Are you looking for the best home facial device to augment your skincare regimen in 2022? The good news is, in this article we discuss with our founder, accredited Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin, on her top tips about what to look out for. Dr. Teo, who is also the chief scientific officer of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, is involved in the selection of technologies for the Dermatologist Tools Suite.
Importantly, we want to find out what we should be looking out for in terms of choosing the ideal home facial skincare device for our needs. We start first with the type of technology that is useful in a home facial device. Clinic technologies such as lasers are not safe nor effective when used as a home device. So what kind of home devices should we be looking out for? Dr. Teo explains the importance of technologies relevant in the home facial care device industry. She also shares on the target audience and also how it can specifically target specific skin concerns. Read on to find out more.
Are home facial devices necessary for our skincare regimen in 2022? How do we know if it is the best home facial device for our needs?
Home facial device technologies have dominated the beauty consumer market in the last 2 years. Not surprisingly, many of these have been adapted from in-clinic treatments. The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the demand for at-home DIY services. So yes, home facial devices are considered helpful in our skincare regimen. It helps to increase absorption of active ingredients in our skincare products. There is also an impact on skin ageing. For example, radiofrequency and microcurrent stimulate collagen production. Sonic cleansing actually helps with thorough cleansing and this improves the skin microbiome.
Should we include a sonic cleansing device?
Sonic cleansing is actually the use of ultrasonic pulsations to remove some very fine particulate matter. These are known as PM 2.5 pollutants which remain on the skin even after double cleansing. This is very relevant because of emerging research in dermatology shows that it is involved in photo aging. Exposure to pollutants such as PM 2.5 particulate matter increases oxidative stress on skin.
Thorough cleansing with double cleansing is the traditional standard. Using an oil based cleanser to dissolve oil soluble pigments such as makeup pigments, followed by a foaming cleanser that does not strip skin dry. This is typically what is recommended by dermatologists and beauty experts. The advent of sonic cleansing means that it is ideal to incorporate sonic cleansing into a comprehensive cleansing regimen. Cleansing must be emphasized as the primary step to achieve a healthy canvas. This is the clean skin on which you can apply antioxidants serums to enable optimal skincare absorption
How should we choose the best type of sonic cleanser for our skincare needs?
Sonic cleansing devices can be further classified into the design types. When choosing the best home facial device for your skincare needs, you should consider the design of the product. For the category of sonic cleansers, there are a few designs to consider. The brush type of sonic cleansers is the prototype developed by Clarisonic which is now defunct. The silicone brush head sonic cleansing devices are currently popular. There are also the blade style sonic cleansers which are modelled after the original facial scrubbers developed in Korea for dermatology clinics.
There are pros and cons for each of these designs. For the silicone brush head models, these have largely superseded the now defunct brush head model. The reason is because these silicone bristles are environmentally more friendly. It is durable and also tends to trap less bacteria, which is a problem with the traditional brush head sonic cleansers. The blade style sonic cleanser also known as a facial scrubber is actually my preferred type of sonic cleanser. It is what we use in the clinic as a cleansing prep before medi-facials. This is because it generates the highest numbers of pulsations in a concentrated surface area, at 24,000 pulsations per second based on our prototype model.
What are the specific features of the facial scrubber model which make it an ideal home facial device?
It is modeled after the original Korean medifacial facial scrubber style sonic cleanser. 5,000 to 8,000 pulsations is the industry standard for silicone brush head type sonic cleansers. The benefit of the blade style sonic cleanser is also that it has a dual function of being able to use the same sonic technology to nebulise antioxidants. Applying your serums and enhancing the absorption is a bonus. How this technology works is also that it increases the surface area of the droplets for the skin to absorb it.
The value of sonic cleansing has also been described in dermatology literature. It has the ability to improve the microbiome of skin which is the balance of good and bad bacteria. This directly impacts conditions such as acne, facial eczema, seborrheic dermatitis and even rosacea. Sonic cleansing as it exfoliates the top most layer of skin cells, can also deliver benefits of skin brightening.
What is the best home facial device for anti-aging?
The second important home facial device technology that you should be aware of is microcurrent. Microcurrent facials have been popularised by celebrity aestheticians and also aesthetic spas. It is indeed a valid technology that can be incorporated into your home facial devices because it is safe and also effective. The scientific premise of the best microcurrent home facial devices is built on studies.
Microcurrent is low level electrical current. It can actually stimulate wound healing by increasing collagen production in diabetic wounds. This, when applied to a home facial device for anti aging, means that you can target loss of collagen. Loss of collagen is part of the photo-aging process. In the consideration of the best home facial device based on microcurrent technology to choose, one should consider the warranty period as well as durability.
This is because in order for microcurrent to be effective, the contact spheres have to be first of all, well maintained and clean. For this, it has to be well designed.
What are the key features we should look out for when choosing a home facial device?
Ideally, the best home facial device should deliver the equivalent of an in-clinic facial over at least a year. This is in order for you to have maximum value for your skin investment. Looking at warranty periods and durability is crucial for if you are looking to find the best home facial device for your skin needs. This brings you the most value as a consumer.
For this reason, cheap imitation models or those which are battery operated are out of the equation. Look for USB rechargeable for the best home facial device to suit your needs. These, when they are well made, have a warranty period of at least six months. If you were to do the math, you’ll find that it is actually a very worthwhile investment.
A microcurrent facial with an aesthetician will set your back at least $100 to $200. A well made microcurrent device from a reputable brand with warranty is priced at usually $400 upwards. If you perform a microcurrent facial for yourself daily as part of your self care regimen. You easily spend only $1 or less over the period of a year which should be the warranty period.
For other electrical devices, it is not as critical in terms of built and durability. However for microcurrent devices in particular, because you are relying on the ability of the device to transmit the low level microcurrent, it is important. You should be looking for one that is from a reliable, reputable brand.
What are the benefits of microcurrent for your skin?
A sturdy built microcurrent device can also be thought of as extremely beneficial for transdermal delivery.
Transdermal delivery is essentially the increase in the absorption of skincare active ingredients through the skin barrier. It can help skincare active ingredients penetrate the topmost layer of skin, the stratum corneum. Microcurrent therapy can increase a beneficial phenomenon known as electroporation, which increases the absorption of skincare active ingredients. In a sense, because microcurrent directly increases cell ATP, it is not uncommon for individuals to report instant tightening and brightening effects. Much like lasers and HIFU (High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound), except that it is in a home facial device.
Microcurrent also stimulates cell energy. If you’ve heard of ATP in your science lessons. It stands for adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine triphosphate is a marker of how much energy there is in your skin cells. When searching for the best home facial device, technologies that stimulate cell energy often have a good result. Cell energy determines how well your skin can repair itself after damage.
A lot, if not all of skin aging is due to the inability of skin to repair oxidative stress. For this reason, microcurrent therapy when incorporated into your daily skincare regimen can increase the skin radiance and elasticity. This is especially so when paired with a suitable skincare product that contains antioxidants. Vitamin C for example has a good brightening effect.
Eczema is distinguished according to various subtypes. Discoid, dry and exudative eczema, pompholyx and papular eczema are common examples of the types of eczema affecting both children and adults. Eczema is also known as dermatitis. The disease can be classified according to the underlying causes of eczema.
Acquired, External Causes of Eczema
Causes of eczema from acquired sources are due to external environmental factors. For example, dry weather or low temperatures can cause the skin barrier function to worsen, such as in temperate, winter climates. In addition, using excessively astringent products, such as those containing high levels of lauryl sulfates, or other types of detergents can strip your skin barrier and cause it to become dry. This is what we call exogenous eczema, or acquired eczema.
Dr. Teo Wan Lin, dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre says “some individuals actually develop acquired eczema after allergic reactions. For example, nickel sensitization can occur throughout one’s lifetime due to exposure to costume jewelry, even if they do not have a history of nickel allergy. Most individuals develop nickel allergy in their mid life owing to chronic exposure of nickel present in costume jewelry.
This occurs most frequently in earrings as well as what is worn on the body including metal belts. That itself can constitute important causes of eczema, with a type known as allergic contact dermatitis. This is why we recommend wearing specifically medical grade surgical steel, 316L grade rather than just stainless steel, jewelry, as this eliminates the risk of nickel sensitization”.
External factors which are causes of eczema can also include cleansing methods. “Excessive handwashing, for example causes irritant contact dermatitis, a type of eczema that is caused by excessive irritation off the skin barrier causing it to lose its natural moisturizing properties as a result as increased water loss due to the environment, a phenomenon known as transepidermal water loss.”
Is My Eczema Genetic?
