Tag Archive: Sunscreen

A Dermatologist Explains Under-Eye Care: Are Under-Eye Sunscreens Necessary?

April 30, 2019

It is not necessary to use a specific sunscreen dedicated to the under eye area if the sunscreen you’re using is already a medical grade sunscreen that has been dermatologist-tested and ophthalmologist-tested. Nevertheless, sunscreen should not be applied too close to the eye area such as the lid margin because the very nature of effective sunscreens means that it would contain chemical and physical components that may be irritating to the eye.

If you are worried about sun exposure to skin around the eyes, you may consider using the SunProtector™, a lightweight soothing sunscreen that is dermatologist-tested and formulated to be suitable for use on the entire face including the under eye area.

The question remains: Why does the under eye area require extra protection?

The difference between the under eye area and the rest of the skin is that the under eye area has much more delicate and thinner skin. This explains why we tend to get dark eye circles from those areas, which is due to genetic factors such as the blood vessels being seen much more prominently in areas of thin skin. In addition, with certain practices such as applying eye makeup over many years as well as wearing contact lenses, the process of dragging and pulling the areas of skin around the eye can make it much more susceptible to wrinkling and laxity. Natural facial expressions, such as smiling can also cause natural creases at the periorbital area, known as crow’s feet, or when one is laughing in the area near the nose known as bunny lines.

It is much more necessary to eliminate bad practices in handling of the skin around the eye area, and to advocate good eye moisturising and antioxidants in the form of an eye cream and daily sun protection. One eye cream product you may opt for is the Elixir-VTM Eyes, which is a dermatologist-formulated eye cream that targets regeneration and repair of skin around the eye area with pharmaceutical-grade bioactive ingredients. Also, as a tip, use your ring finger instead of the index finger to apply any sort of eye cream or makeup, in order to avoid exerting repeated high pressure (from the index finger) over the delicate eye area, which drags down the skin and may cause or worsen eye bags and wrinkles. More importantly, to fight aging effects on the skin and in general, one should have an overall healthy lifestyle, with frequent exercise, adequate sleep, a diet filled with antioxidants, reduced alcohol intake and should stop smoking habits.

If someone were to look for additional protection for the under eye area, would an under eye sunscreen benefit in any way?

The premise overall is that there is no need for a specific under eye sunscreen, other than a sunscreen that is formulated for the face and tested by a dermatologist in a laboratory environment. If one is to experience irritation with such sunscreens, it may help to look for a pure physical sunblock made up of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, rather than chemical sunscreen components, as these tend to be less irritating although conferring less broad spectrum protection compared with one that is a combination of physical and chemical components.

It is more important that one re-applies sunscreen regularly, rather than to apply an additional type of sunscreen. This is because layering different sunscreens one on top of the other does not increase the efficacy beyond the time period that the sunscreen is effective for. Conventional wisdom is to reapply sunscreen every 3 to 4 hours, especially when outdoors. However, there are many aspects to aging around the eye area and one of the reasons is actually not due to sun exposure, but rather due to the fact that skin around the eye area is much more delicate, hence more prone to daily tugging for example for people who wear eye make-up and contact lens wearers. For these individuals, it is much more advisable to use a good eye cream which can be applied both day and night, to moisturise the eye area and packed with antioxidants to reverse free-radical damage caused by sun exposure and environmental pollutants, and also to get adequate sleep at night. Having a pair of good sunglasses is also helpful to protect the cornea from UV damage.

Can exposure to the sun make the under eye area more susceptible to dark spots or lead to other undesirable effects?

This is not a very realistic scenario as when someone has excessive exposure to sunlight, it happens over the entire face and is never just localized to one area. Someone who has extensive sun damage in their life will find that they are more prone to get pigmentation as well as dark spots as well as the entire face including the eye area. It is far more common to notice such pigmentation at facial areas of more prominence such as the cheek bones rather than the under eye or say the under the chin area which are relatively protected from sun due to the facial bone structure. In addition, if you have been undergoing treatments such as phototherapy for other skin conditions, it is always advisable to wear protective eyewear.

Will sunglasses work as well as an under eye sunscreen would?

Sunglasses are a good way to block out UV radiation and it is a form of physical protection. It is advisable to wear sunglasses primarily within the context of preventing excessive harmful UV exposure to the eyes for example the cornea. At the same time, when one applies a good quality medical-grade sunscreen together with physical measures such as a broad-rimmed sun hat and a pair of sunglasses, the amount of UV exposure to the face as well as the under eye area can be reduced.

How can you take extra care of the under eye area?

