If you use more than one product, don't just slap on your creams and serums mindlessly. Follow these tips to ensure that each one absorbs well and works at its best. By Amanda Lai
1) Mix and match with caution
When used together, some active ingredients, such as vitamin C and vitamin A, can be too harsh and drying on skin. So it's best to use products with such ingredients at different times of the day - this would also maximise their efficacy. We'd recommend applying skincare with antioxidant-rich vitamin C in the morning as it boosts the benefits of your suncare, while products with vitamin A (think retinol and tretinoin) should be used at night as the anti-ageing vitamin increases skin sensitivity to the sun.
2) Use chemical exfoliators daily
Choose a toner with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to boost skin cell renewal. When there are fewer dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, the skin can more effectively absorb the active ingredients in skincare. Dr Calvin Chan, medical director at Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic, says: "AHAs and BHAs are great for sloughing off dead skin cells that stick to the skin's surface and cause dullness. These acids also help to dissolve the dead skin cells and sebum build-up in clogged pores, reducing the chances of breakouts - clogged pores can combine with acne-causing bacteria to become pimples."
3) Hydrate after exfoliating
Products with moisture-retaining ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and glycerine help to replenish the natural moisture and oil lost during exfoliation. They also enhance the penetration of oil-based products such as moisturisers.
4) Apply facial oils last
Oils are not only nourishing for the skin, but also prevent moisture loss and lock in the active ingredients from the products used earlier. Dr Alvin Wong, medical director at SKN Mediaesthetics, advises against using a facial oil under a moisturiser, as rich oils can inhibit the absorption of products applied on top of them. Skip this step if your skin is prone to oiliness.
5) Moisturise before treating blemishes and sun spots
Don't apply dark-spot or acne treatments under a moisturiser because moisturisers can dilute their formulas and reduce their efficacy.
What is pilling and how can I prevent it?
Pilling occurs when unabsorbed skincare clumps into little balls on the skin. Dr Chan observes that gel- or alcohol-based products tend to clump when mixed with oils, so wait for each layer of skincare to be completely absorbed before continuing with your routine. Pilling can also be prevented by gently patting on your skincare instead of rubbing it onto your face.
This article first appeared in the Jan 2015 issue of Her World.
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