According to accredited Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin, “Dermatologists generally regard eczema-prone individuals as having a certain genetic tendency to develop skin barrier dysfunction. In fact, there is a very specific sign that dermatologists look out for to determine if the causes of eczema are indeed genetic. Genetic testing is usually not performed outside of clinical studies for the treatment and diagnosis of eczema. The important sign of a genetic cause of eczema is known as Ichthyosis Vulgaris.”
Ichthyosis Vulgaris is a genetic type of eczema that one can detect from early childhood. It is a form of eczema or atopic dermatitis that presents itself as fish-scale like skin, commonly found over the front part of the lower legs.
If you have noticed that on your skin, you are at high risk of developing moderate to severe eczema. Another form of eczema, known as asteatotic eczema or “eczema cracquele” can look similar, and both reflect moderate to severe disease which requires treatment by a dermatologist.
Ichthyosis Vulgaris is a genetic condition caused by a deficiency in a gene known as filaggrin, which results in faulty production of ceramide. Ceramide is a fat molecule that joins skin cells together. It is essential for healthy skin barrier functioning. The stratum corneum is best envisioned as a brick and mortar model, where the skin consists of skin cells joined together by mortar.
Why ceramide-containing moisturisers are important for eczema treatment
Ceramide is produced by the body to protect itself against the external environment. This can be due to triggers such as pollen, dust, environmental pollutants. It can also be caused by contact with harsh soaps or astringents. The latter is part of common causes of eczema that results in irritant contact dermatitis.
How to know if you are prone to genetic causes of eczema
If you have a history of sensitive nose or airways which are respectively known as allergic rhinitis and asthma, then you may be at risk of developing atopic dermatitis.
This is a form of eczema that presents as a dry itchy skin condition affecting any part of the body. However, they can localise to areas prone to friction, such as the neck (collar area), underarms, elbows and knees, as well as under the breast in women. For these types of eczema, switching to a friction-free garment can help, on top of medical therapy that includes Ceramide-dominant moisturisers and prescription steroids. Prescription creams will be discussed with your dermatologist and adjusted according to the dose, strength and frequency of application.
What if I have the dry skin symptoms?
Theform of eczema known as Ichthyosis Vulgaris is significant because it is considered a marker for more severe eczema. If you have observed your skin having these symptoms from childhood, it’s very likely you have inherited it as a form of genetic dry skin.
“Ichthyosis Vulgaris is transmitted through generations. Have a look if your parents or siblings also have the same fish-scale like skin on their legs. While one may not always develop itchy, dry skin symptoms in childhood, with age, eczema symptoms may start manifesting,” says Dr. Teo.
Treatment of Genetic Eczema in Singapore
Now what to do if you have Ichthyosis Vulgaris?
Firstly, if you currently do not have symptoms, it is wise to invest in a moisturizer that is formulated as a prescription emollient device (PED).
“The PED type of moisturiser is actually the gold standard for eczema moisturizer therapy currently. It contains the ideal lipid ratio that mimics the skin’s natural composition of ceramides. Such a moisturiser formula also contains potent antioxidants that are formulated to reduce reliance on topical steroids. This is because it helps to reduce skin inflammation. Usually when the barrier is deficient, external allergens can trigger off an inflammatory cycle and this is when the skin starts getting red, itchy and may even develop pus and infection,” says Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin.
Dermatologist Recommended Eczema Moisturisers
An example of an excellent ceramide-dominant PED formula moisturiser is the Multi-CERAM cream by Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, formulated for treatment and prevention of eczema. For those with genetic causes of eczema, this moisturiser is both comfortable, safe and effective to treat and prevent flare-ups. Use of this moisturiser can also improve the appearance of skin, especially if you don’t suffer from other symptoms such as flaking, redness or itching, this moisturiser alone is sufficient.
The moisturiser has been formulated to mimic the skin’s natural barrier and also be fully absorbed without leaving a sticky feeling on skin. In addition, it can also help to reduce skin inflammation and treat the underlying causes of eczema because it contains potent botanicals that have additional anti-inflammatory properties.
Sudden appearance of Eczema on legs
Now if you have suddenly developed Ichthyosis Vulgarisas an adult, it is important that you visit an accredited dermatologist. The reason is because, in a small subset of cases that develop in adulthood is actually related to underlying malignancies, which can be dangerous if left undetected. This form of Ichthyosis Vulgarisis known as secondary Ichthyosis Vulgaris.
You may consult Dr Teo Wan Lin, accredited dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Center in Singapore where telemedicine consultations are offered for conditions such as acne, eczema , as well as other forms of facial skin conditions and body rashes. For more skincare tips, you may listen to her podcast Dermatologist Talks: Science of Beauty.
Want to hear an expert dermatologist’s advice on your skincare regimen? Singapore Dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin is the author of the Skincare Bible – Dermatologist’s Tips on Cosmeceutical Skincare. She is a prominent dermatologist practising at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre and is widely regarded as an expert in cosmeceutical skincare regimens.
In this article we ask her about her thoughts on including vitamin A derivatives like retinol, retinoids and a newcomer, bakuchiol into your skincare regimen. A good skincare regimen must be backed up by scientific evidence. Dr. Teo heads the research and development at Dr TWL Dermaceuticals, which focuses on skincare is suitable for eczema, rosacea, sensitive skin and acne prone skin. In this series, she shares on how trendy or new active skincare ingredients compare to traditional formulas. Join her as she weighs the pros and cons of each when customising your skincare regimen.
“The science behind functional dermatology is the harnessing of botanical actives with good safety and efficacy profile, to augment or potentially replace prescription medications for treatment of common skin diseases like acne, rosacea, perioral dermatitis and eczema. The Custom Mask Bar by Dr.TWL Pharmacy allows a pharmacy technician to personalise your skincare actives according to a dermatologist’s recommendation, for your skin type,” Dr. Teo Wan Lin accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre.
Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals is a dermatologist formulated cosmeceutical line that provides skincare solutions suitable for eczema, rosacea, sensitive and acne prone skin. The pharmacy is a collaboration with the teledermatology service which has an additional functional dermatology research about department by Dr. Teo Wan Lin. Botanical derivatives such as berberine and chlorella are used for treatment of acne, maskne and eczema, with ingredients that are the risk of skin irritation. WhatsApp us for your skincare recommendations.
What is bakuchiol and how does it compare with retinol?
Basically, both bakuchiol and retinols regulate gene expression. The important limiting factor of retinols and retinoids is in the lack of tolerability by people with sensitive skin. That is something I’ve discussed before in my digital skincare masterclass. Individuals with sensitive skin, include those with pre-existing skin conditions, such as rosacea, facial eczema, other forms of dermatitis such as seborrheic dermatitis and perioral dermatitis, and we are referring to the ability of these individuals to tolerate an anti-aging cosmeceutical.
We are aware that a lot of anti-aging dermocosmetic ingredients are mostly irritating for the skin. That’s actually how it stimulates collagen production as well, and reverses signs of photoaging. More importantly, retinols and retinoids are considered the gold standard of anti-aging molecules which have been used in cosmeceutical research in the last two decades. This is simply because of their robust research data and pharmaceutical interest. The data that has been gathered from clinical trials on these active ingredients is simply very robust and it has also been used in all dermatology clinics internationally.
This interest in better tolerated anti-aging cosmeceuticals definitely comes in a very timely way. That’s why bakuchiol has been most prominently evaluated in a study. In fact, it’s a clinical trial, undertaken by a group in the US, and subsequently published in the British Journal of Dermatology in 2019. We find that the results are actually very promising.
In this study, bakuchiol cream and retinol cream at the same concentration of 0.5% were administered in a randomized, double-blind fashion over a period of 12 weeks for a total of 44 patients. It’s a small group, but in terms of the scientific rigor of the design of such a study, it does qualify as one of the best standards available in terms of scientific evidence.
Specifically, a facial photograph and an analytical system were in place to obtain and analyze high resolution photographs of patients involved in the study at 0, 4, 8, and 12 weeks. At the same time, there was a tolerability assessment questionnaire that was administered to review side effects. There was also a board-certified dermatologist who was blinded to the study group, and was involved in the study to grade the levels of pigmentation and redness.
The results of this study was that both bakuchiol and retinol at 0.5% concentration in cream formula actually decreased the wrinkle surface area as well as hyperpigmentation. Both characteristics are key markers in the photoaging scale. The results were also statistically significant and it was equivalent across both arms. However, on the arm of the study that involved users of retinol, there was significantly more facial scaling and symptoms such as stinging, compared to the arm that was using bakuchiol. Consequently, all this backs up our understanding of the use of this particular phytochemical as a retinol alternative with less skin irritation and better tolerability.