As mentioned, the eye is a very delicate area. It is well-said that the eyes are the windows to one’s soul and are very often the first feature that one notices. For someone who actively looks after their skin and does treatments such as lasers and peels, ageing in the eye area starts to become more obvious because these lasers and peels do not target the eye area and are often the top giveaway signs of a person’s age. So it is indeed very important to take extra care of the eye area, where prevention is key as well as using a good eye cream. In terms of physical treatments that can be done for the eye area, you may consider treatments such as CO2 laser resurfacing, as well as plasma nitrogen treatment which is very safe and uses ionic plasma nitrogen to help to resurface and tighten skin around the eye area.

© 2019 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 book an appointment online by clicking here.

Everything You Need to Know About Melanin & Dark Spots

July 19, 2018

 

Melanin is the culprit behind the dark spots that give us an uneven complexion. It is a brown pigment found in the basal layer of the epidermis.

This pigment is synthesised by melanocytes. The process of melanin synthesis is termed melanogenesis. Melanocytes go through different stages of maturation, becoming more pigmented at each stage.

Certain stimulants trigger a gene to produce more of tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme that converts tyrosine into melanin. Stimulants that activate the melanocyte include hormones, inflammation (such as acne) and external environmental conditions (ultraviolet light that causes the production of free radicals).

One simple way to reduce melanin production is to use broad-spectrum sunscreens with zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or iron oxide. These substances help block UVA and UVB light, thus impeding the stimulation of melanocytes.

Pigmentary disorders

Common hyperpigmentation disorders that involve the darkening of an area of skin due to increased melanin include melasma, lentigo, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Melasma is usually caused by chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation or a spike in hormones due to pregnancy or the use of oral contraception. It can be found at the epidermisdermal layer or mixed, depending on the location of the pigment.

A lentigo is a light or dark brown area of discoloration that can range from 1mm to 1cm across, and is caused by an increased number of melanocytes. Its outline is usually discrete, but can also be irregular. Simple lentigines arise mostly during childhood on areas not exposed to the sun. Solar (or senile) lentigines are found on the backs of hands or on the face, most commonly after middle age.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is the skin’s response to inflammatory skin disorders. Common causes are acne and atopic dermatitis. PIH is caused by the overproduction of melanin caused by skin inflammation.

Treating hyperpigmentation

Hydroquinone: For 50 years, hydroquinone has been the gold standard treatment for hyperpigmentation. This compound inhibits tyrosinase activity, thus limiting the amount of melanin to be produced. It also alters melanosome formation, possibly degrading melanocytes.

However, prolonged use of topical hydroquinone has shown to have side effects such as ochronosis and permanent depigmentation. Ochronosis is a disorder with blue-black discoloration. As such, hydroquinone is banned in cosmetic formulations and only available through a prescription that should be carefully managed by an accredited dermatologist.

Retinoids are forms of vitamin A that can treat acnephotodamage and PIH. They have various pathways that lead to skin lightening effects, such as accelerating epidermal turnover, reducing pigment transfer and slowing the production of tyrosinase.

With common side effects being erythema, skin irritation, dryness and scaling, it is recommended to use a retinoid only under the supervision of an accredited dermatologist. Corticosteroids (steroid hormones) have anti-inflammatory abilities and are often prescribed along with retinoids to prevent excess irritation.

Arbutin is a botanically derived compound found in cranberries, blueberries, wheat and pears. Though arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinoine, it has shown to be a more controlled way of inhibiting the synthesis of melanin as it does not permanently destroy melanocytes.

Kojic acid is a naturally occurring fungal substance. Its skin-lightening ability works by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase. However, frequent use can cause side effects of contact dermatitis or erythema (redness of the skin).

Azelaic acid is known to be effective for treating PIH and acne. Azelaic acid depigments the skin in several ways. It can inhibit tyrosinase or reduce levels of abnormal melanocytes. This means that azelaic acid does not influence normal skin pigmentation but only acts on the proliferation of unwanted melanocyte activity.  Side effects are mild and only last for a short period of time. Irritation, burning sensation or mild erythema may emerge, taking 2 to 4 weeks to subside.

Niacinamide is a derivative of vitamin B3. It works by decreasing the transfer of melanosome to keratinocytes. Niacinamide is a stable ingredient as it is unaffected by light, moisture or acids. This ingredient is often incorporated into cosmeceuticals due to its safety profile.

Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid is a naturally occurring antioxidant that helps with skin lightening. It prevents tyrosinase from converting tyrosine to melanin. Vitamin C is also favored for its anti-inflammatory and photoprotective properties. However, L-ascorbic acid is highly unstable and rapidly oxidized. It is not used in the treatment of PIH.

