Dull skin is a real bummer. Luckily, we’ve got the scoop on how to get a spotless complexion from the doctor behind Taiwanese skincare brand Dr Wu. CARINA KOH reports from Taipei.

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Dull skin is a real bummer. Luckily, we’ve got the scoop on how to get a spotless complexion from the doctor behind Taiwanese skincare brand Dr Wu. CARINA KOH reports from Taipei.

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Some women prize a fair complexion, but did you know that fair skin doesn’t necessarily equate to radiant skin? “You can be fair, but still have a dull and sallow complexion,” says Dr Wu Ying-Chin, founder of Taiwanese skincare brand Dr Wu, at the brand’s launch of its new Whitening System range in Taipei. “[Brightening skincare] is not about looking white; it’s about achieving bright, translucent skin that doesn’t look pale or sallow.”

According to my Taiwanese friends, Dr Wu is the go-to dermatologist in the country for clear, radiant skin. And, judging by the flawless complexions of his celebrity clientele – which includes Taiwanese singer and actress Barbie Hsu, and model-actress Hannah Quinlivan, who is the new face of the brand – he lives up to his reputation.

The new Whitening System range, the latest in his eponymous brand’s arsenal of skincare designed to help women get that radiant, healthy-looking complexion, regardless of skin tone, comprises five products. All boast a V6-laseryl formula, which has three vitamin C derivatives that act on discoloration for a brighter, more even skin tone, as well as three vitamins with reparative properties: vitamins B3 and B5, known for their soothing and healing properties, and vitamin E, a potent antioxidant.

“We’ve also added Brightenyl, a colour-modulating molecule, to the products,” says Eric Wu, CEO of Dr Wu. According to the brand, this ingredient is 60 times more efficient than vitamin C when it comes to protecting against inflammation and inhibiting melanin production, which in turn reduce the appearance of blemishes.

My favourite product from the range is definitely the lightweight and non-sticky Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C+ ($79.90). Formulated to lighten dark spots and reportedly help build up the skin’s resistance to future spots, thanks to ingredients such as edelweiss extract, it considerably lightened a blemish on my cheek after I used it regularly for two weeks.


1 Prevention is better than cure. It’s hard to get rid of spots once they appear, so apply sunscreen religiously to prevent their formation. “Spots are formed by frequent sun exposure, so always wear at least two layers of the same sunscreen. You should also use skincare with ingredients that suppress melanin production,” says Dr Wu.

2 Topical skincare actually works. While dermatologists may suggest laser treatments and chemical peels as a quick way to get brighter skin, Dr Wu shares that topical treatments with ingredients that reduce melanin formation, curb inflammation and prevent premature skin ageing – such as vitamin C (present in the brand’s Whitening System range) and citrus extracts – work too. The key is to commit to using your skincare consistently, preferably for longer than a month. To tackle stubborn spots, try a weekly gentle chemical peel to boost the effects of your daily skincare.

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3 Brightening products can make you look younger too. As Dr Wu explains, Asians tend to have sallow skin, which can make us look tired and older than we actually are. To combat this, try the range’s Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C+, which mimics a laser treatment to specifically target the yellow tint in the skin that causes sallowness. The serum has antiageing ingredients too, such as Cordiavelane, a marine extract that has moisturising and skin-softening properties. Also worth trying from the range is the watery, gel-like Intensive Whitening Toner with Vitamin C+ ($45.90), which has hydrating hyaluronic acid and brightening oral extracts to help prevent premature skin ageing. If you have rough skin, you may also want to give the range’s Whitening Spot Treatment with Vitamin C+ ($69.90) a try. Packed with ingredients such as salicylic acid and mandelic acid, it works on ning skin texture and improving its clarity.

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We sit down with modelactress Hannah Quinlivan, who’s the new face of Dr Wu, for a quick chat.

On brightening:

“I’m not really concerned with looking fair or white, because I think you can have dark skin, yet look glowing and radiant. I want a complexion that is healthy and radiant, and with an even skin tone.”

Her brightening routine:

“I use Dr Wu Whitening System Intensive Whitening Serum with Vitamin C+ on areas that are dull, like my cheeks and chin, to get an even skin tone. I also use the range’s Brightening Eye Serum with Vitamin C+ ($59.90) [on the eye area] as I’m prone to dark eye circles.”

Her top skin concern:

“Dryness. I think [it] leads to the formation of wrinkles, so I like skincare that can give me bouncy, well-moisturised skin, like the [products in] Dr Wu’s Hydrating System range.”

Her fave Dr Wu products:

“Repairing System Ultra Moisture Treatment Oil with Squalane ($79.90), which the brand actually formulated for me when I was pregnant. It hydrates dry skin, tightens loose skin and prevents the formation of stretch marks. It smells amazing too — I always add some into my bath to help me relax. I also love [the products in the brand’s Hydrating System range, all of which have a light and comfortable texture].”

On why she agreed to be the face of the brand:

“I have sensitive skin, so a lot of products [on the market] are unsuitable for me. I’ve used other brands before, but I realised that [the products tend to have synthetic fragrances] or a greasy texture, which causes breakouts. I’ve not experienced [breakouts or irritation] with Dr Wu products.”