reformulated Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Collection taps on traditional chinese medicine to calm inflammation and build your skin’s resilience. Using non-irritating ingredients such as sea buckthorn berry and reishi mushroom, the brand says your skin will soothe itself in no time. The collection includes a whole range of skincare products, but I’m particularly loving the reformulated Advanced Face Serum. Despite its milky texture, the serum absorbs really quickly into my skin – the brand even says this product will improve your skin’s resilience to stress.

 

Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Collection, $53 – 120, is available from July at Origins counters in Isetan Scotts, Metro Paragon, Robinsons Raffles City, Orchard, and JEM, and Tangs VivoCity. For more information, visit www.origins.com.sg and follow the brand on Facebook.

Eau Thermale Avène Skin Recovery Cream, $40.70, is available at all leading pharmacies, supermarkets and hypermarkets. For more information, visit www.eau-thermale-avene.sg and follow the brand on Facebook.

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil, $19.90, is available at all The Body Shop stores. For more information, visit www.thebodyshop.com.sg and follow The Body Shop Singapore on Facebook and Instagram.