Tag Archive: singapore

Dermatologist Talks: How To Care For Combination Skin

January 7, 2020

Have you noticed that some parts of your skin are dry while other parts are oily? This is known as combination skin. Combination skin is characterized by an oily T-zone while the cheeks are either normal or dry. How to tell if you have combination skin? Wash your face with your normal cleanser, then wait an hour. If your T-zone is oily whereas your cheeks are either normal or dry, you have combination skin.

Combination skin is thought to be one of the most common skin types. When it comes to skincare routines, hydrating creams are too hydrating, oil-absorbing masks are too absorbing, balancing lotions never seem to do much balancing… It can be tricky to figure out how to care for your skin properly.

Dr. Teo Wan Lin is an accredited dermatologist and an expert on cosmeceutical skincare research and development. She is the author of  “Skincare Bible – Dermatologist’s Tips for Cosmeceutical Skincare”  which was published July 2019 by leading bookstores Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor and Apple Books and available in bookstores islandwide from January 2020. She heads up Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, a specialist cosmeceutical skincare line with evidence-based active ingredients for anti-ageing and skin health. Its subsidiaries, the Pi- Cosmeceutical Custom Makeup Lab and the Conscious Mask Bar are part of the Conscious Concept Pharmacy launched in December featuring environmentally sustainable makeup and skincare materials. In this series “Dermatologist Talks” she shares her top tips on common skincare topics. In this article, she tells us the science behind combination skin – skin that is both dry and oily.

Skin that is both dry and oily boils down to an underlying pathology of the skin which is much more common in acne-prone individuals is known as seborrhea, which is overactivity of the oil gland. It is part of the causes of teenage and adult acne. Even when you have seborrhea, it is possible for you to have a deficiency in the ceramide content of your skin barrier leading to dry skin. The production of ceramide is genetically determined. You could have inherited both the genes for oily skin as well as dry skin. The commoner scenario we see would be someone with acne and oily skin who started using over the counter medication such as those that contain retinol or benzoyl peroxide and these will break down the skin barrier and it can result in the skin being dry, sensitive and acne-prone.

Individuals with combination skin often have breakouts over the greasy T-zone area. This can be exacerbated, in the case of some women, especially during the time of their monthly menstrual cycles. On the other hand, their cheek areas can be very dry and when they travel, especially when there is a change in climate, these areas can become dry, flaky and sensitive especially if they are using skincare that is slightly harsher on their skin.

The recommended skincare routine for combination skin should address both the oiliness of the T-zone, which can sometimes get quite uncomfortable especially in a humid climate like Singapore, as well as the potential dryness that may occur over the cheek areas. An important thing to note would be a gentle emulsifying cleanser is recommended for combination skin such as the Honey Cleanser. Honey itself is a natural emulsifier which means it produces foam without the need for strong chemical lathering agents such as the laureth sulfates. At the same time, it is a natural humectant which means that it traps moisture under the skin. As a result, it helps to balance out the production of sebum without over-stripping the skin of its natural oils.

From left to right: Hyaluronic Acid SerumVitamin C Serum, Radiance Fluide Hydrating Emulsion, Milk Cleanser, Honey Cleanser, SunProtector, Elixir-V Eyes, Mineral BoosterElixir-V Serum

Individuals with combination skin should focus on using hydrating serums such as Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Vitamin C Serum and Elixir-V Serum as these contain cosmeceutical active ingredients which function as treatment over their T-zone to regulate oil production.

 Also, use hydrating emulsions rather than creams, the former is an oil in water mixture rather than a pure cream formula. This helps to moisturize the skin without the cream becoming too thick or greasy. Finally, the excess grease over the T-zone can be addressed with the use of blotting papers (such as those infused with active ingredients like cannabis sativa). These blotting papers are infused with cannabis sativa, an extract of the hemp plant which helps to moisturize the skin and regulate oil production, at the same time physically removing excess grease over the T-zone. One should follow with a hydrating mist such as the Mineral Booster which helps to regulate the skin barrier.

© 2020 TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre. All rights reserved.

