From The Straits Times    |
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Want fab skin like this? Skip the facepaint, ladies. Image:


This new beauty “trend” is incredibly intuitive but harder to pull off in real life than you might think. See if you can do this: Go #MakeupFree two days out of the seven in a week; if you do, you can apparently expect better skin in “under a month”.

Here’s Dr Noor Almaani, a dermatologist at The Private Clinic of Harley Street in London, with the professional point of view: “Makeup can often clog the oil glands and impact your pores, making them appear larger,” she says. “Taking regular breaks from wearing makeup could be a wise decision, as it will enable your skin to recover and reduce the level of irritation caused by wearing makeup over long periods of time.”

But does using makeup really equate to bigger pores and a propensity for breakouts? It’s an ugly truth, but the answer, unfortunately, is yes. In one disquieting study, 45 percent of the women tested reported adverse skin reactions to their everyday makeup, with 14 percent developing full-blown acne. Makeup-induced acne even has its own medical monicker: Say “acne cosmetica”.

One more thing; count Singapore’s sweltering heat as another factor wreaking serious havoc on our skin. This rhetorical question from Dr Lim Luping, aesthetic physician at Mint Medical Aesthetics, ought to explain things: “Have you noticed that when you’re in sunny Singapore, humidity causes the skin to be oilier and pores more visible?”

Think of it this way: Us Singaporeans are steeped in a perpetual steam sauna, which in turn means perpetually swollen pores. Bummer. But wait, there’s more. Dr Lim says that age also amplifies pores: “As the skin ages, the amount of collagen and elastic tissue is reduced, and this weakened support of the skin structure results in gaping pores.”


The solution? Enter the so-called 5:2 programme – you can opt between doing two consecutive or nonconsecutive days so hey, it ain’t that bad – which is meant to purge your pores of the preservatives, grime and grease that are well nigh impossible to expunge on a daily basis.

This new makeup detox diet has more than a few prominent proponents. Take doyenne of aesthetic medicine and medical director of the TLC Lifestyle Practice, Dr Georgia Lee, who is an avid advocator of a slightly less esoteric form of forgoing facepaint: “If you must use makeup, make sure that all traces of sunscreen and makeup are removed with a non-oil-based makeup remover, and keep your skincare routine simple – include an antibacterial cleanser, an oil-control toner and a moisturiser with a light texture.”

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Need more convincing that cosmetics aren’t conducive to good complexion? Not only does slapping on makeup mar the skin; stripping it off does, too. Makeup artist Larry Yeo isn’t a fan of using makeup remover to wipe off boo-boos and stray feathering; most alcohol-based formulas are way too harsh on the delicate orbital area for such frequent use. Here’s a tip: Dip a cotton swab in an eye cream and wiggle it into unwanted smudges; the emollients will lift pigments and comfort at the same time.

Or consider this nifty (and gentle!) way of debriding your face of any residual makeup and irritants, courtesy of Dr Georgia Lee: “You can also try soaking cotton pads in your regular toner and using them as a mask – this reduces the risk of allergy from ingredients in products you’ve never tried before.”

And what do you know, even makeup artists agree that the tools of their trade ought to be welded with caution. Here’s Singapore’s Larry Yeo with his pearlescent words of wisdom: “If you can get away without wearing warpaint, do it. And never leave your foundie on for more than 12 hours; your skin needs time to breathe.”

Here’s one final tip you may find instructive. Go right ahead and memorise these alien-sounding names: Butyl stearate, isopropyl myristate and sodium lauryl sulfate. Avoid this terrible trio as much as possible, particularly if they pop up in the first five ingredients on the label. Why? They’re proven pore-cloggers and will dramatically increase the likelihood of your makeup breaking you out.

So, to recap: Stay away from the pots of primer and paint every two days a week (try this on “off” days when you don’t have major meetings in the office). With any luck, this ought to bolster both your confidence and complexion. Talk about putting Beyonce’s #IWokeUpLikeThis philosophy in practice!