What is noteworthy is also that in the British Journal of Dermatology study, the author’s postulated that bakuchiol on its own, has additional pathways that activate in terms of anti-aging properties. It influences many antioxidant processes and this is the main reason why I am always for the use of botanical extracts where the signs tell us that it is effective. This is because it is safe to say that every botanical extract, any plant in fact, has innate antioxidant properties.
In addition, bakuchiol has been shown to activate a specific nuclear factor, erythroid-2 related factor. That is a mouthful but it is essentially what we call a transcription factor. Just so that we make it a little bit simpler for our readers to understand, it is a factor that plays a very big role in reversing skin damage. Skin damage occurs due to either environmental exposures, or by the fact that we are simply getting older day by day, i.e. the process of chronological aging. All these together is what we call oxidative stress.
In addition to the study, the author stated that there is another pathway that bakuchiol can work by and that is in terms of disrupting melanin synthesis by blocking tyrosinase. We are aware that most anti-pigment treatments active ingredients are tyrosinase inhibitors. However, bakuchiol also blocks an additional hormone activation pathway known as the alpha melanocytes stimulating hormone.
Consequently, bakuchiol can be viewed as an anti-aging ingredient that addresses a multitude of photoaging concerns, a multifunctional approach to photoaging as opposed to just retinols or retinoids alone. These have been used in the treatment of hyperpigmentation as well, but we are not really sure how it works and it certainly doesn’t have these antioxidant properties which preserve the health of the skin.
One should also bear in mind that retinols will always be a staple in terms of its anti-aging collagen stimulating properties. We have to keep our minds open because the small studies so far are very interesting in terms of the chemical structure of both the phytochemical bakuchiol as well as retinol. They induce similar gene expression and it’s exactly in the extracellular matrix, which is where much of the skin’s fullness comes from. That’s what provides the superficial skin support called the epidermis. Subsequently, if we’re able to plump it up, we will improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What we know from limited studies, which is really just a handful compared to the robust data we have over many decades for retinol, bakuchiol does seem to compare favourably with retinol on a head-to-head basis. I feel that at the end of the day, it is a new skincare ingredient that is going to gain more attention, such as from large cosmetic companies, especially those that work with clinical cosmeceuticals. When we start to see that being incorporated into cosmeceutical skincare and being enrolled in larger trials via a dermatology practice overseen by a dermatologist, we can then see its greater efficacy of addressing the issues of tolerability.
With its potential efficacy in tolerability, bakuchiol could be especially helpful to patients with cosmetic intolerance syndrome and who still want to be on an anti-aging regimen. As a phytochemical, I feel that there is still a risk of it. It can be a trigger for allergic contact dermatitis. We have to be quite aware that anything botanical in nature can trigger an allergic reaction. That has very little to do with the tolerability which we’re talking about, and more to do with irritant contact dermatitis.
Dermatologist’s top tip for trying new skincare actives:
Always do a patch test before trying out the products on your face, including bakuchiol skincare. What I tell my patients is they can apply the product over the inner aspect of your arm overnight. If you want to be more careful, you can apply it under the chin as that’s still part of the facial skin. Some individuals have more sensitive facial skin than body skin. Certainly, if you have an allergic reaction, you’re going to see redness, swelling and irritation. However, if you have irritation, which is more often the case with retinols and retinoids, then that’s an adverse event that will only show up only after repeated use.
Book an appointment with Dr. Teo Wan Lin for your dermatology concern. Or check out Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals’ Customised Mask Bar System which allows you to personalise dermatologist recommended skincare actives for your particular skin concern.
“Acne is an ideal dermatological condition to be treated by telemedicine in the comfort of your own home, with doorstep delivery of both skincare and prescription medication required for you to recover from acne. Evaluation is accurate via our telemedicine protocol which ensures you get an appointment within 24 hours of booking and medications delivered to you free of charge, with our teledermatology package for acne,” accredited Singapore dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin.
This is a comprehensive guide produced by TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, headed by accredited dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin to assist you in your acne recovery journey, from day 1 you book your teledermatology appointment with us.
On completing your first telemedicine acne treatment appointment
Information prepared for you will be attached in an email including your recommended prescription, based on your acne diagnosis. We explain how each product works in your telemedicine acne treatment. We will teach how to use these active ingredients for acne treatment. The correct way to apply the skincare is important for optimal absorption benefits of active ingredients that treat acne. Telemedicine acne treatment is divided into three major categories.
First is skincare beneficial for treatment of the skin microbiome, to reduce growth of Propionebacterium acnes, the causative bacteria in acne. Serums like hyaluronic acid and vitamin C can help to regulate oil production and reduce acne scarring. Secondly, oral medications will be prescribed for moderate or severe acne. Thirdly, prescription creams such as topical retinoids, i.e. tretinoin should be used as directed to reduce comedone (acne whiteheads and blackheads) formation. The prescription process will be completed by the end of the day. The entire prescription including any skincare products you require will be sent to you within three to five working days. Same day shipping* is also available on request for appointments booked Mondays and Thursdays.
*subject to a surcharge of $20
Understanding telemedicine acne treatment
Mild acne can be treated with just cream medications alone in the form of skincare and/or prescription acne creams such as retinoids. Moderate to severe acne will require combination treatment with oral medications as well as skincare and prescription creams. The dermatology clinic is paired with a specialist skincare pharmacy that focuses on functional actives for treatment of medical skin conditions. These conditions include acne, and there will be additional creams containing such functional active derived from active botanicals included in your prescription.
If you have moderate or severe acne, you require combination treatment with oral medications. Accompanying the above introductory video are all of these treatment options. If you have mild acne, we will share what the next step may be if you do not get better with initial treatment. Alternatively, pay a visit to our virtual pharmacy where you may be able to pick up non-prescription effective acne creams recommended by our AI chat bot. This article covers the recommended skincare regimen that will be part of your telemedicine acne treatment. It is an essential part of any acne treatment, whether you have mild, moderate or severe acne.
Effective Telemedicine Acne Treatment with Skincare
The cornerstone of telemedicine acne treatment is proper skin care, regardless of severity.
Our in-house cosmeceutical skincare is researched for its benefits for improving telemedicine acne treatment outcomes. It also ensures that you remain acne-free when your treatment is completed. For most teenage and adult acne sufferers, it is the main form of maintenance therapy.
Antibacterial acne cleanser with medical grade honey
First, an antibacterial cleanser like the Miel Honey Cleanser has potent broad spectrum, anti-microbial properties. This also helps to control “fungal acne”, which is a form of folliculitis caused by a yeast, known as Malessezia furfur. It is also an effective anti-bacterial skin cleanser for hormonal acne and teenager physiologic acne.
This helps to reduce bacterial colonization on skin. As acne is partly due to the overgrowth of Propionebacterium acnes, a certain type of bacteria, it is very important that your cleanser can help to restore skin balance.
Th process here is also known as stabilising the microbiome. The antibacterial honey cleanser can stabilize the skin bacterial load. At the same time, it helps to restore moisture and oil balance when you use it twice a day. Only a small amount is needed because you find that it lathers up very well. The benefits of such an antibacterial acne cleanser include broad spectrum, antimicrobial properties and a suitable gentle cleanser for the treatment of acne.
Acne skincare regimen includes antioxidant serums
The second important step is the use of serums. Acne is partly caused by excess oil production. Thus, one important telemedicine acne treatment, and in any acne treatment for that matter, is to regulate oil glands. This means that skin hydration is key, but not with an oil or heavy cream. Rather, Dr. Teo Wan Lin recommends a 1% pure hyaluronic acid serum, compounded at Dr.TWL Pharmacy. At one of the highest concentrations available, it is pure, without other additives that can cause skin irritation.
The second serum effective for acne scar treatment is the vitamin C serum. Dr. TWL Dermaceuticals uses a pH neutral formula, known as sodium ascorbyl phosphate. Why is an anti-oxidant serum important in your acne skincare regimen? Firstly, vtamin C is important as an antioxidant to reduce acne scars. Also, overall it reduces the amount of bacteria present on skin by changing the local skin microenvironment.
Moisturiser suitable for acne-prone skin
Moisturising is important for oily and acne-prone skin. This is because it traps moisture under the top layer of the skin and causes your oil glands to be more balanced if you have oily skin it is possible for you also to have dehydrated skin barrier this can result in a oily and dry skin phenomena which really is very uncomfortable and can cause your acne and/or dry skin condition to get worse.
