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 is the founder of Dr.TWL Dermaceuticals, a specialist cosmeceutical skincare line with evidence-based active ingredients for anti-ageing and skin health. Dr. TWL Pharmacy is the only full fledged online specialist dermatologist compounding pharmacy in Singapore and is jointly headed by a trained pharmaceutical engineer for strict quality controls. In this series “Dermatologist Talks” she shares her top tips on common skincare topics. In this article, she talks about chemical peels, are they necessary and are there any alternatives for those who wish to do it at home?
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is the application of a high yet safe concentration of a certain acid on the skin. Superficial peels involve the use of acids such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid. They induce epidermal injury and the induced exfoliation is followed by dermal and epidermal regeneration from adjacent epithelium and skin adnexa, which results in improved surface texture and appearance of the skin. Superficial peels are most commonly used for mild skin disorders such as dyschromia, acne, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma, and actinic keratosis.
What are the benefits of a chemical peel?
Chemical peels exfoliate the dead outer layer of your skin and are mainly used to treat:
Acne (i.e Blackheads, whiteheads & pimples)
Chemical peels reduce inflamed lesions, loosen and reduce open and closed comedones (colloquially known as blackheads and whiteheads respectively). Chemical peels also lighten mild acne and facial scars from past blemishes. It can be used to compliment topical or oral medication to treat pimples and control acne breakouts.
Reduce fine lines under eyes, around the mouth and on the forehead.
Lighten mild acne and facial scars.
Reduce age spots, freckles, and dark patches (melasma) due to pregnancy or taking birth control pills.
Remove the sun-damaged outer layers, leaving you with smoother skin.
Chemical peels also increase the absorption of skincare products into the skin because the removal of the topmost layer of skin ensures that there are no dead cells impeding the penetration of products.
SA has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and depigmenting properties. It is safe in skin of all Fitzpatrick phototypes. Because of SA’s lipophilic and comedolytic effects, it is particularly effective for comedonal acne.
What are the side effects of a chemical peel?
The side effects of the treatment tend to be mild and temporary. Most side effects subside after 3 days.
Scabbing of the skin (due to skin cells being removed)
Increased sensitivity to the sun
How is a chemical peel performed at your clinic?
A certified nurse will hand you a consent form for the chemical peel before proceeding to explain in detail what you can expect during the peel and the benefits. The peels we use in our clinic are: Lactic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Glycolic Acid. Before the procedure, your face will be cleansed and eye protection like goggles or gauze may be applied. During chemical peel, the nurse will use a cotton pad or brush to apply the chemical solution to your face. You may feel a slight stinging sensation however the nurse will assess the skin and monitor the reaction to the acid. Once complete, the chemical solution will be removed or a neutralizing solution will be added. The strength and peel times are tailored to individual patients skin type and needs. After the peel, we will apply AMINO ACID 360° MASQUE and leave it on for 10 minutes to soothe the skin. It contains a potent concoction of skin brightening Vitamin C which soothes inflamed acne and lightens scars. LARECEA™ Extract with lifting amino acids penetrate the epidermis to stimulate collagen regeneration, resulting in all round 360 degrees lifting effect for a youthful, smooth contour of face.
If I cannot make it down for a chemical peel at your clinic, would there be alternative treatments that can be performed at home?
Our online specialist skincare pharmacy Dr. TWL Pharmacy supplies custom compounded topicals powered by botanical actives, for various skin conditions delivered to your doorstep. This is also part of a teledermatology service integrated with the specialist skincare pharmacy, a unique service developed for our overseas patients and a current necessity given the healthcare situation worldwide. There is complimentary courier service locally and subsidised international shipping for our prescription medications.
The following are alternatives for home peels:
Our Dr. TWL Home Chemical Peel System– By Prescription via Teledermatology only. This system incorporates active peeling agents suitable for home use formulated by our in house team, with recovery serums and skin healing emollients included in the package. From $80 upwards depending on prescription and need. Please book in here for your consultation.
