What is Evening Primrose Oil?

Primrose oil is extracted evening primrose plant seeds, a native plant in the Europe, North America and parts of the southern hemisphere. Its seeds, roots and leaves contain high medicinal value and are used widely in cooking. Primrose oil contains a high level of omega-6 fatty acids which have a beneficial effect on our human body. Other than fighting numerous ailments such as chronic fatigue, PMS, heart problems, it is good for our hair and skin too. View Post

Yes, we know differentiating skin care products can be quite a hair-pulling experience, and we often end up asking ourselves ‘what does what again?’

Differentiating Skin Care Products

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With the increasing amount and ranges of beauty products, each proclaiming to solve a specific skin problem and suitable for different skin types, choosing the right skin care product can become a huge hassle.

What’s more, now your product comes in different textures and forms! Take moisturizer for example. Most of us know it’s important to use a moisturizer to keep our skin hydrated, but how many of us know what’s the difference between an emulsion, a lotion or a cream/gel-based moisturizer.

To make it as easily digestible as possible, we’ve created a simple guide to teach you the difference between the commonly mixed up skin care products…

1. Sunblock vs. Sunscreen  

A sunblock usually has a thicker consistency that is able to stay longer on the skin. It contains physical blocks like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. When you apply sunblock, the rays are deflected before it penetrates your skin.

Sunscreen, on the other hand, absorbs the UV rays to prevent your skin from taking them in. It contains chemicals like avobenzone, oxybenzone etc, which can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions if you have sensitive skin.

Rule of thumb: Choose a sunblock or sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection!  Use a sunblock instead of sunscreen if you have sensitive skin.

2. Serum vs. Essence

Serums are basically a lighter form of essence. You might have noticed that they are usually more pricey than your regular moisturizer. This is because they contain a high concentration of ingredients, designed to target specific skin problems, and also help in the absorption of your moisturizer. Essence, on the other hand, contains essential ingredients that feed your skin nutrients. Essentially, serums are usually lighter and more concentrated than essences.

3. Emulsion vs. Lotion

Emulsions and lotions are lighter forms of creams, so they’re generally more suitable for people with sensitive skin.

The difference between emulsions and lotions is simple – lotion is thicker than emulsion. So if you have ultra thin and sensitive skin, it is best that you use an emulsion, which is less likely to irritate your skin or clog your pores.

4. Cream vs. Gel Based Moisturizer

Gel- vs. cream-based moisturizers: What's the difference?

Credit: Ian Dooley

Gel-based moisturizers tend to be the thinnest and easiest to penetrate quickly into your skin. As a gel-based moisturizer is not as rich as a cream-based moisturizer, it is less likely to clog your pores. Cream-based moisturizers, being the richest of all, is most suitable for dry or ultra dry skin.

For our Singaporean readers:

Based on our experience, Singapore’s climate causes you to have oily skin that appears dry on the surface. This means that a cream based moisturizer is likely to be too rich for your skin. Avoid cream-based moisturizers, as it is likely to clog your pores!

Take care of that ring on it,


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Workouts can sometimes lead to acne because of the heavy sweating and lack of immediate showering facilities.

On the other hand, if you’ve ever exercised, run in for a shower, and stepped out, you’ll notice that your hair tends to fall flat or even frizz. It’s true – in today’s day and age we have to fit our workouts in the wee hours of the morning (right before the whole family wakes up!), before a PTA meeting or right before an evening movie date. But your workout doesn’t have to spell doom for your social life. Today, we have for you our top 5 post-workout beauty tips. Practise these and you’ll never have to regret a pre-party workout ever again!

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Hair

If your workout isn’t very high tempo, or if you’re taking a low intensity workout break, then consider weaving your hair in a loose bun or ponytail. This will save you from the routine post-workout hair wash. Complete the look with a hair cream or serum and you are good to go. Keeping the messy look out, this will help in adding shine and style to your hair.

On routine workout days, pick mild shampoos and heavy duty conditioners to help retain moisture despite daily washing. You’ll be happy to know that you can wash your hair every day without any worries of drying it out.

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Skin 

A quick shower is definitely and most certainly preferred immediately after a workout; post which you must use a good deoderant. If you need to pack in a few chores before your post-workout shower, then at least wash your face with some cold water. Use a non-drying gel cleanser or a face wash in order to keep oil and sweat at bay.

Do not believe makeup pundits who insist on advocating a dry shower (powder and deo) routine after a workout. If you’re not sweating enough to warrant a post-workout shower, you’re doing something wrong.

Do not use very dry products on your skin as your post workout routine, you wouldn’t want a scratchy, flaky and itching skin. Moisturizers with ingredients, such as chamomile or white tea aid in keeping the skin calm by taking the pressure off the pores. The best way to hydrate your skin, during and post workout is to drink oodles of water.

Clothing

Sitting in your workout clothes hours after your workout session is not very healthy. Make sure that when you shower, you change everything – from your underclothes, to your socks, shoes, even hairbands and wristbands!

