Our doctors explain why you shouldn’t skip the moisturiser. By Yuen Yi Ying
Moisturiser is one of the most important skin care steps. (Photo: Vitaly Valua / www.123rf.com)
As time-starved women, we’re always looking to cut corners. But if you’re ditching your moisturiser thinking humidity will do it for you, you’re wrong. In fact, moisturising is probably the skin care step you should never skip because it yields so many beneﬁts. We asked four doctors to explain how it helps.
1. Moisturising is the most important skin care step because… It improves radiance
When exposed to sunlight, skin produces pigments to shield itself from the damaging rays, says Dr Calvin Chan, medical director of Calvin Chan Aesthetic & Laser Clinic. This occurs evenly in healthy skin, but dehydration combined with age and toxin overload can cause the pigment factories – melanocytes – to overproduce melanin, resulting in dark patches. Thirsty skin also tends to become rough and appear dull as it does not reﬂect light well.
To remedy the situation, you could try dermatologist-administered therapies like hyaluronic acid ﬁller treatments – where the protein (also produced naturally by your body to retain moisture) is injected at multiple spots under the skin to keep it plump and hydrated for up to a year.
Prefer less drastic options? Hit your regular drugstore for products with moisture-boosting ingredients to give your complexion a dewy glow. These include occlusive agents (oils, waxes and silicones form a ﬁlm over skin so water has a hard time escaping), humectants (ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, propylene glycol, urea and glycerin attract and bind with water to hold it in) and emollients (vegetable, animal or plant oils like lanolin help soften and smooth dry skin).
2. Moisturising is the most important skin care step because… It wards off ageing
As you get older, your skin’s production of hyaluronic acid and sebum slows down. This means that your skin is less effective in regulating and retaining moisture, says Dr Low Chai Ling, medical director of The Sloane Clinic. Dehydrated cells are less able to perform everyday tasks like detoxiﬁcation, renewal and protection properly, says Dr Vanessa Phua, ophthalmologist and aesthetic specialist at Dr Vanessa Phua Aesthetic Clinic.
Prevent further water loss by applying cream or lotions twice daily to seal in moisture, says Dr Low. If you work in an air-conditioned office, you’ll need to repeat this more often – whenever early signs of dehydration (such as roughness, redness or itchiness) appear.
3. Moisturising is the most important skin care step because… It reduces sensitivity
Skin tends to become thin and fragile when it’s not adequately hydrated, says Dr Phua. This makes it vulnerable to environmental assaults, bacteria and infections, adds Dr Low. It could also cause skin to peel and itch. And when that happens, the vicious itch-scratch cycle begins; this could lead to inﬂammation, says Dr Eileen Tan, a dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre. For long-lasting hydration, look for formulas with vitamins A and E, says Dr Low.
4. Moisturising is the most important skin care step because… It fights blemishes
If you’re prone to pimple ﬂare-ups, moisturising is especially important for you. According to Dr Chan, this skincare step helps acne patients regulate sebum production. “It also accelerates healing by helping pores purge impurities, and normalises cell turnover – all of which contribute to fewer breakouts and faster fading of old acne marks.”