Home Medi-Facial Aesthetic Treatments with our Custom Mask Bar Service Our on-site skincare pharmacy is manned by trained technicians who compound topical prescriptives for skin concerns such as acne/greasy skin, pigmentation, scars and sensitive/eczema prone skin to be used with our newly launched FDA-approved skin devices for a full home facial experience. The SilkPeel, a state-of-the art microdermabrasion device with copper ion technology, suitable for antiageing and skin resurfacing is used with our prescriptive medifacial solutions and has been proven to have similar benefits as in-office chemical peels. For post-peel skin healing and tightening, the CollagenUP Wand utilises Radiofrequency technology with our MoistureMax Polysaccharide Mask Sheet for the Custom Mask Bar which delivers monthly mask essence vials with a complimentary 4L Beauty Fridge. Find out more about the science of our home medi-facials here
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. Our consultations are now available via teledermatology here . Our online skincare pharmacy is also available for over the counter prescriptives to be delivered directly to your doorstep.
To book an appointment with Dr Teo, book directly here with our integrated online booking system, call us at +65 6355 0522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.
Acne occurs when the oil glands under the skin, scientifically known as sebaceous glands, become clogged with sebum, an oily substance. This process is known as inflammation, and it is often genetically determined. Hence, if you have a family history of acne, you are at high risk.
A normal amount of sebum usually keeps the skin healthy. Your oil glands become active once you reach adolescence due to hormones and this is when acne usually starts. When clogged, bacteria grows in the glands. This leads to swelling, bumps and visible blackheads and whiteheads on the skin’s surface.
Acne can still affect adults. In fact, many adult females suffer from acne breakouts around the chin, especially during certain times of their menstrual cycle. This should be differentiated from other conditions such as perioral dermatitis, which may look similar but is treated differently.
Under proper dermatologist care, acne can be fully treated with the correct medications, creams and light treatments. For patients who prefer not to be on oral medications, some forms of laser therapies are safe and effective acne treatment methods too. Blue light, a type of light therapy is designed to treat acne when it is active by killing Propionebacterium Acnes on the skin, which causes acne inflammation. Non ablative and ablative resurfacing lasers can treat subsequent acne scarring after it subsides.
In addition to treatment, prevention against future acne breakouts are also crucial. Diet and proper skincare are also important factors in contributing to one’s acne condition. Therefore, holistic counselling with specific advice about how to manage your condition is important.
For mild to moderate acne, you may consider over the counter dermatologist formulated cosmeceuticals such as the Anti-Acne Bundle here.
2. Use hair regrowth products
Originally prescribed only in my dermatologist practice, the Copper Peptide Hair Regrowth Serum uniquely contains Copper tripeptide, a novel molecule that stimulates hair growth. Clinically proven to have similar efficacy to that of 5% minoxidil, stimulating growth without irritation side effects or toxicity. Studies show collagen production is increased, strengthening existing hair and thickening the hair shaft.
In conjunction with the hair serum, one can consider cosmetic camouflage for a quick fix. I often recommend the Kerabuilt Follicle Hair Fibres, integrated with Biomimetic Hair Technology for natural-looking, instant results. In addition, it is chemical-free and hypoallergenic, recommended even for those with hair loss and sensitive scalps.
In my dermatology practice, almost all patients suffering from hair loss had also done their due research online about possible causes of hair loss before seeing me. The real problem though, medical websites are not written for the layperson and the lists of diagnoses of conditions that lead to hair loss simply leave the hair loss sufferer worried and fearful. Those that do their research on forums and beauty websites are none the wiser, as they suggest many non-evidenced backed methods of hair growth or causes of hair loss which is simply unscientific and wrong information.
There are many different causes of hair loss, which can occur at the same time or individually, and dermatologists are best positioned conduct a thorough history taking, medical evaluation/examination and may recommend blood tests and other tests before diagnosing the cause of hair loss. For some rare causes of hair loss, especially of what is termed scarring alopecia, a scalp biopsy, which is where samples of the scalp are taken for microscopic examination may be required.
3. Consult a dermatologist for scarring on the skin
Treatment of scars on one’s skin can be in the form of chemical peels or lasers, which can be both ablative and non-ablative. Your dermatologist will advise which treatment option is best suited for your skin. In the meantime, a good concealer consists of a colour corrector. Orange is well suited to conceal dark scars and pigmentation whereas green conceals redness. Follow up with a CC cream with cosmeceutical active ingredients to treat and conceal your blemishes at the same time – achieving an overall even complexion.
WHY YOU SHOULD APPLY YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS WITH YOUR RING FINGER
How we apply our skincare is very important. Have you ever wondered why most skincare brands recommend in their product directions to use the ring finger and not any other fingers in applying and gently massaging the product unto your skin especially when it involves the eye area? That is because out of our 5 fingers, our ring finger is said to have the weakest touch. The manner on how you massage your face while cleansing it and how you apply your skincare and makeup products, even just simply scratching it or wiping it can add up to protecting the quality of your skin.
