Even if you’re not an “outdoors person” who frequents the Sentosa beaches every weekend, there’s one thing we all love to do — complain about the weather. Rain or shine, either way, the humidity gets to us, and you’ll often hear us lamenting about Singapore’s hot and humid weather. It sure doesn’t help that our hot and humid weather can bring about a couple of common skincare woes, including clogged pores, breakouts and blemishes, or… dull skin.
How can we get glowing skin and why is it so important? Having radiant, dewy skin is a major sign of healthy skin. However, environmental stressors such as UV light, pollutants, and yes, the weather, often cause our complexions to lose their radiance over time. If the heat and humidity seem to be wrecking havoc on your skin though, not to worry. With some clever skincare choices and the following pro tips, consider this your guide to get glowing skin and fix all your dull skin issues — all so you get to enjoy the radiant skin all year round.
Here’s how to get glowing skin and take care of all your skin concerns:
1. CAUSE: Your skin is dehydrated.
SOLUTION: Skincare that both hydrates and nourishes the skin.
Hydration is no. 1 on our list — simply put, skin that’s lacking in moisture, ends up looking dull, a big no-no if you want glowing skin. It’s easy to fix this right, bust out the moisturiser in order to replenish the loss of moisture in our skin, and you’re done! Well, not exactly.
Recent conversations among skincare experts have brought up an interesting query: what’s the difference between hydrating and moisturising? Simply put, hydration is all about increasing the water content in your skin cells, while moisturisation is about locking in that moisture. In terms of your skin, dehydrated skin lacks water and needs hydrating skincare products, while dry skin lacks oil and needs moisturising products that can adequately nourish the skin and improve its ability to hold and protect moisture.
Our lazy-girl solution here is to find products that do both. One cult favourite we love has to be the SK-II PITERA™ Essence (a.k.a. Facial Treatment Essence), a powerful essence that’s packed with over 90% of the famous PITERA™. The “miracle water” is synonymous with SK-II, and is derived from a natural yeast fermentation process discovered after scientists saw how the hands of elderly sake brewers could still remain youthful and smooth.
While many know it for its crystal-clear skin transformation benefits, we think it’s also important to note how it can, too, moisturise your skin — the essence contains over 50 micro-nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids and organic acids, and resembles our skin’s NMF (Natural Moisturising Factors), which help to lock moisture within. On top of these benefits, it’s also tried-and-tested to be very lightweight, leaving your skin feeling revitalised.
The Kiehl’s Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum is also an interesting new product that launched this year — it contains hyaluronic acid to boost our skin’s hydration levels, while also strengthening our skin with an Adaptogenic Herbal Complex comprising of Red Ginseng Root, Holy Basil and Schisandra Berry. Both these holistic skincare products work hard to hydrate, moisturise, and revitalise our skin for a smooth, radiant appearance.
2. CAUSE: Dead skin cells.
SOLUTION: Cleanse daily and exfoliate regularly.
You already know the drill. Cleanse your face well in order to remove makeup, impurities, excess oil, and dirt accumulated throughout the day. You may wonder, how exactly does that help to achieve radiant, glowing skin? For one, you’ll get clear skin that’s free of breakouts and blemishes – that is, if you don’t forget this next crucial step: start exfoliating. This process helps remove the skin’s outer layer of dead skin cells so our skin is smoother and clearer, and better reflects light. Your skin will literally look brighter. A fresh layer also allows our other skincare products to penetrate into the deeper layers of our skin, making them more effective.
Start with a gentle cleanser. We’ve found that the ones that are too harsh and leave our skin with a “squeaky clean” feel aren’t at all ideal for the skin. If you’re already a fan of the SK-II PITERA™ Essence, you need to try the Facial Treatment Gentle Cleanser, which also contains PITERA™ for its signature skin-conditioning benefits. You can work the product into a foamy lather before applying it to your face to gently cleanse your pores of impurities, while still leaving your skin clean and soft after.
For your exfoliating products, we’d recommend a face scrub about two to three times a week, or a face peel one to three times a week. That said, there are now more innovative skincare items you can use daily. Lâncome‘s Clarifique Dual Essence is one such product — French Beech Bud extract is a powerful active that gently resurfaces the skin, and is able to accelerate skin renewal so we get visibly clear skin. The bi-phase formula is enhanced with grapeseed oil for extra nourishment, and a patented whisk to generate fresh micro-bubbles.
Another seasoned product is the Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask, a wash-off mask that you can use a couple of times a week. The striking blue shade of the product is thanks to blue tansy, a soothing ingredient, which is combined with fruit enzymes, such as papaya and pineapple that are rich in AHAs to exfoliate skin, and White Willow Bark, a n BHA that decongest pores. These all work together for the goal of soft skin that’s now renewed and refreshed.
3. CAUSE: The environment is affecting your skin.
SOLUTION: Look out for brightening ingredients, especially antioxidants.
We’re all city dwellers here, so the idea that our environment affects our skin shouldn’t come as a surprise by now. Air pollutants, harsh winds, UV exposure and our weather, can all have adverse effects on our skin’s balance. Being under the sun, in particular, can cause our skin to go through oxidative stress, and increase the production of free radicals that damage skin cells, but don’t let this stop you from getting glowing skin.
The key solution to counter this is: antioxidants. Antioxidants protect against free radical damage, helping the skin repair itself and correct pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. In any case, you’re not really looking at fairer skin, but skin that’s brighter, clear, and more evenly-toned.
