Our skin is the body's largest organ and it's also our first and best defence against external aggressors. But when it becomes irritated and sensitive, it can't do the job it's supposed to. Protect your skin by first getting all the information you need about looking after it.
Dr. Karen Soh, MBBS. Medical Director of Privé Clinic
1. What is sensitive skin?
This condition takes place when the nerve endings in the top layer of your skin become irritated. As a result, your skin's natural barrier function is weakened. Symptoms include flaking and dryness, red patches, rashes, swelling, scaling and roughness, said Dr Karen Soh, Medical Director of Privé Clinic. “They can be accompanied by sensation of itching, burning, tightness and prickling,” she added.
2. Do men also suffer from sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin is not a condition that's unique to women. An added cause of sensitive skin for men is shaving.
3. What causes sensitive skin?
Sensitive skin can develop at any age. Intrinsic factors include dehydrated skin, hormonal changes, prolonged periods of stress and lack of sleep, as well as diet and hydration. Also pay attention to extrinsic factors such as UV exposure, climate changes and exposure to irritants.
Practicing a harsh/unsuitable skincare routine, e.g. Using chemical peels and granular exfoliators, can cause sensitive skin as it damages the skin’s natural protective barrier and strips the skin of moisture, leaving the skin feeling dry, irritated and rough-textured.
Strong skincare and cosmetics ingredients may cause sensitive skin as well. Some ingredients to avoid include fragrances, parabens, dyes, alcohol, exfoliants and sulfates. Look out for skincare products that are pH-balanced, alcohol-free and fragrance-free as they are gentle on the skin and less likely to cause sensitivity.
For sensitive skin, it is advisable to do a patch test every time you use a new product. Apply a small amount of the product on the inside of your wrist or forearm for 24 to 48 hours and look for signs of irritation.
4. Why does my skin become more sensitive as it ages? What are some tips to care for dry and sensitive ageing skin?
Skin becomes more sensitive as it ages. This is due to the thinning of the skin's epidermis, and declining levels of essential moisture-binding ingredients such as Ceramide and Hyaluronic Acid. As a result, the skin’s barrier function does not work properly and becomes dry and more susceptible to external irritation.
“When your skin loses Ceramide, it compromises the skin's natural barrier function,” Dr Soh explained. “This creates tiny, invisible cracks that allow moisture to escape, causing dry and flaky skin. Irritants are able to enter more easily, so using skincare products give a stinging and uncomfortable sensation.”
5. How do I minimise facial wrinkles and fine lines on my face?
Wrinkles appear when skin becomes less elastic. Factors such as aging and exposure to UV-rays cause elastin-decomposing enzyme to increase activity and result in excessively decomposing normal elastic fibres in the skin's epidermis. Insufficient Ceramide in skin also causes derma fine lines, as the skin epidermis is unable to retain moisture, becoming dry and less flexible.
Curel, Japan’s no. 1 brand for sensitive Asian skin, recently launched an Aging Care skincare range, which uses advanced Japanese technology to reduce fine lines with two simple steps in just eight weeks. The products boost skin's barrier function and moisture level by supplying Ceramide content to the skin and features Ginger extract, an active ingredient which keeps elastic fibers from denaturing and improves skin's elasticity. This combats derma wrinkles and fine lines, revealing plump, firm and smooth skin.
Curél Aging Care Moisture Lotion (140ml/$36.80) firms up your skin, and is suitable for application even on delicate areas such as the contours of your eyes and lips. Give your skin the hydration it needs with the Curél Aging Care Gel-Cream (40ml/$46.80) for dry skin, and Curél Aging Care Moisture Cream (40ml/$46.80) for very dry skin.
The range is suitable for both men and women and is also fragrance, colourant and alcohol free, as well as pH balanced and allergy-tested.
Click here to try the new aging care series today!
The Curél Aging Care Series is available exclusively at selected Watsons outlets.