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March 31, 2021
We have all experienced skin that is dry, flaky, rough, and feels like a dessert. The truth is, dehydrated, dry skin can be a result of many things, from the cleanser and skincare products products you’re using, to external factors including weather, environment, diet, and caffeine consumption. Don’t lose hope though. With the right techniques and skincare products, your skin can also become as dewy as all those Korean celebs.
While using a facial cleansing brush or scrub sounds like you are thoroughly cleansing your face and pores, the constant friction can break down the skin’s lipid barrier, and with a damaged lipid barrier, the skin won’t be able to retain moisture or block out bacteria and irritants, which will lead to dryness, dehydration, irritation, and even acne.
It can also cause chronic inflammation and premature aging, as well as stimulate melanin activity, which, although may be naked to the eyes at first, will subsequently turn into unwanted hyperpigmentation.
Some people enjoy that squeaky clean feeling after cleansing, but guess what, when your skin feels extra clean, your lipid barrier is more likely than not to have been already damaged. This is because the skin barrier is held together by oils in the skin that act like glue.
Foaming cleansers, which usually contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), strip the skin of its natural oil, and can damage the skin’s lipid barrier, thus weakening its water retention ability, which leads to dryness and pre-mature aging, as well as its defence ability in stopping harmful bacteria and pollutants from entering the body through the skin, resulting in acne, irritations, redness, and inflammations like eczema and dermatitis.
Smooth Operator Purifying Cleansing Gel <- Click to shop
A mildly acidic cleanser that respects the skin barrier, gently dissolves and removes daily grimes in a hydrating, non-irritating way using naturally derived surfactants. The unique formula is enriched with White Truffle, Noni Fruit, and various berry extracts, as well as the brand's patented core brightening complex AYM to treat breakouts, lighten hyperpigmentation, increase transparency and elasticity, and fight free radicals.
When your skin is dry and flaky, your first instinct may be to pile on hydrating serums and heavy moisturizers as you think the skin is weak and fragile. Guess what, this is when you actually need to exfoliate!
Dry and dehydrated skin tends to be dull, rough, and even prone to acne. This is because layers of dead skin cells are sitting on top of the skin, which means not only would it be unable to reflect light, making the skin appear dull and lacklustre, your skincare products also won’t be able to do their job such as hydrating and moisturizing, no matter how effective they are. These dead skin cells will also trap dirt and bacteria inside the skin, which will then result in inflammations and acne.
Use an acid product that contains AHA, BHA and PHA will help dissolve the bond between dead skin cells to speed up and ease the naturally turnover process, as well as unclog pores, preventing acne and blackheads. This way, products will be able to penetrate better, pigmentation will fade faster, and the skin will become smoother and more radiant. Over time, it will also increase collagen and hyaluronic acid deposition and synthesis over time.
Do however avoid products with Glycolic Acid though, as it can be irritating to the skin due to its smaller molecular size.
No. 9 Exfoliant <- Click to shop
Contains natural effective yet gentle AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, together with Mulberry, which has the highest concentration of resveratrol in nature, as well as Goldenseal, Licorice Root, and Aloe Leaf Juice, etc., it removes dead skin cells, speeds up cell turnover, brightens skin, reduces hyperpigmentation, unclogs pores and prevents acne, while providing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial actions.
When dish-washing liquid is squeezed on a dry sponge, it won’t get distributed evenly on the sponge to effectively clean the dishes. The skin after cleansing is just like that. Without that extra water, all those serums, oils or moisturizer won’t get absorbed and distributed properly in the skin; whereas when they are put on damp skin, penetration will be much better.
Whilst, hydrating serums are usually filled with humectants, such as hyaluronic acid. These humectants work by pulling water from its surroundings to the epidermis. When the air’s humidity is over 70%, they can pull water vapour from the air to hydrate the skin. Nevertheless, when the humidity is low (such as in an air-conditioned room), these humectants will instead draw water from the dermis (the second layer of skin) to the epidermis. This essentially means, you need actual water molecules by using a hydrating toner, so that the humectants can actually have something to draw from, and the moisturizers can have water to lock in.
Also remember to use a toner within 60 seconds of cleansing, to replenish the skin with water, and before evaporation starts.
holi(water) Hyaluronic Pearl & Rose Essence <- Click to shop
Fortified with Bulgarian Rose Water, Lavender Water, Pitaya, Cucumber, Pearl Powder, Jasmine Oil, Honey, Sandalwood Oil and Sodium Hyaluronate, this ultra hydrating toner intensely hydrates, softens, soothes, plumps, tightens and brightens the skin. Its rich content of antioxidants and phytonutrients also provide anti-inflammation and anti-bacterial benefits, thereby reducing and improving acne and redness.
People often think only water loss mostly happen during colder months, the truth is, air-conditioning, the sun, and sweating also accelerate trans-epidermal water loss. To compensate for this water loss, it is essential to replenish the skin with extra hydration.
