The Making Of... Great Skin!
Good news – flawless skin can actually be created!
Good news for those who are not born with a flawless complexion: It is something you can work towards! All you need are the proper steps and the right products for skin you’ll be proud to show off. By Georgia Lee
You’ve heard how genes play a huge role in whether your skin looks fab or drab. Unfortunately, not many of us are blessed with great-skin genes. Does that mean that we should give up all hope of having gorgeous skin? At the same time, your skin is not necessarily the same throughout your life. You may have had a spot-free complexion when you were younger but now you’re battling acne on a regular basis, especially when it is that time of the month.
What does this all point to? That how your skin looks and feel is not a fixed, pre-determined and constant thing! In other words, it all boils down to how well you look after your skin, which means that with the right products and knowledge, you can create great skin.
Phew – what awesome news, right? But don’t celebrate just yet – the problem with creating good skin is this: How do you know what works and what won’t? Plus, with so many skin enemies these days, how can you be sure that you’re doing enough to protect your skin?
Let’s Talk Moisture
To truly understand how great skin is created, you need to know the basics of skin. More specifically, its moisture barrier, which is made up of millions of cells held together by lipids. What’s so important about this layer? Think of the moisture barrier as the layer that protects your skin. It prevents the bad stuff from entering and absorbs the good stuff that will further enhance the appearance and health of your skin. A healthy moisture barrier contains about 10 per cent water to function properly. To maintain this level, your body forms a group of compounds called Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs), which attract and form a strong bond with water to hold it within your skin.
Throughout the day, your skin interacts with the environment. Here’s where the problem starts. Skin’s moisture barrier is easily impacted by environmental factors like the weather, pollution as well as external factors like the cleanser you use or the make-up you apply. If it is overexposed to these factors, you can lose
both essential lipids and NMFs, resulting in your skin being unable to protect itself from dryness and eventually becoming weak. The weaker the moisture barrier, the more susceptible the skin is to skin enemies – dirt, smog, pollution, sunrays. When these come into contact with the skin, it creates havoc, resulting in skin that lacks radiance and is prone to premature ageing signs, dullness and acne.
Now that you know this, it’s not difficult to figure out what the solution is to a stronger and more resilient moisture barrier. That’s right – keeping it moisturised! For the moisture barrier to stay consistently healthy, you need to pump moisture back into it. Which is where moisturisers come in. Says Dr. Norman Orentreich, the founding dermatologist for Clinique, “Emollients and moisturisers help this layer hold water, which smooths and de-dries the surface. The film of cream on the skin helps prevent moisture loss, and the water and humectant ingredients in the cream or lotion moisturise. If it can be induced to keep its moisture, it provides better support and plumps up wrinkled skin.”
Aside from maintaining an optimal moisture level, a moisturiser that is packed with good-for-skin ingredients can help enhance skin’s renewal process where younger cells come to the surface while dull and dry surface cells are shed. Needless to say, skin that lacks moisture is weak in this natural exfoliating process, which is why dry skin often looks flaky, dull and rough as it accumulates the build-up of dry surface cells.
Give Your Skin A Drink!
But wait – you can’t just slap moisturiser on your skin and think that you’re on your way to great skin. It’s about choosing the right one too. Dermatologist Dr. Koh Chuan Keng confirms this fact. He says, “Not all moisturisers perform the same function. Some are better as they are formulated to contain ceramides or equivalent molecules that do not just