Clear skin is as elusive as the fountain of youth. Many of us were not born with normal, blemish-free skin, and for most, it seems like a never-ending trial-and-error to find out which skin care works best.
Skincare doesn’t have to be complicated or costly, if you know what to look for. Get it right by talking to your skin care specialist, and follow this suggested skincare routine to uncover a healthier, clearer and more youthful skin you thought you could never have.
Understand your skin type
The foundation of clear and healthy skin is using skin care products compatible with your skin type because they offer the best chance of giving you the results you want. So how do you know if you have normal, oily or dry skin?
Wash you face to remove make up, oil, dirt and other residue, and wait for your skin to return to its natural state. Then examine your face: If it's flaky, scaly or rough, you have dry skin. If you see big pores and your skin looks greasy, you're the oily type. If you see some spots that are dry, you have combination skin. Sensitive types may feel stinging, burning or itching after putting on cosmetics or other products. Normal skin is one that is clear, balanced and not sensitive.
Cleansing your face is not just grabbing whatever soap you see and using that to remove debris, oil and make up. Knowing your skin type, you now can choose cleansers that will clean your skin without irritating. Normal and combination skin still need gentle cleanser, while dry skin needs gentle cleanser that doesn't contain alcohol or fragrance as these ingredients can dry your skin even more.
Oily skin needs oil-free cleansers so they don't clog the pores and cause breakouts. Sensitive skin requires the gentlest cleanser of all that contains calming ingredients like chamomile and green tea, but doesn't contain alcohol, soap, acid or fragrance.
Toners remove the last traces of makeup, dirt and mineral from tap water. They also infuse your skin with repairing ingredients to hydrate and replenish your skin surface. If you are prone to developing redness or dry patches after cleansing, toners can help minimize these irritation. Some toners also have pH balancing effects, while others have antiseptic benefits. But be sure the toner you use doesn't contain alcohol or is not citrus-based as they can be irritating even to non-sensitive skin.
Hyperpigmentation on the face is often not harmful, but it can be cosmetically annoying. If you have freckles, liver or age spots or other unwanted areas of excess melanin, you need to have a face pigmentation treatment strong enough to clear dark areas yet gentle enough not to cause further irritation.
The Skin Lightener 3 from Dr Sylvia Skin Care contains 4% hydroquinone, which has long been the evidence-based standard to correct hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone works by blocking an enzyme (tyrosinase) responsible for making melanin that gives color to your skin. In addition, Skin Lightener 3 contains ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which has been found to be a vital molecule in collagen synthesis and in sun spot removal by preventing, and even reversing, sun damage.
However, products with hydroquinone are prescription-based in Singapore and a consultation with a certified dermatologist is needed to assess whether it is suitable for your skin type.
Once prescribed by your dermatologist, you can use Skin Lightener 3 by itself, or as part of Dr Sylvia Advanced Clear Skin Program for best results. This clear skin program was formulated by Dr Sylvia Ramirez, a Harvard-educated dermatologist in Scotts Road, Singapore.
Exfoliation is often overlooked even in basic skin care. If you want your treatment for hyperpigmentation to be better absorbed by your skin, you need to slough off dead cells from its topmost layer. This keratinized layer creates a barrier for better absorption of ingredients and also prevents light from reflecting off your face so your face looks ashen, dull or gray.
Alpha-hydroxy acids are a group of natural acids usually found in fruits such as apples (malic acid), grapes (tartaric acid), and citrus (citric acid). AHAs are used topically to remove the top layers of dead skin cells. They also work in the deeper layers of the skin, making it thicker and firmer.
Dr Sylvia's Exfoliator Forte 4 contains 14% AHA buffered to 10%, so it's strong enough to strip off dead skin cells while gentle enough to improve your skin texture without irritating. Use this after Skin Lightener 3, or individually.
For hyperpigmentation that is several tones darker than your surrounding skin, you would want a product for pigmentation that works in the deeper layers of the skin closer to where the melanocytes (melanin-forming cells) are.
The Balancer 5 from Dr Sylvia Skin Care acts as an enriching agent; the hydroquinone (4%) it contains penetrates farther down into the basal layer of the epidermis where melanocytes are located.
Use the Balancer after cleansing, toning, and applying the Skin Lightener and Exfoliator Forte. To prevent darkening from recurring, avoid the sun, apply sunscreen, and cover your face with wide-brimmed hat or protective clothing.