A Dermatologist’s Best Guide to Hair Loss Treatments for Your Sensitive Scalp

October 5, 2017

By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

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In the third installment of my series on dealing with hair loss in Singapore as a dermatologist, I’m going to discuss dandruff and scalp sensitivity. This is one of the commonest scalp complaints that my patients have in conjunction with hair loss symptoms and leaves many of them wondering if it is the cause of their hair loss problem.

1. What is dandruff and what causes it?

Flaking on the scalp and white scales found on one’s clothes are one of the first symptoms of dandruff, which is lay speak for any form of scalp inflammation that causes the cell turnover rate on the scalp to increase abnormally. There are several medical conditions that can result in this, the commonest being the following: scalp psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and scalp eczema.

2. Do I have a sensitive scalp or is it a symptom of another condition?

Do you have itch, redness or pain on your scalp? You may have an undiagnosed inflammatory scalp disease. Scalp “sensitivity” without any underlying scalp condition is a very rare condition attributed to abnormal nerve sensations known as scalp dysaesthesia.

It is far more common to have an underlying cause such as seborrheic dermatitis, which is due to proliferation of a yeast known as malessezia furfur in an individual with excess production of oil. It is also commoner in tropical and humid climates such as Singapore, as it encourages this yeast to grow. Otherwise, malessezia is an inhabitant of one’s skin and scalp. Under normal conditions, it does not cause any issues, however under humid and sweaty environments, this yeast can proliferate to cause scalp inflammation and flaking. If you have scalp flaking which does not respond to over the counter anti-dandruff shampoos, which usually contain zinc pyrithone which is anti-fungal, promptly seek the care of an accredited dermatologist rather than self medicate or DIY.

Other causes of scalp inflammation would be scalp eczema, which is due to an excessively dry scalp/skin condition, scalp psoriasis, which may be the case especially if one has a family history of psoriasis or rashes on one’s body. If you have been in contact with a ringworm infected cat or dog, also do have your scalp and skin checked by a dermatologist as these infections are contagious and could also cause a form of scalp inflammation presenting as a red, scaly and itchy patch with hair loss.

3. Is my sensitive scalp causing hair loss?

Most cases of scalp inflammation due to eczema, seborrheic dermatitis, scalp folliculitis or psoriasis should not cause hair loss. However severe inflammation can push the hair growth cycle into a stage of telogen effluvium which is when hair reaches the end of its cycle and falls out, similar to hair loss that occurs after a major illness or post-pregnancy. In addition, if one picks and peels off crusted areas over the scalp this can also cause damage to the hair root and lead to hair loss. There are other causes of hair loss such as alopecia areata, which is an autoimmune disorder causing one’s immune system to attack hair follicles, leading to hair loss. This usually has no symptoms other than the appearance of round patches of hair loss over one’s scalp. Scarring causes of hair loss include folliculitis decalvans, which is the end-stage of a type of scalp folliculitis, whereby the hair follicles themselves are constantly inflammed and infected. Children may be more susceptible to tinea capitis, which is a fungal scalp infection that can lead to scarring hair loss if untreated.

© 2017 Dr. Teo Wan Lin. All rights reserved. 

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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and Specialist Consultant Dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, an accredited dermatologist specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She integrates her artistic sensibility with her research background and specialist dermatologist training, by means of customised, evidence-based aesthetic treatments using state-of the-art machines, injectables (fillers and toxins) which work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.

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.

Singapore Dermatologist Talks Skincare Tips – A Review of Beauty Supplements

October 4, 2017

By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre

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The Science and Myth of Nutricosmetics

In the last decade, the beauty and cosmetic industry has churned out collagen-boosting oral supplements one after the other that claims to boost collagen with a dose of an edible capsule. They boast fish-derived peptides, collagen, carotenoids amongst a host of anti-oxidant ingredients that claim to anti-age, reduce wrinkles and improve glow. Dermatologists have called these nutraceuticals or nutricosmetics. In my article, I will break down the science and the myth(s) behind these to shed light on the latest dietary supplement that’s supposed to work wonders for your skin and how you can evaluate it for yourself. In the first of a series, I shall discuss a dermatologist’s take on collagen and fish peptide supplements that have been popularised in the beauty and cosmetic industry.

