Beauty

Dermal detox: How to rescue your skin from a week’s worth of sun and city pollution

Is the sun and smog ‘fogging’ up your pores? Get out of a tight spot with our top tips and tricks for clearing out facial pits and pores, quickly and gently to boot

Image: 123rf.com

Pore size appears to be a national beauty obsession – which is just as well, really, because the horrid haze that’s become an annual lowlight for Singapore has the pore-clogging potential to wreak serious havoc on our skin. 

Happily, we're here to help. Here’s a handy to-do list to get cracking on, stat:

Come clean, so to speak. Cleanliness is truly of the essence, not least of all when you skin has been marinating in a slurry of airborne pollutants the entire day.

“If you’re exposed to the haze for a prolonged duration, be sure to wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove any particles deposited on your skin,” advises Dr Karen Soh, medical director of Prive Clinic. “At the same time, it’s important not to scrub your face too aggressively, as this may lead to the loss of natural oils on the skin.”

The solution? Zero in on soap-free solvents, which are less likely to cause the dehydration and skin irritation that can boil over into blemishes. My recommendation? You’ll be in for a ton of good clean fun with a mousse facial wash. As dense as their delicious monicker suggests, mousse cleansers feel exactly like shaving foam, and are said to be the perfect consistency for delivering any number of soothing targeted treatments deep into your skin. (Just remember to cap your cleansing to twice a day.)

Peel away the past. I’m talking about at-home peels, which make for the perfect midway point between milder everyday exfoliants and mysteriously long lunch breaks spent with an aesthetician. Zero in on products amped up with antioxidants that’ll aid in reversing the ravages of radical damage. My obsession du jour has to be Elizabeth Arden’s new Prevage City Smart Double Action Detox Peel Off Mask, which is positively packed with a potent botanical blend that promise to detoxify and diminish the dullness of stressed-out skin.

With any luck, your face should boast a smooth-as-silk finish once you’re done with your treatment. As always, remember to spot-test on the nook of your elbow and start slow; once a week should suffice.

Don’t let your mask slip! If peels sound too potent for your purposes, try a milder mask instead. There are a plethora of pore-tightening poultices lining the beauty aisles, but I’m particularly fond of those containing charcoal, an incredibly absorbent ingredient which is great for getting under the skin and clearing out unwanted riff-raff clogging up your pores.

A gentle reminder to slip, slop, slap. Little Miss Sunshine, cover up, please. Tanning thickens the outermost layer of skin (the “epidermis” in derm-speak), which can cause the buildup of gunk in your pores. Here’s Dr Karen Soh again: “During the day, always apply a non-comedogenic product with SPF to create a barrier between your skin and the haze.” I adore the featherweight finish of Shiseido's Perfect UV Protector Hydrofresh SPF50+/PA++++, which comes fortified with a formula that promises to bind ever so tighter to your skin in the presence of perspiration – perfect for sweaty Sundays at Siloso.

Partake of these pore-tightening provisions. Could that trope about being what we eat hold true? We're not taking any chances! Smog-induced stress can impair your immune system, making your skin unfair game for spot-causing bacteria.

The solution: Eat up to provide protection from the inside out. Top treats to try? “Indulge in foods such as broccoli, seaweed and blueberries, all of which boast rich anti-inflammatory properties,” recommends Dr Karen. Duly noted!

Easy enough, right? We can’t change the weather, but we can certainly buffer it against the elements with these simple skincare tips. Here’s to perfectly petite pores for everyone!

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