Tag Archive: Ageing

3 Ways on How To Prevent Premature Ageing

September 20, 2019

The ageing process is different for each person, but there are certain signs of ageing that are considered “premature” if you notice them before you turn 35. Our environment and lifestyle choices can cause our skin to age prematurely. We will discuss here 3 ways on how to prevent premature ageing.

1. Use an anti-ageing sunscreen

The sun emits a type of energy known as the ultraviolet radiation. There are 2 types of UV radiation— UVA rays which is mainly the culprit behind Premature Ageing (wrinkles, dark spots, and sagging skin) while UVB rays is responsible for sunburn, and both contribute to skin cancer.

One way to protect your skin from premature ageing and of course skin cancer is to wear a sunscreen that has SPF and is broad-spectrum.

SPF only measures protection against UVB so it’s important to wear a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen which blocks both UVA and UVB.

The fix: Shield, repair, and brighten your skin from the harmful sun rays with Dr. TWL Dermaceuticals SunProtector™️

Anti-Ageing Sunscreen

✔️ SPF50/PA+++

✔️ Broad Spectrum

Contains Collagen Hydrosylate for skin regeneration, Oligopeptides for skin repair, and Portulaca Oleracea Extract for skin soothing.

Get yours here.

 

2. Avoid dragging your skin to reduce ageing effects

Our skin is very delicate and we want to avoid excessively tugging it whenever we apply our skincare or makeup products because this can cause our skin to show early signs of ageing. Mishandling of the skin especially around our eyes like aggressive removal of eye makeup and heavily dragging eye care products and any other skincare product unto our skin can cause eye wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other skin irritations. It is especially important to take extra care with the under-eye area which has thinner and more delicate skin.

The fix: Use your ring finger in applying your skincare/makeup products. Our ring finger is said to have the lightest touch and it distributes an equal amount of pressure when used upon the skin.

Using a Jade Roller is also proven effective in applying skincare products like serum and cream for complete absorption while lifting our skin.

Anti-Ageing Tools

Try the Dr.TWL Rose Quartz Jade Roller here.

 

3. Use products with anti-ageing cosmeceutical base

The term cosmeceutical, according to the dictionary, is defined as a cosmetic that has or is claimed to have medicinal properties, especially anti-ageing ones.

Cosmeceuticals are currently used for adjunct treatment of skin conditions, as well as for anti-ageing. Dermatologist incorporates these evidence-based active ingredients for skin healing into makeup.

Here are some active ingredients for anti-ageing

– Phytoceramides

– DNA from salmon roe

– Oligopeptides

The fix: For skincare, try Dr.TWL’s Oligopeptide Anti-Wrinkle Vegetal Capsules.

Anti Ageing Capsules

 

For your makeup base, try the Dr.TWL CellTalk™️ Cosmeceutical CC Cream.

Anti Ageing CC Cream

 

Colour and pamper your lips with the Dr.TWL LipSerum™️ Stick — contains Salmon Roe DNA and Phytoceramides for anti-wrinkling of the lips.

 

A Singapore Dermatologist Talks: Enhancing Skin Absorption of Cosmeceuticals

August 21, 2019

by: Dr. Teo Wan Lin

In my previous articles, I have talked about cosmeceuticals and the importance of incorporating them in our daily routines. However, how do we enhance the skin absorption of these cosmeceuticals? Here I will be talking about the limitations of topical formulations and how we can overcome them to ultimately achieve the results that we desire.

 

The problem with topical formulations for your skin

 

 

The outermost layer of the skin, called the stratum corneum, acts as a natural barrier. It prevents foreign material from entering our system, shields us against environmental factors and prevents excessive water loss. The skin is a formidable barrier to the passage of substances into and out of the body, but it can be manipulated to allow it to become a viable pathway for drug administration.