You might have already noticed that skincare targeted at brightening the skin contains a healthy dose of antioxidants, and you’re not wrong. The best way to introduce this important element into your skincare routine is via serums, as they provide your skin with a high concentration of active ingredients.
In particular, the bestselling SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence has been earning rave reviews for its commitment to glowy, dewy skin. The lightweight serum is packed with radiance-enhancing ingredients that improve skin dullness while helping to reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by sun damage, by way of the antioxidant-rich Japanese plum extract, and a brightening complex containing PITERA™, Prunus Extract and Demelano P3C™. The last one is a proprietary active that inhibits melanin production so our skin’s free of spots, pigmentation, and uneven tones.
To further enhance the benefits of a brightening serum, follow up with good moisturisers. The CHANEL LE BLANC line also addresses dull skin, where the Crème Fine, targets three aspects of skin health for a radiant glow. Similar to SK-II, it also taps on plums, both a precious ume flower extract and ume flower oil, to boost our skin’s natural luminosity. If you’re looking for a richer formula and a mid-week boost, a skincare mask ought to do the trick.
Skin Inc‘s Get Glowin’ Brightening Mask is a favourite for diminishing pigmentation and visibly brighter skin. Licorice and Scutellaria Baicalensis extracts have natural anti-inflammatory properties to calm skin, while there’s also Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant.
4. CAUSE: Your skin does not get enough antioxidants.
SOLUTION: Invest in Vitamin C boosters.
Sometimes, we just need more of the good stuff. Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant that we know protects against free radical damage and fights against the harmful effects of environmental stressors. It is also proven to increase collagen production for youthful-looking skin.
Still, the reason why it’s gaining so much popularity these days is because more brands are tapping into skincare science to deliver high concentrations of Vitamin C in stable, safe formulas — we’re talking Vitamin C boosters and specialised treatments that can give you high strengths of Vitamin C, usually in 10% – 15% doses, ideal for pigmentation and dark spots. Just keep in mind that Vitamin C is extremely sensitive to air and light if exposed, so look out for products in opaque, air-tight bottles, or a formula presented in a pump container.
The oft-talked about ones by Drunk Elephant and Sunday Riley deserve a mention for their potent formulas, where both are packed with antioxidants, and nutrients, and free of sulphates and parabens so your skin doesn’t get irritated.
Skinceuticals and their C E Ferulic is a cult targeted treatment that, though pricey for its size, features a substantial and holistic antioxidant combination of 15% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), 1% vitamin E (alpha tocopherol), and 0.5% ferulic acid that work together to improve signs of ageing and aid in brightening complexions.
5. CAUSE: Exposure to UV rays.
SOLUTION: Apply sunscreen daily — even indoors.
Do we really need to explain why suncreen is important? You’ve already read how UV stresses our skin out, and this happens particularly when we step outdoors without protecting our skin from sun damage. Sunscreen acts like a shield to protect our skin — with regular use over time, we see less signs of ageing, and get to enjoy an even skin tone and a glowing complexion that’s free of pigmentation.
Now, when do we apply it? Even on a cloudy day, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can still pass through clouds, so we can’t skip it then. When you’re indoors, sunlight can still stream in through our windows, and we haven’t even talked about blue light, a form of UV radiation that’s emitted from our electronic devices. Basically, we need to be diligent about applying sunscreen — even indoors — to adequately protect our skin.
The latest YSL Beauty Airthin UV Defender is a very lightweight formula that understands our urban lifestyles, and therefore protects our skin against its particular set of environmental aggressors. UV included. Dior‘s sunscreen-moisturiser hybrid, the Diorsnow Ultimate UV Shield, boasts both SPF 50+ PA ++++ that ensures broad-spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays, while skincare ingredients act against oxidative stress induced by blue light and infrared rays.
For those with sensitive skin, Pai‘s Hello Sunshine Sensitive Sunscreen SPF30 is friendly to eczema-prone and sensitive skin, with the use of non-nano sized Zinc Oxide mineral particles for protection, along with other soothing, moisturising ingredients.
6. CAUSE: You’re feeling stressed.
SOLUTION: Spend time on a facial massage.
Work and deadlines, a bad night’s sleep, or an argument with your loved one. We’re talking about stress, a psychological factor that actually has a lot to do with your skin. The more stressed you are, the higher the cortisol levels in your body due to our natural fight-or-flight response, which channels blood flow towards your organs and away from your skin. As a result, your face can then look sallow and dull, compared to the bright, glowing complexion on an optimistic day.
Instead of worrying about it and ironically causing more stress, take the time to slow down, and think of your skincare routine as an important self-care ritual to calm both your skin and your mind. While you’re at it, it doesn’t help to add in a facial massage while applying your favourite face oils. Specialised tools such as the Mount Lai Gua Sha Facial Lifting Tool and Fraîcheur Ice Globes help stimulate blood flow, which leaves you with healthy glowing skin. The extra benefits of a less puffy face and firmer skin over time should put you even more at ease.
If you think about it, we really shouldn’t have to worry excessively about skin — it’s more than capable to take care of itself. What’s important though is being smart about our skincare and lifestyle choices, and ensuring our skin is aided by them so it can be at its most healthy state. Adding these glowing skin tips into your current routine will help it beat the heat and humidity, and more. A face glowing with radiant skin won’t be such a distant dream after all.
Brought to you by SK-II. Product review and opinions are our own.