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What Basic Skincare Routine Can Do for Your Skin

“Flawless skin is the most universally desired human feature.”  This statement made by renowned scientist and author Desmond Morris in 1967 still rings true today.  With various skin care trends easily going viral nowadays, it can’t be denied that people give a lot of importance to achieving that perfect skin.

However, achieving a pore-less, dewy, baby-soft, healthy skin isn’t just about buying one product and waiting for magic to happen. Skin care requires consistency in maintaining a routine that has a long-term impact on the quality of your skin.  There are a lot of beauty rituals that are popular nowadays such as exfoliating, toning and applying sheet masks. However, the fundamental skincare regimen must include cleansing, moisturizing and sun protection.

To educate us about the importance of committing to a skincare regimen, we interviewed Adjunct Associate Professor Derrick Aw Chen Wee, a senior consultant dermatologist and physician in Sengkang General Hospital. He is also one of the authors of South-East Asia Study Alliance Guidelines on the Management of Acne Vulgaris.  Below are some of the important information you need to know about proper skincare routine.

Benefits of having a skincare routine

Protects you from the effects of skin aging

Many people are afraid to age because of the visible skin changes that aging may cause.
The harsh truth is that you can’t do anything to avoid the effects of the natural aging process. Intrinsic aging, which is caused by declining physiological factors, health status and weakened defense, will certainly result to visible lines on the face, dryness, and thinning.1

While there’s nothing you can do to avoid intrinsic aging, you can influence extrinsic aging which is caused by your environment and lifestyle choices. Extrinsic aging causes skin dullness, sagging, wrinkles, and overall dull appearance.2

“With a good skincare regimen, you can slow down the effects of extrinsic aging on your skin. For example, you can protect your skin from the harmful UV rays by including sun protection in your skincare routine,” said Prof. Aw.

Manages your specific skin concerns

A skincare product that may work for one person may not be as effective for another. That’s because people have different skin types (oily, dry, or combination).

“Each skin type requires unique care and treatment routine. With the appropriate skincare regimen, you can manage more effectively your specific skin concerns such as acne, dry skin, dark spots or scarring,” explained Prof. Aw.

No matter what your skin type is, you need a daily skin care routine that can help you maintain overall skin health.

Helps you achieve an even skin tone

Many women depend on makeup foundation or cosmetic procedures like laser and peels to deal with their unevenly pigmented skin. This skin problem can be avoided by sticking to a good skincare routine. With consistent use of appropriate skincare products, you can achieve an even-toned complexion and young-looking skin.

According to Prof. Aw, maintaining a uniform skin tone requires that your skincare regimen include brightening agents like tranexamic acid, niacinamide, kojic acid, AHAs, licorice root extract, and water-soluble derivatives of vitamin C.

Prevents development of skin blemishes

Recent studies suggest that acne, one of the common skin blemishes, is a complex condition involving excessive sebum production, bacterial proliferation, and an inflammatory immune response.6 With a daily skincare routine that involves thorough yet gentle cleansing, you can avoid the causes of acne and other skin blemishes.

Basic Trio of Skincare Routine

While there are a lot of skincare routines you can try, keep in mind the basic trio. According to the Southeast Asia Study Alliance Guideline on acne management published in the Journal of Dermatology, the recommended skincare regimen includes cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection.7

Cleansing

Choose a mild soap or cleanser to wash off the oil, dirt and makeup. Remember to wash it only in the morning and at night. The more you wash, the more you irritate your skin and wash away its natural oils. Do not use kitchen products like apple cider vinegar, lemon, and toothpaste for your skin.8

Moisturizing

After you cleanse your skin, apply a moisturizer to keep it hydrated. “Get a dedicated moisturizer that is fit for your skin type. For example, lightweight ones for oily skin and hydrating creams for dry skin,” recommended Prof. Aw.

Sun Protection

“Photo damage from sun exposure especially from 10am to 2pm when the UV rays are strongest causes wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and other signs of skin aging,” said Prof. Aw. To protect yourself from the sun, use umbrella, hat and sunglasses. Likewise, get a dedicated sunscreen with at least SPF 30 for everyday use. A non-stinging sunscreen used in the prescribed amounts is always safe for sun protection.10

Maintaining a healthy and beautiful skin does not need to be expensive or complicated. You can start by making the skincare basics — cleansing, moisturizing, and sun protection — a habit.

References
1 American Academy of Dermatology Association. 11 ways to reduce premature skin aging https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/skin-care-secrets/anti-aging/reduce-premature-aging-skin

2Assaf H., Adly M.A., Hussein M.R. (2010) Aging and Intrinsic Aging: Pathogenesis and Manifestations. In: Farage M.A., Miller K.W., Maibach H.I. (eds) Textbook of Aging Skin. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg

3,4,5 Rodan, K., Fields, K., Majewski, G., & Falla, T. (2016). Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Global open, 4(12 Suppl Anatomy and Safety in Cosmetic Medicine: Cosmetic Bootcamp). https://doi.org/10.1097/GOX.0000000000001152

6Zaenglein AL, Pathy AL, Schlosser BJ, et al. Guidelines of care for the management of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2016;74:94573.e33.

7 South-East Asia study alliance guidelines on the management of acne vulgaris in South-East Asian patients. The Journal of Dermatology. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280537809_South-East_Asia_study_alliance_guidelines_on_the_management_of_acne_vulgaris_in_South-East_Asian_patients

8Ananthapadmanabhan, K.P., Moore, D.J., Subramanyan, K., Misra, .M. and Meyer, F. (2004), Cleansing without compromise: the impact of cleansers on the skin barrier and the technology of mild cleansing. Dermatologic Therapy, 17: 16-25. doi:10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04S1002.x

8Del Roso, J.Q. (2013). The role of skin care as an integral component in the management of acne vulgaris: part 1: the importance of cleanser and moisturizer ingredients, design, and product selection. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 6(12), 19–27. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3997205/

9Draelos, ZD. The science behind skin care: Moisturizers. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2018; 17: 138– 144. https://doi.org/10.1111/jocd.12490

10Hawkins, S.S., Subramanyan, K., Liu, D. and Bryk, M. (2004), Cleansing, moisturizing, and sun‐protection regimens for normal skin, self‐perceived sensitive skin, and dermatologist‐assessed sensitive skin. Dermatologic Therapy, 17: 63-68. doi:10.1111/j.1396-0296.2004.04S1008.x

An Expert Opinion by:

A/Prof Derrick Aw Chen Wee
Senior Consultant Dermatologist
Sengkang General Hospital
Singapore