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. Applying with our ring finger gives an equal amount of pressure when applying products. You can easily cause wrinkles with too much pressure, and our ring finger is recommended for the least amount of pressure and pull.
Most especially when it comes to applying eye creams, using our ring finger is the best. The skin around our eyes is the most delicate among the rest, and it is most commonly the first to show the earliest sign of ageing. Mishandling of the skin 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.
That being said, no matter how the ring finger is said to be the lightest, we still have to be mindful whenever we use it to come into contact with our skin. Same with any other finger. Always work your serums, eye creams, and any other product into your skin using light, tapping motions making sure to avoid rubbing and tugging. No matter how expensive your skincare product is, the manner on how you apply it will tell how to get the most out of it.
HOW TO APPLY YOUR SKINCARE- EYE CREAM
Ever looked in the mirror and thought “My eye wrinkles are becoming more obvious each day”?
The Elixir-V™ Eyes is an eye cream that is meant to prevent dark eye circles, excessive puffiness of the eyes and eye wrinkles. Like the Elixir-V serum, it contains potent oligopeptides used for lifting and repair and our signature Larecea™ extract for regeneration. An additional ingredient is niacinamide, used for brightening. While the Elixir-V serum is meant for the skin, the Elixir-V Eyes is focused on protecting the beauty of your eyes. We believe that your eyes are the most noticeable and beautiful parts of your face. Hence, it is meant to anti-age the sensitive skin around your eyes.
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.
The word anti-aging alone turns many heads. Living in a beauty-centric society, we are pressurised to maintain our youth. Although it’s a natural process to age, once we hit the big 3-0, we are told to maintain our youth with an onslaught of anti-aging products that promotes and stimulates collagen production. Then there is the whole array of anti-aging treatments such as a filler or botox procedure. You can’t really blame yourself for getting sucked into this black hole and there’s nothing really wrong about wanting to look young.
Are you looking for the fountain of youth? Look no further. Fillers are actually becoming a popular option for those wanting a youthful look. In comparison to anti-aging skincare, injectables such as fillers offer an almost instant youthful look and are fairly safe and natural looking when done right at the right place.
Although our skin is remarkable in protecting our bodies from the outside world and repairing itself every day, with age, lifestyle and environmental factors such as sun damage, smoking and poor diet, the condition of our skin deteriorates. This is inevitable. When it comes to giving your skin a refreshing and youthful appearance by giving it definition, firmness and a deep hydration, fillers are an effective method. Done by injecting a gel-like substance into lines and wrinkles, these injectables either fill or add volume to the sunken areas.
Hyaluronic Acid Filler
Hyaluronic acid is a common component that is used in fillers. Before you shrug at the term acids, know that hyaluronic acid is a component naturally found in the human body. Its sole function is to provide hydration and structure. Since skin hydration and structure depletes as we age, it is quickly removed from the body. By injecting these fillers, we are essentially introducing hydration and structure in the skin.
Lasting up to six to twelve months, these temporary fillers plumps up the eyebrow and temporal region, defines and contours the cupid’s bow, cheeks and jawline, smoothens out the under-eye hollows, facial creases and can even minimise the appearance of scars and other depressed creases.
Restylane is one of the many available injectables out there. Using a patented Non-Animal Stabilised Hyaluronic Acid (NASHA) technology, Restylane injectables are generally firmer for a more pronounced lifting capacity and targeted product integration. This delivers a longer lasting skin hydration. Its Optimal Balance Technology (OBT), ensures that the injectable is more evenly diffused in the injected area, creating a softer and more natural look.
Next question in mind would be what to expect before, during and after a filler procedure. First things first, always consult an accredited dermatologist or surgeon when getting a filler or any cosmetic surgery. Avoid going to any aesthetic spas or worse neighbourhood malls to get your fillers done. Hygiene and sanitary is pertinent when it comes to any corrective treatments, to avoid infections and side effects. Make sure you understand the procedure and don’t be afraid to ask any questions.
Always remember to inform the dermatologist or surgeon about your present medical condition and allergies. Avoid taking any medications such as panadol that may hasten bruising, or intoxicants such as alcohol, and stay hydrated. Always ask your dermatologist, or trained practitioner what type of filler you are getting injected with. Do some background research of it and make sure you are comfortable with being injected with that particular type of filler chosen for you. Instead of going for a cheaper alternative, choose the type of filler that is recommended by your dermatologist or surgeon, to avoid a botched procedure.