Stable forms of vitamin C include magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or sodium ascorbyl phosphate. For safe and effective results, consider a dermatologist-formulated serum VITA C GOLD™ Serum,a formulation tested for bio-activity in a laboratory.

As seen above, there are various treatment options to treat common hyperpigmentation disorders. Recognizing the underlying cause for pigmentation is critical for proper treatment and choosing the best-suited therapy. Visit an accredited dermatologist for effective and safe treatments catered to your condition.

© 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.

A Dermatologist Guide to Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA) Facial Treatments

May 31, 2018

 

Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA) Facial Treatments

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are naturally-occurring compounds possessing unparalleled benefits to the skin and extensively used in a dermatologist’s office. Most AHAs are non-toxic and are often present in food and fruits, thus also known as fruit acids.

The types of AHA used commonly for cosmetic purposes are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Glycolic acid, found in sugar cane, has the smallest molecule of all the AHAs and is the most widely used acid in skincare. Lactic acid is present in sour milk and tomato juice and can be found in our bodies as a byproduct of metabolic processes.

Certain types of AHA have lipophilic (ability to dissolve in lipids/fats) side groups in its chemical structure such as mandelic acid and benzylic acid. Such acids are more soluble in lipids over the conventional water-soluble AHAs, thus are often used for oily and acne-prone skin.

Uses as a peeling agent

AHAs are commonly used in peeling procedures as a short intense exposure to the acid produces benefits to the skin. A chemical peel is the application of one or more chemical exfoliating agents to the skin, and by exerting a controlled epidermal injury, it allows regeneration of new epidermal and dermal tissue. Such treatments are often used to treat skin disorders and conditions for aesthetic improvement.

Using controlled higher concentrations of AHAs, application to the skin for short times can achieve substantial desquamation (skin peeling). This renewal of skin cells is useful in anti-ageing, reducing hyperpigmentation and improving radiance. It is important to have a chemical peel conducted by an accredited dermatologist, to prevent uneven peeling and dermal wounding.

In contrast to other peeling agents, such as phenol or salicylic acid, most of the AHAs are nutritive and physiologic.

Pre-peeling preparation

According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, to prepare the skin for a regeneration phase, pre-treatment is necessary. The cosmetic conditions most suitable for a chemical peel would be features of photo ageing, such as solar lentigines, sallowed complexions, rough and textured skin, fine lines or wrinkles, acne scarring or hyperpigmentation. Whilst most skin types can opt for an AHA chemical peel, it is imperative to first seek assessment by an accredited dermatologist who will cater the peel, such as the acid type, strength, frequency and duration, for variability of individual skin conditions. Performed properly by a trained dermatologist, risk of scarring from a chemical peel is drastically reduced. The level of expertise in administering peels ensures a good outcome.

Prior to the actual application of the chemical peel substance, the skin will need to be thoroughly cleansed to remove oil and debris before being rinsed and dried.

Treatment with Chemical Peel

The peeling agent (AHAs) will be applied on the skin using an applicator or a brush. The duration of allowing the peeling agent to be in contact with the skin varies according to the skin’s conditions as assessed by the dermatologist. With superficial peels, some sensation of heat and stinging may be experienced, before the peeling agent is neutralized (where applicable) and thoroughly cleansed off after the duration of contact recommended by the dermatologist. The chemical peel treatment is completed at our clinic with application of a hydrating Amino Acid Masque to soothe and calm the skin post-peel. Additional post peel care requires the use of sunscreens and other photoprotective agents, due to sun sensitivity post-treatment. It should be noted that regular application of sunscreen is advocated as it can reduce sun damage and aggravating of skin conditions.

How does a chemical peel work?

For superficial peels, the acid causes breakdown and decreases cohesiveness of corneocytes, that are found at the outermost part of the epidermis. Desquamation occurs, allowing renewal from lower epidermal layers. By weakening and ‘ungluing’ the cells in the inner stratum layer, it leads to uniform exfoliation of the outermost stratum layers.

With a low PH, most acid peels need to be properly neutralized to prevent acidification of the skin. To avoid burning, AHA peels are neutralized with basic salts such as sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydroxide.

A chemical peel does not compromise the barrier structure or integrity of the skin, as the mechanism of action of AHAs on the skin is a more targeted action for epidermal skin renewal.

Conclusion

As a treatment that improves skin texture and counters the effects of ageing, chemical peels continue to be relied on for various skin conditions. It is also safe for the skin and human health in general, as extensively tried and tested by dermatologist’s. A range of AHA formulations and concentrations are available for the dermatologist to administer therapy according to the patient’s requirements.

