Have you ever tried a trendy product that all of your friends swear is their ‘holy grail’ and yet it doesn’t work for you? This might be because you have sensitive skin! However, don’t be anxious. There are Korean beauty products out there formulated for sensitive skin. In fact, many brands in South Korea focus on creating products that work for all skin types, especially sensitive ones.
Why having sensitive skin can be difficult to treat
In the Western market, it can be difficult for people with sensitive skin to find skincare products that work well. Many products might lead to redness, flakiness, itching, or other unwelcome reactions. Sometimes it can take years of trial and error to find the products that work for your skin. However, having sensitive skin does not mean that you should not experiment with or try new products. It just means you have to be incredibly careful.
How to know if you have sensitive skin?
There are many factors that contribute to one having sensitive skin, such as, genetics, age, lifestyle, and certain environmental conditions. The most obvious symptoms are general discomfort, constant flushing or redness and itchiness. Other reactions include bumps, ongoing dryness, and irritation.
A good way to tell if you have sensitive skin is to remember how your skin has reacted to past products you have tried. You can also try out the “spot test” to ensure a product is safe to apply. For this test, you apply a small amount of product on a patch of skin. This can be on your arm, neck, or face. Then you keep it on for 24 hours and see how your skin reacts!
If any of this sounds familiar to you, I salute you and am writing this post for you. The following tips are a combination of dermatologist-recommended skincare practices and what I have learned from my own experimentations. Below are 5 Korean skincare tips for sensitive skin.
1. Less is more
Those with sensitive skin are more prone to negative reactions when using skincare products or makeup. As a result, it’s recommended that you keep your skincare routine simple and use as few products as possible.
Read the labels or ingredients list before purchasing any given product. A good rule of thumb is if you cannot easily pronounce most of the ingredients on a label, then it is probably not the one for you.
2. Know which ingredients to avoid
Everyone’s skin reacts differently to different ingredients. For that reason, be aware of the ingredients in any given product and make note of how your skin reacts to them. There are a good amount of harsh ingredients that generally do not work well with sensitive skin. These ingredients are:
- Essential oils
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Petrochemicals and synthetic emollients
- Bismuth oxychloride
Additionally, look out for fragrance-free products, as manufactured scents are known to cause irritation and flare-ups.
3. Be careful when exfoliating
Those with sensitive skin must be very careful to not over-exfoliate or use harsh exfoliants. Either option can cause further redness and irritation. Physical and chemical exfoliators alike can cause those with sensitive skin to have unwelcome reactions. While exfoliating should not be avoided altogether, we personally recommend that you use a gentle exfoliant like lactic acid. Also, make sure to only exfoliate once or twice a week.
4. Use the right type of sunscreen
Using a generous amount of sunscreen is always highly recommended. Dermatologists and skincare professionals alike strongly suggest using sunscreen daily. UV rays can cause unforeseen damage, such as dryness, sun spots, and signs of premature aging. Use strong sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher in order to receive adequate sun protection.
Additionally, stay away from chemical sunscreens such as oxybenzone, octylcrylene, and octinoxate, as these types of sunscreens can cause irritated skin.
5. Be sure to moisturize
Environmental factors like pollution and wind can especially influence sensitive skin. As a result, moisturizing helps protect the skin from water loss by building a healthy skin barrier.
Stay on the lookout for natural ingredients such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP), aloe vera, and vitamin B3. Also, try to moisturize twice daily, ideally once in the morning and once at night.
Endpoint: Don’t be afraid to try new things!
Although you may have sensitive skin, that doesn’t exclude you from experimenting with skincare. In fact, once you find the products that work for you, you will most likely see vast improvements to your skin’s appearance and your overall skin health.
Being more aware of ingredients and checking them before purchasing a sensitive skin care product will also give you a major step ahead of the game.