Skincare Routine

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  • When is the most optimal time to apply skincare?
  • Is gel masks preferred over sheet masks? How often should sheet masks be used?
  • If my skin type is a mix of dry, sensitive and combination, which should I focus on treating first?
  • Which do you think is the most important step in a skincare routine?
  • How can I protect the delicate skin around my eye area especially with long hours of exposure to blue light? Is eye gel/cream better?
Dr. Teo Wan Lin Answered question June 24, 2021
  1. I recommend both day and night skincare routines. Find out more about a dermatologist’s day routine and night routine here. 
  2. Sheet masks work on the basis of occlusion, meaning when there’s a topical which is applied on the skin and also in contact with something moist such as a sheet mask, there is increased absorption of the topicals by the skin. The question of efficacy is not so much whether it is a traditional mask (presumably referring to clay masks or gels applied onto skin as it is) or sheet mask, but really depends on what is the active ingredient contained in the mask. With precise active ingredients, the type of mask (sheet or gel for instance) becomes less critical in terms of efficacy. In my practice for example, whenever I want to increase absorption of any topical that is dispensed to patients, I would advise them to apply a wet cotton sheet (as a wet wrap) on to their face to increase absorption. The MoistureMax Polysaccharide Mask is also available to enhance skincare absorption, having a unique porous structure that traps active ingredients in mini-reservoirs within the mask, with enhanced delayed release of cosmeceuticals and minimal transepidermal water loss.

My preference for a wash-off face mask is a gel mask formula (Amino Acid 360° Masque) which has a gentle astringent effect, delivers vitamin C (for acne scars) and other antioxidants in a soothing gel that can be refrigerated to cool post-laser/chemical peel skin, and can also be tolerated by eczema/rosacea patients as well.

Masking (using sheets or otherwise) with the right active ingredients can be carried out daily. When the mask contains cosmeceutical active ingredients clinically proven to work on skin, these help to reverse the process of photoaging and can have a skin brightening effect. As long as the mask delivers moisture and appropriate antioxidant ingredients instead of astringents (such as clay or charcoal), there is no limit to the number of times one can mask. 

  1. For dry skin types, it is recommended that you moisturise frequently with products that have moisturising ingredients such as ceramide, glycerin and squalane. Moisturisation is needed even for oily skin types, and in fact critical in treating oily skin. Oily skin is quite frequently encountered in the form of reactive seborrhea, whereby the skin produces excess oil and overcompensates for the lack of moisture such as where one uses a drying cleanser that inadvertently strips away moisture from skin. In such cases, hydration is especially key in regulating sebum production. Lightweight emulsions or serum-based moisturisers such as our in-house Hyaluronic Acid serum will be helpful in keeping the skin hydrated without the weight or occlusiveness of conventional moisturisers.
  2. Moisturising would be the most important step in a skincare routine, regardless of your skin type. The skin barrier prevents foreign material from entering the human body, prevents water loss and serves as a shield against environmental factors. The barrier works to maintain the body’s homeostasis (or stable equilibrium) level. The loss of water from the body through evaporation from the surface of the skin is common, thus a need to keep the outermost layer of the epidermis hydrated. Skin hydrationis an important factor when considering how to attain healthy skin. We look at the stratum corneum’s water content when analyzing skin hydration, with healthy skin containing more than 10 per cent water. A hydrated skin promotes the skin barrier function, further protecting the skin.
  3. The skin around the eye is a very delicate area. I advocate intense moisturising around the eye area, using a good cosmeceutical eye cream and daily sun protection – a dermatologist-test broad-spectrum facial sunscreen is good enough and there is no need for special sunscreens for the eye area. For eye creams, one may consider the Elixir-V Eyes, which is dermatologist-formulated to regenerate and repair skin around the eye area with pharmaceutical-grade bioactive ingredients including potent antioxidants, oligopeptides and niacinamide. Having a pair of good sunglasses protects the skin around the eye, and is also helpful to protect the cornea from UV damage. To rejuvenate the skin around the eye area, plasma nitrogen treatment is recommended, which is very safe and uses ionic plasma nitrogen to help to resurface and tighten skin around the eye area.

To protect our skin against blue light, I have these tips to share if you do already have pigmentation, please be more conscious to reduce the amount of screen time you have. Secondly, you may want to actively incorporate serums that contain potent antioxidants. This refers to cosmeceuticals that have been proven in clinical settings to reduce the process of free radical damage caused by environmental stresses. For example, I’m referring to active ingredients such as Centella Asiatica, resveratrol, vitamin C – and many other botanical extracts that have proven benefits of antioxidant properties. Photoprotection, as with protection against any visible light, is currently the number one recommendation for prevention of the effect of blue light on skin. Seeking shade, using photoprotective outer-wear such as UPF50+ materials, and daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF >30 such as the SunProtector is recommended. Known visible light blockers include physical filter metallic oxides which can be found at various concentrations in sunscreens. Individuals have to take note that skin protected by sunscreen with higher concentrations of titanium, zinc, and iron compounds can offer better protection to visible light.

Dr. Teo Wan Lin Answered question June 24, 2021
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