The Mak­ing Of... Great Skin!

CLEO (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

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

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