If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy during your filler procedure, voice out your concerns. As for post-procedure, expect minor bruisings. Hydration is key when it comes to healing. So drink up. Avoid using controlled substances such as cigarettes and alcohol immediately after the procedure. To avoid irritating the injected area, minimise makeup or external touch such as facials, pinching or scratching of the skin, high-intensity workouts and even sauna sessions. It is pertinent to abide by the post-procedure instructions given by your dermatologist or surgeon. Although minor bruisings can be expected, always report any signs of abnormality such as bumps, unevenness or unforeseen side effect to your dermatologist or surgeon immediately.
The word anti-aging alone turns many heads. Living in a beauty-centric society, we are pressurised to maintain our youth. Although ageing is considered a natural process, once we hit the big 3-0, we are told to maintain our youth with an onslaught of anti-aging products purportedly promoting rejuvenation and stimulating collagen production. Is the aesthetic and beauty industry just a vicious black hole sucking in the vulnerable and playing on our insecurities? How about facial fillers? Hey, if you are reading this, there’s nothing wrong about wanting to look good, or a youthful, energised version of yourself.
A myriad of cosmetic procedures are being offered by every aesthetic set up, beauty parlor and medi-spa. If you are looking to look your best this festive season and have decided to get some pampering, do read this article beforehand to educate yourself on what’s out there.
Where to get Facial Fillers?
First things first, it’s important to understand, that according to the latest Singapore Medical Council guidelines has clarified its stand on who should and should not perform aesthetic procedures such as lasers, botox, facial fillers or other cosmetic procedures. Read all about it here. What does this mean?
To put it simply, it’s best to visit an accredited dermatologist or a plastic surgeon who will ensure the safety and efficacy of the treatment, depending on what you are looking for. Non dermatologists who practise “aesthetic medicine” require additional certification of competency conducted by the Dermatological Society of Singapore. Not sure about the qualifications of your doctor? Check your doctor’s accreditation here.
Once you’ve decided on who to see, make a note of the research you’ve done and how you actually feel about yourself. Our take on this? Filler injections are one of the fastest, most dramatic yet natural-looking ( if well done) aesthetic procedures that can instantly rejuvenate a tired face. One of the reasons facial fillers have sometimes gained a bad- reputation amongst the beauty fans and watchers is that the early nineties were filled with images of Hollywood stars suffering less than ideal( sometimes botched) jobs with unnatural lumps of flesh on their faces or oddly elongated chins.
Benefits of Facial Fillers
Fast-forward to today, we asked Dr. Teo Wan Lin, a Consultant Dermatologist what her thoughts are on those in their thirties considering facial fillers. “The benefits to having facial fillers in the younger age group, say those in their thirties to early forties, as compared to those in their midforties and beyond, is that hyaluronic acid-based facial fillers can provide natural-looking volume to restore areas of the face where fat has been lost or where gravity has taken its toll.
Not a lot of product is required to be injected in these women to achieve the desired outcome, but at the same time thit;s a very quick pick-me up to a tired face, when injected at the correct areas, in addition to giving a smooth, radiant look to one’s complexion almost instantly, because hyaluronic acid itself is a water molecule that naturally exists in one’s skin and is depleted as one ages. The pores also end up looking more refined and one also has a smooth youthful contour of the face”.
So it seems indeed, that facial fillers rightfully remain a popular option for those wanting to achieve a youthful look. “Relying on a rigid regimen of filler injections alone is bound to disappoint,” says Dr. Teo, “as the skin itself, like the face structure, is dynamic, different for each individual and requires expert assesment to tailor treatments, all this in order to achieve the desired outcome. For an individual who needs a quick freshening up before the festive period, I start with facial fillers and combine with High Intensity Focussed Ultrasound to target the SMAS layer (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System), together with cosmeceutical skincare for maintenance of clear radiant and hydrated skin.”
While we don’t need any further reminders that with each passing day, genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors i.e. sun damage, smoking, poor diet, the condition of our skin deteriorates. Before you despair at mankind’s seemingly inevitable fate, here’s some good news. Milennial skincare has extended its technological advances to the field of aesthetic dermatology. Take it from the dermatologists when it comes to giving your skin a refreshing and youthful appearance. Facial fillers work by giving your ageing face definition, firmness and deep hydration, talk about multi-tasking.No amount of skincare can do that overnight.
