Photo: Instagram / heybibilee
Hands up if you have oily skin and hate it. And yes, you can solve your greasy skin problems. The best way to do it? We ask dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, founder and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for the lowdown.
Dr. Teo is the founder and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre. She is a Ministry of Health accredited dermatologist, specialising in both medical and cosmetic dermatology and has also developed her own dermatologist-grade cosmeceuticals – Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.
Is oily skin the most common skin type in Singapore? (it sure feels like it!)
One's skin type is largely determined by the genetics of an individual, so it is not quite right to say that oily skin can be caused by living in a certain climate. But based on the patients I see in my practice, I would say that there is indeed a significant population of people with oily skin types in Singapore.
This is because of overactivity of the sebaceous glands which are concentrated over the forehead nose and the chin area, but can also occur on any part of the face as well as on other parts of the body like the chest and back, encouraging the formation of acne. Further research needs to be done to prove that a humid climate results in oily skin, but what we do know is that climate changes can have an adverse impact on skin that is already problematic, such as with underlying acne, facial eczema or rosacea.
What are the problems associated with oily skin?
Acne and oily skin come together. The cause of acne itself is multifactorial, involving genetics which cause inflammation, and this is exacerbated by the over-production of oil often driven by hormonal factors. While almost all acne-prone patients have oily skin, this is not to say that having oily skin one definitely would suffer from acne.
Are there any benefits to having oily skin? Some say those with oily skin don't age as quickly.
The key determining factor of ageing lies in one's genetic makeup, as well as environmental ageing factors like exposure to rays, air pollutants, cigarette smoke as well as a stressful lifestyle. If one has oily skin, the production of oil can form a barrier between the skin and the environment and this is a sort of protection which reduces the formation of fine lines and wrinkles or what cause free radical damage.
There is a study which shows that people with oily skin tend to look younger than their counterparts and this is well-proven in clinical practice. However, I would say that having oily skin is actually not desirable as long-term overproduction of oil can also lead to irregular skin texture and enlarged pores. It is best to strive for healthy skin that is well moisturised but not oily.
Can someone with oily skin change to having normal skin with diligent skincare alone?
It is possible with proper long term skincare, that oily skin becomes well adjusted with normal moisture level. But never rely on harsh oily-skin cleansers, which may strip skin completely and lead to a vicious cycle known as reactive seborrhea.
The key ingredient involved in restoring skin is moisture and not oil, so go for a concentrated form of topical hyaluronic acid like Dr TWL Dermaceuticals Hyaluronic Acid. Regular use of topical hyaluronic acid can help to fill and plump up the dermis, leading to a poreless, even complexion. In terms of cleansing, I would recommend using an antibacterial foaming cleanser like Dr TWL Dermaceuticals Honey Cleanser, which helps to remove grime, oil, bacteria and other surface pollutants, and as honey is a natural humectant, it traps moisture under the skin while cleansing and helps to moisturise the skin, regulating the balance of the oils as well as health of the skin.
If you want to visit a dermatologist to help you deal with oily skin, typical treatment would involve the recommendation of appropriate skincare and maybe chemical peels in combination with laser treatments that can help to shrink the oil glands and reduce oil production.
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Everything you want to know about your skin and skincare regime. We talk to accredited dermatologists to address A-Z topics about skin concerns most women have.
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