You’ve just bought a new, 10-step skincare kit and have all the steps down pat. You’re pretty sure nothing stands in the way of radiant, glowing skin now — nothing, except for those stubborn bumps under your skin. That smattering of blackheads on your nose. Enlarged pores on your cheeks… maybe you have a long way to go before regaining clarity in complexion because of congestion — or clogged pores, if you will.

“My pores still clogged with the day’s wear.
I long for moisture and rejuvenation.”

SHELLS HEART
Credit: Ayo Ogunseinde

TELLTALE SIGNS YOUR SKIN IS CONGESTED

One could have a seemingly smooth complexion but have hidden congestion issues. A quick test to see if you suffer from it — run a hand over your face. If your skin feels bumpy and uneven to the touch, chances are high that it’s congested. More obvious signs that most people are familiar with are blackheads (especially along the T-zone and cheeks) and whiteheads.

WHAT IS CONGESTION?

In layman terms, we like to call it “gunk” or “dirt”. In more formal terms, it’s a combination of impurities, sweat, dead skin cells, sebum and natural oils that become trapped within the pores, causing blackheads and / or whiteheads to form. While whiteheads tend to appear as firm, white bumps, blackheads are clogged pores that remain open and darken due to oxidation.

When pores are often congested and clogged with impurities, they tend to stretch—causing the appearance of enlarged pores.  A lot of times, simply clearing the skin of blackheads and congestion can help reduce the appearance of large and open pores.

CARING FOR CLEARING CONGESTED SKIN

The tips and tricks are many, so regaining smooth, glowing skin from within is very much possible.

DOUBLE CLEANSING

Double Cleansing with a makeup remover / pre-cleanser thoroughly removes environmental pollutants accumulated through the day, making the same job easier for your cleanser. More importantly, pre-cleansing softens your skin so that following products can be absorbed more effectively. Double cleansing is one of the simplest, fastest ways to ensure the skin is thoroughly cleansed of debris, dirt, makeup, and all other incriminating factors needed for congestion to happen.

“Take your time when cleansing – it’s not a step to be rushed.”

EMMA HOBSON
EDUCATION MANAGER FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DERMAL INSTITUTE
AND DERMALOGICA

EXFOLIATION

Exfoliation helps keep your skin clear and more even as it gets rid of flaky skin cells and loosens keratin buildup. Look for exfoliants with fruit enzymes as they are gentler and do a better job of dissolving dead skin cells without irritating or damaging the skin. Even better if the exfoliator returns water to the skin with hydrating ingredients like aloe extracts. The goal here is to revive the skin’s surface while preventing over-drying or irritation. An effective exfoliant does its job without abrasion, helping to clear your pores while also nourishing the skin.

Avoid any exfoliants that contain micro-beads or granules as these are generally more aggravating to the skin.

TONING WITH AHAS

One of the most important parts of the daily skin care routine is toning. It balances the skin after cleansing, calms and lowers its pH level. Toning helps prep the skin for any serums that follow, and removes excess oil your cleanser may have missed. Another perk? It shrinks the size of your pores! Find toners with AHAs, as these break the bonds between weakened skin cells, making it much easier to exfoliate and encourage cellular production. New cells = smoother-looking, healthier skin!

Glycolic and lactic acids are two such sources of AHAs; it gently peels the top layer of the skin, helping dislodge buildup from clogged pores, and with regular use, improves the skin’s overall appearance and clarity. These remove excess sebum, impurities and dead skin cells to clarify the skin to make way for a brighter, clearer complexion.

Remember to always use sunscreen, especially after using products with AHAs to protect your skin from free radicals and UV damage!

GEL-BASED MOISTURISING

Once your skin is primed and prepped for moisture (after all that cleansing, exfoliation and toning), it’s important to use a moisturizer that isn’t too heavy or thick, but provides superior hydration down to the deeper layers of the skin.

It’s a misconception that one shouldn’t apply moisturizers if his / her skin is oily. In fact, it’s a pretty big booboo if you skip this step, especially if your skin is oily! Dehydrated skin often produces more oil because it perceives the skin to be too dry. But if you feed it with water to even out the pH balance, it stops bumping up the sebum production because your skin’s already well-fed.

