7 everyday things you do that are actually damaging your skin
Who doesn’t love the soapy clean feeling of suds on your face? This could be the cause of dryness and sensitivity. “Most foaming cleansers tend to contain high proportions of sodium-laureth sulfate (SLS) which strips skin of its natural oils and its protective barrier,” said dermatologist Dr Teo Wanlin. She only recommends gentle skin cleansers for all skin types, “this is because even oily, acne-prone skin should be moisturised and protected during cleansing.” She prescribes a medical grade honey cleanser from her in-house line Dr TWL Miel Honey Cleanser, which has humectant benefits for the skin, essentially leaving a layer of moisture on the skin after cleansing.
This is pretty common sense. Through the night, sleeping with your face pressed on your pillow can cause the skin to develop fine lines, wrinkles and creases. Plus, if you lie in a position that drags your face downwards, it can also worsen skin sagging.
The best way to keep these sleep wrinkles and sagging at bay is to try to sleep on your back more.
Blotters save the greasiest of skin by immediately sopping up sebum and leaving skin matte. “But refrain from blotting the oil off your face constantly,” said Dr Teo, as blotting doesn’t clean the skin or have other benefits apart from removing the oil. “Sometimes this can cause a condition called reactive seborrhea, whereby the skin compensates by producing even more oil making you even oilier,” she cautioned. If you are feeling particularly grimey, swipe your face gently using a fragrance-free baby wipe. This will leave skin cleaner while gently lifting off some oil.
A hot shower at the end of a long day offers instant relaxation and helps us to de-stress. But hot water isn’t good for your skin as it washes away skin’s protective oils and can lead to dry, itchy skin or even rashes. One way to tell if your shower water is too hot? You skin looks red and flushed after you step out. “I would recommend using lukewarm or cool water on skin in general, as hot water dehydrates skin further,” said Dr Teo.
Thermal water face sprays (like Evian and Avene) are good for cooling down the skin’s temperature, especially in the heat and humidity of Singapore, according to Dr Teo. However, these are essentially just water and while the minerals from thermal springs may have some benefit to calm skin, they are not moisturisers nor do they treat any skin inflammation effectively. So don’t rely on water face mists to keep skin moisturised long term.
“A more effective mist would be something that contains glycerin as a humectant to help skin retain moisture”, advised Dr Teo. For example, she formulated the Dr TWL Mineral Booster, with purified deep sea water and antioxidants as a face mist to cool skin and moisturise at the same time. A perfect on-the-go skin hydrator as it can be used over makeup because, not to forget, despite Singapore’s humidity, most of us stay in an air-conditioned environment, which can dry out the skin
With the proliferation of touch-screen smart phones, whatever we touch gets on our phone screens – dirt, germs, remnants of food, etc – and these subsequently end up on our faces when we press the phones on our face to answer a call. So next time you’re wondering why there are breakouts on your cheeks and along your jawline, ask yourself when was the last time you cleaned your phone? Clean it daily with an antibacterial wipe.
Chlorine can cling to the skin long after you emerge from the pool. The chemical is added to pools because of its antibacterial properties, but it can also be pretty harsh on the skin, causing harm to the protein structure and destroying the natural skin barrier leading to dry, itchy skin. To prevent skin from absorbing chlorine, apply a thin layer of natural oil like coconut to give skin a protective coat before entering the pool. After swimming, rinse with tap water and shampoo and soap up well.