From The Straits Times    |


Every month, we speak to dermatologist Dr Teo Wan Lin, founder and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for our Derm in the House series.


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Everyone wants better skin. If you unfortunately have problem skin like acne and eczema, you’ll want that cleared up for good. And if you’re blessed with normal, relatively clear skin, you’ll still want it better.

It’s like they say: You can never be too rich or too thin… Likewise, your skin tone can never be too flawless and radiant; Pores can never be too small; And skin texture can never be too supple and smooth.


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Here’s Dr Teo’s advice for improving your skincare this year.


Normal skin

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If you already have clear skin, good news because you are blessed with good genes, which means you are less prone to common facial skin conditions. But according to Dr Teo, it is still essential to practice these 5 good skincare habits to maintain youthful, well hydrated skin to keep ageing at bay.

1. Gentle, effective skin cleansing by avoiding ultra foamy facial washes. “Look for the sodium laureth sulfate content in the ingredient list, if it ranks as the top few ingredients, avoid that facial cleanser,” says Dr Teo.

2. Proper makeup removal also falls under skin cleansing. We recommend wiping with a micellar water cleanser or milk cleanser on a cotton pad, then using a facial wash for a double cleanse.

3. Use a dermatologist-approved sunscreen and a day moisturiser. That would be the very bare minimum when it comes to skincare according to Dr Teo.


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4. Dermatologists would also recommend adding on cosmeceuticals to give your skincare an extra boost. “Some key ingredients I would recommend are a stabilised form of vitamin C (about a 4% concentration, any higher can cause irritation while lower concentrations may not deliver significant results), hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, and oligopeptides,” says Dr Teo. When these ingredients are pharmaceutical grade and in a well-made formulation, they deliver antioxidants to your skin, which help to combat the daily onslaught of photoaging and biological aging, keeping your skin looking youthful, radiant and supple.

5. If you can, visit an accredited dermatologist for a chemical peel or laser treatment to rejuvenate your skin. “There really is such a thing as a post-peel, and laser glow,” says Dr Teo. Either a peel or a laser as a one-off treatment, or on a regular basis work with your daily skincare to maintain the best skin possible.


ALSO READ: When to exfoliate: in the morning or at night?


Problem skin

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If you have problem skin, know that you are not alone. The commonest facial skin problems that De Teo has seen in her practice are acne, rosacea (skin redness), eczema (clinical sensitivity). Here’s what she recommends:

1. If you suspect you have any of these conditions, it’s best to stop guessing and self-medicating by trying a bunch of different facial products that you buy off the shelf. Dr Teo says you should see an accredited dermatologist as soon a you can to get the best and most accurate skincare advice.

2. The reason is that these medical conditions cannot be treated with skincare alone, and require prescription medications, which are effective and safe. “The key thing is getting the correct diagnosis and treatment. The sooner you do that the better so that you do not suffer from longer term complications like scarring,” says Dr Teo.

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3. The good news is that once proper treatment is administered and established, most of  these conditions resolve quickly (although maintenance treatment is required for a few months). If you’ve suffered from these conditions for a long time, stop visiting facialists or applying D.I.Y remedies as it is bound to worsen.


Derm in the House: 

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. 

For more stories from this series, click here