The Radiance Fluide Hydrating Emulsion is dermatologist-recommended moisturiser for telemedicine acne treatment. It is suitable for combination/oil skin that is acne-prone. It has moisturizing properties of a cream but at the same time does not cause increased skin oiliness. Sample size is available as well if you would like to trial first. This moisturiser is suitable for acne-prone and oily skin as it contains additional active ingredients like niacinamide, which helps to lighten acne scars and control oil production.
Best moisturiser for acne scar prevention
Additional skincare active ingredients such as oligopeptides stimulate collagen production. Coenzyme Q10 is a very active compound that can help to treat your skin by stimulating beneficial physiological processes such as scar lightening by blocking pigment production and regulating beneficial cell talk.
Spot pimple cream for treating acne inflammation
An effective pimple cream should reduce inflammation quickly and also prevent new pimples from forming. This is how a pimple cream should be used: firstly as a preventive treatment over the entire affected acne prone area, secondly as a targeted spot treatment over whether inflamed acne bump is. The blemish spot cream is specifically formulated to be highly tolerable, meaning that it does not cause irritation side-effects. In fact, it is to be used at least five times a day liberally over inflamed acne bumps for optimal results.
Oral medications for telemedicine acne treatment
Oral medications may be required for moderate persistent active and severe acne is usually required for the treatment of hormonal acne adult acne tends to be more persistent and also require treatment with oral medications the main categories of oral medications are first oral antibiotics such as doxycycline and erythromycin.
Secondly, isotretinoin is prescribed for cystic acne or acne that does not respond to oral antibiotics. Common side effects of oral antibiotics for the treatment of acne include diarrhoea and heartburn. You should discuss with your dermatologist if you have a history of drug allergies or have a sensitive stomach. Blue light administered in the dermatologist’s office is also an option for treatment for individuals who do not want to take oral medication.
Sunscreen suitable for acne-prone skin
Sunscreen is essential when you have acne. It is important to protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays because it can cause your acne scars to darken. In addition, if you are using acne medication such as retinoids, your skin can be very sensitive to the sun. Certain sunscreen formulations are comedogenic. This means that it can worsen acne.
The SunProtector is formulated to be very light weight in a tropical humid climate like Singapore, which increases skin comfort and reduces occlusion on skin. it also contains additional anti-inflammatory botanical extracts such as portulaca oleracea which helps to reduce acne inflammation. For sunprotection while wearing face masks, it is advisable to wear a mask designed with a biofunctional textile such as the CUIONS mask with additional UPF 50 protection. There is no need for additional sunscreen under this face mask.
“Generally, wearing any traditional facial cloth mask or medical grade masks such as surgical masks/N95 masks increases the occlusion effect on skin. If one is prone to acne, or currently suffers from acne, this may worsen. Maskne, for example is a type of occlusion acne. If your face mask does not block UV light, it is essential to wear a sunscreen under the mask for UV protection.
However, sunscreen worn under a face mask will increase the comedogenic effects under occlusion. The CUIONS biofunctional textile, which I described in my research letter in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology as an ideal face mask design- addresses the issues of sun protection and maskne,” accredited Singapore dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, Dr. Teo Wan Lin.
Acne skincare regimen, dermatologist recommended
The five step acne skincare protocol comprises the antibacterial honey cleanser, vitamin C serum, hyaluronic acid serum followed by the lightweight antioxidant emulsion Radiance Fluide and SunProtector. This skincare regimen is dermatologist recommended and designed to maintain a healthy skin microbiome as well as regulate oil glands secretion. This ensures that after you complete telemedicine acne treatment you will stay free of acne with a healthy maintenance regimen.
Prescription acne creams
Effective prescription acne creams include retinoids. Tretinoin is prescribed in doses starting from 0.01- 0.05% in our dermatologist’s office. Tretinoin works in the following ways. It helps to regulate skin cell turnover and also stimulates collagen production, reducing acne scarring. It also helps to regulate sebum production, a key factor in acne. Our over-the-counter blemish spot cream is a pimple cream that contains chlorella vulgaris which help to regulate sebum production, reduces acne scarring and inflammation.
In our dermatology practice, our pharmacy also compounds botanical active ingredients such as berberine which has a multifactorial effect on acne. If you suffer from mild acne you may wish to try our virtual pharmacy’s AI services for a consultation. Our home use Silk peel device is based off in-office treatments such as hydra facial/medi-facial with active ingredients in solutions that helps to target acne related inflammation. If you suffer from moderate or severe acne, you may wish to book in for a consultation with our dermatologist for telemedicine acne treatment.
The Dr.TWL’s SilkPeel Microdermabrasion Kit is engineered with CUIONS™️ Technology. It includes a copper-infused microcrystalline tip which delivers skin healing cosmeceutical benefits.
What is Microdermabrasion?
Microdermabrasion is a simple, quick, non-invasive and painless skin resurfacing procedure with minimal to no recovery time required, as well as having little risk. Makeup and non-irritating creams can also be applied right after microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion helps to gently exfoliate surface layers of skin using abrasion by a fine diamond abrasive tip or crystals and a vacuum suction, removing dead skin cells. Since microdermabrasion provides only a very superficial level of skin removal, it works best on improving conditions that are on the surface of the skin. This includes early photoaging, dull skin, fine lines, acne, age spots, melasma and superficial scarring.
It was first introduced in 1985 by Marini and Lo Brutto as a less aggressive, safer alternative to more invasive resurfacing methods such as chemical peels, dermabrasion and fractional CO2 laser, as this procedure requires no needles or anaesthesia. These highly invasive methods are indicated for individuals who have moderate to severe photoaging as well as deeper dermal sort of acne scars. The vacuum pressure and speed can be adjusted according to the sensitivity and tolerance of the skin. It is usually performed by various types of practitioners in a healthcare setting or in an outpatient setting and these may include astheticians, medical assistants, nurses.
How does Microdermabrasion work?
It has traditionally been part of a dermatologist’s practice and essentially it combines two important features of skin resurfacing. Microdermabrasion works by removing the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the epidermis via abrasion to the skin, followed by removal of exfoliated skin cells and skin debris by a vacuum suction. When the topmost layer of the skin is removed, it stimulates the wound healing process in your skin.
The process of the new skin that’s growing back is an important part of the treatment outcome as well. Ideally, we want the skin that’s growing back to be healthier looking. This is so that overall, there’s an increase in the appearance of skin radiance, reduced fine lines, wrinkles, and hopefully more even sort of pigmentation.
“The answer is yes, in the context of improving the science of photo ageing, and as an adjunct in the treatment of moderate to severe acne scars, it is a relatively low cost, safe and efficient way to stimulate new skin cells to grow.” According to Singapore dermatologistDr. Teo Wan Lin.
We shed dead skin cells naturally as new skin cells slowly travel up from the deepest skin layers to the surface. On average, this process takes about 27 days. As we age, this cell turnover process slows down. When we exfoliate the face, we remove the top layer of skin including the build-up of dead skin cells. Regular exfoliation with microdermabrasion can reveal smoother, younger and brighter skin with an even tone. Microdermabrasion can also improve skin circulation and stimulate the production of collagen, aiding elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Microdermabrasion is beneficial for individuals with sun damage, dull or sallow skin, active acne, age spots, hyperpigmentation, melasma, pick marks, and very superficial or raised acne scars. It is a good treatment option for patients with superficial skin problems and busy lifestyles who are looking for benefits with virtually no side effects or downtime.
In addition to the cosmetic benefits of microdermabrasion, studies have also shown improved skin permeability, hence your skin is more able to absorb your chosen skincare products. This is important especially for those who are treating skin conditions such as acne as their skincare products become effectively more useful.
How does microdermabrasion at home compare with an in-office treatment?
Dr.TWL Biomaterials actually launched a device for microdermabrasion at home in late 2019 for our patients. This is especially useful for our overseas patients who are unable to follow up with us in the practice, where we do these medical microdermabrasion procedures for them. The key concept here is that the tip used in home kits is much less abrasive. When it is performed in the clinic, it’s often a diamond tip, and clearly that is very expensive. Furthermore, it has to be performed by another person, you cannot do it on yourself. Additionally, if you have contraindications and nobody picks it up, it can be quite dangerous, as you may aggravate your skin condition.
Home kits will use something like aluminium oxide, in our case, we use copper oxide, which are actually crystals that are released when microdermabrasion is performed. There is a handpiece, which has this assisted vacuum suction, and essentially that helps to remove the topmost layer of your skin cells. Hence, a whole kit is pretty much similar to the clinic procedure in the sense that we want to stimulate skin cell renewal, but at the same time, we also want to increase absorption of cosmeceutical serums.
