From The Straits Times    |

IMAGE:  Mirko Iannace/Corbis

I was beginning to wonder why I had a mini-breakout of sorts over the weekend. When I stepped outside on Sunday, it hit me like a truck. The haze is back.

Whether it’s dealing with sensitive skin or breakouts, here are some ways to make sure your skin doesn’t turn into a hazy mess.

This is pretty much a no brainer, but keeping your skin clean is vital during this period. Not only will the haze cause short-term damage, Dr Low Chai Ling from The Sloane Clinic says that its effect is beyond the average pimple: “Long-term, free radical damage (from the haze) can also cause premature ageing. When the pollutants in the haze rob your skin of its oxygen supply, the result is signs of ageing, such as wrinkles and loss of elasticity in the skin.”

Which is why using a gentle but efficient cleanser will not only protect your skin from short-term effects, but also prevent pre-mature ageing in the long haul.

You don’t have to start using a harsher cleanser, but making sure that your makeup and sunscreen is properly removed becomes a whole lot more important. And if you have the budget to spare, I will definitely recommend cleansing with a Clarisonic Sonic Facial Cleansing Brush. Why? The brand says its technology has been recently proven to be 30 times more effective in removing particulate matter: The very thing that the haze is filled with.

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Clarisonic’s collection of cleansing brushes is pretty extensive, but I’ll suggest sticking with the travel friendly Mia 2 (now available in a limited edition set!). The Festival of Colours Collection features the Mia 2 in three eye popping colours, and it comes together with a sensitive brush head and travel kit that is perfect for this hazey season.

P.S. If you’re really planning to buy the Clarisonic, I will highly recommend investing in the Luxe Brush Heads. Super soft and very luxurious, they give my skin a real good clean so gentle, each wash feels like a mini massage.

Yes, you read that right. Although you probably feel that you should, the experts are telling you not to. Dr Georgia Lee of TLC Lifestyle Clinic says that the haze makes our skin more sensitive to pollutants, so scrubbing it will only make your skin worse. She even recommends cutting back on products with exfoliating properties, such as those containing AHA or tretinoins. Although these products are great in removing dead skin cells (and pollutants), they also strip your skin of essential oils – which is what you need right now.

Every single drop. Long term exposure to air pollution can cause our skin to become dry and rough, making it more susceptible to developing a rash or two.

And I don’t want to state the obvious, but loading up on moisturisers is a must. Not only will moisturisers prevent your skin from being rash-prone, but they also act as a barrier protecting your skin against harsh environmental pollutants.

If your skin is already affected by the haze, Dr Lee recommends loading up on calming agents such as chamomile, green tea, aloe vera and cucumber. Alternatively, you might even want to consider switching to gentle cleansers that help the skin in restoring its natural balance. Personally, when my skin is red and blotchy, I rely on Kiehl’s Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser and DrGL’s Cleanser for Sensitive Skin to get it back in shape.

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Due to its texture and ingredients, these two cleansers are ultra gentle and leave a thin layer of moisture behind. Furthermore, they contain the recommended calming agents aloe vera and chamomile, making them perfect for skin already irritated by the haze.


Dr Georgia Lee is the founder and medical director of TLC Lifestyle clinic at 27 Lorong Liput Singapore 277738, and she has her own skincare range, DrGL, found in leading departmental stores. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.

Dr Low Chai Ling is the founder of Sloane Clinic at 30 Raffles Place #03-01 Chevron House Singapore 048622, and she has her own skincare range, Sloane Inc. For more information, and follow the brand on Facebook.

Clarisonic Mia 2 Sonic Skin Cleansing Brush, $220, is available from September – October at the Clarisonic store in Biotherm Homme Ion orchard, Sephora stores, and select Robinson stores. For more information, visit and follow the brand on Facebook.

DrGL Cleanser Sensitive, $88, is available in Sephora Ion, Robinsons Orchard, Raffles City and JEM, Escentials Paragon and CK Tangs, and online via For more information visit, and follow the brand on Facebook.

Kiehl’s Centella Skin-Calming Facial Cleanser, $51, is available at all Kiehl’s stores. For more information on Kiehl’s, visit and follow Kiehl’s Singapore on Facebook,Instagram and Twitter