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Beauty

5 Aesthetic Gurus Spill Their Personal Skincare Secrets

There is no better way to learn about good skincare practices than going through the black book of skin experts. Below we get five of them to share their personal secrets to good skin.

1. Dr Rachel Ho of La Clinic

On her nighttime skincare routine

“My skincare routine consists of a niacinamide serum, retinoid and ceramide moisturiser after my facial cleanser.

Personally, a nighttime skincare routine is the chance to let our skin repair and recover from damage during the day from factors like UV rays, pollution and stress. I use active ingredients that repair damage and strengthen the skin barrier.

The core of my nighttime routine is retinoid (vitamin A). Retinoids also increase collagen levels to age-proof the skin and reduce signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles. Retinoids are best used at night as they degrade with exposure to the sun in the day. If you would like to get started using retinoids, my recommendation is to start with milder forms like retinol, which you can get over the counter.

Next, niacinamide is a versatile antioxidant that reduces inflammation and oiliness in the skin. Antioxidants neutralise the free radical damage in the environment that causes skin ageing. I choose niacinamide in particular because it pairs well with retinoids. Niacinamide reduces the irritation caused by retinoids so I can tolerate using retinoids every night. The niacinamide serum that I am using is The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%.

Lastly, moisturisers keep the skin hydrated to reduce signs of premature ageing. Ceramides are emollients that retain moisture in the skin. Ceramides are my choice of ingredients in moisturisers as it also has the benefit of strengthening the skin’s natural barrier against inflammation and chemicals. A ceramide based moisturizer that I use is Cerave’s Daily Moisturising Lotion.”

On her current skincare must-haves

“My skincare must-haves are active ingredients that prevent and repair ageing in the skin. Firstly, a broad spectrum sunscreen (even when indoors) to reduce damage from UVA and UVB rays that cause ageing, hyperpigmentation and sunburns. Next, antioxidants to neutralise free radical damage to the skin. Free radical damage to the skin’s structures like collagen and DNA cause premature skin ageing. I use vitamin C in the day and niacinamide at night. I usually pick my antioxidants in serum as the concentrations are higher for better efficacy.

I also like to include retinoids, which are great anti-agers that also prevent comedones and pimples. Lip balm with sun protection is crucial too. The lips are also susceptible to sun damage and ageing (like thining and fine lines) so protecting them are important too.”

Skincare tips

“Give a skincare product at least three to four weeks before making a verdict on whether you see any improvements, especially for anti-ageing products. The skin cells renew every 28 days for most people, so some products like retinoids may require that duration for results to be seen. If you are unsure, my tip is to minimise your skincare steps because your products may be interacting with each other to reduce each other’s efficacy or even cause increased irritation. Additionally, it is important to be consistent with using your product to know if it is working.”

2. Dr Melvin Tan of Epion Clinic

On his nighttime skincare routine

“At night, my skincare regimen consists of various steps. First, I cleanse my skin before applying a toner to remove debris and set up the skin correctly for the upcoming steps. Then, I use Epion Clinic’s Retinol Serum for its anti-ageing benefits. I also add in prescriptive Tretinoin with this, which I find helps it to spread evenly over the entire skin surface while moderating its strength. After this exfoliative step, I apply the brand’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum for hydration and Collagen Serum to nourish and strengthen the skin. Finally, a moisturiser to lock all these in and combat dry skin.”

On his skincare must-haves

“Firstly, our Epion Skin Lift 5.1 Serum. It contains three different forms of hyaluronic acid (HA) to maximise absorption and retention of moisture. In our local climate, a lightweight moisturiser is usually adequate to combat dry skin, which is why it is important to look for something containing Provitamin B5 such as the Epion Skin Hydrate 6.1.

It is also crucial to exfoliate using a good chemical exfoliant (ProTip: try to avoid physical scrubs as they tend to traumatise the delicate skin). Epion Skin Renew 3.1 is formulated with glycolic acid to slough away dull skin and fade discolourations. Lastly, our Epion Skin Total Repair 3.2 serum incorporates Nobel Prize-winning DNA Repair Enzyme Technology to reduce brown spots, red spots and wrinkles caused by sun exposure.”

Skincare tips

“It is important to incorporate a number of elements in your routine. For example, the use of a cleanser, toner, chemical exfoliants like AHAs, serums formulated with retinol or hyaluronic acid; and of course, a moisturiser. Speak to your doctor on how best to apply. Just keep in mind that the rule of thumb would be cleanse, tone, exfoliate, apply serums, slab on some moisturiser and proceed with sunscreen.”

3. Dr Georgia Lee of Dr GL

On her nighttime skincare routine

“I start with the Dr GL Cleanser Makeup Remover before using the Cleanser Brightening to prevent and reduce any pigmentations. Once done, I apply the Toner Oil Control and Post Cleanser Step 2. This is a must-have for me as it helps to gently exfoliate and keeps my skin glowing the next morning. I then use the Restore Gel Mask to the drier areas of my face before applying the Rye Repair under my eye to reduce dark eye circle. As a final step, I use the ProLash X over my upper eyeline to enhance lash growth”

On her skincare must-haves

“The Dr GL Brightening series is a must-have as it contains only premium vitamin C, which helps to prevent and lighten existing blemishes. Plus, it is not too harsh on the skin too. I also really like the Dr GL Post Cleanser Step 2 as it contains just the right amount of lactic acid to exfoliate and control sebum secretion. I’ve been using this over my face, eyelids, neck and back of my hands to keep the skin renewed regularly since 2008 when it was first launched.”

