Save on these

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Toners
Many of these are made predominantly with water and alcohol. “A toner acts like a second cleanser,” says Dr Heng Wee Soon, a GP with an interest in aesthetic medicine at IDS Clinic. “If you feel that your makeup remover and cleanser are adequate, do away with the toner.”

Moisturisers
“Most moisturisers act as a coating on the skin to improve its retention of moisture. While some may have expensive active ingredients, these ingredients tend to work better when packaged in highly concentrated serums, which can penetrate deeper into the skin,” says Dr Heng.

Cleansers and facial scrubs
You can get decent cleansers and scrubs without spending a lot. “Cleansers are usually soapy emulsions with added fragrances that make you feel better,” says Dr David Loh, medical director at David Loh Surgery. Dr Heng adds: “These products are left on the face for only a couple of minutes and then washed off, so don’t bother splurging on them.”

Facial oils
Dr Heng says that it takes more than a single type of oil or a blend of oils to address issues such as the look of wrinkles and pigmentation. “If you have dry skin and find that your moisturiser isn’t hydrating enough for you, use a facial oil. But I wouldn’t recommend replacing your other skincare with a facial oil,” says Dr Heng.

Splurge on these

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Serums
Serums are what you should invest in because they “are packed with highly concentrated ingredients and can penetrate much deeper into the skin,” says Dr Heng. So, a little goes a long way and you’ll reap the benefits sooner.

Acne treatments
These are best recommended by your doctor or dermatologist. “Many over-the-counter products dry out skin and may worsen acne, so splurge on a doctor’s consultation instead,” says Dr Loh. However, if you just have the occasional zit, Dr Loh says that it’s fine to treat them with over-the-counter products, or just leave them alone.

Sunscreen
“Get a good one that has been researched and tested extensively, and has a comfortable texture,” says Dr Loh. And read the label. In physical sunscreens, look out for ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which provide effective sun protection without causing skin irritation, says Dr Heng.

Eye Creams
Many inexpensive formulas simply hydrate the eye area. Spend more and get one that also has active ingredients to tackle issues such as the look of fine lines and dark spots. “To target the appearance of fine lines, look for those with ingredients such as ascorbic acid and glycosaminoglycans,” says Dr Heng.

This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine June 2015.

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