To say that beauty is science is not an exaggeration. With the introduction of new gadgets, skincare and aesthetic treatments in the beauty industry, consumers often need clarification on what products can work for us. So, the big question: Is good skin nature or nurture? In this article, we got veteran aesthetics doctor Dr Thean, founder and medical director of Ensoul Medical Clinic, to answer this age-old question of how much our DNA plays a part in having great skin, plus more burning questions on all things beauty-related and achieving healthy skin.
Of course, we also grilled him on what he thinks is the biggest beauty faux-pax we should not commit to and zero in on the one ingredient we should pay attention to if we want healthy skin. Based on his tips and experience, Yahoo Life Singapore also sussed out suitable products to help you achieve the best skin ever. Read on to find out.
Yahoo Life Singapore: What is considered healthy skin?
Dr Thean: Our skin is the largest organ in our body, which protects us from infection and other health risks. Healthy skin can be described as skin that functions optimally. Healthy skin is clear, nourished, hydrated, and free from infection or damage.
Maintaining good skin health is comparable to exercising regularly. A healthy body minimises the risk of diseases, prolongs life, promotes anti-ageing, and keeps you looking young. In the same way, exercising regularly keeps the body healthy, and taking the proper steps also keeps the skin healthy.
Maintaining healthy skin requires a regular skincare routine and suitable skin maintenance protocols. This way, you can ensure that your skin receives the necessary nourishment, protection, and hydration to look youthful and vibrant.
Healthy skin is more than just being photogenic and looking young. Healthy skin prevents external damage from free radicals and photo ageing, reduces inflammation and cellular damage, and increases collagen production internally.
Review: Does Laneige’s latest 4-step Perfect Renew skincare routine bring about more refined, youthful skin?
Which plays a more prominent role in healthy skin, nature or nurture?
Our natural genetic codes are present in every cell of our bodies and serve as a blueprint that determines most of our traits and characteristics, including our skin. For example, the genes responsible for collagen and elastin production can contribute to a unique resistance to ageing and environmental factors.
Nevertheless, genes can only get you so far. The lifestyle you lead, and the environment you live in can sometimes override the genetic potential of your body. For instance, some individuals are genetically predisposed to be more resistant to UV damage. These defences, however, can be compromised by excessive sun exposure, which speeds up skin ageing.
As such, unfavourable genes do not necessarily mean you will have bad skin, and vice versa. To effectively manage your skin conditions, genetic and environmental factors must be considered to create a tailored solution targeting your needs.
What does our skin genuinely need to stay healthy? Do you have any lifestyle or diet tips to share as a skin expert?
Keeping your skin healthy shouldn't be difficult, and the less complicated, the better. As mentioned, just as exercising helps us stay in good shape, taking the proper steps helps the skin stay healthy. In addition, the skin reflects what's going on inside the body. Consequently, how our skin looks is primarily determined by our overall well-being.
People with a plethora of beauty products and expensive skincare are sometimes better off than those with only a handful of products. All you need for essential skincare is a gentle facial cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen. To supplement that, ensure that you get regular extractions and treatments to help nourish the skin from the inside out.
The endless amount of information available today makes skin care seem like a complicated process that requires a lot of time and products. It's important to remember that trendy products are only sometimes the best for your skin. It is crucial to keep it simple and take measures that nourish the skin from the inside out.
[Click on images for product links for Yahoo's product recommendations]
CeraVe Foaming Cleanser with Niacinamide, 1000ml
For Normal to Oily Skin
DHC Face Wash Powder, 50g
Aesop In Two Minds Facial Cleanser, Vegan, 200ml
Are there any skin-loving ingredients or supplements we can use or consume to ensure our skin stays in tip-top condition?
In my opinion, the “skin-loving” ingredient would be hyaluronic acid. As a naturally occurring substance, hyaluronic acid keeps tissues hydrated and lubricated. In addition, hyaluronic acid, or HA, is present between skin cells, protecting their structures and serving as a water reservoir.
Ensoul uses hyaluronic acid with an ultra-low molecular weight of under 6000 daltons. The fact that it has a very low molecular weight has an essential effect because its viscosity decreases in water. Still, its ability to penetrate deeper layers of the epidermis increases.