Shorts, three-fourths, full length track pants are all comfortable workout kit options. The shorts you choose should not be too tight. They should fit you well and not restrict exercise movement. The three-fourths’ or track pants should be blended cotton (for stretching comfort) or 100 % cotton fabric. The waistband elastic or drawstring should be covered and not too tight so that it doesn’t pinch and irritate your skin. Also look at dry fit T-shirts, cut -sleeves or basketball jerseys, sweat shirts (with sleeves or without sleeves will depend as per the weather conditions), and athletic tank tops. The best fabric to choose is dry fit, as it wicks moisture and keeps the skin dry.

Head To Toe

A head to toe routine post your workout session is a must. A few points, that you should consider:

  • Use disposable body wipes or medicated/herbal wet tissues right after a workout. This will help in removing excess oil from your skin.
  • Always carry a small towel with you to wipe the excess sweat.
  • Avoid touching your face time and again with bare hands to keep bacterial infections and acne at bay.
  • A foot deodorizer is a great way to clean your feet after a heavy workout.

If you find that your skin is thin, turns red, gets irritated, swells, flakes, and suffers from blemishes easily, you likely have sensitive skin. By understanding your skin better, you will know what ingredients and treatments to go for and avoid. Read on to find out how to care for sensitive skin in humid climates!

Types & Causes of Sensitive Skin

Most sensitive skin types fall under four categories: Rosacea, Acne, Burning & Stinging and Contact Dermatitis which includes Allergies and Irritants. Our recommendations below are meant for general skin irritations. More severe conditions like Rosacea and Eczema usually require oral prescriptions.

Common Causes of Sensitive Skin

Acne can be caused by hormones and/or genetics. Usually, they form because of a combination of excessive sebum production and high levels of P.acnes bacteria. Apart from hormonal fluctuations and genetics, using the wrong skincare products and/or lack of proper cleansing can increase breakouts. These congest pores, leading to whiteheads and blackheads. When P.acnes bacteria infect them, pimples and acne form, causing inflamed, painful and sensitive skin.

Rosacea is a chronic sensitive condition and may be caused by genetics, vascular instability and sun exposure. People with this condition experience pimples, flushing, broken vessels on the face and uneven skin.

Burning & Stinging can be caused by a myriad of irritants, the most common of which being AHAs, Vitamin C, Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, Azaelic Acid and Benzoic Acid. Its actual cause has not yet been determined and triggers differ from person to person. E.g. Person A may react to Glycolic Acid but not to Lactic Acid and Person B may react to both.

Contact Dermatitis can be caused by either irritants or allergies. The latter may be caused by environmental or dietary factors, and/or topical ingredients. Allergens can cause increased redness, swelling, burning and itching, amongst others. Irritants may include chemicals, body fluids, environmental factors and mechanical factors, e.g. friction and pressure.

Active Ingredients & Their Concentrations

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Government regulations dictate that product ingredients must be listed in descending order of concentration. For ingredients with less than 1% concentration, they can be listed in any order. Hence, we can see that most products have Aqua or Water listed as their first ingredient.

Active ingredients account for products’ benefits. For example, a proper sunscreen should contain an appropriate amount of Zinc or Titanium Dioxide. We don’t need active ingredients to be listed as the first or second on the list as they aren’t usually needed in high concentrations to be effective. But also ensure it’s not listed as the last few ingredients! A product claiming to be an antioxidant, for example, should not have L-ascorbic Acid at the end of the list.

Parabens Or Not

There has been debate over the past decade on whether parabens are bad. Parabens, in the forms of Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben and Butylparaben, are widely used in all cosmetic products as preservatives. They prevent the growth of microbes and/or bacteria to extend our cosmetic products’ shelf lives beyond 2 months. They also keep products safe for use, without having to worry about potential infections.

Alternatives like DMDM Hydantoin have been offered, but in some formulations, parabens remain more effective alternatives. Hence, they’re probably still here to stay for a while.

“All Natural” Claims

Credit: Took A Pic

There is no firm regulation that dictates what “natural” means. Neither are there rules on the percentage of ingredients that has to come from natural sources for it be labelled as such. Many products claim to be natural although it contains only one or two such ingredients. Some “natural” ingredients constitute only a small percentage of the actual product makeup.

Did you know? Natural products may contain chemical substances too. Although they aren’t necessarily all bad, read the ingredient list carefully to ensure they do not use any chemical additives. These products tend to have a much shorter shelf life too.

Organic Claims

Likewise, there is no firm regulation for products claiming to be “organic”. Even if the product has a minute percentage of an organic ingredient, it can claim to be an “organic” product.

Marketing Terms & Techniques You Should Know

Terms such as Hypo-Allergenic, Dermatologically Tested, Allergy Screened and Fragrance-Free are commonly found on many products’ labels. In reality, these terms are vague and unspecific. There are no known industry standards of measurement and no legal definition to them.

Are All Chemical Ingredients Bad?

Most compounds in their natural states cannot be formulated into skin care products. They have to be chemically altered before they can be used. By enhancing these natural ingredients, they become more stable and safer for the skin. Moreover, advances of technology in cosmetic formulations have enabled formulators to create exciting new ingredients to benefit consumers.

Have you learnt more about how to care for your sensitive skin in humid climates yet?