Drug products applied to the skin’s surface penetrate the skin layers to a certain extent, where they can exert their effects. This is the case for topical formulations for treatment of skin disorders such as acne, dermatitis, and psoriasis. However, very few drugs are suitable for delivery by the topical route, as passive penetration through the skin is limited to very small molecules (<500Da), which are neutral and relatively lipophilic. Some considerations of dermatologists would be the vehicle of the topical, specifically if it is in a lotion, cream or ointment form, in increasing order of absorption and effectiveness. This however, is often limited by user preferences, with ointment formulas (more efficacious) deemed cosmetically less acceptable.

The skin is the largest organ of the human body, comprising 15% of body weight and therefore its use to deliver medicine to the body is not a new concept by any means. Advancements made by modern science are improving the skin’s potential as a route for drug administration. Dermatologists are at the forefront of research relating to transdermal drug delivery, given the unique accessibility of the largest organ of the body.

Owing to the drawbacks of topical formulations, transdermal patches have been developed to improve drug delivery through the skin and this is an area that my team has actively researched in the last year as an adjunct to our cosmeceutical formulations.

I have always been interested in finding new methods to allow my patients to achieve optimal results from our cosmeceuticals, thus in this article I shall share some tools which I employ in my clinical practice to achieve optimal absorption of cosmeceutical active ingredients.

Wet Wrap/Occlusion Skin Therapy & Facial Masks

A well known method employed by dermatologists to treat severe eczema known as wet wrap is actually a simple process involving applying a wet textile together with topical medications to skin, to increase absorption of skincare. An example of how and when wet wraps are used— during particularly intense eczema flares with severe itch or pain, wet wrap therapy rehydrates and enhances the absorption of topical medications applied on the skin. The fabric wraps are soaked in water and applied to the affected skin on the body. Wet wraps are best done after bathing, moisturising and applying topicals, then left overnight.

Wet wraps work via 3 different ways:

●  Cooling — as water gradually evaporates from the bandages this cools the skin and helps relieve inflammation, itching and soreness

●  Moisturising — cosmeceuticals covered over with wet bandages are deeply absorbed in to the skin to provide a longer-lasting moisturising effect

●  Absorption — enhanced absorption of any topicals into both the superficial and deeper layers of skin where inflammation is present

Facial sheet masks work in a similar way, on the basis of occlusion. This means that when there’s a topical which is applied on the skin and also in contact with something moist such as a sheet mask, there is increased absorption of the topicals by the skin. In my practice, whenever I want to increase absorption of cosmeceuticals and moisturisers that are dispensed to patients, I would advise them to apply a wet cotton sheet (as a wet wrap) on to their face to increase absorption.

I would consider masking as something which is very good to do if you are already diligent with other aspects of skin health such as cleansing and applying cosmeceuticals. Using a face mask would deliver moisture and clinically active ingredients to the skin—so it is important to look out for ingredients such as glycerin, ceramide and hyaluronic acid, as well as evidence-based antioxidants for anti-ageing such as oligopeptides, vitamin C ( I use sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is a neutral, rather than acidic form of vitamin C, that has minimal skin irritation). Here’s a tip, use a cosmeceutical moisturiser like the Radiance Fluide™ and increase your skin’s absorption by applying it on damp skin, plus a soft wet cotton towel over it.

Facial Massage

 

Performing a facial massage, such as with the aid of a facial roller before application of cosmeceuticals could increase the skincare absorption, leading to better effects of the anti- aging skincare. Local massage is an established treatment method of improving surgical scars, by stimulating blood flow and improving wound healing. A peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine led by author Miyaji Akane at the Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and colleagues at Tokyo Healthcare University and the Research and Development Center, MTG Co. Ltd. in 2019 had examined the effects of using a facial roller on facial skin and blood flow. The study concluded that there was significantly increased vascular (blood vessel) dilation with use of the facial massage roller. This means that there will be increased absorption of any cosmeceuticals applied on the face following the massage.

