Hands up if you’ve ever been bogged down about your skin’s condition?
Our skin is the largest organ in your body, and it serves as a protective barrier against infections and harmful elements in the environment. But because of our inevitable exposure to pollution, dust, bacteria and UV rays, skin problems do pop up from time to time, and especially as we age.
There are a million questions we may have when it comes to skincare. So, we pulled out our top five and sat down with skin expert, Dr. Gerard Ee from The Clifford Clinic, to gain some valuable insights into optimizing our skincare routine and tackling common conditions.
Q1. What are the essential steps in your daily skincare routine to achieve healthy skin?
Dr. Ee: The three essential steps you should include in your daily skincare routine are - cleanse, moisturise and sunscreen. You can build around these three basic steps depending on your skin type and concerns. For example, you can also use an exfoliant (e.g. SkinCeuticals Glycolic 10 Renew Overnight) or a pigmentation lightening cream (e.g. Cyspera).
I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but cleansing is so essential because it removes all the sweat and gunk that you’ve accumulated on your skin. If that isn’t cleared, you can get blackheads, whiteheads and acne. A moisturiser protects against water loss from the skin so the skin stays more supple. Sunscreen is so essential in Singapore to protect the skin from UV damage which can cause premature aging, pigmentation and skin cancer
Q2. What are some common mistakes people make with regards to skincare?
#1 People with oily skin have the misconception that they don’t need to moisturise their skin. However, that’s wrong. They should still keep their skin moisturised no matter how dry or oily their skin is. Choosing the right moisturiser, regardless of your skin type (even for oily skin) protects against moisture loss and premature aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
#2 Another common mistake that people tend to make is to use too many skincare products. Using too many skincare products can cause problems like skin irritation, clogged pores and acne. Applying too many products can also potentially inactivate or block each product’s effects. My advice is to stick to the three essential steps mentioned above and to use products that are targeted at your skin’s concerns rather than following trends.
#3 The third thing that we often neglect is protecting our neck and hands. We always worry about our faces, but the skin of the neck and hands are also aging and exposed to the sun. Try to use a sunscreen for your neck and hands every day!
Q3. What products should be in our starter pack?
Dr. Ee: I recommend including a cleanser, a moisturiser and a sunscreen product that are appropriate for your skin type and concerns in your starter pack.
Q4. What kinds of products should we stay away from?
Dr. Ee: Firstly, avoid skincare products that contain simple alcohols; for example, denatured alcohol, ethanol and isopropyl alcohol. Simple alcohols are a type of alcohol in skincare that can disrupt the protective layer of fats in the skin, which can lead to skin dryness, irritation and infections. You can read the labels at the back of your skincare products to find out if they contain these ingredients.
The next thing to avoid are parabens in skincare products. Parabens prolong the shelf life of the skincare product but can potentially cause hormone disruption in our bodies. Parabens that are most commonly found in skincare products are butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.
Q5. Can you share some advice for people with dry or sensitive skin?
Dr. Ee: Sensitive skin and dry skin can be interrelated. Having sensitive skin means that your skin has a high tendency to get irritated from various triggers - the environment, sun exposure, skincare, makeup and so on. When the skin becomes inflamed, the skin barrier that protects it against water loss is disrupted, leading to greater water loss from the skin and eventually causing dry skin.
To address this condition, avoid washing and over-exfoliating your skin as this may further disrupt the skin barrier and cause a vicious cycle of greater inflammation and skin dryness.
Choose skincare products that are simple - ones that don’t have too many ingredients - and avoid fragrances and simple alcohols. When in doubt, do a patch test on a small part of your inner arm to see if your skin reacts to the product. Also, consider seeing a doctor to get your skin irritation checked out. It may be due to an underlying dermatological condition like eczema or atopic dermatitis.
This article is brought to you by SkinCeuticals, co-produced with The Clifford Clinic
With more than 18 years of experience in Aesthetic Medicine, the doctors at The Clifford Clinic understand your concerns when it comes to aesthetic services. At Clifford, they aim to deliver natural looking results with low down time in the hands of safe and experienced doctors.
Conveniently located in The Clifford Centre, which is less than a minute from Raffles Place MRT station, The Clifford Clinic is a professional aesthetic clinic that specialises in natural looking results with minimal down time.