However, it’s important to find the right moisturizer. These are those that are non-comedogenic, contain hydrating ingredients and occlusives to ensure that skin is hydrated and that hydration is locked within.

If your skin is really dehydrated, consider adding a power-packed serum with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate for a surge of hydration.

Credit: Vishal Banik

“Moisturising your face is also an effective solution to keeping your pores clean. Many people with acne fear that moisturiser will add excess oil to their skin, however if they use the right product this is not the case.”

DR. KATHERINE ARMOUR
DERMATOLOGIST

PROFESSIONAL EXTRACTIONS

Unclogging congested skin can be done faster with the help of professional extractions! As always, don’t pick at your skin or attempt extractions on your own because that introduces more dirt and bacteria to inflamed skin. You know what that means — more bumps, more blackheads, more zits… more congestion!

Extractions are rarely a pleasant experience but you can help make the process a little easier and less painful by prepping your skin for it * gasp. How? Here’s a word you’ve heard countless times in this post alone — hydration.

When your skin is hydrated, it helps soften the surface so it’s more pliable, making it easier to extract comedones and congestion. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, will harden around the blockages, locking them in place and thus making it harder or even impossible to remove. Before your extractions appointment, boost your skin’s hydration as much as possible with masks and serums! You can thank us later.

We’re back with a new #DearPauline post to talk about acne! In our last post, we covered dull and sensitive skin. This week, we address a very common skin concern: managing acne.

Managing acne

But first, an introduction to acne and its causes

Acne affects almost all teenagers. The condition results from hormones reacting with the skin’s oil glands (sebaceous glands). The sebaceous glands make an oily substance called sebum. This empties onto the skin’s surface through the hair follicle opening (pore). The mixture of oil and cells allows bacteria to grow in the follicle openings. Pores thus become clogged and pimples develop.

While there are many causes that contribute to its appearance, e.g. lifestyle and hereditary factors, the more common ones are:

  • Excess oil production
  • Hair follicles clogged by sebum (or oil) and dead skin cells
  • Bacteria (e.g P.acnes bacteria)
  • Hormonal imbalance

Managing acne

Here’s a question from Sunita Pong (@sunitapong):

 


“I’ve been battling hormonal adult cystic acne for half my life, and have tried just about everything and anything under the sun to counter the breakouts.  I haven’t tried targeted facials as I worry they might exacerbate my current skin condition. Are there any solutions to this?

– @sunitapong


…and here’s our answer:

Battling hormonal cystic acne is painful, both physically and emotionally. Acne treatment is our forte and we have dealt with many cases like yours. This requires professional care. Dermatologists typically prescribe topical steroids, retinol (oral or topical), antibiotics, lasers and chemical peels. But we have many clients who want more natural alternatives with less potential side-effects.

Facials can work, but as your skin is extremely delicate, we need to go through a very long process (6 months to 1 year) to help reduce bacterial infections, balance your skin’s pH and improve its resilience. However, we are treating the root of the issue, and this will help significantly reduce acne in the long run. To do this, we use a combination of treatments (with customised frequencies) with a prescribed series for homecare, and we require the client to work really closely with us.

Here are some acne-related posts we’ve done previously which will aid you in your battle:

Acne Busters

https://porcelainskin.com/prologue/understanding-acne-some-people-gets-it-and-others-dont/

Best Acne-Fighting Ingredients

 


 

WAIT, WHAT’S #DEARPAULINE?

Think “Aunt Agony”, except “#DearPauline” is our personal beauty column! Like our #BareWithMe campaign, in collaboration with the amazing Wear Oh Where, we meet different women from all walks of life to talk skin. Our first instalment of #DearPauline (with Hanli Hoefer) is up now.

