September 17, 2015

“And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones, ’cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs.”

We sure can relate to that lyric from Daughter’s commercially successful track, “Youth”. Since the haze made a huge comeback this year, it’s made most of us sick, with the exception of a handful of course. Maybe they’re immune to the haze, or have a genetic mutation that keeps them healthy in such conditions. But whatever it is, there are definitely some things you can do to beat the haze, and we’ve compiled that list.


Masks – Get Your Face On

Thanks to the previous haze situation last year, we’re all familiar with the N95 face masks. The N95 masks are a special type of mask with special filters to prevent chemical particles from the polluted air into your system. Though they’re a rare sight on our haze-less days, the N95 masks have been the norm these past couple of days.

  • To prevent the harmful particles in the air from getting into your system, ensure that the N95 masks are a good fit.
  • Studies have also shown that the N95 masks provide good protection against the pollutants, but not many people know that they aren’t exactly for everyone’s consumption. Pregnant women and elderly should refrain from using them as it enhances the effort needed to breathe. This is especially important for people with lung conditions and heart problems.

We know what you’re thinking, these masks can be…well… sibei obiang (not fashionable, for all you non-singlish speaking readers) and for girls, we know it ruins your perfectly glossed lips. We have a few alternatives for anyone who does not want to walk around looking like this:

Though they’re not exactly N95 masks, they’ll protect you from the haze and make you look… decent (click on image to purchase). Remember, it’s all about the layers!

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Beauty – Take Care of Your Skin

Besides the obvious precautions like giving your skin an extra-large dose of antioxidants to detoxify it and to better cleanse it, what you should be doing is to improve the skin cell membrane – basically, these are good fats that thicken cell membrane that has become thin and weak, so it’s better able to defend the deeper layers of your skin against all the nasty stuff that’s floating around in the air, courtesy of the haze (find yourself breaking out more? Yep, it’s all thanks to said nasty things).

Here are the products that will give you the Omega 3 dose your skin needs:

1. Philosophy When Hope Is Not Enough Omega 3-6-9 Replenishing Oil, $75, Philosophy and Sephora stores

A nighttime facial oil that also contains Omegas 6 and 9, to both replenish tired skin’s moisture levels and fight against damage caused by free radicals.

2. GLAMGLOW THIRSTYCLEANSE Daily Hydrating Cleanser, $59, Sephora and escentials stores

This everyday cleanser contains the extract of the plumeria flower blossom, which is high in Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, so you’re strengthening your skin’s barrier daily.

3. Fresh Seaberry Skin Nutrition Booster, $74, Fresh and Sephora stores

Add a few drops of this to your regular moisturiser and eye cream, to boost the level of antioxidants in them. The seaberry oil in this range is rich in Omegas 3, 6, 7 and 9. It’s a new range from Fresh that couldn’t have been launched at a better time.


Healthy Food

Here’s what to look out for:

  • Vitamin C – helps with tissue growth and repair; works like a natural anti-histamine if you have allergic reactions due to the haze.
  • Antioxidant-rich food – like your skincare, food rich in antioxidants (berries, beets, green tea, chia seeds) get rid of harmful free radicals introduced by smog particles.
  • Green leafy vegetables – lots of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, all of which boost your health and immunity system.

1. Cold-Pressed Juices
You might already know why we recommend these over normal fruit juices – it’s less processed, while the cold-pressed technique doesn’t harm the nutrients in the ingredients, unlike normal hydraulic presses. It’s the best way to get your vitamins and minerals.



  • Citrus Chia: Pineapple, Lemon, Coconut Water, Chia Seeds. High in Vitamin C.
  • Kale Tales: Cucumber, Apple, Coconut Water, Kale. Full of nutrients and minerals, antioxidant-rich.
  • $98 for a custom six-pack, or individually at #02-470, Suntec City North Wing. http://hicjuice.com.sg/

From A Juicery:

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  • The Real Cool Aid: Pear, Lotus Root, Water Chestnut, Lemongrass, Coconut Water. Cooling, boosts the immunity, protects the heart, stimulates circulation, anti-viral.
  • Rescue Remedy: Beetroot, Bitter Gourd, Capsicum, Celery, Cucumber, Apple. Antioxidant-rich, natural remedies, liver detoxing benefits, fights cholesterol.
  • $80 for an 8-pack carton, http://ajuicery.com/

2. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) & Herbal Teas

If you’re already having one of those annoying coughing fits, or have a nearby colleague who is, hand them these.