1. What are nutraceuticals or nutricosmetics?

A nutraceutical is a pharmaceutical-grade and standardized nutrient. The FDA and the Health Sciences Authority of Singapore does not recognise nutraceuticals or nutricosmetics as a regulatory category. Rather, they are regulated as food additives and dietary supplements.

2. Do collagen or peptide containing supplements actually promote healthy skin?

These beauty supplements are consumed like food substances and hence they get digested and then absorbed by the body. One recent study showed that in individuals taking a daily supplement containing collagen peptides, there was a reduction in eye wrinkle depth after eight weeks of taking the supplements. However, dermatologists internationally who spearhead the research and testing of cosmetic dermatology caution that overall there is no substantial body of evidence in the realm of dermatological research to support the use of fish-derived peptides or collagen to boost skin health. Ingested collagen/peptide supplements are digested in the same way as food is taken as part of a normal diet and absorbed similarly, with no specific therapeutic benefit to skin or ability to be delivered directly to skin for its effects.

3. Is there any way at all to ensure that they reach our skin ?
Collagen is a protein found in skin and other tissues, there is no evidence that ingested collagen boosts the amount of collagen in the skin tissues as the body breaks down food/supplements similarly in the digestive tract and edible collagen itself has no medicinal/therapeutic benefit. Collagen in the skin is made by specialised skin cells known as fibroblasts. With age and sun damage, this process is slowed down. Dermatologists use a combination of lasers, chemical peels and cosmeceuticals to increase collagen production in one’s skin by stimulating one’s collagen receptors, rather than applying collagen to the skin or by consuming collagen. Collagen itself is a large molecule that cannot be absorbed through the skin surface. Collagen hydrolysates(such as fish peptides) have some early evidence in laboratory studies to have some UV-protective and anti-ageing properties in skin but more research needs to be done.

© 2017 Dr. Teo Wan Lin. All rights reserved. 

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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and Specialist Consultant Dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, an accredited dermatologist specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She integrates her artistic sensibility with her research background and specialist dermatologist training, by means of customised, evidence-based aesthetic treatments using state-of the-art machines, injectables (fillers and toxins) which work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.

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.

Fillers? The Fountain of Youth

September 27, 2017


Known for her overtly luscious pout, Kylie Jenner has created a buzz around fillers. For those who are looking to enhance their appearance without wanting to go under the knife or suffer the healing downtime drinking pumpkin soups, dermal fillers are an excellent semi-permanent and in some cases permanent option.

Propitious to give you more natural finish compared to botox, dermal fillers are gaining popularity amongst those seeking for youthful perfection. Instead of stopping the muscle movements resulting in wrinkles, dermal fillers aim to plump the skin to smooth out the wrinkles. This does not mean that botox does not have its benefits — read about it here. As both botox and dermal fillers function differently, a combination treatment allows you to walk out of your dermatologist’s office looking 10 years younger.

Setting out to give you a younger face, plumper lips and higher and even nose bridges, dermal fillers come in two different forms – synthetic and natural. Although naturally-derived fillers have a much smaller risk of causing an allergic reaction and risks of migration and lumping and are able to produce an immediate effect, they usually only last from three to 18 months. To maintain your desired result, you will need to go back in and get more fillers injected usually within a year. Synthetic fillers on the other hand, are more of a semi-permanent solution. However, since synthetic fillers provide a more permanent solution, potential allergies and risks of migration and lumping gets harder to correct. To avoid such risks, it is advised that you share your concerns and have a discussion with accredited dermatologist. For an instant youth rejuvenation, fillers are the way to go ladies.

© 2017 twlskin.com. All rights reserved.

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Meet with Dr. Teo Wan Lin, founder and Specialist Consultant Dermatologist of TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre, an accredited dermatologist specialising in medical and aesthetic dermatology. She integrates her artistic sensibility with her research background and specialist dermatologist training, by means of customised, evidence-based aesthetic treatments using state-of the-art machines, injectables (fillers and toxins) which work synergistically with her proprietary line of specialist dermatologist grade cosmeceuticals Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals.

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.