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
Smooth skin
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

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.

water
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.

There, we’ve said it. The HA+ Hydrating Serum is the first of Porcelain’s new Intensive line of products, and we made it for the clients who inspired us to curate amazing ingredients into four specific complexes. Four, to help clients from all walks of life enjoy a hydrating serum that would be suitable for any skin type, any age, and any climate. But it took two years before we were ready to unveil it to the world.

The serum was first launched internally — as with any other product we have to ensure it works – before being sold in-store. Like Pauline said during our media launch just the 3rd of May, we run a tight ship with our products.

Porcelain's Intensive - HA+ Hydrating Serum is designed for anyone at any stage of their anti-ageing regime

Credits: Wear Oh Where

“Does this product deserve a space on your shelf?” 

We took two years to be able to say, hell yeah!

So here’s the story we wanted to share that we feel is more important than any blow-by-blow sales talk. Because hey, you can read that here. Instead, let’s talk about the story behind the HA+ Hydrating Serum. 

And that’s really our clients’ stories that we’re sharing. Every day, our clients talk to us. It goes beyond “How’s your day?” – beyond skin deep. Many tell us they have oily skin (but they’re really just dehydrated). A few struggle with how to properly moisturize dry skin.  The ultimate question that triggers our brainstorming frenzy:

“I can’t find anything out there that works for me; do you have a solution?”

The truth is, there are many incredible products out there with great anti-ageing benefits, or hydration, or acne control. And that was when it hit us – the keyword is “or”. There is a plethora of products in the market that specifically focus on just one or two main skin concerns. For example, there are many rich creams. Plenty that contain hyaluronic acid. Even more with ingredients that help boost collagen levels… But how many anti-ageing products had more benefits than just plumping up wrinkles? How many could be used by certain people that provide the benchmark of it being suitable for anyone and everyone – people with sensitive or even acneic skin?

“What gap are we trying to fill here?”

With that, out popped our latest flagship product, the HA+ Hydrating Serum – specially designed not just for anti-ageing and hydration, but also to combat acne (with good bacteria) and soothe and even heal sensitive skin. A product to fill out all that the “Ors” couldn’t – to fill the gap that our clients helped us realize was there.


To you.
 

Stay True and #StayHAdrated,
(AND shop the NEW HA+ Hydrating Serum at www.ShopPorcelain.com now),

READ MORE STORIES HERE:

Catch up with our previous #BareWithMe and #DearPauline interviews with Viola TanLucinda Law and Hanli Hoefer too.

#BAREWITHME: Viola Tan on Vulnerability

#INSIDERNEWS – #BareWithMe Campaign 2018

#DearPauline: Our Very Own Beauty Column!

With an endless selection of skin care products available on the market, it’s understandably nerve-wracking to find the right products to develop a skin care routine suitable for your skin. No two skins are the same and no skincare routine is universal, so the routine you pick should definitely be one that’s suited for your skin type. Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to help you devise an easy and personalised routine for flawless skin.

4 Steps to Flawless Skin | #SkinHacks

First off, get to know your skin

The process of building a personalised skin care routine begins with recognising your individual skin type and having a radiant and glowing complexion as the desired outcome, as you’d want your skin to benefit from it and not leave your skin high and dry.

While some skin care products do wonders for your skin, using them in an incorrect sequence or inappropriate regime may end up irritating and agonising your skin.

Here are the four commonly known skin types, as categorised by the cosmetic industry:

  • Normal skin: You have a balanced complexion and your skin appears refined with little to no blemishes. Acne and sensitivity concerns are a rarity to you. To sum it up, this is the skin type we all dream to achieve.
  • Oily skin: Your skin is no stranger to congestion and acne, appears shiny and feels oily throughout the day. While the cause for oily skin can mainly be attributed to genetics, ample hydration of the skin (go for non-comedogenic products!) can keep your sebum production levels in check.
  • Dry skin/Sensitive skin: Your skin appears rough and flaky, and you may find some products to be particularly stinging to your skin. This is due to the skin’s damaged moisture barrier which impedes its ability to lock in moisture, causing your skin to be especially sensitive and more easily inflamed.
  • Combination skin: You would often experience your skin to be oily in some areas, such as the T-zone and dry at the others. Instead of having two different routines for your skin, it may be more useful to find one that consists of different products to target a variety of skin issues.

Hey, keep it clean!

Proper cleansing is the first step and foundation of an effective skincare routine. It’s also probably the most important one of all – as this step sets up your skin for the rest of the steps and products that follow after.

Look for an alcohol-free, gentle cleanser that doesn’t contain strip your skin of its natural oils and dry out your skin. Gently wash your skin, then rinse with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as it removes the natural oils from your face faster.