My recommendation would be manual rather than electric facial rollers as the latter may cause excessive pressure and irritation (being automated) and is also dependent on user training as well as the manufacturer’s settings, with a potential risk of overheating of electric components. Manual facial massage is a self-regulated process as the user can immediately sense irritation and apply just the right amount of pressure.

Transdermal delivery

Transdermal medications (usually in the form of a patch) are a little more modern and complex. Great strides in transdermal drug delivery have been made since the first transdermal drug was approved by the FDA in 1979.

Transdermal drugs bring medication through the skin, to the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the ingredients circulate and take effect at a targeted location. Medication is delivered steadily and can be stopped simply by removing the patch. Since your body doesn’t have to digest the medicine through the stomach, a higher concentration reaches the bloodstream. The medication permeates the skin in a controlled fashion thus attaining more ready levels of the drug in the body.

The science behind polymers and transdermal drug delivery systems

Polymers are vital in a transdermal drug delivery system. Systems for transdermal delivery are assembled as a multilayered polymeric laminates consisting of a drug reservoir sandwiched in between 2 polymeric layers:

● An outer impervious backing — prevents the loss of drug

● An inner polymeric layer — functions as an adhesive and rate-controlling membrane There are 3 types of transdermal drug delivery systems:

● Reservoir systems

In this system, the drug reservoir is embedded between a backing layer and a rate-controlling membrane.

● Matrix Systems

In this system, the drug reservoir is either dispersed in an adhesive polymer or in a hydrophilic or lipophilic polymer matrix.

● Micro-reservoir Systems

This system is a combination of the above 2 systems. The drug reservoir is formed by suspending the drug in an aqueous solution and then dispersing the solution in a lipophilic polymer to form thousands of microscopic spheres of drug reservoirs.

Polymers used in transdermal delivery systems should have biocompatibility with the drug and other components of the system. They should also provide consistent, effective delivery of a drug throughout the product’s intended shelf life.

An example of a common polymer used are silicones, also known as polysiloxanes, made of many repeating units of siloxanes. Siloxanes are chains of alternating silicon and oxygen atoms that are often combined with carbon and/or hydrogen.
Medical grade silicones are silicones that undergo specific testing for their biocompatibility and have been deemed appropriate to be used for medical applications. Topical silicone therapy is often used by plastic surgeons and dermatologists to treat and heal scars.

Key considerations of a polymer patch used for transdermal drug delivery would be —conformability of the material to be applied to irregular skin or scar surfaces, sensitive regions such as the face/eye area and the overall durability and biocompatibility of medical grade polymers.

The process of skin ageing relates to the ability of the body’s natural healing processes. The same cells which are activated during cell injury are the ones which lose function with ageing, and are responsible for loss of collagen, elastin and the overall loss of volume and elasticity of skin. Specifically, antiageing cosmeceuticals target and stimulate cells known as fibroblasts, which are best thought of as the “soldiers” of wound healing which produce collagen to seal up injured or damaged skin. Injury to the skin occurs over a gradual process in the case of ageing, due to the slowing of one’s biological clock and photodamage.

For the last year, my team and I worked with a material scientist to develop a transdermal delivery patch, the QRASER™ Transdermal absorption patch, launched in July 2019. This patch works via a matrix system of drug delivery. In this system, the drug reservoir is dispersed in an adhesive polymer matrix. The transdermal delivery patch uses a unique polymer technology that mimics the natural hydration and homeostasis of the skin barrier, to enhance cosmeceutical absorption. The focus is on improving absorption via optimisation of the skin healing microenvironment.

The result? Healthy collagen production thus reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

In conclusion, cosmeceuticals in the arena of dermatologist-led skincare research will be increasingly prominent in the next decade of “smart skincare”. This should be emphasised along with understanding of how these topicals work, the limitations of skincare absorption and potential technologies such as transdermal delivery patches which can optimise the anti-ageing benefits of cosmeceutical skincare.

Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and medical director of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, is one of Singapore’s prominent dermatologists specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She is also the founder of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals which specialised in cosmeceutical skincare. In July 2019, a material science arm Dr.TWL Biomaterials was launched focusing on novel biomaterials for skin and hair application. Click here for the links to our product and here to read more about Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals and here to read more about Dr.TWL Biomaterials.

Footnote:

TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre grants parties a limited license to use and/or republish this article on for any legitimate media purpose, provided that you:

(1) reference TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre as the source and include a hyperlink to the original release on the company website; (2) do not modify any press release wording; and (3) do not modify or add hyperlinks, including but not limited to ad links, within the press release.

Best Tips to Manage Dry Skin

September 25, 2018
Dry Skin Treatment by Dermatologist

Dry skin (medically known as xerosis) usually appears rough, scaly and even itchy. Xerosis can be caused by factors ranging from cold weather to frequent showering, and is also a common symptom of several chronic skin diseases. While xerosis is not a critical condition, it can cause significant discomfort, affect one’s appearance, and accelerate skin’s aging.

So what causes xerosis and how can it be managed?

What is dry skin?

In normal skin, lipids and natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) are needed to maintain barrier function and optimal skin hydration. NMFs attract water molecules while lipids controls the amount of skin that evaporates from the skin surface.

NMFs keep the skin hydrated by binding to water and holding onto it, preventing excessive water loss as the skin cells have sufficient hydration to remain turgid. An effective skin barrier keeps the skin’s water content at a healthy level of 15 to 20 per cent.

Dry or dehydrated skin has reduced NMF levels which compromises the skin’s ability to retain water. As a result, moisture is lost much faster than replenished. When the skin’s water content falls below 10 percent, visible scales form and the skin starts to have a rough dry appearance. Individuals with dry skin can also often notice cracks or experience flaking.

The precise organisation of lipids are important as it determines the amount of water that can be trapped in the skin. In healthy skin, sufficient lipids are present to keep Transepidermal Water Loss (TEWL) values low, as less water is lost to the surroundings.

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin arises largely due to abnormal epidermal differentiation.

The epidermis is produced by cells that divide and proliferate in the deeper skin layers before travelling towards the skin surface. At the surface, skin cells mature, flatten and die. These dead skin cells are sealed together with fatty lipids to form a continuous skin barrier. This process is termed epidermal differentiation.

A disruption in the skin barrier can cause epidermal differentiation to become abnormal and the skin barrier function to become damaged. This disruption can happen for a variety of reasons:

  • Genetics: Dry skin is a major manifestation of several skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) or psoriasis (itch) which has a genetic component.
  • Aging: In aging skin, a marked decline in lipid and water content ultimately impairs skin barrier function. A decline in filaggrin, a protein that produces NMFs, is also observed as we age, leading to diminished NMF levels
  • Low humidity: Low humidity causes less amino acids and filaggrin to be produced in the stratum corneum, as they require optimal humidity to function well. As a result, NMF levels are lower.
  • For example cold dry weather often causes ‘winter itch’ where skin is rough, red and irritated. Winter xerosis is aggravated by the presence of hot, dry air from modern central heating, causing impaired desquamation and scaling. You may also experience dry skin in hot weather if most of your time is spend in air-conditioned surroundings.
  • Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can also affect normal epidermal proliferation by compromising the skin barrier’s function and resulting in greater water loss to the environment.
  • Frequent bathing: Such habits, especially with hot water, can further irritate the skin and damage the skin barrier function. Hot water should be avoided, and a shorter bath duration is recommended.
  • Other environmental factors: Chemical agents such as soaps, lotions, perfumes or detergents can also contribute to xerosis.

How to replace skin’s water content

We often see buzz about the importance of hydrating our skin, but how exactly do we ensure our skin is hydrated enough?