Therefore, microdermabrasion remains a very effective tool to increase delivery of dermal cosmetics. As we grow older, our skin often becomes less able to absorb active ingredients. However, with microdermabrasion especially when it’s very accessible, like in the form of a toolkit for microdermabrasion at home, it’s the perfect device to introduce into your skincare regimen, for active ingredients to penetrate the skin barrier more effectively. “Microdermabrasion, in my opinion, remains one of the safest, most efficacious forms of home facials that you can administer on your own,“ according to dermatologist Dr. Teo.
What are the possible side effects of using such microdermabrasion kits at home?
Potential side effects of microdermabrasion are minimal and this is a very safe procedure. With proper training, the machine itself is fairly straightforward to use. Common mild, temporary side effects include slight skin tightness, redness, bruising and sensitivity.
SilkPeel Home Medi-Facial Kit with Cuions™ Technology Copper-Infused Microcrystalline tip
TheSilkpeel Home Medifacial Kit allows for a safe and effective way to include this much-needed skin treatment to your skincare routine for those who have no time for a medical facial.
The key feature of our SilkPeel is the CUIONS™ microcrystalline head, which is engineered to have a less abrasive structure than the traditional diamond heads, while retaining the microdermabrasion feature to gently exfoliate dead skin cells. This is a home-equivalent to in-clinic diamond microdermabrasion — the home facial kit version designed to be much less irritating to the skin. Therefore, it is suitable for sensitive skin, and can be done safely at home without medical supervision. This device for vacuum microdermabrasion at home has pore-refining effects, getting you one step closer to glass skin.
Accordingtoaccredited Singapore dermatologist, Dr. Teo Wan Lin, “Glass skin, a poreless, translucent, dewy appearance of the skin, popularised by K-beauty is not a myth. Cosmeceuticals such as polyglutamic acid, which is a large molecule, sits on the surface of the skin while functioning as a humectant 5x more effective than hyaluronic acid. The SilkPeel system utilises polyglutamic acid based solutions with potent antioxidants delivered via vacuum microdermabrasion that helps to achieve a translucent appearance of the skin, reducing the appearance of pores, increasing cosmeceutical absorption.”
Zhou Y, Banga AK. Enhanced delivery of cosmeceuticals by microdermabrasion. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2011 Sep;10(3):179-84.
Shah M, S. Crane J. Microdermabrasion. StatPearls Publishing; 2021.
The relative darkening of lower eyelid skin, commonly referred to as under-eye dark eye circles or periorbital hyperpigmentation are an unsurprising source of aesthetic concern of patients owing to the fatigued and less youthful appearance that they can impart, which can negatively impact one’s quality of life. Dark eye circles occur more frequently in skin of color patients and women with the etiology of under-eye circles being multifactorial. In this article, we will discuss the causes of dark eye circles, as well as some treatment options.
Potential causes of under-eye pigmentation
The difference between the under-eye area and the rest of the skin is that the under-eye area has much more delicate and thinner skin. This explains why some individuals tend to get dark eye circles from those areas due to genetic factors such as the blood vessels being seen much more prominently in areas of thin skin. Some individuals hence have darker pigmentation on the skin under their eyes than the skin elsewhere on their faces, which leads to the look of dark eye circles. For instance, those of Southeast Asian descent are more likely to be predisposed to this type of pigmentation under the eyes.
Inflammatory skin conditions
Individuals who have inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema on the face may also face darkness under the eyes for a few reasons. Firstly, eczema and psoriasis are both inflammatory conditions, so that in itself can cause a redness or darkening of the skin. Additionally, as these diseases tend to be itchy, the rubbing process will exacerbate the redness or darkening of the skin. Secondly, pigmentation left behind from these conditions can remain on the skin even after the condition is under control. In particular, people with lighter skin tend to recover faster in terms of post-inflammatory changes, while people with darker skin tend to hold onto pigment a little bit longer.
Rubbing your eyes too much
Excessive eye-rubbing can affect the eye area in different ways, both related to pigmentation and the blood vessels below the skin. This skin under the eyes is very sensitive, excessively rubbing the eyes would hence cause irritation and the skin may become slightly thicker and darker as part of the skin’s defense system.
Excessive rubbing can also lead to broken blood vessels beneath the skin, which leads to the appearance of darkness, since the skin around the eyes is so thin, those underlying broken blood vessels become more visible. In addition, with certain practices such as applying eye makeup over many years as well as wearing contact lenses, the process of dragging and pulling the areas of skin around the eye can make it much more susceptible to wrinkling and laxity.
Dark under-eye circles can also be caused by a number of environmental, physical and hereditary causes. These may include allergies, thin skin which allows visible veins to show through as blue circles that can get worse with age, as you lose some of the fat and collagen around your eyes, stress or fatigue, sun exposure, cigarette smoking and hormonal changes.
Improving the appearance of dark eye circles — categorised by the type of problem
For Fatigue or Lack of Sleep:
Since fatigue and lack of sleep are the most common causes of dark eye circles, it would be helpful to start by adopting a healthier lifestyle, which includes getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, having frequent exercise, being on a diet filled with antioxidants, reducing alcohol intake and stopping smoking habits.
For Inflammation, Toxins, Stress or Allergies:
When looking to treat dark eye circles internally, some natural key ingredients like milk thistle extract helps to prevent inflammation, allowing for restoration of damaged cells from environmental toxins, stress and alcohol. Dandelion root helps detox and protect your body, while artichoke leaf aids your body in flushing unwanted toxins. In the case of allergies, taking Zyrtec daily is a great way to combat under-eye puffiness and discoloration. Pigmentation left behind by skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema can also be treated with the retinoids and acids like azelaic or glycolic.
For Thin Skin or Hyperpigmentation From Sun Exposure:
It is necessary to eliminate bad practices in handling of the skin around the eye area, and to advocate good eye moisturising and antioxidants in the form of a cosmeceutical eye cream and daily sun protection. One eye cream product you may opt for is the Elixir-V™ Eyes, which is a dermatologist-formulated eye cream that targets regeneration and repair of skin around the eye area with pharmaceutical-grade bioactive ingredients.
It contains potent oligopeptides used for lifting and repair and our signature LARECEA™ extract for regeneration. An additional ingredient is niacinamide, used for brightening. Also, as a tip, use your ring finger instead of the index finger to apply any sort of eye cream or makeup, in order to avoid exerting repeated high pressure over the delicate eye area, which drags down the skin and may cause or worsen eye bags and wrinkles.
Elixir- V™ Eye Cream provides total nourishment for eyes in a single application. It contains anti-ageing skincare ingredient adenosine as well as active ingredient LARECEA™ Extract that accelerates collagen formation for skin regeneration.
Other topical lightening agents include Vitamin C, kojic acid, and licorice extract which helps decrease skin pigmentation over time, ultimately resulting in the lightening of the dark circles. Additionally, creams or serums containing caffeine are effective as well, as caffeine can help by constricting the diameter of blood vessels, thus reducing the violaceous discoloration of the area. It is also recommended to wear a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide
If your dark eye circles are caused by thin skin surrounding your eyes, a filler under the eyes can help offset any shadows from fat loss in the area and to conceal any underlying blood vessels, which may be giving a purple hue to the skin.
It’s important to remember you’re not alone and seeking medical advice is always best. Especially when over the counter remedies and lifestyle changes do not suffice, it’s best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist.
Michelle L, Pouldar Foulad D, Ekelem C, Saedi N, Mesinkovska NA. Treatments of Periorbital Hyperpigmentation: A Systematic Review. Dermatol Surg. 2021;47(1):70-74. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000002484 Friedmann DP, Goldman MP. Dark circles: etiology and management options. Clin Plast Surg. 2015;42(1):33-50. doi:10.1016/j.cps.2014.08.007
Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals was founded in 2016, as a specialist cosmeceutical skincare line, by brother-and-sister duo Mr Justin Teo, a pharmaceutical engineer, and his sister Dr. Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist in Singapore. In a society deluged by a myriad of skincare products driven by the cosmetic and beauty industry, the brother and sister duo combined their professional expertise to develop dermatologist formulated skincare and skincare regimen for sensitive skin, with evidence-based active ingredients for skin rejuvenation and anti-aging.
This ideal skincare regimen is the range initially developed for dermatology patients with sensitive skin, rosacea, eczema and acne, and is suitable for treatment for all skin types because of its highly tolerable formulations. Read on to find out more on Dr. Teo’s recommended skincare regimen.