What to expect? A gel like substance containing a natural water molecule in your skin, known as hyaluronic acid, is injected into parts of your face that has lost volume or sagging, erasing lines and wrinkles at the same time. Talk about getting rid of the tired and pissed look off your face, erase the years away!
Hyaluronic acid is a common component that is used in facial fillers. With many people reacting to “acid”, probably the last time they have heard of that term was in their chemistry class, where the corrosive substance was definitely not something one would put on their face. Here’s where it’s a fallacy. Hyaluronic acid is a component naturally found in the human body and it is no mean chemical acid! It’s actually really good for your skin, with almost every beauty product these days touting it as its superstar ingredient. Check out our 1% in-house Hyaluronic Acid formulation, customised by our dermatologist for her patients.
According to dermatologist Dr. Teo Wan Lin, “Most commercial brands of hyaluronic acid products contain a concentration ranging between 0.01- 0.1%, simply because of the cost of the molecule. Injecting hyaluronic acid is a totally different story, purity and concentration is important, as it serves to hold up the structure of the face.” Seems like when the Creator made hyaluronic acid for the human skin, he also found its sole function to provide hydration and structure. Both of which get depleted as we age. So here’s the science of filler injections: one is essentially introducing hydration and structure in the the skin.
The next time you see a young girl, notice the fullness of her facial contours. That, is the key to a youthful face. Besides, many who are risk-adverse and into an au-naturale look (who isn’t?) will be pleased to know that hyaluronic acid facial fillers are considered temporary. Lasting up to six to twelve months, these fillers have the ability to plump up the eyebrow and temporal region, define and contours the cupid’s bow, cheeks and jawline, smoothen out the under-eye hollows, facial creases and can even minimise the appearance of scars and other depressed creases.
Restylane is used exclusively at our clinic, for the following reasons. Using a patented Non-Animal Stabilised Hyaluronic Acid (NASHA) technology, Restylane injectables are generally firmer for a pronounced lifting capacity and for targeted product integration. What this means is, it’s now possible to deliver skin hydration that’s longer lasting, giving the dewy, glowy skin look. Its Optimal Balance Technology (OBT), ensures that the injectable is more evenly diffused in the injected area, creating a softer and more natural look.
The Filler Procedure
Finally, know what to expect before, during and after a filler procedure. First things first, always consult an accredited practtioner, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon prior to getting a filler. This should be taken seriously, and performed in a accredited medical clinic rather than in a spa or a beauty parlor. He or she will run through which areas are suitable for treatment using facial fillers, and what to expect. Hygiene and sterility is pertinent when it comes to any cosmetic treatments, to avoid infections and side effects, and a licensed practitioner will take steps to make sure that all risks of infection are minimised.
Next up, during your consultation, make sure that you understand the procedure and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Always remember to inform the dermatologist or surgeon about your present medical condition and allergies. Avoid taking any medications such as panadol that may hasten bruising, or intoxicants such as alcohol, and stay hydrated. Here are more tips: always ask your dermatologist, or trained practitioner what type of filler you are getting injected with.
Do some background research and make sure you are comfortable with being injected with that particular type of filler chosen for you. The important thing to know here is, Instead of going for the cheapest deal available, choose the type of filler that is recommended by your dermatologist or plastic surgeon, to minimise risks of any botched procedures. Remember, there is a cost to quality facial fillers, in addition to the skill of the practitioner injecting it. So if the price or the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Some final words. If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy during your filler procedure, voice out your concerns. Your doctor will reassure you or make adjustments to ensure that the procedure carries on to your comfort level. Post-procedure, minor bruising is expected. Tips for recovery would be staying well hydrated with fluids, avoiding smoking and alcohol as these delay wound healing. Recovery is typically quick and uneventful and one could return to work or activities the same day except for maybe high intensity workouts which are best avoided for a couple of days.
Dermoscopy is a skin examination technique used to evaluate skin growths as well as pigmented skin lesions, without the need for surgery. The accuracy of the technique is dependent on the operator’s experience, and can help facilitate the diagnosis of potentially fatal skin cancers such as melanoma.
The use of dermoscopy involves advanced lens magnification together with an intense lighting structure incorporated in a portable handheld instrument known as a dermatoscope. This instrument reveals skin structures and patterns and can be attached to computers or smartphones for transmitting images.