Hanli Hoefer

Image credits: Wear Oh Where

READ MORE STORIES HERE:

Our Very Own Beauty Column! | #DearPauline

Our Beauty Guru On “Skin” | #DearPauline

Is Mid-Day Cleansing Bad for My Skin? | #DearPauline

 

Milia seeds are a skin condition that can happen to anyone at any time in life. They are most often seen in newborns and can be expected to rapidly disappear in these cases. The biggest problem with milia occurring in infancy is panicky parents, who do not know how harmless and temporary it is. Milia may not be so temporary when adults get it. In fact, these unsightly blister-like bumps can sometimes be permanent without intervention.

Milia visibly manifest in tiny blister-like protrusions on the skin. This can occur in anyone, regardless of age, sex, or race. Those on infants usually disappear over a brief period, but on adults, can be a long-term cosmetic problem. This condition is not dangerous, and it is officially unknown if there is a relationship to another underlying condition. Milia is one of the most misunderstood of all health conditions, but in itself, appears harmless by all reports.

Milia Seeds - Understanding Causes & Treatment

Causes of Milia Seeds

The truth is that no one knows the causes with certainty. It is widely believed that this condition is due to an exfoliation problem when tiny flakes of dead skin clog the pores. Our research indicates that this is likely only half of the equation. The other half is an excess of cholesterol in the skin, where the body frequently deposits its excess cholesterol. This, in turn, leads us to a third contributing factor, which is sunlight deficiency. A body removes excess cholesterol in the skin through sunlight, which helps converts it into vitamin D3.

Here are some of the other causes of Milia Seeds:

  • trauma to sweat ducts
  • radiotherapy (radiation)
  • sunscreens
  • topical corticosteroid use
  • genodermatoses (genetics)

Home-Care for Milia Seeds:

Milia Seeds: Home-Care for Milia Seeds

Credit: Anthony Tran

For those who want to care for them themselves, we recommend:

  • Take frequent showers
  • Exfoliate the skin
  • Supplementation with niacin is the single most effective treatment for some sufferers
  • Avoid heavy facial cosmetics
  • Get moderate sunlight exposure frequently
  • Reduce high cholesterol foods
  • Supplement with biotin, because many sufferers find that biotin supplementation alone cures their milia
  • CoQ10 is produced by the body during intense exercise and is found in meat and fish.  The body uses it to emulsify oils and increase energy.  Emulsifiers make oils water-soluble (like soap), which assists in its removal, thus reducing milia.

Treatment for Milia Seeds:

Milia Seeds: Extractions are the key treatment

Credit: Aiony Haust

Extractions are the key to porcelain skin.

Director Aesthetician, Jenny Teng, who has had over 17 years of experience as an aesthetician, explains.

Throughout my career, there is one core finding in my approach to effective skincare treatment. That is the thorough deep cleansing of the skin using specific extraction techniques for different skin problems. It has been my mantra and Porcelain’s mantra. With proper deep cleansing, nutrients from the products we use can penetrate much easily into the dermis and that is what makes Porcelain facials different.”

Porcelain’s Director Aesthetician has been known widely for her skills to remove milia seed through extractions. Find out more about Precision Facial and how our Director can help your skin.

Blog Reviews by Clients:

  • Despite the red spots, I was happy. No, ECSTATIC. My skin was not only silky smooth but BABY SOFT! Every painful moment through the extraction that I tried to trace back, was well compensated with the pure glow and light that I was looking myself in the mirror.” – Grace Lim
  • Jenny then starts working and she left no pore untouched. Every single one of my pores was pulled, poked, squeezed and some, multiple times. I held a hand-mirror as she worked; explaining her meticulous process at the same time. I looked on with an amalgamated mix of excitement, surprise and embarrassment. Out of my pores came deep-seated milia seeds (oilseeds) and gunk produced by my over-active sebaceous glands.” – Nicolas Travis
  • “When the redness subsided, my skin was smooth as a baby’s bottom. Well, maybe not that smooth but smoother and clearer than it had been in years. Some of the pigmentation was also considerably lighter and I was loving my new glowing Photoshopped complexion. In fact, I’m so sold that I’m willing to go through the entire ordeal all over again.” – Mother Inc, Daphne Ling

Deep Pore Cleansing

Extraction is a traditional procedure that is performed using a metal loop extractor and a medical syringe needle. The process can be slightly uncomfortable, but it helps remove comedones, milia seeds, acne, pimple, black/whitehead and other impurities that clog up the surface of your skin.