This is step 1 of Dr. Teo’s cleansing skincare regimen which is theLe Lait™ Milk Cleanser formulated specifically for individuals with eczema, rosacea, acne, sensitive skin types, as well as those who have just undergone laser treatment. It contains calming camphor which reduces redness and inflammation while effectively dissolving oil-soluble makeup pigments, making sure that the skin is thoroughly cleansed from the very first step. It also contains regenerating LARECEA extract which is from Brassica oleracea and all that is in a purified, calming, deep sea water base.
Step 2 is what you should definitely not miss in your skincare regimen if you have a combination or oily skin. This is the Miel Honey™ Cleanser which is formulated with medical grade honey. Medical grade honey has natural antimicrobial effects, meaning it acts against a variety of both pathogenic bacteria as well as yeast organisms. This is very important because it also helps to maintain a healthy skin microbiome that reduces the incidence of acne, maskne, fungal acne which is pityrosporum folliculitis due to a yeast organism, as well as alleviate symptoms of eczema which are also affected by changes in the skin microbiome.
The step right after cleansing in a skincare regimen is the application of serums. These two are known as the power twins – Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C Serum. The Hyaluronic Acid serum is an in-house formula specially compounded for individuals with eczema because commercial formulations tend to contain other excipients or maybe in a vehicle that causes stinging and burning. This is at one of the highest concentrations commercially available at 1%, it is a pure, molecular formula consisting of multi-weighted types of hyaluronic acid to ensure optimal absorption.
The second serum in our skincare regimen is the Vitá C GOLD™ Serum which is suitable for individuals with eczema, sensitive skin types and are not able to tolerate commercial formulations which generally contain L-ascorbic acid. L-ascorbic acid is effective but if you have sensitive skin or a history of it, you may sometimes experience burning, stinging and redness if you apply Vitamin C.
Why is Vitamin C important in the skincare regimen? It is an antioxidant which means that regardless of your underlying skin condition, whether you have a medical skin condition such as acne or rosacea, or you are concerned about aging in general, antioxidants actually help to reduce inflammation and can slow down the process of skin aging and can even offer photoprotective effects which means that it protects you against the harmful ultraviolet rays you are exposed to, when used in conjunction with a sunblock.
The active ingredient here is sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is a far better tolerated active form of Vitamin C than L-ascorbic acid because it is a neutral molecule. This is very important if you are undergoing treatment for acne. For example, if you use retinoids or retinols, you may find that traditional formulations of Vitamin C cause burning or stinging. If you have a history sensitive skin or eczema, Vitamin C formulations will generally trigger off skin irritation. L-ascorbic acid is an acidic molecule. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate, being neutral, is less likely to trigger off any skin irritation even in individuals with a history with sensitivity.
The third serum which Dr. Teo uses twice a day in her skincare regimen and also recommends to her patients is the Elixir-V Serum. It is predominantly an anti-aging serum that works via anti-inflammatory effects, hence slowing down the rate of photoaging because it enables your skin to be able to fight off oxidative stress and free radical damage, especially due to environmental damage.
Ultraviolet radiation and environmental pollution are the commonest causes of oxidative stress that accelerate the process of photoaging.The active ingredient in this formula, a specific form of resveratrol known as trans-resveratrol, is derived from the Japanese Knotweed plant. Trans-resveratrol is an effective form of resveratrol that can help to fight free radical damage.
In addition, there is the Cica extract, also known as Centella Asiatica. Cica itself is very well known and is proven in scientific literature for its ability to reduce PIH, or post-inflammation hyperpigmentation. It is a recommended serum if you suffer from acne scarring.
Usually, while you are having the acne bump, we recommend applying this together with an effective pimple cream like the Blemish Spot Cream, to minimize the chances of it turning into an acne scar. The serum has oligopeptides which help to tighten and lift your face. This works via stimulation of collagen and it does not have the irritating side effects of retinol or retinoids, so it is suitable for individuals with skin sensitivity as it is highly tolerable.
After application of serums, the next step in a skincare regimen would be to apply your moisturiser. This is the Radiance Fluide Emulsion, which has a lighter texture than the Multi-CERAM™ Cream which is the intensive moisturizer that Dr. Teo prescribes to her patients with eczema and sensitive skin.
This is particularly important because as an emulsion, it has a much less sticky feel. At the same time, it is not water-based because water-based moisturisers are not very effective. So essentially, this is an oil and water emulsion formula. It helps to trap enough moisture underneath your skin because of the active ingredients which function as humectants and at the same time, there are various plant-derived antioxidant extracts that help to fight free radical damage.
The emulsion also has niacinamide which has a brightening effect as we know that plays a significant role in reducing uneven pigmentation, as well as pigmentation due to photoaging. Finally, it also has oligopeptides. Peptides are actually better than retinoid or its derivatives, because it has no risk of skin irritation and has similar effects that are proven in the scientific literature for stimulating collagen production. This contributes to increased skin elasticity as well as plumpness.
Is it necessary to use a facial mist for our skincare regimen? Dr. Teo recommends one especially if you are living in a tropical country like Singapore. It is very hot outside but then we are mostly indoors in an air conditioned environment, which means there is a dramatic change in terms of the ambient humidity when you move in and out of the office.
This is critical because we know that in low humidity environments such as in air conditioning, there is increased transepidermal water loss and it is rather impractical to be layering on moisturizers whether in an emulsion or cream formula throughout the day, so this is when using a mist. In this case, what is highly effective as a moisturizer and also stable in a water formula, is actually polyglutamic acid (PGA). PGA is actually four to five times more effective than hyaluronic acid (HA) in terms of its ability to hold water.
However, it is probably less well-known simply because it is an expensive molecule and cosmetic companies have favoured using HA as a result. The Mineral Booster contains polyglutamic acid as its main active ingredient. It can help you achieve a glass skin appearance because PGA is a fairly large molecule, much larger than hyaluronic acid, and it sits on the surface of the skin. This gives an immediate plumping, glowing, glass and translucent skin sort of effect that we do see on a lot of celebrities especially in Korea where PGA has gained a lot of attention as an effective, cosmeceutical and moisturizing ingredient.
Well hands up, who doesn’t use sunscreen here in their skincare regimen? The truth is we all know that using sunscreen is not just important for prevention of aging, but also for prevention of skin cancers. It is important to know the practical reasons why individuals may not use as much sunscreen as they should and we are going to explore it in this short clip. First of all, your sunscreen may leave a white cast on your skin.
This is quite common with Western formulated sunscreens because of the difference in skin tone and skin colour. For Asian skin, it is really important to also understand that in South East Asia especially, the humidity actually increases discomfort when we wear sunscreen, and that is exacerbated because we are all wearing a face mask these days.
The truth is, in order for an effective sunscreen to protect you against the ultraviolet rays, it has to be in some sort of oil vehicle. This is primarily because the UVA blockers are stable in an oil vehicle as opposed to just the physical blockers which are broad spectrum UVB. Particularly, UVA is actually important in terms of its role in photoaging.
It is very important to know that your sunscreen contains antioxidants because antioxidants work synergistically together with sunscreen ingredients to reduce and prevent skin damage due to sun exposure. This also helps to reduce oxidative stress caused by environmental pollution. Portulaca Oleracea (Purslane) is the active antioxidant in this formula. The ingredient also has an anti-wrinkle ingredient hexapeptide which has a botox-like effect in terms of relaxing your skin’s muscles when topically applied.
Whether you suffer from acne as a teen or even as an adult, it is important to emphasise topical treatment that is integrated into your skincare regimen. An effective pimple cream must first of all, prevent progression of an already inflamed acne pump known as a papule, to a cyst. The process is best achieved by using an anti-inflammatory ingredient such as Chlorella Vulgaris present in the Blemish Spot Cream that reduces sebum production at the same time. It also contains argan oil as well as methionine which are both important in reducing post-inflammation hyperpigmentation that contributes to acne scarring.
In skincare regimens, hydrocolloid patches are actually emerging as a very effective tool in our fight against acne. This is because hydrocolloid is very effective not just for wound healing where it absorbs pus and what we call, exudate, but also reduces the time taken for the wound to heal. For an active acne bump, The patch also helps to draw out the exudate, hence flattening the pimple with application. It also has additional benefits – it is antibacterial, it prevents the growth of bacteria when it is applied on your skin. Finally, it also prevents you from touching your pimple.
Why is it important to use a face mask in our skincare regimen? Well, we know that certain active ingredients, when used as a leave-on formula, can potentially irritate the skin even if it is known to be beneficial. An example of that would be Vitamin C. The Amino Acid Masque precisely higher doses of Vitamin C in order to optimise the brightening effects on skin in a wash-off gel formula.