A hydrating serum, unlike a moisturiser that is generally high in occlusives that lock in hydration rather than adding back to the skin, delivers a cocktail of highly active and hydrating ingredients that are smaller in molecular sizes to penetrate deeper into the dermis without clogging pores. Some of them also contain skin plumping ingredients like peptides, so that the skin will look hydrated, and plumped.
That most important thing though, is to look for a hydrating serum that contains not only hyaluronic acid as its main ingredient, and definitely not one that highlights ultra low-weight or nano-sized hyaluronic acid as they can cause inflammation (for detailed explanation see this article => here).
The Pure Wonder Active Serum 55% <- Click to shop
This watery serum is enriched with 55% concentrated AYM, the brand's core brightening skincare complex that features traditional Korean herbs like Deer Antler Velvet and Cornus Extract to visibly brighten, even skin tone, lighten hyperpigmentation and dark spots, increase transparency, and restore radiance. Together with Niacinamide, White Mushroom Polysaccharide, Acetylhexapeptide-8, Amino Acids, Sodium PCA, Ceramide NP, and Hydrolyzed Collagen etc., it also provides long-lasting hydration, anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects, as well as stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, to smooth wrinkles and revitalize skin.
While the body is made up of up to 70% water, the outermost layer of the skin, aka stratum corneum, is made up of ceramide, cholesterol and saturated fatty acids. Together they create a water-impermeable, protective layer to prevent excessive water loss, and act as a barrier against the entry of bacteria. However, the levels of these lipids decline with age; as a result, upper layers of the skin become thinner, the skin is more prone to dryness, dullness and conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, whilst fine lines and wrinkles become more prominent.
This means, not only do you need to add hydration, you also need to add oil to achieve healthy skin. By replenishing the skin with lipids, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and polyphenols that are abundant in oils, not only will the skin feel moisturized, the skin will also be able to fortify itself, retain optimal moisture, fight free radicals, stimulate collagen production, and maintain a healthier, stronger barrier to effectively improve skin issues such as dryness, eczema, irritations, oiliness and wrinkles, thereby slowing the aging process.
By building stronger barrier functions via oils, the skin will be able to lock in moisture naturally, and you may not even need a moisturiser. In fact, for those that are prone to clogged pores, an oil, which has a smaller molecular size than a moisturizer, may be even better than using a moisturiser.
During summer months, focus on using it in the evenings, but if you're extra dry, you may also want to use two drops in the mornings.
Serum Bioluminelle™ <- Click to shop
Combining Carrot Seed Oil, Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Green Coffee Oil and Black Seed Oil, which are known to have superior anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, as well as Ursolic Acid, Beta-Glucan, Elastin Protein, Ginseng, Reishi, and Turmeric etc., it promotes collagen and elastin synthesis, improves wrinkles and hyperpigmentation, hydrates, soothes, reduces acne, fights free radicals and slows aging.
When the skin is feeling ultra sensitive or dehydrated after, say, being in the sun or cold, or after a procedure, a hydrating face mask is great for giving the skin that instant soothing effect. However, if your daily skincare routine is on point, i.e. you’re cleansing the face properly, using the right daily skincare products, and protecting your skin’s lipid barrier, you should not really feel the need to use a face mask daily for hydration (especially sheet mask).
In other words, even if you use a hydrating face mask everyday, if you are not locking in that hydration or protecting your skin’s lipid barrier, that hydration is still going to evaporate quickly.
On the other hand, sleeping masks function similar to a night cream, but are packed with more active ingredients on top of hydration, and deliver better efficacies as compared to night creams. They also help lock in all the nutrients from your previous skincare steps and prevent trans-epidermal water loss.
The Bright Recovery Brightening Overnight Mask <- Click to shop
The sleeping mask features the brand's patented core brightening complex AYM to visibly brighten, even skin tone, and lighten hyperpigmentation. It is also enriched with Royal Jelly, Squalane, Allantoin, Niacinamide, Arginine, etc. to envelop the cells with hydration and moisture, protect the skin from free radicals, stimulate collagen production to firm skin and smooth fine lines, whilst locking in moisture and preventing trans-epidermal water loss throughout the night.
Alcohol in skincare products is often used to help with evaporation for a lighter, fresher and dry-to-touch sensation, but it is also this particular property that may irritate the skin. These drying alcohol usually appear as Alcohol, Alcohol Denat., Isopropyl Alcohol, Methanol and SD Alcohol in a product’s ingredient list. When used in high concentrations, they deteriorate the skin’s protective barrier, rendering it ineffective at keeping moisture in and bacteria out, while stimulating oil production. These all may lead to dryness, irritations, and breakouts.
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Goji Mallow Cleanse™ <- Click to shop
A hydrating and nourishing cleanser with a marshmallow-like texture. Enriched with a natural super antioxidant blend of Goji Berries, Açaí Berries and Oat Silk, as well as nourishing oils like Frankincense, Avocado and Plum, it locks in moisture, provides essential nutrients, reduces inflammation and increases elasticity of the skin, all the while providing a gentle cleansing action.
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