  • A vile, black liquid known as… the luo han guo drink. You’ve seen it sitting innocently at your neighbourhood liang teh/herbal tea store. It’s surprisingly sweet, not-so-vile at all, and commonly used for treating dry coughs that arise from “heaty” lungs – in this case, lungs exposed to dry air.
  • Ginseng helps strengthen your lungs.
  • Honey lemon, warm, is a good alternative too.
  • TCM also believes that when your Qi, or energy flow, is at equilibrium, your body has a natural resistance against common illnesses, and heals faster. To maintain this, eat healthy – no greasy, sweet or raw foods. Grandma’s right sometimes.


Eye Care (courtesy of Bausch + Lomb)

Your skin and lungs shouldn’t be the only things you protect. You should also take care of your eyes, especially for those who wear contact lenses. Raymund Song, Bausch + Lomb’s eye care specialist and senior professional service manager, provides some very simple but important precautionary measures on how to take care of your eyes.

  • In The Blink of An Eye

Blink more (or watch Korean dramas; those tear-jerker ones). You might think, “Duh”, but whenever you blink, it regulates tears and cleanses the surface of the eye.

  • No More Dry Spell

Keeping yourself hydrated not only helps your kidneys flush out toxins that might’ve been absorbed through your skin and lungs, but it also prevents dry eyes and eye strain, which can be caused by reduced tear production due to dehydration (our lacrimal gland cannot get any source thus reduced tears).

  • Comfort In The Wind

Go for spectacles and avoid wearing contact lenses altogether. But if you must, opt for Bausch + Lomb’s Biotrue ONEday disposable contact lenses. They retain 98% moisture to prevent dryness and irritation in your eyes.

  • The Cleansing Regime

This should come naturally to you by now. Always wash your hands before handling your contact lenses, and remember to keep out dust particles and irritants out of your eyes by using eye drops and eyewash.


Plants That Give You Clean Air

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Clean air should belong in your home – and the best way to have haze-free air, naturally? Grow your own plants. Or buy one from the nearest nursery. NASA conducted research on the best houseplants for clean air, and found that these tropical plants (phew!) help purify the air, ridding it of toxins so all we get is fresh oxygen. All these deserve a green thumbs up, man.

  • Areca Palm – works in the day, converts carbon dioxide to oxygen.
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue – you can tell by its sassy name, the pollutants won’t dare to stick around. This works best at night, and is best in the bedroom as, unlike other plants, it doesn’t suck oxygen from you while you sleep.
  • Money Plant – filters out removing Formaldehyde and other VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Recommended: at least one plant per 100 sq ft of home or office space.


Air Purifiers

We’ve recently covered this earlier this week, but in a nutshell, you shouldn’t confuse air purifiers with humidifiers, diffusers and ionisers. The ideal air purifier should have these two things:

  • True HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) Filter

Get one that has this as it removes 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 µm. Don’t cut cost and get one that has a HEPA-like filter.

  • Carbon Filter

It removes chemicals like the cancer-causing formaldehyde and helps to neutralise smells through the use of a bed of activated carbon.


Exercise – In Your Living Room Instead

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who are still going about jogging around the neighbourhood, even when it’s so hazy! It’s fine to keep fit, but if you’re doing it at the expense of your health, it really beats the point.

  • Dr Steve Yang, a specialist in respiratory medicine at Raffles Hospital said that “the amount of particulate matter deposited in the respiratory tract during exercise can be about five times more than when the body is at rest”. Basically, when it’s haze season, your lungs take in less oxygen and more pollutants when you exercise. Do your heavy breathing indoors instead.
  • The good: only 10 – 15% of outdoor air pollutants will ever see the light of day in an enclosed building.
  • For a solid workout, include burpees, planks, star jumps, push-ups, sit-ups in your routine, or even fit in a circuit training regime. And if that’s not enough, there are much more exercises you can try and learn from the world’s most widely-available resource – YouTube.