It also contains a potent complex of multiple floral extracts that help to give a naturally soothing sensorial experience of aromatherapy and at the same time, being suitable for sensitive skin because of its innate anti-inflammatory botanical properties. It also has oligopeptides which is an important component of all our cosmeceutical skincare as a retinol or retinoid substitute that is suitable for individuals with sensitive skin.
Three hormones impact your skin during your monthly cycle: estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones fluctuate through the menstrual cycle, being responsible for the changes in your skin. They also cause period acne by increasing skin inflammation, oil production as well as increased bacterial growth, particularly C. acnes. These hormonal fluctuations just before your period may also be responsible for other period symptoms such as moodiness, sore breasts and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In addition, PMS is associated with increased stress levels, which may also worsen acne.
Estrogen is the main hormone in the first half of your monthly cycle, which increases collagen production and skin thickness. This influences your skin’s structural integrity, moisture retention and barrier function. It also stimulates the hair follicles in the scalp and have antioxidant properties, protecting against stress and inflammation. At high levels of estrogen, it helps to hydrate your skin, making it look wrinkle-free as well as suppress levels of sebum production and gland activation.
Progesterone is another important sex hormone involved in your menstrual cycle. It helps keep the other hormone levels in check as well as reduces cortisol and other stress hormones. This promotes healthy sleep, which is vital for skin health.
Testosterone belongs to a class of male hormones, androgens. However, women also require a small amount of testosterone for growth, maintenance and repair of a woman’s reproductive tissues, bone mass and behaviour. In women, it is produced in smaller quantities in the ovaries and released into the bloodstream. When there are more androgens binding to the receptors on the sebaceous glands, more sebum is produced. The sebum can combine with dead skin cells from within the pore, causing a blockage. This blockage traps all the excess sebum being produced and can trigger period acne. Additionally, these sebum-filled pores provide an ideal environment for C. acnes to proliferate and cause inflammatory period acne.
Sweat and menstrual cycle phases
The body’s ability to sweat changes throughout the cycle as well. Studies have shown that women in their second half of the cycle, also known as the luteal phase, have an increase in sweat production when exposed to warmer temperatures. This is as compared to when they were in the first half of their menstrual cycle, also known as the follicular phase. Increase in sweating is not just limited to the face, but across the whole body.
The menstrual cycle usually lasts for 28 days:
Days 1–7: Menstruation, the “Reset” of the Cycle
Cycle day 1 is the first day of the period. This is characterized with having low levels of the three major hormones, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, affecting mood and metabolism. In particular, the low levels of estrogen leads to less stimulation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, hence the skin looks duller. Estrogen and testosterone levels gradually increase by cycle day 3. During the period itself, the condition of the skin generally improves.
As skin barrier function and hydration are low during the menstrual phase, skincare should focus on increasing the skin’s water content. During this phase, one can use a moisturizer rich in phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens. These natural moisturising factors safely and effectively imitate estrogen’s effect on skin, improving the skin’s elasticity, clarity and luminosity. It is also recommended to drink more water as the skin requires water to maintain its elasticity. Excess caffeine should be avoid, as it can dehydrate the body and cause skin dullness. One should also avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates during this period as it can cause the skin to become even more susceptible to blemishes and period acne.
Days 8–15: “The Venus Week”
The week following your period, estrogen and testosterone both climb towards a peak just before ovulation. The increase in levels of estrogen and progesterone, accompanied with an increase in dopamine and endorphins, stimulates one’s mood and metabolism. The skin has a glowing effect.
During this week, less is more in terms of makeup, one should let their naturally enhanced skin shine through. It is recommended to keep sugar and carbohydrate intake to a minimum to keep your skin glowing. Maintaining a good skin care routine will also help to prolong your skin’s best condition.
Days 16–28: Progesterone Dominance, the “Minerva Phase”
Just after ovulation, estrogen and testosterone decreases as progesterone levels increases. This encourages rest and eating, even though you may not be pregnant. As progesterone rises, it causes slower metabolism, resulting in more bloating and a tendency to gain weight.
Significantly for the skin, this rise in progesterone level stimulates sebum production. As the cycle progresses, even progesterone in addition to the other 2 hormones, begins to fall. This further affects one’s mood in response to the decrease in levels of the 3 main hormones. Shortly before menstruation begins, both oestrogen and progesterone are at their lowest levels and at this point testosterone is actually at a higher level than the female hormones. Consequently, there is an increase in sebum production.
During this phase, the best way to tackle a sluggish mood and sluggish metabolism is exercise and meditation. It is vital to take extra care to prevent skin problems in the week leading up to your period, where you’re likely to experience breakouts and skin dullness.
How to deal with period acne
In conclusion, by understanding the hormonal shifts behind each phase, one can anticipate and adjust to optimize her mood, energy levels and skin condition to avoid period acne, despite the intense hormonal changes. Other ways you can deal with period acne breakouts include avoiding irritating products, such as greasy sunscreens, cosmetics, oils, and concealers as well as limiting your exposure to UV rays by staying out of the sun when possible.
It is also recommended to wash your face after activities that cause you to sweat and only use acne products as directed according to your dermatologist. Applying too much product will irritate and dry out your skin which may worsen your period acne. For additional tips, click here to read more about a natural acne treatment.
Sunscreen is the most important skin care product you can use to protect your skin from the sun. A good sunscreen with potent UVA and UVB blocking can keep you from getting sunburnt. It also minimizes the development of wrinkles and other signs of aging, and can reduce your risk of skin cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In this article, we will discuss some common sunscreen mistakes and how you can effectively treat sunburns.
Sunscreens in skin cancer prevention
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans in their lifetime. Yet most cases of skin cancer can be prevented by protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. In animal studies, a sunscreen of SPF 12 was shown to protect against epidermal cell damage while a sunscreen of SPF 15, when applied to mouse skin was found to nearly abolish UVR-induced mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene.
The best way to prevent skin cancer is sun avoidance. Where that is not possible, once can practise seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. However, in a recent survey, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that not everyone is applying their sunscreen correctly, making several common sunscreen mistakes. This leaves people vulnerable to dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun and susceptible to skin cancer.
The SunProtector™ is formulated with physical blockers like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that effectively blocks blue light emitted by indoor devices. Portulaca Oleracea (Purslane) and Oligopeptides in this sunscreen are potent antioxidants which actively fight free radicals generated by blue light as well as airborne pollutants – for comprehensive protection.
Common Sunscreen Mistakes
Ignoring the label
There are a variety of sunscreens on the market with a myriad of labels offering little explanations, which no doubt contributes to the common sunscreen mistakes made by people. However, to effectively protect one from the sun, it is recommended by the AAD to wear sunscreens that are broad-spectrum, water-resistant and have an SPF of 30 or higher. Sunscreens that are “water resistant” are often misconceived to be very long lasting, but it may actually provide protection for only 40 minutes in water according to FDA definitions. Hence, to be as safe as possible when in the sun, use a lot of sunscreen and reapply it frequently.
Using too little and waiting too long to reapply
Amongst common sunscreen mistakes, the most frequently made mistake is probably that most people apply less than the recommended amount of sunscreen. One should apply sunscreen generously and cover all skin that isn’t covered by clothing. In fact, in order to achieve the SPF rating labeled on the bottled, one needs to apply 2mg per square centimetre of skin according to SPF definitions. This works out approximately to be a quarter to half a teaspoon to cover the entire face. In addition, one should apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors, and reapply at least every 2 hours and even more often if you are swimming or sweating.
Applying only in sunny weather
The sun emits harmful UV rays all year long, however the AAD found that only about 20% of Americans use sunscreen on cloudy days, where up to 80% of UV rays can penetrate your skin. To protect your skin and reduce skin cancer risk, apply sunscreen every time you head outside, even on cloudy days.
Using an old bottle
The FDA requires sunscreen to last three years. After that, it may not provide the amount of protection listed on the bottle. Check the expiration date before applying, and if there is no expiry date indicated on the bottle, assume it expires three years from the date of purchase. Throw out your sunscreen if it’s expired or if you are unsure how long you’ve had it, as applying expired sunscreen does not help protect your skin from the sun.
Relying solely on sunscreen
Since no sunscreen can block 100% of the sun’s UV rays, it’s also important to seek shade and wear sun-protective clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor label, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection for eye protection.
Missing Important Areas
It’s important to apply sunscreen to all areas that will be exposed to the sun, and there are a few spots people tend to miss as part of the most common sunscreen mistakes. A study published in April 2019 in the journalPLoS One found that nearly 20 percent of participants did not apply sunscreen to their eyelids, with the skin on the eyelid having the highest incidence of skin cancer per unit area. Lips are another often-missed area that’s susceptible to damage as they do not contain a lot of melanin, which is a protective pigment. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends one to wear a lip balm or lipstick with SPF 15 or higher.