Currently, the best approach to treating dry skin is to restore normal abnormal epidermal differentiation by using ingredients that can easily penetrate the skin and prompt it to produce healthy levels of lipids again. Effective ingredients are lipids, humectants and antipruritic agents:

Other types of lipids that are not found naturally in our body can also be beneficial by serving as an occlusive layer, such as petrolatum. They prevent water loss to the surroundings by trapping it. A common example of petrolatum is Vaseline.

Humectants, such as glycerol, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and urea, attract and retain water in the skin. Glycerol or urea can improve skin elasticity and barrier function, and compensate for the lower levels of NMF in dry skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant capable of holding up to 1000 times their own weight in water, locking in moisture for the skin.

Antipruritic agents block histamine release to interfere with the itch sensation and break the itch-scratch cycle.

An ideal ingredient should prompt the skin to restore epidermal differentiation, reduce excessive water loss and itching. Multi-CERAM Moisturizer is dermatologist-formulated to treat eczema and dry skin with pharmaceutical grade ingredients. An ultra-intensive formulation, this moisturizer relies on ceramides, plant seed oils, sodium hyaluronate and glycerin to repair the skin barrier and restore skin moisture.

© 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.

Harmful Effects of Sleep Deprivation on the Skin

September 6, 2018
Sleep Deprivation Effects on Skin By Dermatologist

Have you ever woken up groggy from less than six hours of sleep and felt your skin is looking unwell? Ever wonder why?

How lack of sleep impacts your skin

Dehydrates the skin

The skin barrier works as a shield against environmental threats and prevents excessive water loss. When you don’t get enough sleep, your skin barrier can weaken and your levels of transepidermal water loss (TEWL) can be higher. TEWL is the amount of water lost to external environments via evaporation. Increased water loss dries out our skin, which can cause skin scaling and increased desquamation or the shedding of the skin’s outermost cells.

Imagining your skin cells as bricks and the lipids/fats in between as mortar, dehydrated skin has a more ‘disorganised’ brick and mortar structure; this causes more light to bounce off the surface. In comparison, hydrated skin has an ‘organised’ structure, allowing more light to penetrate the skin and giving off a translucent appearance.

Your pores can also appear larger with the lack of rest. While you will not have an increased number of pores if you snooze less, increased skin scaling causes a coarser skin texture and can make pores appear enlarged.

Reduces immune system function

Sleep also plays a role in restoring the body’s immune system function. Any change in the immune response may affect collagen production and lead to impaired skin integrity.

Inflames the skin

Sleep deprivation also triggers increased levels of inflammatory cytokines, which in turn modify the structures of collagen molecules. Collagen gives the skin its elasticity and flexibility. Assembling into a dense network of fibres, collagen holds the dermis layer together and protects the skin from external sources such as bacterial agents or ultraviolet radiation. Lower collagen levels manifest as thinner and wrinkled skin.

Ages your skin

Poor sleepers may experience uneven pigmentation, fine wrinkling, skin laxity, loss of facial fat and benign skin growths.

Chronic poor quality of rest is also associated with accelerated intrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing results from factors inherent in chronological ageing such as metabolic oxidative stress.

Stress is also a likely factor inherent in the lack of sleep. In response to stress, your brain releases an excess of stress hormones called glucocorticoids. This hormone causes negative effects on nearly all body tissues and accelerates the aging process. Glucocorticoids also inhibit lipid production, which eventually weakens skin integrity.

Regain your skin’s well-rested radiance

If you covet a seemingly translucent, pore-less look, it’s no surprise that we suggest you catch up on your sleep.

However, while you’re trying to change your snooze habits, providing rich hydration to your skin can also help compensate for some of your sleep loss. Apart from a moisturizer, a good boost of hydration also can come from an effective hyaluronic acid serum.


© 2018 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.

—–

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.