Porcelain Recommends: Revive, Makeup Cleanser 

makeup-sq_1024x1024

The Revive, Makeup Cleanser is an oil-free, sulfate-free, and paraben-free cleanser, which also doubles as a pre-cleanser. Invigorate your skin by gently massaging the cleanser into your skin! It melts away impurities and makeup. The antioxidant-rich Orchid extract nourishes and regulates pigmentation while Horse Chestnut extract purifies and prevents further ageing.

Remove dead skin cells

Exfoliation helps keep your skin clear and more even as it gets rid of flaky skin cells. Look for chemical exfoliants as they do a better job of dissolving dead skin cells without irritating or damaging the skin. The exfoliator should be applied to damp skin in a gentle, circular motion. And remember: don’t scrub! Scrubbing only aggravates the skin and exacerbates any existing skin issues.

Porcelain Recommends: Revive, Natural Skin Refiner

The Revive, Natural Skin Refiner is a non-abrasive exfoliant, as it makes use of natural enzymes instead of harsh beads that may cause irritation to the skin. With a potent blend of aloe vera and natto extracts, the refiner gently clears congestion and refines pores without drying out your skin. Gently massage in a circular motion to boost micro-circulation and allow its natural enzymes to soften dead skin cells.

Toned and ready

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!

Porcelain Recommends: Revive, Glycolic Toner

glycolic-sq_1024x1024An alcohol-free toner formulated with glycolic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells, the Revive, Glycolic Acid Toner removes excess sebum, impurities and dead skin cells, to clarify the skin to make way for a brighter, clearer complexion. After cleansing and exfoliation, apply on a cotton pad and gently swipe on your skin. The best part of it all: it doesn’t dry out your skin!

Hydration is key

After cleansing, exfoliating and toning your face, it’s time to moisturise your skin. Moisturising is an essential step for your skin as it prevents dryness, flakiness, acne and wrinkles. Don’t skip this step if you’re looking for younger looking skin! Fine lines and wrinkles smoothen out when our skin remains hydrated.

Porcelain Recommends: Balance, Hydraclear Gel

After cleansing and toning, apply the Hydraclear Gel with a gentle tapping motion to massage into skin. This clear and lightweight gel works hard to keep acne, inflammation, bacteria and excess sebum at bay while keeping your skin moisturised and pH levels balanced.

Stay True,


READ MORE STORIES HERE:

Managing Acne | #SkinHacks

Our Very Own Beauty Column! | #DearPauline

Our Beauty Guru On “Skin” | #DearPauline

Regarded as the most common skin type, combination skin can be tricky to deal with as most products are designed to deal specifically with dry or oily skin – you hardly see bottles labelled “for combination skin”. So how do you know which products you can and should be using? The trick is fairly simple.

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No two skins are the same. Are you Asian? Are you in Asia? It all matters and will affect how you care for it. Here are 6 differences that Asian skin has compared to other skins.

1. Prone To Sensitivity

Our skin is said to be prone to irritation as we have a thinner stratum corneum or the outermost layer of skin, compared to other ethnic groups. As a result, Asian skin becomes extremely sensitive to environmental factors and chemicals, which can disrupt the skin’s pH level.

We need to be more careful with what products and treatments we use on our skin as most of us may not react well to harsh treatments such as peeling or acidic chemical solutions.

Asian skin is more prone to sensitivity

Credit: Aiony Haust

2. Scars More Easily

Because of our thinner stratum corneum, it is also said that Asian skin is genetically predisposed to scar more easily than others. Hence, greater care must be given when one has acne breakout and when one is trying to heal from some skin scarring.

Do not go squeezing that pimple and poking at that acne. Use gentle products like emu oil or Vitamin E to heal the scars.

3. More Issues With Hyper-Pigmentation

All skin contains about the same number of melanocytes but the amount of melanin they produce varies. Melanin is a natural skin pigment that protects the skin from UV damage. Obviously, dark-skinned people produce more melanin and light skin people produce less. While research has indicated that Asians have more photo-protective pigment melanin.

Use sunscreen religiously and use a product containing gentle skin brightening properties from your early twenties. Avoid hydroquinone!

Asian skin is more prone to hyper-pigmentation

Credit: Brock Elbank

4. Loses Moisture Easily

Asian skin showed the highest levels of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), as well as increased levels of permeability. TEWL is the amount of water vapour lost through the skin under non-sweating conditions.

We need more skin hydration and it’ll be good to choose a moisturizer high in water-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.

Asian skin loses moisture more easily

5. Gets Oily More Easily

It is often said that Asian skin has more sebaceous glands and is oilier than Caucasian skin type. This might have to do with the weather as well but it is generally true that most of us are constantly fighting to keep shine away from our skin.

Our skin may get clogged easily and it’ll be good to exfoliate once or twice a week. In addition, do not use harsh products that will strip away our natural skin lipids and make the skin oilier.

6. More Resistant To Aging

While we have a thinner stratum corneum, we also have a thicker dermis that contains greater collagen. This means that our skin shows fewer signs of premature ageing.