Thursday, April 30, 2009

Dummy’s Guide To Better Skin

Having clear, problem-free skin is an asset. However, thanks to testosterone, most of us have oily skin that sometimes breaks out. Like the rest of your body, your skin needs to be cared for. The good news is – you really don’t have to spend hours fussing over every pore to get good skin, just follow these easy steps.

1. Drink enough water
Your skin is intricately linked to good health. Adequate consumption of water helps to efficiently transport water to cells in your body, remove toxins and improve blood flow and circulation, and this translates to better-looking skin. The Mayo Clinic in the US recommends drinking eight glasses (230ml/glass) of water daily. However, you may need more because exercise, hot weather and air-conditioning cause you to lose more water.

2. Don’t pop your zits
Extracting your own pimples could leave you with unsightly scars where the acne used to be. It also leaves your pores to sag and appear larger over time, says Neutrogena product manager Cindy Tan. Dot your zit with an acne cream of gel to help dry it out, this takes time so you have to be patient. For blackheads and whiteheads, use an exfoliating scrub, try Neutrogena Deep Clean GentleScrub ($9.90 at Watsons), when you shower and make sure to rinse off the residue completely.

3. Slap on sunscreen
Your skin is the part of your body that takes the greatest beating from damaging UV rays the moment you’re exposed to sunlight. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of a sunscreen is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce a sunburn on unscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn on unprotected skin. Higher SPF sunscreens offer greater protection from sunburn, which is caused mostly by UVB rays. Try Sun Play SPF 130 ($15.80 at Watsons), it’s oil-free and not heavy like regular cream-based sunscreens which makes it suitable for everyday wear.

4. Follow with astringent
Dermatologists say that rather than washing your face several times a day, which can leave it too dry and irritated, you can use alcohol-based astringent pads to cleanse your face when it gets too oily. Astringents with acetone are also useful because acetone is a great fat and grease solvent. Most astringents have a bit of acetone in them, according to Dr Kenneth Neldner, chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine. “If you use it regularly, you can surely remove oil from the skin,” he says. Try Zirh Refresh ($40 at ESpace, Level 1 Tangs).

5. Put mud on your face
Oily skin is a genetic predisposition. An easy way to degrease is by using clay or mud masks, says Dr Howard Donsk, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and staff dermatologist at Toronto General Hospital. Generally, the darker brown the clay, the more oil it can absorb. White or rosecoloured clays, though, are gentler and work better on sensitive skin. Try Lab Series Purifying Clay Mask ($40 at Robinsons, Raffles City).

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