Comprehensive Guide to the layers of your skin

July 14, 2018
Layers of Skin Explained by Dermatologist

Our skin is the largest organ in the body, and the most visible. Yet, few of us really understand how it works. When searching the internet for causes and treatments of our skin conditions, for example, we often come across terms like ‘epidermis’ and ‘dermis’ that are literally Greek and hard to understand.

As a result, it’s difficult to know exactly how to care for the largest organ in our body. As our outer layer endures harsh external conditions such as environmental pollutants, UV rays, pressure, temperature, and others, how can we best protect and keep it in good health?

To answer this question, let’s start with a skin 101 primer.

Our epidermis

The outermost layer of the skin is known as the epidermis. It consists of four layers of closely packed cells. Cells found in these layers are called keratinocytes. They manufacture and store keratin which is the protein that makes up the main structure of our hair, skin and nails.

From deep to superficial, the four layers in the epidermis are stratum basale (deepest), stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum and stratum corneum (outermost).

In the epidermis of certain body parts with larger thickness, such as palms, soles and digits, there is an additional layer of cells called stratum lucidum. It is found wedged between the stratum corneum and the stratum granulosum.

The dermis

The dermis refers to the inner layer found between the epidermis and subcutaneous (= under the skin) fat. The dermis layers are made of connective tissues, linked by interwoven fibres of collagen and elastin, packed in bundles.

Collagen takes up 70% of the weight of the dermis. Collagen fibers provides the skin with structural support and tensile strength. Collagen proteins also bind to water, keeping the entire organ well hydrated. Accounting for 2% of the weight of the dermis, elastin fibers allow movement and are responsible for elasticity of the layer.

Caring for the skin we see

In the outermost layer, known as the stratum corneum, the keratinocytes are actually dead cells pushed up from deeper layers. As these cells travel to the surface, they undergo keratinization, the process whereby the contents of the cell develop tough keratin proteins. Other components such as cholesterol, ceramides and free fatty acids in the stratum corneum also work together to give a toughness to the skin that can withstand all sorts of chemical and mechanical insults.

In this way, the stratum corneum becomes a barrier that prevents dehydration of underlying tissues and serves as a mechanical protection for the more delicate layers below. It is also the layer most crucial in maintaining moisture.

The stratum corneum layer is usually replaced with cell division and renewal in a cycle of 4 weeks.

Ageing and exposure to ultraviolet radiation can stress the skin, leading to poor barrier function and an increase in water loss. The barrier function can also be affected by other factors such as a deficiency in fatty acids and lipids, detergents (usually from harsh cleansers) or dehydration.

Caring for your skin then should involve a regimen of protecting it from the sun with UV protection, using cleaners and other products that do not dehydrate, and maintaining the moisture in skin through moisturizers. Cleansers, in particular, can contain harsh surfactants that emulsify to remove grease and dirt. These however can irritate the skin. Use a gentle cleanser with a natural emulsifier instead. For example, Dr TWL’s  Miel Honey™ Cleanser uses medical-grade honey as a natural emulsifier, leaving the epidermis both clean and gently moisturized.

Many cosmetic treatments work by causing a change in the epidermal layer, thereby encouraging it to renew itself faster. Procedures targeting the epidermis include some forms of chemical peelslasers, intense pulse light (IPL), microneedling or topical drugs.

Caring for the skin beneath

The dermis, the layer beneath the epidermis, gets thinner and loses its elasticity over time.

Various cosmetic treatments available often aim to restore the amount of collagen lost during the ageing process, such as medium and deep chemical peels, microneedling, microfocused ultrasound and ablative lasers. Fillers can also restore the volume of collagen in the dermis layer, correcting fine lines and wrinkles.

Lasers, IPL or resurfacing treatments can differ according to the skin layer that it targets – the epidermis or dermis layer. Non-ablative treatments focus on the dermis while leaving the epidermis intact. Ablative lasers treat both dermis and epidermis layers.