Skincare tips

“I recommend using a product that helps to increase the penetration of other products that comes after. Also, I believe not everyone needs a moisturiser over the whole face. This step can be skipped if the particular area on your face is acne-prone and oily.

Next, it is important to understand that the skin undergoes changes during the cycle and not all areas of the face is suitable for one particular type of moisturiser. I recommend the concept of layering. Start with a light, gel-based moisturiser and add on a lotion only on areas that are needed.

Additionally, we should never neglect to apply sunscreen over the eyelids as UV rays can accelerate collagen degradation as high as five times and neglecting this step can accelerate eyelid laxity. Find one that is safe for the eyelids.

Lastly, now that many of us are using facial masks, this can cause redness and breakouts. Reduce usage on AHA or retinoic-based products over the covered areas. If you are using re-usable masks, ensure that the detergents used to wash your mask has been thoroughly rinsed out.”

4. Karen Lam of Estetica & est.lab

 

On her nighttime skincare routine

“I have combination skin so I understand the constant battle of fighting congested pores while maintaining a dewy healthy glow. Singapore’s humidity makes it even trickier for us to build an effective skincare routine. We need to select products that can adequately hydrate our skin without causing pore congestion.

I am a big believer of double cleansing my skin and I use Est.Lab’s ActivCalm Gentle Cleansing Milk, as well as the Foreo Luna 3 to ensure my skin is deeply cleansed before applying other skincare products. I then exfoliate twice a week using the brand’s LumiWhite Exfoliating Scrub followed by Est.Lab VitaLift A+ Skin Revive Lotion Essence.

When it comes to serums, I apply it based on my specific skin concern. I use the VitaLift A+ Miracle Lift Serum coupled with a light lymphatic massage to drain away toxins and excess fluids. During occasional hormonal breakouts, I alternate between PurClear Retexturing Serum and ActivCalm Ultra Hyalusol Serum. If need be, I also apply drops of LumiWhite Brightening Serum on areas to target dull spots and blemishes.

Next, I apply either the ActivCalm Anti-Stress Hydra Cream or VitaLift A+ Ultra-Cellular Repair Cream depending on my skin condition. For eye creams, I prefer one that is lightweight such as the OptimaLift A+ Eye Repair Capsules.

Lastly, I put on an eye or sheet mask twice a week. I personally love the OptimaLift A+ Eye Contour Mask to soothe fatigued eyes. For sheet masks, the VitaLift A+ Brillage Mask hydrates and provides immediate relief for my skin especially after a long, hot and exhausting day. To end it off, I apply the La Mer’s The Lip Balm to hydrate my puckers.”

On her skincare must-haves

“The ActivCalm Gentle Hydrating Cleansing Mousse is a gentle cleanser that contains panthenol to hydrate while deeply cleansing pores. I also really love the SunShield SPF 50, which is a lightweight sunscreen that has a subtle complexion-enhancing tint to even out my skin tone. Plus, it has an anti-blue light filter to protect my skin from blue light emitted from digital devices.

Next, the VitaLift A+ Miracle Lift Serum really improves the appearance of deep wrinkles and sagging skin while the OptimaLift A+ Eye Repair Capsules smooths out fine lines and reduces puffiness. My favourite sheet mask would definitely be the VitaLift A+ Brillage Mask. It is made of nano-grade organic fibres to fit snugly for maximum penetration of ingredients. It aids in cellular repair and has amazing anti-ageing, brightening and moisturising results.”

Skincare tips

“Generally, it takes an average of 28 days for the surface layer of our skin to renew. You should expect at least a month of consistent usage of skincare products for the desired effects to manifest fully. Thus, my first advice is to be patient, consistent and diligent with your skincare routine. Conditions like acne and pigmentation may take up to three months for visible results to be seen.

It is also important to have a balanced diet, a robust exercise routine and adequate sleep as these contribute to getting your skin healthy. If pulling all-night Netflix marathons puff your eyes up, then stagger the episodes across several nights. No K-drama is worth it.”

5. Dr YX Lum of IDS Clinic

On her nighttime skincare routine

“Personally, I believe in three major steps: Treat, protect and prevent. Treat my acne and sensitivity, protect the skin from blue light and further skin problems, prevent skin ageing.

Therefore, I always apply anti-ageing creams and serums to protect against blue light. To hydrate my skin, I use the IDS Dermashield Mask once or twice a week, which gives a dewy glow to the skin in the morning.

I am currently experiencing a little outbreak, which is what a lot of my patients are experiencing during the circuit-breaker too. And on top of that, my skin can be dry and sensitive too. Hence, I apply the IDS Probiotic Mask on alternate days for an hour and spot treat the bigger pimples overnight with it. The good bacteria in the mask will help to balance the bad bacteria.”

On her current skincare must-haves

“Antioxidant-rich products and moisturisers are my current go-tos to build and strengthen the skin barrier and protection against blue light, pollutants and sun rays.”

Skincare tips

“Don’t over or under apply. Listen and respect the skin. The skin will tell you its needs. When it becomes dry and flaky, it’s thirsty and needs hydration. When it’s oily and breaking out, the bacteria and oil production has been thrown off balance. By respecting the skin and using skincare products according to its needs, the balance can be restored.”