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Are Wait Times Necessary in My Skincare Routine?

November 21, 2018

Are you wondering if it is necessary to incorporate a ‘wait time’ between each step of your skincare regime? Read on as we ask a dermatologist, Dr Teo Wan Lin, to find out.

1. Do you agree with the ‘waiting time’ skincare routine method? If so, why? If no, why?

From a dermatologist’s perspective, a skincare routine does not need ‘waiting time’. How well a product is absorbed by the skin depends on the active ingredient and the formulation of the product. It has to be cosmetically acceptable; asking someone to apply a heavy ointment in a humid climate like Singapore is unacceptable.

The ease of absorption is often perceived by users as how quickly the product disappears into the skin. However, this is not an accurate indicator of how well the product is functioning or if it is better absorbed than others.

There is a certain logic to layering your products. For ease of application, I recommend applying the lightest product, such as your serums, followed by lotion and lastly your cream or oilment.

In theory, so long as the product is applied onto the skin, the active ingredient will be absorbed by the skin. Yet, the perception of ease of absorption is subjective, simply because in a humid climate, users may not feel heavier creams are being absorbed even when it is already having an effect on your skin.

It is more important to consider the active ingredient of the product and how comfortable it goes to the skin rather than the waiting time.

2. There are clearly several steps to this ‘waiting time’ skincare routine method that is recommended, but is it even possible for our skin to absorb so much product? How much product are we able to absorb? Does it differ from person to person?  

In my line of cosmeceuticals, we also advocate layering. Certain active ingredients are better delivered in a serum rather than lotion/cream as it is more effective. As long as one is applying products that are accurately formulated with evidence-based science such as in a dermatologist tested line, the active ingredients will be delivered to the skin and the user can enjoy its therapeutic benefit.

Instead of relying on ‘waiting time’, users can focus on how to enhance absorption of their product. A tip I tell my patients often is to apply skincare right after a shower, when the skin is slightly damp as it helps to enhance the skin’s ability to absorb the product.

Also, rather than considering the amount of product our skin is able to absorb, the more relevant question is to consider the environmental humidity and the formulation of product (cream/serum/ointment). The absorption of product is subjective on the environmental humidity.

Someone who applies an ointment will receive the therapeutic benefit of the medication but will not feel the product is being absorbed due to the greasy layer that is left on the skin. Consider again someone who applies a serum that contains nothing but the simplest of moisturizers, say glycerin. The user will feel this serum is very well-absorbed by the skin simply because it evaporates into the air.

3. What are the key steps/products/and or habits one should have to maintain a good complexion?

I always advocate proper skin cleansing. Most women do wear makeup. Yet, many makeup removers contain harsh astringents that can disrupt the skin barrier. Leaving behind makeup residue is also not desirable as it can cause bacteria and grime to build up, especially in our humid climate. For this reason, I always advocate the double cleansing method, such as with the Milk Cleanser and Honey Cleanser, for a thorough cleanse.

The second thing I would advocate is the use of cosmeceutical serums. The two must-have serums are Hyaluronic Acid serum and a stabilised Vitamin C serum. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin to retain moisture whilst Vitamin C is an essential antioxidant that helps to fight free radical damage.

One should also never forget sun protection. Your sunscreen should have UVA/B filters, an SPF of 30 to 50, and broad-spectrum protection. Above all that, a good sunscreen should contain antioxidants too. Another key thing is the amount of sunscreen applied, as people often apply too little sunblock needed. Reapplication every 3 to 4 hours is also advocated, especially when one is outdoors.

4. Do you feel that there are any skincare hacks out there that actually work?

Skincare ‘hacks’ can be dangerous as the skin is our largest organ and should be respected. There are no shortcuts to maintaining the health of your skin. When you visit a dermatologist, we often share with you the use of cosmeceuticals and retinoids for anti-ageing. Cosmetic procedures such as lasers are also available to help reverse effects of skin ageing.

A tip that everyone can abide by is to have a good diet rich in antioxidants, adopt a healthy lifestyle that has a sufficient amount of physical activity and to get adequate sleep every night.

© 2018 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.
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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, for a thorough consultation to determine the most suitable treatment for your skin.
To book an appointment with Dr. Teo, call us at +65 6355 0522, or email appt@twlskin.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.
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