Speak to your dermatologist today for a tailored experience.

© 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.

 

The Beauty Routine for Bridal Skin

March 25, 2018

Planning for your big day? Yes, you have finally found your dress, and you are beyond ecstatic. Only to be bogged down with issues about the wedding venue, sending invitations, your flowers and finding suitable photographers. Nevertheless, don’t let all the stress get to you, and your skin! You would certainly want to walk down the altar with glowing radiant skin after all, so here’s a guide to prep your skin just in time for your D-Day.

When it comes to wedding beauty, women tend to get more hardworking with their regular masking and night-time routines. Changing your beauty routine two or three months before your big day can give you ample time for your skin to reach its optimal condition. Apart from religiously looking after your skin, keep a lookout for your lifestyle habits. Start exercising, take regular meals, and cut down on the alcohol. Make sure you are sleeping well; a lack of sleep will certainly play no help in skin recovery.

Treat those dark spots and wrinkles with a chemical peel

If a major skincare concern such as hyperpigmentation has been troubling you, visit a dermatologist to see what your options are. You can go for chemical peels to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores and acne scars.

Performed by a dermatologist, a chemical peel treatment improves the appearance of the skin by gently stimulating the top layer of the skin cells by applying a solution made of fruit-derived acids. Such acids include alpha-hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, lactic and salicylic acid. This treatment can stimulate the skin to regenerate, revealing a taut, baby-smooth skin.

Chemical peels are more cost-effective compared to other treatments such as lasers, and more beneficial for the skin than beautician facials. A thorough evaluation is required before proceeding with a chemical peel. It is not recommended to undergo chemical peels with aestheticians or beauticians. In Singapore, only medical doctors have access to the prescription-level peel strength required to allow results.

Consult your dermatologist for an assessment for a chemical peel treatment plan catered for best results leading up to your wedding day. After the treatment, you may experience a reaction similar to sunburn where redness can be seen. Commence your chemical peel treatment plan at least three months prior to the wedding, for time buffer in particular, for your skin to be optimally renewed ahead of time and avoid any potential redness.

Common beauty concerns before a wedding include back and chest acne. Being in a wedding dress means your back and neck area will most likely be exposed. Acne at these areas as well as the face, may be well managed and controlled with chemical peels by your dermatologist, for your most radiant self to be presenting on the big day. Do avoid the sun as much as you can and stick to complete sun protection, such as sunscreen and sunglasses to reduce the sun damage.

Makeup may have varying results on camera, so it’s probably unwise to count on that to capture your best on the wedding day. To ensure that radiant glow on photos, a little more effort now on your skincare routine, could be a very worthwhile investment to yield super glowing and almost flawless (if not flawless) skin on camera on your big day.

Pre-wedding skincare routine at home

Go for a rich, nourishing serum like the Elixir-V™ Total Recovery Serum for hydrating, lifting and tightening of your face for the sculptured V-face look. Such a serum is perfect for pampering your face before your big day. The Larecea™ extract found in the serum supports skin regeneration and helps in reversing signs of aging. Hyaluronic acid is also included to preserve and replenish moisture, working to keep our skin hydrated. Antioxidants such as Resveratrol protects the skin against sun damage and lowers incidence of skin disorders. Infused in the Elixir-V™ is also Oligopeptides, which are essentially protein molecules that can help to repair and lift the skin, giving brides the perfect V-face look.

Vitamin C should also be an imperative component in your pre-wedding skincare regime. Try the Vitá C Gold™ Serum if you are guilty of living without Vitamin C previously, as a proprietary formulation with a super-stabilized form of Vitamin C that delivers more anti-oxidant efficacy than the conventional ascorbic acid which deteriorates quickly. Vitamin C is a superstar ingredient that helps fade pigmentation and uneven skin tone. The ability of this vitamin to aid the skin in healing and resist acne, keeps it a top favourite ingredient, and you can also bid farewell to errant sun spots and scars from your youth. It also protects skin cells from damage, keeping the skin healthy and bright for your wedding day.

Other miscellaneous tips you will need

It’s a proud moment, and you have the right to flaunt it. Everyone will be throwing glances at your rings, so ransack your vanity drawers for that spare hand cream you never used. Toss it in your hand bag and perhaps another on your bedside table. Start a habit of lathering your hand cream on, and that will be one problem crossed off the list.

And if you are rocking a backless wedding dress, you would want to keep your back acne far away. It can be nerve-racking, but if you start a regimen early, you can still bring back the sexy back. Apply a minimum SPF30 sunscreen liberally, as clothing does not block all the UV light. Keep your sunscreen lightweight with like the SunProtector™ to avoid the greasy feel whilst ensuring that the sun does not cause more damage or breakouts. For mild acne, even on the back, commencing a diligent skincare routine with cosmeceuticals could yield very tangible results ahead of your wedding day. For best results and in cases of more severe acne, however, consult your dermatologist for peels, topicals and a complete treatment plan to help in skin renewal, to unclog pores and reduce back acne.

Lastly, to avoid looking greasy on camera, dust some good setting powder to limit the shine while still keeping the glow.

© 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.

 

Dermatologist Tips: How Does Pollution Affect The Skin?

March 7, 2018

The outermost layer of the skin often serves as a physical barrier against harmful environmental toxins, as it is directly exposed to various pollutants such as particulate matter and free radicals. As its immediate proximity to external environment puts the skin at greater risk of being damaged by stressors, it is important that we take extra care in avoiding such environmental hazards as much as we can.

Oxidative Stress in Skin

Our skin is often exposed to a variety of harmful electrophiles and free radicals, often produced as a result of exposure to chemicals and ionizing radiation. Our body naturally produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) as byproducts of cellular processes, but an excess of ROS causes oxidative stress in skin cells.

According to Dr Teo Wan Lin, an accredited dermatologist at TWL Specialist Skin and Laser Centre, she said: “Our body keeps levels of ROS in check with free-radical-scavenging mechanisms, such as antioxidants. External sources of ROS, such as UV radiation, environmental pollutants and harmful chemicals, can cause a state of oxidative stress when they overwhelm our body’s defences and become unable to keep up with the frequent ROS production. It is the excessive generation of ROS that we should avoid for healthier skin.”

Oxidative stress causes our cellular components and macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, protein or lipids to be damaged. When ROS reacts with the lipid bilayer of our skin, it can lead to a weakened skin barrier function.

Particulate matter

Environmental air pollution consists of various particulate matter (PM). PM includes harmful suspended contaminants in the air and is heavy contributors to air pollution. We are familiar with PM 2.5, which can be found from diesel-exhaust particles that are less than 2.5μm in diameter. Composed of organic carbon compounds, nitrates and sulfates, PM2.5 can settle on the skin and aggravates inflammatory response in our skin cells, triggering skin symptoms.

The main mechanism of PM2.5 is the generation of ROS, leading to greater oxidative stress on skin cells. These particles can act as carriers for unwanted chemicals and metals that can localise in our mitochondria. This leads to the production of ROS in the mitochondria, and causing the effect of collagen degradation in our skin and thereby result in wrinkle formation and skin ageing.

On the surface of PM are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that can lead to not only an increased production of ROS, but also interfere with our gene expression for wrinkle formation and pigment spot formulation.

Our skin condition is also affected by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The solar UV spectrum is divided into two specific wavebands according to wavelength: UVA and UVB. Excessive sun exposure initiates photo-oxidation reactions, causing damage to our skin cells as it affects pathological processes.

Radiation from UVA penetrates into the deeper layers of our skin, inducing the production of ROS and causing extensive damage. Sunburns are caused by UVB, as an inflammatory response from our skin due to photodamage. UVB can also cause mutation and skin cancer.

An exposure to UV radiation is the main factor of skin aging, known as photoageing. The rate of degeneration depends on the frequency, duration and intensity of our cumulative exposure to solar rays and the degree of protection of our skin pigmentation. Given that photoaging accounts for as much as 80 per cent of facial aging, we should always be armed with sun protection.

There are various ways to protect your skin against environmental aggressors. A good supply of anti-oxidants in your diet can provide photoprotection against solar UV radiation. Carotenoids, vitamin E and C are good anti-oxidants.

Any prevention must be complemented with the use of topical sunscreen with a high sun protection factor. Not all sunscreens are created equal. Dermatologists would recommend only a few brands of sunscreens. Effective sunscreens will protect against skin cancer and block out harmful UVB rays. Ingredients that a good sunscreen should include are derivatives of vitamin C, antioxidants or phytochemicals.

Those blessed with normal skin conditions should continue regular application of sunscreen, and stick to gentle skincare products. Patients with eczema are advised to visit a dermatologist if their condition continues to worsen from environment aggressors. Topical steroids and emollients may be prescribed, as eczema is not a condition that will go away in time.

Lifestyle habits such as smoking and drinking as it can increase the production of free radicals and accelerate skin aging. For those at high-risk with excessive exposure to sun, sun avoidance is advocated whenever possible. Avoid the sun from 10am to 4pm, and don on long sleeves for greatest protection.

© 2017 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.