This month, Dr Karen Soh, medical director at Prive Aesthetics, advises on how to tackle recurring acne and whether cleansing oils are suited for those with oily skin.
What’s an effective substitute for retinol for those with sensitive skin?
There is a host of ingredients that can deliver skin-plumping and retexturising effects similar to those offered by retinol. There’s vitamin C, which helps build collagen, diminish the look of age spots and strengthen the skin, as well as vitamin E, said to have anti-ageing properties. For skin-plumping effects, you can look to hyaluronic acid, and to combat texture and acne issues, there’s glycolic acid, which sloughs off surface dead skin cells to reveal clearer, brighter skin. Arbutin and alpha-hydroxy acids, too, can improve the look of sun-damaged skin, fine lines and age spots. For suitable retinol substitutes that tackle specific skin concerns, seek a doctor’s advice.
Are cleansing oils more likely to cause breakouts than other cleansers? I have oily skin and I’m wary of putting more oil on my face.
Oil-based cleansers actually help maintain the skin’s natural pH balance and work to regulate sebum production. They are generally suitable for all skin types, but if you have greasy skin, you should avoid those with lanolin, mineral oil and petroleum-derived ingredients, as these occlusives tend to clog pores, resulting in breakouts.
This reader wins a Prive Skinworks package, comprising the brand’s Lightening Wash (150ml), worth $73.80, Lightening Toner (150ml), worth $73.80, Cleansing Milk (150ml), worth $73.80, Whitening Milk Mask (six sheets), worth $96.30, Hydro Complex (30ml), worth $80.30, Triple Action Skin Defence Sunblock SPF50 (50g), worth $62, and Honey Soothing Cream (15ml), worth $42.80.
How do I prevent acne from reappearing in the same spot repeatedly?
A good skincare routine might help; use a cleanser with salicylic acid, and exfoliate regularly. Also, try to use water-based or non-comedogenic makeup. To combat acne, use topical medication formulated with vitamin A derivatives. On the advice of a doctor, you can also try these procedures to tackle severe acne and prevent scarring: photodynamic therapy, which uses a combination of medication and laser treatments to reduce bacteria and sebum production; dermabrasion, whereby the top layers of the skin are removed with a rotating brush; and the gentler microdermabrasion, which helps unclog pores and get rid of surface dead skin cells. Another alternative is a chemical peel, which involves the use of a chemical exfoliant to clean out pores and remove the top layers of the skin, revealing less damaged skin underneath and thereby improving the look of scars.
Have a beauty question? E-mail us at magherworld@ sph.com.sg. Please include your full name, address and a daytime phone number. The reader whose question is chosen each month stands to win skincare from Prive Aesthetics.