Some techniques used in dermoscopic interpretation would include pigmentation colour and structure. In terms of colours, a trained dermatologist will pick up hues in pigmented lesions ranging from black, brown, red, blue, grey, yellow and white. Some tips on patterns and structures that dermatologists specialising in skin cancers would involve determining if a growth has the following features of asymmetry, heterogeny, uniformity. Dermoscopic examination also gives clues to keratin on the skin surface, blood vessels, borders, ulceration which can be signs of skin cancers.
By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre
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 the supplements 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.
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 email@example.com. Alternatively, you may fill up our contact form here.
Soft tissue fillers are injectables that aim to reduce wrinkles, hollows, and furrows or “plump up” or the skin to give the skin a smoother and more pleasing appearance. Derived from either natural or synthetic substance, these fillers are effective at contouring specific areas of the face, such as around the lips and mouth, and correcting depressions and scars.
Who are soft tissue fillers for?
Each filler product is designed for different purposes and effects. For those looking to correct wrinkles, enhance their lips through volume augmentation, correct thin, superficial lines around the eyes, mouth and forehead area, looking to contour the areas around their chin and cheeks area and correct deep folds, soft tissue fillers are an effective treatment method.
What should I know about soft tissue fillers?
Soft tissue fillers come in two forms — natural and synthetic. Synthetic fillers are often a popular choice as they produce immediate results and have a lasting effect in comparison to natural fillers. This is because synthetic fillers are derived from animal and non-animal stabilised hyaluronic acid complex. The sugar chains in these complex are often stabilised for a longer period of time, resulting a lasting effect on the skin when treated with soft tissue fillers. As soft tissue filler are able to create volume for wrinkle, facial folds, lips and lines treatments, you are able to see immediate results.
What are the side effects of soft tissue fillers?
With recent technological breakthroughs, new synthetic and natural filler substances have been created to reduce side effects such as allergic reactions, redness and occasional bruising, swelling, itching, minor lumps, or tenderness which usually resolves quickly. However that being said, one should be wary of the mentioned side effects and consult a dermatologist immediately.
What to expect from the treatment?
The duration of the treatment usually lasts nothing more than 30 minutes. Prior to the procedure, nerve blocks and local anesthetic creams could be used to minimize discomfort occurring during the procedure. An accredited and trained dermatologist will examine your face and then determine an exact location to inject the fillers to achieve optimal results.
Depending on the areas that are being treated, the depth of the lines, the condition of the skin and the lifestyle of the individual, soft tissue fillers can last up to approximately one year. For optimal results, patients may get their fillers topped up every six to nine months, or an alternative combination regime involving lasers can be discussed with your dermatologist for maintenance. Cosmeceuticals may also be used as adjuncts to maximise the benefits from filler procedures. Hyaluronic Acid for example, apart from being a constituent of fillers, can also be used in a topical form to enhance hydration and plumping effects on skin.
By Dr. Teo Wan Lin, Consultant Dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin & Laser Centre
What are stretch marks? What do they look like?
A stretch mark, also known as “striae” look like streaks of skin over areas like the back, the thighs and arms. They are caused by tissue under your skin tearing from rapid growth or over-stretching. They can have different colours, from white to brown to purple.
What causes them?
Stretch marks are very common, especially over areas of the body where the skin is subjected to continuous and progressive stretching. They are generally harmless but can be cosmetically disfiguring for some people, and rarely is due to medical conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome (abdominal obesity due to prolonged exposure to cortisol) and Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue). These marks can also occur from prolonged use of oral or topical steroids.
Who gets them?
Common areas include the abdomen and breast in pregnant women, as well as teenagers undergoing growth spurts (thighs, buttocks, breasts). Over the shoulders in body-builders, in obese or overweight people.
What is an early sign of the stretch mark developing?
An early sign is when an area of skin becomes itchy, flattened and thinned out with a pink colour, followed by purplish swollen lines which may lighten. They may be several centimeters long and 1–10 mm wide.
Can I get rid of stretch marks?
It is important, that, if in doubt, get your stretch marks reviewed by your dermatologist, as there are a few medical conditions which may mimic these marks. There are a few creams with active ingredients that help in reducing stretch marks. An over-the-counter example is the Radiance Fluide Hydrating Emulsion, which contains potent oligopeptides that encourages the synthesis of collagen in skin to tighten and lift such marks. In addition, there are also specific treatments which should only be performed by a qualified dermatologist to reduce the appearance of these marks.