Everyone has general skincare issues and questions they want answers to. Do we really need to use a million products to keep our skin healthy, is eye-cream any good and what about the different skin-types? Should we use different products?
Well, who better to answer all our skincare related questions then Dr. Lillian Khan, renowned dermatologist and brand expert for Ponds Arabia? In Part 1, Lillian kindly answers our most common skincare queries. Part 2, focuses on skincare treatments and procedures; preventing premature aging, facials, peels and yes… botox!
1. What are the most common misconceptions and myths about skincare?
People think that sunbathing extensively during summer vacations or only during summer months is OK as long as they protect themselves throughout the year. That is totally wrong and really concerns me! You can still cause a lot of sun damage, become prone to skin cancer, and see premature aging of your skin if you only tan during those beach vacations.
Another misconception is with oily skin type patients, they think that they need to moisturize regularly. That isn’t needed because their skin type is naturally moisturized, unless they over use harsh over drying topical applications.
One last misconception is “acne is only in teenage years”, also totally untrue. If you’re the type of person that gets acne, then you will for a long time. It can last up to your forties or it can start showing after your teenage years.
2. Do we inherit skin types and problems? Or is it all down to us?
Yes we do inherit our skin problems. There are genetic factors that makes us predisposed to certain skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and others. But there is also environmental, self induced, and sometimes even caused by doctor treatment factors that can bring out certain conditions or make them worse. It’s down to us to control and prevent as much as we can by properly identifying the condition and using what’s appropriate for our skin type and address the problematic condition with the right solution. At the end we can’t deny that the identity of our skin is genetically already predetermined.
3. What skincare steps should we follow every day?
I like simplifying the daily skin care regimen. Start with a face wash, making sure it’s appropriate for your skin type. Use it twice daily, in the morning and at night before going to bed to set the base for your night cream or serum. During the day time you can apply simple moisturizer. Usually most of these day creams have integrated sunscreen within it, look for the ones that have SPF 15 and above.
If you are going to be out and exposed to the sun for long periods of time then apply a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and above, that should be a broad spectrum blocker (blocks both UVB and UVA). Then apply your make up and so on. I like to use toners on oily and combination skin type patients on the T- zone area once mid day or afternoon. As for dry skin they can use it every other day after morning cleansing for a deeper cleanse but from my experience they don’t need it regularly.
At night it’s essential to remove all your makeup with a good makeup remover however, you have to keep in mind that these cleansers are harsh on the skin so wash it off after with water then wash your face with your face cleanser. There are facial cleansers that can be used as makeup removers as well, you can alternatively use those. Let your skin rest after washing for 10-15 min then apply a good serum and if you have dry skin a moisturizer on top. Get those good hours of beauty sleep as they really do will help your skin to take up the active ingredients better and you will benefit more.
Please note, these are general guidelines and not for all skin care regimens. Our skin changes all the time and new problems can arise in which case you have to adjust accordingly.
4. Does everyone need to exfoliate and how often? What products should we use?
There are two meanings for exfoliation cleansing in skin care. One is a cleanser that contains micro-beads which gives a microdermabration exfoliating effect, the other is a cleanser that contains some form of acid like salicylic acid, AHA, or glycolic acid, and these give superficial chemical peeling effect that’s very mild.
I like exfoliating cleansers with a chemical peel, especially at night time as it helps clear the skin, helps in setting a base for better absorption of active ingredients in creams and serums, and helps in regeneration of the skin by getting rid of the dead skin and stimulate’s the skin to rejuvenate. However, it’s important to note that it can also be over drying to the skin if overused or used with other drying products.
As for micro-beaded exfoliating cleansers, I don’t suggest using them on a daily base because they can be too harsh on the skin. Some use it too aggressively injuring the skin and in some who are prone it can cause small broken blood vessels. Use it once to twice weekly to clear out the pores, remove dead skin, and deep clean then finish it off with an appropriate mask.
5. Are there any specific tips for those of use with dry skin?
Dry skin means that you always have to moisturize. It has a tendency to build up dead skin, thats what gives it the flaky texture feeling. The key is balance! This means you want to moisturize and hydrate the skin regularly to give it what it’s lacking, at the same time you need to help in promoting rejuvenation of the skin by exfoliating, and sometimes using drying ingredients to get rid of that dead skin. I have patients who panic when I use some of these exfoliating materials (e.g.. AHA in Pond’s age miracle daily regenerating facial foam, Retinol in Pond’s age miracle overnight repair cream) but I urge them on because it can be drying at the beginning of the regimen till their skin gets used to it and then it wont dry it as much.
As for cleansing, I suggest using a milk cleanser with a cotton pad if you have very dry skin. I know that some people don’t feel cleansed till they wash their face, so they can wash after with cool water. Finish by using a good hydration moisturizer after as a base for the rest of your daily facial regimen. Then the sunscreen, or preferably a product that does both. At night cleanse every second day with an exfoliating cleanser something with AHA, apply the chosen serum, and finish off with a moisturizer. Weekly, do deep cleansing with a micro-beaded exfoliating cleansers, a deep hydrating rejuvenating mask, and serum to finish.
6. And oily skin?
Oily skin is the opposite of dry skin. It has more oil production than in dry skin types by means of the sebaceous glands. The good news for people with oily skin is that they don’t get wrinkles as early as people with dry skin. The usual misconception with people with oily skin is that in order to try overcome that constant oily face shine they tend to over wash the skin by using over drying cleansers and toners. The problem with that it will cause the sebaceous glands to try to compensate and produce more sebum which means more oily skin. Oily skin doesn’t need much moisturizers and should be used only over the rough areas of the skin as it comes up. I like suggesting serum as night care more than creams because of the comedogenic tendency of this skin type, and something with retinol because retinol tends to regulate the sebum production as well as act as an anti-aging product. Toners are best to be used over the T zone area and can be used more regularly than in other skin types.
7. Why do some people have sensitive skin, and what does it mean?
Sensitive skin, is a skin type that is prone to itchiness, irritation, dryness, and in some cases eczema. The hypothesis behind these skin types, is that they lack or are deficient in a certain fatty layer present in the spaces between the cells of the outer layer of the skin as well as they are genetically predisposed. It makes the skin prone to react to outer allergens that usually other skin types are protected from. Any topical applications that has more preservatives, fragrances, chemicals, and botanical products will make the skin irritated, inflamed, and dry and it should be avoided in this skin type. Look for creams that are clearly labeled for sensitive skin as well as labelled hypo allergic.
8. Is eye cream really necessary and if so, what should we look for in a good eye cream?
Yes, I love eye creams! I think that its very important to start them early as a preventive measure as well as to fight the signs of aging as they appear. The area around the eye is very delicate and its the first area in the face that will show the signs of aging, so the longer you can prevent wrinkles from coming up the longer you will look younger! I always suggest wrinkle preventive eye creams to start as early as in the twenties. Look for ingredients with retinol, vitamin C, vitamin E, antioxidant, and a good moisturizing hydrating base.