I can already hear you groaning, “Oh no! Not another post about fruits and vegetables!”

Don’t worry; I’m not going to tell you about what to eat and what not to eat. In this two-part special, I’ll be giving you more details on a very popular skin care ingredient: Vitamin C. It’s time to expand your knowledge of this vitamin that almost synonymous with citrus fruits!

The Vitamin C Goodness

In a nutshell, vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. Adding vitamin C to a culture of skin cell (fibroblast) dramatically increases the synthesis of collagen. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant so it can help to reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. This means that, if properly administered into skin cells, there is a good chance that vitamin C can reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. Consider that the signs of aging skin are similar to those associated with the loss of collagen production and damaged collagen. Vitamin C will then be a good weapon to use against the effects of time. It will also be a good ingredient to use in the treatment of aging skin.

Another benefit of vitamin C is that it can lessen hyperpigmentation (at levels 3% or greater) as vitamin C can block tyrosinase, an enzyme that catalyses the production of melanin. This means that topically, vitamin C provides a small amount of UV protection and using a vitamin C serum in the day can give your sunscreen an extra boost. However, it takes about six months to see results.

So Much Goodness!

Hold your horses dears! Before you run off to buy all the vitamin C products off the racks, remember that there are always two sides to a coin. There are some important points you have to take note of when you’re using your vitamin C product. First, vitamin C is relatively unstable as it is easily converted to its oxidised forms in the presence of air or other oxidising agents. Once oxidised, it will not only lose its efficiency, but it might also harm your skin by promoting free radical formation, causing damage to vital molecules such as proteins and DNA. Secondly, only highly concentrated preparations (10% or more) deliver enough vitamin C to the cells to be topically effective.

Can You C It?

There are many vitamin C products out there on the market.  A lot of them have high concentrations of stabilised vitamin C. However, even stabilised vitamin C products might be somewhat oxidised by the time you use them. Your best bet is to purchase vitamin C products that are either white or colourless and stored in a dark bottle. Oxidised at advanced levels, vitamin C will acquire a yellowish tint. This may be the reason why some manufacturers add colouring to their vitamin C products. Unfortunately, this is not a tell-tale indication of oxidised vitamin C as it is colourless at its initial stages. Vitamin C products stored in dark coloured containers can help to prevent oxidation.

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Stay tuned for the next part of this series! I’ll be talking about the different derivatives of vitamin C often found in skin care products! Whatever is it, just always remember that there is no single miracle ingredient in skin care. Like other products, always use them with caution. Always pick products from a trustworthy source and watch out for the expiration date. More importantly, always store your products properly (in cool dry places) to stretch the shelf life of your product!(:

There are several key components to anti-aging skincare in the effective prevention and treatment of fine lines, wrinkles and the loss of youthful glow. In addition to the potential benefits of an anti aging skin care product, some basic skincare tips to maintain a young, healthy appearance include:

Sun Protection

Carefully protecting your skin from the sun’s rays is one of the most important elements of skincare to prevent signs of premature aging. The sun can cause over-drying of the surface, as well as damage cellular processes that are required in order for the skin to repair itself and maintain its moisture and elasticity.

This can lead to pigmentation changes, a thinning or rougher texture, and an overall less cared for appearance. Caring for your skin in order to prevent sun damage requires the use of an SPF product daily, taking care not to neglect the lips, and take additional precautionary measures such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat, avoiding direct sun during peak hours, and choosing shade whenever possible.

Moisturize

A second key component of anti-aging skincare is the use of moisturizing products appropriate to your skin type to replenish and protect the skin’s precious water reserves. Numerous factors affect our skin’s hydration levels, including perspiration, bathing, deep cleansing, and exposure to harsh climates or extreme temperatures.

Ease your skin’s cares by carefully choosing products that will soothe and moisturize gently and effectively, while avoiding ingredients that would irritate your sensitivities. Oily and problem skin need to stick to water-based products, but more intensive treatment is generally required for dry, sensitive and aging skin. Products that incorporate added nutrients, antioxidants and vitamins provide an extra caring approach if you’ve decided it’s time to gently get tough with your wrinkles.

Lifestyle

Your body works as a complete system, and your skin’s health should be looked at as part of the whole. Several important practices will benefit your skin as well as overall health and well being:

  • Drinking water – get plenty of it. Stay hydrated from the inside out and reap the rewards all over. Adequate fluids help flush out impurities and waste materials which will show in your face’s healthy glow, as well as maintain surface moisture levels
  • Exercise – an appropriate level of physical exertion will boost energy levels, and promote good circulation in the skin and throughout your body. Avoid exercising in extreme temperatures though, and be sure to drink lots of water during and after a workout.
  • Eat well – taking care to avoid junk food and eat lots of fruits and vegetables will ensure your body has the fuel it needs to look and feel its best
  • Rest – fatigue is not pretty, and is hard to hide. Care for yourself by getting sufficient sleep every day and give your body the downtime it needs to restore itself.

The most effective skincare strategy to preventing and reducing unwanted signs of age will incorporate all these elements of a daily routine designed to care, protect, restore and beautify. Show yourself and your skin the care you deserve, and pamper yourself a little. Wash away the stress and cares of the outside world in order to face it again tomorrow, with renewed reserves and a fresh outlook.

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.

For All Skin Types

Egg White Mask

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites, separated from the yolk and placed in a bowl

Preparation:

  1. Separate the egg whites from a couple eggs and place them in a bowl.
  2. Mix them up and apply to face.
  3. Leave on face for a few minutes.
  4. Rinse face in warm water.

For Oily Skin

Strawberry & Lemon Mask

Strawberry and lemon juice contain natural astringents. Note: Recipe works for two people, so invite a friend, or cut recipe in half for just you.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tsp honey
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • Optional: 4 drops of your favorite essential oils

Preparation:

  1. Mash or blend the above ingredients.
  2. Smooth over face.
  3. Let it stay for 10 minutes.
  4. Rinse.

For Dry/Chapped Skin

Dark Chocolate Mask

Dark chocolate – better for your skin than you think! Here is how to use dark chocolate on your skin for a delicious facial. If you love chocolate and happen to have some to spare, try this delicious facial.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bars of dark chocolate
  • 2/3 cup of milk
  • Sea salt

Preparation:

  1. Heat nutty dark chocolate in a boiler. 3 minutes will work well.
  2. Mix sea salt and 2/3 of a cup milk in a bowl.
  3. Remove melted chocolate from heat. Mix melted chocolate with salt/milk mixture.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Apply to your face while cool but not hardened. Before the chocolate becomes hard, smear on your face and leave it on until it hardens.
  6. Wash or chip off with a mild cleanser and warm water.

For Sensitive Skin

Yoghurt Face Mask

This mask is great for soothing chapped, sunburned or otherwise irritated skin.
Extra tip: This mask works well for other skin types as well. For oily skin, add a couple drops of lemon or lime juice. For dry skin, mix in a couple tablespoons of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural yogurt (we like it just-out-of-the-fridge cold and I love the brand Fage’s “Total” pictured here, because it’s creamy and thick)
  • ½ cup oatmeal (any type of basic oatmeal works here)

Preparation:

  1. