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skin care tips from a dermatologist

Flawless glowing skin, that's what dreams are made of. But, with all the advice hitting us up on social media and the internet, it can be hard to figure out what the best skincare routine for your skin might be.

skin care tips from a dermatologist

Of course, we know the basics, drink water, sleep is king and wash your face, but what about 70% of your skin care is what you do at home as part of your daily routine? So, we called in our resident dermatologist Kathleen to answer commonly asked questions and give you expert skin care tips to help you on your skincare journey.

So before you shell out loads of cashola on magical treatments and ridiculously pricey creams, have a read of some answers to your need-to-know skin questions. 


How do I prevent the recurrence of eczema? 

Eczema is a skin condition that looks rough, red and causes inflamed skin, not to mention it can be hella ITCHY. So if you suffer from eczema, that probably means you have DRY SKIN and experience flare-ups which a multitude of things can trigger, including - dust mites, pollen, molds, sweat, sudden temperature changes, dry air (winter) and heat, nickel, rubber, preservatives like formaldehyde, fragrances, detergents, disinfectants, even some anti-wrinkle medicines... the list goes on...

How can you prevent eczema flares? Try these sensitive skin care tips.

  1. Moisturise. 
    You have to remember that not all moisturisers are the same. Look for moisturisers that contain ceramides, cholesterol, or fatty acids that repair the skin's natural barrier. Humectants like glycerin and hyaluronic acid can absorb moisture from the environment into the skin. Occlusives like oils (argan, safflower, and jojoba) help to lock in moisture. Apply generous amounts on the arms, hands and body, especially during winter. Using a good moisturiser is among the best winter skin care tips. 

  2. Avoid contact with products or anything that make your skin sting or itchy.
    Regular exposure to the triggers mentioned above can make eczema worse, leading to unbearable itchiness that can affect your mental health and wellbeing. 

  3. Avoid harsh cleansers.
    Stick to gentle cleansers that will not strip your skin’s natural moisturisers. Long baths are not eczema-friendly, so if you choose to have a bath limit them to 5 or 10 minutes.

  4. Be gentle on the skin. 
    Resist the urge to scratch that itch. Constant rubbing and scratching can make eczema itchier and thicker, leading to another form of eczema called neurodermatitis that leaves the skin dry, leathery, and thickened. 

  5. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 
    Drink lots of water, at least 2-3 litres a day. 



How to prevent acne breakouts?

First, we need to understand how acne happened or developed to get a successful treatment to help with breakouts and acne. We all know pimples form due to the following: formation of white-and blackheads (comedones), active oil glands, and bacterial (Cutibacterium acnes) growth which eventually leads to inflamed pimples, at times, with pus. 

By knowing these, we can somehow figure out how to avoid having breakouts. So here are some skincare tips.

  1. Avoid comedogenic products or those that can promote white and blackhead formation. Instead, make it a habit to check the ingredient list to see if something might promote clogged pores. 

  2. Avoid products that are heavy and make an oily face "oilier". Stick with lightweight skincare products. 

  3. Ditch the sugary treats or eat them in moderation. 
    Avoid foods with a high glycemic index or foods that easily convert to simple sugars like candies, potatoes, soft drinks, and rice. These can cause blood sugar spikes and make the already active oil glands more active.

  4. Exercise and maintain a healthy diet and exercise. 
    Obesity can disrupt other body hormones by increasing sebaceous gland activity leading to further breakouts.

What's the best way to deal with combination skin?

Having combination skin means you have an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) while the sides of the cheeks are dry. The oil produced by the oils glands coats the skin inhibiting moisture loss leading to further dryness of the face. When you have combination skin, remember the following skin tips:

  1. Treat your face like you have oily skin. Use Lightweight products. 
  2. If you also have acne-prone skin, use non-comedogenic skin care products.
  3. Be generous and moisturise the rest of the body with fewer oil glands like the arms and legs.  
  4. Be gentle on your skin. 


How do I figure out my skin type?

There are four categories your skin type is based on, so choosing a skincare routine that works for you is based on which category you are in. 

  1. Hydration
    Is your skin oily or dry? Your skin is dry if it's rough, sometimes flaky, and dull or grey-white in colour. At times, you can also experience a tight feeling or itchiness on dry areas of the skin.

  2. Inflammation
    Is your skin resistant or sensitive? Having sensitive skin means you are experiencing any of the following: acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis or just a stinging sensation upon application of products like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, witch hazel, lactic acid, ascorbic acid, etc.

  3. Pigmentation 
    Is your skin non-pigmented or pigmented? Having an uneven skin tone and signs of photoaging like melasma and sunspots characterise pigmented skin.

  4. Aging
    Do you have wrinkle-prone or non-wrinkle-prone skin (tight)? If you're in your 20's and have a lifestyle that makes your skin prone to premature aging, like prolonged UV exposure from the sun, smoking, lack of exercise, and poor diet, you have wrinkle-prone skin.

Fun fact: The healthiest skin type is the one that is oily, resistant, non-pigmented and tight. Do you already know your skin type? Verify it with your dermatologist and ask for the best skincare regimen for you!


What's the proper skincare routine/order?

When it comes to your facial skincare routine, the order of application can depend on the viscosity of the products used. After cleansing, apply your eye cream first, then apply your toner, serum, and cream last. If you are using medication for skin conditions like acne, apply it after your eye product, then moisturise. Follow it up with sunscreen in the morning or a retinoid or an anti-aging cream at night. 

Keep it simple. Using just the cleanser and sunblock in the morning and doing the rest of your skincare routine at night is one of the best summer skin care tips. No one wants to feel to feel sticky at work! In winter, using a moisturiser before sunscreen in the morning is recommended, especially for those with dry skin.


How can I prevent skin ageing?

Having a healthy lifestyle prevents early signs of aging in general. Always remember that prevention is the key! Brace yourselves; below are some healthy skin tips to delay premature skin ageing. 

  1. Always wear broads spectrum sunscreens, at least with an SPF of 30. 
  2. Use skincare products that prevent wrinkle formation or loss of collagen - like sunscreens and retinoids (vitamin A analogues).
  3. Eat healthy. Cut down on sugar. Sugar can be converted to advanced glycation end products (AGE) that are free radicals. Avoid junk food. Make sure your plate is full of colour (with fruits and vegetables). Stick with healthy sources of fat and protein like hemp, avocado, nuts, and soy. 
  4. Avoid vices- smoking, alcohol and drugs. These will definitely hasten aging.
  5. Exercise! 


How often should I exfoliate?

Some of the best skincare tips by experts include exfoliation, especially when you have pigmented skin. But how often do you really exfoliate?  

The skin constantly renews itself every 2 to 4 weeks, so the frequency of self-exfoliation can coincide with the skin's natural exfoliation process. How often and you exfoliate can also depend on your skin type tolerance. 

At home, mechanical exfoliation - aka a body or face scrub - can be done every two weeks for those with dry skin. While those with oily and resistant skin types can get scrubbing once to twice a week max. 

If you're looking for a chemical peel every 2 to 5 weeks max. 

Remember: You can only use scrubs on smooth skin. Do it gently. Do not over-exfoliate the skin to the point of redness and stinging. Never scrub the skin when you have ongoing conditions like acne, rosacea, contact dermatitis, or cuts or wounds. It can lead to further damage to the skin. 


Note: All these tips are general. Consult your dermatologist. The views expressed by this blog are mainly by the author and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the BNB organisation.