Your skin can burn if it receives too much exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Although it may seem like a temporary condition, sunburn can cause long-lasting damage to the skin, which may increase one’s risk of getting skin cancer. Hence, to help heal and soothe stinging skin, it is important to begin treating sunburn as soon as you notice it.
Taking Care of Sunburn
Use a moisturizer that contains ceramides to help repair sunburnt skin
While your skin is still wet after showering, apply a moisturizer cream or lotion to help seal in moisture. Ceramides are important components of a good moisturiser as they mimic natural lipids that help to repair and restore the skin barrier. Over the next few days at least following sun damage, apply moisturizer frequently to the affected area. This will help keep the skin hydrated and expedite repair of the skin barrier.
The Multi-CERAM™ Moisturiser is an ultra intensive skin moisturiser for total skin barrier repair with pharmaceutical grade ingredients. It is dermatologist-formulated to treat eczema, dry sensitive skin and to prevent skin aging.
Drink more water
A sunburn draws fluid to the skin’s surface and away from the rest of the body, hence drinking more water when you are sunburnt helps prevent dehydration. It is vital to rehydrate by drinking extra liquids, including water and sports drinks that help to replenish electrolytes.
Take extra care to protect sunburnt skin while it heals
Wear clothing that covers your skin while outdoors and stay out of the sun entirely until the sunburn heals. Loose, soft, breathable and tightly-woven fabrics are recommended to protect the affected area. UPF or Ultraviolet Protection Factor where available is the gold standard for sun protective clothing. However, in the absence of that, it is sufficient to identify tightly-woven fabrics by holding the fabric up to a bright light and seeing that the fabric does not allow any light to pass through.
And there you have it, a whole list of common sunscreen mistakes and sunburn tips which we have now clarified and hopefully helpful to you!
Young AR, Claveau J, Rossi AB. Ultraviolet radiation and the skin: Photobiology and sunscreen photoprotection. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2017;76(3S1):S100-S109. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2016.09.038
Acne is a common skin disease in adolescents and young adults, occurring mainly in areas rich in sebaceous glands such as the scalp, face, chest and back. It originates from enhanced sebum production, which leads to comedones and secondary inflammation of the hair follicles in sebaceous areas.
Skin on the back is as prone to acne as skin on the face. The occurrence of back acne, coined as bacne, has been significantly associated with insecurities of appearance for both men and women. Patients who are 20 years and above are significantly more likely to suffer from appearance-related distress compared to 16 -19 year-old patients. In this article, learn more about the causes, prevention and treatment options for back acne.
Causes of Back Acne
Fluctuations of sex hormones is a main contributing factor to bacne. Stress, illness, travel, disturbed sleep pattern, menstruation cycles and puberty can all alter the hormonal cycle and lead to breakouts. Specifically, the production of testosterone in both men and women, enlarges oil glands and causes them to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, dead skin cells that are not shed properly clog up the follicles. The combination of these processes leads to a build-up of oil and results in whiteheads and blackheads. Additionally, Cutibacterium acnes is present on everyone’s skin and it does not cause any problems for many. However, the buildup of oil on the skin of people prone to acne creates an optimal environment for the bacteria to multiply. This can lead to inflammation and the formation of blemishes, pimples and cysts. Back acne is actually a subset of acne vulgaris and you’ll most likely find that the individual has acne on their face too.
A form of back acne is actually a fungal infection, termed as fungal acne, Malassezia folliculitis, also known as pityrosporum folliculitis. It is an infection of the hair follicle caused by Malassezia yeasts.This yeast overgrows in a humid, tropical, summer-like climate, being very common in Singapore. It is also common in individuals who tend to produce more oil. We can characterize it by multiple small bumps on the surface of the skin that actually look very similar to each other, and they may actually be itchy. This is different from traditional acne bumps.
Risk Factors Of Back Acne
First of all, it’s important to note that bacne in most cases is a combination and not just one of the two conditions. The reason is really because if you are acne prone, you already produce more oil than your peers. This puts you at a higher risk of the yeast colonizing your skin, which causes pityrosporum folliculitis. Genetic susceptibility is one key factor, which determines the content of the sebum the individual produces and consequently, affecting the microbiome of the skin. So this explains why certain individuals never develope acne despite having exposure to the same environmental triggers as another person.
Triggers that can cause Back Acne
Living in a humid, tropical climate, or individuals who get flare ups during the summer season is one key trigger. This is because when the weather is hot, individuals sweat more, changing the local skin microbiome. The fungal organisms, malassezia furfur, as well as bacteria that causes acne, known as C acnes, then proliferates. This will then increase your chances of developing bacne.
The local factors that’s caused by textile skin interactions are also relevant in this context. For example, if an individual exercises a lot and stay sweaty throughout the day without changing out of the wet clothing, this causes an accumulation of sweat mixture with dirt, grime and bacteria. All that will cause secondary infections in individuals who suffer from bacne. In particular, if one wears tight-fitting clothing especially from nonbreathable, synthetic or elastic material, this can occlude the surface of your skin and can cause your symptoms to get worse.
Preventing Back Acne
It is recommended to shower after sweating, avoid products that irritate your skin, avoid scrubbing the affected areas, not pick at spots as this may lead to them spreading and scarring. It is best to stay out of the sun and avoiding tanning beds because damaged skin is more prone to acne.
Breathable textiles with dry-fit textile technology usually help to actively cool the skin and not get saturated with sweat during intense exercise. These are recommended for sportswear to prevent backne. Traditionally, we consider cotton, linen and silk to be breathable textiles that help to regulate the skin microenvironment. However, the downside is that a lot of these materials when saturated with sweat such as in the case of sportswear, actually become very heavy.
Biofunctional Textile for Preventing and Treating Back Acne
In my practice, we are using a biofunctional textile – a kimono to be worn at night. The Anti-Ageing Kimono in CUIONS™ Gold features a nanoparticle integrated biofunctional textile woven into a luxurious garment with minimal seams for ultimate skin comfort. The garments targets the skin microbiome and helps to treat body acne and eczema through its bactericidal properties. It also creates a breathable skin microclimate by reducing the humidity around the skin, hence resulting in a healthier skin microbiome.Wearing the correct skin friendly fabrics will prevent recurrence of body acne and is an important part of treatment.
The unisex Anti-Aging Kimono in CUIONS™ Gold features a nanoparticle integrated biofunctional textile¹ woven into a luxurious garment with minimal seams for ultimate skin comfort and breathability.
The evolution of biofunctional textiles is also relevant in the treatment of disorders such as bacne, where there’s a large body surface area affected unlike individuals who only have acne on the face. When cream application may be difficult, it stands to be a promising mode of therapy. Topical antibiotics for the treatment of acne has been around for decades, but long term use is quite tricky because of the emergence of drug resistance. Biofunctional textiles essentially function as topical antibiotics but without the risk of bacterial resistance.
Design and Cut of Clothing
Additionally, the importance of clothing doesn’t just stop at the material, but also the design and the cut. The design should allow for adequate airflow and comfortable movement. For the junction between the skin and the garment, it’s important to reduce the chances of occlusion related dermatosis.
Treating Back Acne
Firstly, one can use an antibacterial body wash such as the Miel Honey™ Cleanser, a medical grade antibacterial, anti-fungal honey cleanser which naturally emulsifies and leaves a humectant layer on the skin. A prescription retinoid is also helpful in the adjunct treatment of bacne. It can help reduce the appearance of blackheads and whiteheads, which subsequently become inflamed when infected.
TheMiel Honey™ Cleanser is dermatologist-designed for thorough cleansing of skin with botanical emulsifiers leaving a clean yet moisturised feel. It contains Arnica Montana Extract that stabilizes skin and reduces flaking.
Natural Back Acne Treatment
Some of the topical medications besides retinoids that can be helpful in the treatment of bacne are in the realm of botanicals. Berberine, a derivative from Eastern medicine is an active ingredient which successfully suppress various acne pathways, including inflammation, scar formation, antioxidant properties, and also has minimal to zero irritation potential.
Schaunig C, Kopera D. Silk textile with antimicrobial AEM5772/5 (Dermasilk): a pilot study with positive influence on acne vulgaris on the back. Int J Dermatol. 2017;56(5):589-591. doi:10.1111/ijd.13541 Hassan J, Grogan S, Clark-Carter D, Richards H, Yates V. The individual health burden of acne. J Health Psychol. 2009;14(8):1105-1118. doi:10.1177/1359105309342470