This process must be performed by highly skilled aestheticians, as improper techniques may cause scarring or undesirable outcomes.

 

Cleansing Is Never Enough

The first step in our daily skin care regimen is cleansing. No doubt, it is very important! Cleansing away the dirt, oil, make up that lead to clogged pores and surface impurities is pivotal part of clean pores and a clear complexion. When your pores become clogged with excess sebum, dead skin cells, sweat and other environmental dirt, your face start developing blackheads, whiteheads and other forms of acne.

There are several benefits to pore extraction, most notably unclogging your pores which can lead to healthier-looking skin. Keeping your pores clean and clear can also help to prevent future acne breakouts as well as to keep your pores from looking larger than they are.

Extractions Vs Technology

Despite current advancement in cosmetic equipment and product technology, Porcelain has no intentions to do away with the traditional extraction method. According to our experience, it is proven that extraction is by far the most effective, albeit, tedious way of deep cleansing.

Without thorough extraction, the impurities in the pores will prevent any precious nutrients from serums/ampoules to be effectively penetrated into the skin. With clogged pores, the skin will look and feel rough, uneven and dull.

Extraction, The Key To Porcelain Skin

Director Therapist, Jenny Teng, who has had more than 17 years of experience under her belt as an aesthetician, explains, “Throughout my career, there is one core finding in my approach to effective skincare treatment, and that will be thorough deep cleansing of the skin using specific extraction techniques for different skin problems. It has been my mantra, and Porcelain’s mantra. With proper deep cleansing, nutrients from the products we use can penetrate much easily into the dermis and that is what makes Porcelain facials different.”

At Porcelain, nobody wears foundation; clients and staffs. No one has to cover up any flaws or imperfections. They advocate beauty from within and help clients achieve that with their solutions.

We are a premium skin care solution provider with an unpretentious and intimate touch one finds in a traditional facial salon. Porcelain is designed such that clients feel at home on our premise; they know they can trust our professionalism and our sincerity”, Pauline Ng (Managing Director) added.

Try out our Award-Winning Quintessential Facial today. Click here to find out more.

 

By Jenny Teng, Director Aesthetician, Porcelain The Face Spa

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1. Anti-Aging is….

Achieving a balance within your skin between moisture and sebum level. It means maintaining a high level of collagen and elastin production, and low level of oxidation within the skin hence, reducing signs of aging.

2. How do I stop the clock?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to do so as chronological aging is part of life. We can prevent the signs of aging from showing by increasing our level of anti-oxidants to prevent free radical damages, stimulating collagen, elastin production and skin’s natural regenerating ability with technology such as Radio Frequency, Intense Pulsed Light, LED and reduce our sun exposure by applying sunscreen.

3. At what age should I start my anti-aging regime?

You should start your general skincare regime during puberty. Anti-aging should not be separated from your routine skincare regime. Revise your home care and professional treatments with your aesthetician or doctor every year to evaluate your changing needs. The skin begins to age around 25 to 30, however, many young skin display signs of premature aging due to improper care and lack of sun protection.

4. How do I prevent premature aging?

The number one cause of premature aging of the skin is caused by sun overexposure. It causes skin dehydration and discoloration of the skin’s pigment, which results in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, freckles and other forms of pigments. We recommend that sunscreen to be applied daily prior to sun exposure, even when you are spending most of your time indoors. Next, frequent exfoliation of your skin can reduce dead skin cell buildup and stimulate cell regeneration.

That will help prevent and reduce existing signs of aging. Keeping your cells moist keep skin looking plump and firm. Use products such as Hyaluronic Acid to enable that and eat foods that are high in water content to keep your skin well hydrated at the cellular level.

Book an Age-Defying Quintessential Facial with Jenny Teng now!