Chemical peels can reach different levels depending on the frequency, the peeling substance (typically an acid), the concentration of the substance, and dermal condition of the patient. In a controlled manner, skin cells are destroyed in a chemical peel to stimulate regeneration of a smoother epidermis and new collagen in the dermis.

© 2018 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.

—–

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.

A Dermatologist’s Guide to Oily Skin Type and Acne in Singapore

April 13, 2018

One’s skin type is largely determined by the genetics of an individual.

The production of oil itself is genetically determined – if one has a family history of having oily skin, it is very likely that one would develop it as well, as this is directly linked to the production of androgens such as the male hormone testosterone at the onset of puberty which affects both males and females. Based on the proportion of patients at the clinic, there is a significant population of people with oily skin types in Singapore. This is because of overactivity of the sebaceous glands which are concentrated over the forehead nose and the chin area, but can also occur on any part of the face, as well as including the chest and back which are also the areas more acne-prone. Although further research needs to be done to prove the common belief that a humid climate like Singapore results in oily skin, what we do know is that climate changes can have an adverse impact on skin that is already diseased such as with underlying acne, facial eczema or rosacea which are the common skin conditions I see in my practice.

Problems associated with oily skin type?

Acne is a major issue faced by those with oily skin. The cause of acne itself is multifactorial, involving primarily genetics which causes inflammation exacerbated by the production of oil often driven by hormonal factors, leading to the formation of whiteheads and blackheads. One of the ways of treating acne would include reducing oil production by the means of an oral medication known as isotretinoin or by physical methods, such as chemical peel microdermabrasion as well as laser treatments that will shrink the oil glands. To add clarity, while almost all acne prone patients have oily skin, this is not to say that having oily skin one definitely would suffer from acne.

Oily skin type and ageing

One popular belief is that individuals with oily skin do not age as quickly. A desirable side-effect of oily skin perhaps? Or perhaps not.

Skin aging is due to a complex interplay of factors, with the key determining factor being a balance between one’s biology, influenced by genetics (have a look at how your parents are aging), as well as environmental aging, due to the exposure to ultraviolet rays, air pollutants, cigarette smoke as well as a stressful lifestyle. The key thing to note is that unhealthy skin ages poorly and much worse than healthy skin. In patients with facial eczema, for example, with dry dehydrated skin known as asteatosis, they are inherently unable to produce a fatty lipid known as ceramide, which helps to repair and restore the skin barrier. Without this, the skin is unable to protect itself from external allergens or changes in the environment and this can accelerate aging. Dehydrated skin has an unhealthy epidermis and dermis. As a result, this can accelerate aging in the form of wrinkles as well as the loss of volume.

If one has oily skin, the production of oil can form a barrier between the skin and the environment and this is a sort of protection which reduces the formation of fine lines and wrinkles or what cause free radical formation. Nevertheless, if one has an underlying skin condition such as scarred skin due to previous cystic acne, it doesn’t matter that your skin is oily, one would expect skin aging to progress faster than in a normal individual.

There is a study which shows that people with oily skin tend to look younger than their counterparts and this is well-proven in clinical practice. However, I would say that striving to have oily skin is actually not desirable, especially in a very humid climate like Singapore, as a shiny complexion could be quite embarrassing. Long-term overproduction of oil due to overactivity of the sebaceous glands can also lead to irregular skin texture and enlarged pores.

It is best to strive for healthy radiant skin that is well moisturized but not oily. There is a difference between moisturizer and oil, as I have seen many patients with nodular cystic acne and oily skin who also suffer from facial eczema which is dry dehydrated skin. Well moisturized skin is smooth and radiant, and looks healthy – a key component of the skin’s moisture is from molecules such as ceramide and hyaluronic acid which is an abundant water molecule in the second layer skin known as the dermis.