As we age, our skin loses hyaluronic acid and its ability to hold sufficient water in this reservoir. Therefore, adding hyaluronic acid to your skincare regime helps hydrate the skin's intercellular reservoir, increasing its internal moisture levels and reducing signs of ageing like wrinkles.
The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Cleanser, 150ml
[Sephora Exclusive] Dermalogica Ultracalming Cleanser, 250ml
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel Moisturiser with Hyaluronic Acid, 50ml
For Dry Skin
First Aid Beauty Skin Lab Retinol Eye Cream with Triple Hyaluronic Acid, 15ml
What is the biggest faux pas when it comes to skincare?
Insufficient sunscreen protection is the biggest skincare faux pas. Despite the skin's natural defence mechanisms, excessive sun exposure is inadequate to protect the skin from sun damage.
Sun exposure can cause two major skin problems: UVA (ultraviolet A) rays which accelerate ageing, and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays, which burn your skin. UV rays penetrate deep into the layers of the skin, damaging and even destroying cells. A lack of protection from these harmful rays can cause long-term damage to your skin, including wrinkles, sagging skin, age spots, roughness, brown pigmentation, and darkening. Furthermore, excessive sun exposure may increase the risk of more serious conditions like skin cancer.
The damage caused by the sun can also accumulate over time. While it is commonly believed that sun protection is only needed at the beach, even small amounts of sun exposure can get over time, requiring daily sunscreen application.
Melixir Vegan Airfit™ Sunscreen SPF 50+ PA++++, 50ml
[Sephora Exclusive] Glowscreen Dawn Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
Clarins UV Plus SPF50+++, Neutral
The beauty industry is constantly evolving and introducing new gadgets, treatments and diets regularly. From a skin doctor’s point of view, how does one cut out the noise and zero in on what’s truly good for our skin?
As a doctor specialising in energy-based devices, I advise adding only the necessary. A common belief is that using more skincare products on your face will benefit your skin. The same goes for aesthetic treatments, taking advantage of every trendy therapy in hopes that it would help the skin. Unfortunately, these efforts overload the skin with chemicals that do more harm than good.
Sticking to what is best for your skin is essential – only do what suits it. You only need a simple daily regimen for healthy and youthful skin to cleanse and hydrate the skin, along with regular treatments that reduce inflammation and stimulate natural collagen production.
How can Ensoul help one achieve healthy skin?
Our goal at Ensoul Medical Clinic is to help our patients achieve healthy skin with customised solutions that include various machines and modalities. In addition, custom-made solutions allow us to target the problem more effectively since they are designed to match the specific requirements of the skin condition.
Most patients who visit our clinic suffer from melasma, a chronic pigmentary condition that causes dark patches and spots on the face. No two individuals will have the same melasma spots. Hence, we utilise multiple modalities to treat different types and severity of melasma successfully, and that approach is evident in every treatment solution we craft for each of our patients.
Every patient is unique, and no single treatment works for everyone. Therefore, each patient needs a unique skin solution, monitored and modified based on their response so that we can address their unique and individual skin problems and help them achieve healthier skin.
About Dr Kenneth Thean, founder and medical director of Ensoul
After obtaining his MBSS (Singapore) degree in 1981, Dr Kenneth Thean received post-graduate Fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons by Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons and Physicians of Glasgow in 1986. Over the years, his enduring passion for energy-based devices and lasers has charted the success of Ensoul Medical Clinic, focusing on treating medical aesthetic skin problems such as pigmentation, acne and acne scars. Throughout his career, Dr Thean has gained extensive knowledge of lasers and other energy-based devices locally and abroad. Dr Thean has also trained and mentored programs worldwide with reputable aesthetic physicians from Korea, the USA, South America, Europe, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and Singapore.
Book an appointment with Ensoul
Ensoul Medical Clinic has been established based on over 30 years of medical experience at the heart of Orchard Road and guided by the founder and medical director, Dr Kenneth Thean’s wealth of medical expertise. Ensoul believes that every patient is different and aims to help every patient with a customised treatment plan based on their needs and goals.