Feeling down, dull and decidedly drab? One of our biggest beauty pet peeves is when a celebrity tells us that the secret to looking perfectly glowing all the time is simply to “drink lots of water”. We know A-listers have a literal army of top derms and skin gurus on speed dial for whenever the first hint of a pimple appears on their pristine faces. But why should celebrities get to hog all the professional help? SKINMAG scored you the insider’s glow-how from celebrity doctor, Dr Low Chai Ling. So take notes, lovelies, and prepare to refresh, recharge and rejuvenate your tired, lackluster and ageing skin with these hot tickets to the everlasting-glow town.
AMP UP YOUR WATTAGE IN 1 DAY: Jump-start Renewal of Fatigued Cells
“We can fight different elements of ageing and build healthy radiance by seizing the daily opportunity brought by cell turnover,” says Dr Low. Healthy skin renews itself every 14 to 30 days. Exfoliation encourages this renewal process to allow your skin to repair itself faster, retain moisture better and produce more collagen.
The key is always moderation – scrubbing your face like the kitchen sink will only lead to micro-excoriations, moisture and radiance leak, and irritated, flaky skin. Oily skin loves her daily salicylic acid wash or a weekly AHA/BHA home peel pads to gently ease away the pore-plugging dead cells and stay smooth and refreshed. Combination or drier types can try a light lactic acid-containing toner or serum instead to prevent pile up of glow-cloaking dead cells, aid hydration, and maximise the efficacy of your skincare by boosting penetration of the products.
Bonus SKIN Tip: Coarse facial fuzz is an under recognised cause of “persistent” dullness and open pores, particularly in those who dark coloured hair. That explains why Elizabeth Taylor swears by shaving her face regularly (this micro-“dermaplaning” also helps exfoliate the dead cells too), and how face threading or laser hair removal makes the skin look magically clearer, brighter and smoother instantly – by uprooting the oft-neglected unwanted vegetation.
FRESH FACED IN 1 WEEK: Quench Your Skin Thirst
Dehydrated skin = Dull, lifeless complexion. For a quick CPR (complexion radiance resuscitation), ensure your skin is souped up in dewy moisture.
It’s a common misconception that those who are acne-prone should not moisturise their skin. Many who are battling breakouts experience dehydration as well, due to the presence of combination skin with drier, more sensitive patches, or commonly with overuse of oil-control products and ageing. To help you select the right match for your current hydration level, just bear in mind the basic principle of potions which increase in richness from gels (which are water-based and lightest), to lotions, and then creams (although there are some “oil-free” selections now that agree with parched pimple-prone skin or hot weather better).
For those with chronic dry skin or eczema, getting a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids will fortify your skin against moisture loss and flare-ups from within. Whether you pop fish oil pills or eat more salmon and chia seeds, your skin will thank you for it. Research suggests that these essential fatty acids help skin retain its moisture, assist in cell repair, and reduce damaging inflammation in our bodies. And yes, limit the moisture- and glowing-sucking air-conditioning or long, hot baths as far as possible.
Bonus SKIN Tip: To plump up dehydrated, crinkly patches pronto before a party, saturate a cotton pad with your hydrating toner or mineral water (in desperate situations!), lightly pull your skin taut and press the moisture into your skin in quick, vigorous motions. This “sponge-feeds” emergency moisture into parched spots and allows your makeup to glide over the skin without caking.
SKINMAG recommends SW1 Clinic’s Rose Ginseng Brightening Facial Toner. Powered by the age-defying gifts of Ginseng and fueled by the rejuvenative properties of rose blossoms, Rose Ginseng Toner is a gentle, oil-free dermal balancer infused with optimal measures of alpha-hydroxy acids to refresh, recharge and restore normal to dry skin types. It excels in giving dull skin a new lease of life as welI as tightening wayward pores, smoothing and refining the appearance of roughened skin. Ginseng, being a natural supplier of cellular oxygen, is also the reason why loyalists of Rose Ginseng Toner rave about their enviable ‘out-of-the-shower’ glow.
GET LIT-FROM-WITHIN IN 1 to 3 MONTHS: Even Out Your Skin Tone with Brighteners
“Skin with even colour and smooth texture will reflect light optimally and appear arrestingly radiant,” explains Dr Low. Irregular pigmentation with age, sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations or as an aftermath post-breakout is a common culprit robbing away our glow.
Police away the spots and brighten up your entire complexion for a clear translucency with skin-gredients like vitamin C, kojic acid, vitamin A and AHA.
RADIATE ETHEREAL GLOW IN 6 MONTHS: Polish and Firm Up with a Retinoid
Retinoids receive a lot of buzz, and the reason is simple: They’re still among the most effective age antidotes available on the skincare market to date. By using a topical retinoid at night, you are capitalising on your skin’s repair mechanism to produce more collagen and quicken cell turnover rate while you sleep, which means bouncy, smoother, supple skin and more radiance.
The main issue here is not everyone can tolerate the dryness and irritation retinoids can cause. Other collagen-boosting alternatives for dry, sensitive skin include peptides and rhamnose.
TRANSFORM YOURSELF INSIDE & OUT 1 YEAR: Quit Smoking
Smoking is bad for you: It causes emphysema, heart disease, triggers a whole lot of various cancers galore…the list goes on and on. If those gross cancer photos didn’t aid in motivating you to snub the butt, know that puffing tobacco also happens to be the second leading cause of premature ageing, right after solar suicide.
Every time you take a “relaxing” puff, you are cutting off the oxygen supply to your skin (read: mega dullness). Plus, each inhalation of smoke releases a trillion free radicals and results in a chain reaction which breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin exponentially (translate: prematurely wrinkly, saggy skin way ahead of time). The good news? It’s never too late to stop, whether for your health or skin.
LOOK AMAZING FOR NEXT 10 YEARS: Make Antioxidants Your Lifelong BFF
The leading cause of premature ageing is…you guessed it: sun damage. And yes, a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 and up is a must, we know you know. Before you roll your eyes so hard you can almost see your brains, hear this: More and more data (plus real life personal experience) is telling us sunscreen may not be enough to block off the external damage (i.e. the lines, broken capillaries, spots and sag, on top of the sallowness).
To better protect yourself from that alarming (and potentially preventable) 80 percent of skin ageing, try pairing your sunscreen (which only filters out harmful UVA & UVB radiation) with an antioxidant serum. Antioxidants help combat infrared radiation and stray UV rays your SPF missed, as well as toxic free radicals released from the body’s internal processes, all of which contribute to the lacklustre complexion and other signs of ageing we dread. Clueless about what to try? Give the highly effective astaxanthin, vitamin C, or ferulic acid a go.
Dr Low Chai Ling is the Medical Director of the SW1 Clinic, located at 290 Orchard Road, Paragon Medical Level 13. She was formerly Medical Director of The Sloane Clinic, having founded it in 2003. The name SW1 refers to the postal code of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in London, where Sloane Street sits, where Dr Low lived as a medical student. It also represents a synergistic alamalgamation of different forces as SW1’s new 8000 sq feet aesthetic center represents one of the largest aesthetic, plastic surgery & medical spa centers in Singapore.
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