It is a myth that people with oily skin don’t really need moisturizer. In fact, you could have a lot of oil on your face and still have dehydrated skin that’s lacking in the key moisture molecules. Our patients who are on treatment for acne still use a good cosmeceutical moisturizer to lighten their scars, as well as Vitamin C and Hyaluronic acid serum that can restore the correct moisture balance in their skin to prevent excessive oil production known as reactive seborrhea. Reactive seborrhea occurs when one strips skin excessively of its natural oils causing the skin to produce even more oil.

Can someone with oily skin type change to having normal skin with diligent skincare alone?

The amount of oil produced by an individual is genetically determined and influenced by the secretion of one’s hormones. It is however possible with proper long term cosmeceutical skincare, that one’s skin becomes adjusted in terms of restoring the normal moisture level.


Using improper skin care such as harsh oily-skin cleansers may strip skin completely dry and this leads to a vicious cycle known as reactive seborrhea.

The key ingredient involved in restoring skin moisture and not oil, is firstly a pure concentrated form of topical hyaluronic acid in our skin care. According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre,  “We use a 1% concentrated hyaluronic acid serum freshly-compounded for optimum absorption in a pharmaceutical setting. This is easily a hundred to a thousand times higher than the concentration available in cosmetic skin preparations boasting the same ingredients. Regular use of topical hyaluronic acid has the effect of visually filling and plumping up the dermis (the second layer of skin which tends to sag with dehydration and aging), leading to a poreless, even complexion”

In terms of cleansing, I would recommend using an antibacterial foaming cleanser. The honey cleanser is formulated to remove grime, oil, bacteria and other surface pollutants that tend to settle on the skin at the end of the day. The nature of oily skin is that it tends to be a breeding ground for bacteria as well as a certain type of yeast known as malassezia which thrives in a humid climate like Singapore. This is a non-chemical form of an antibacterial and antiseptic wash, using natural medical grade honey which helps in reducing the amount of grease on one’s face. As honey is a natural humectant, it traps moisture under the skin while cleansing. It thus helps to moisturize the skin and regulates the balance of the oils as well as health of the skin.

For a targeted approach, treating oily skin – medically known as Hyperseborrhea, a visit to a dermatologist is recommended. This would typically involve counselling on the use of appropriate cosmeceuticals as well as a retinoid which can regulate oil production. Our patients would also undergo chemical peels (glycolic, lactic and salicylic acid peels) in combination with laser treatments that can help to shrink the oil glands and reduce oil production. From then on, once the amount of oil production is reduced, it is easier to maintain with topicals alone.

A skincare regime for oily skin type

There is a recipe for healthy skin in the same way one is careful to have a healthy diet and lifestyle to prevent illness, rather than change one’s diet only after one gets sick. Whether or not you have dry, oily or combination skin, there is really skincare that is suited for you and the answer lies in dermatologist-tested cosmeceutical skincare. Cosmeceuticals are researched to include potent bioactive ingredients formulated to prevent the onset of aging, as well as to deliver nutrients to your skin.

Such a skincare regimen, is likened to a healthy diet that will prevent skin problems from developing later. If you have an underlying skin condition, cosmeceutical skincare can
also reduce the severity of acne and facial eczema. So it is indeed true, at least for cosmeceutical skincare, that there is a one-size-fits-all for all types of skin, as a recommendation for the basic healthy diet of skin.

The key conundrum in skincare that has been plaguing dermatologists in the last 50 years was really that the dermatologist-tested skincare (which is compatible with aging problem skin types) we advocated for our patients did not provide additional cosmeceutical benefits. These women then went looking for over-the-counter cosmetics skincare which promised them anti-aging, but clearly not without the irritation and side effects. Then the dermatological community turned its attention to clinically proven anti-oxidants in skincare and showed that cosmeceuticals were valid and important in the treatment of aging skin to restore skin health. The advent of cosmeceuticals promises the same level of non-irritating gentle skin cleansing and moisturizing, with all the power molecules antioxidants which can lighten scars, brighten your complexion and retard aging. What’s there not to love?

© 2017 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.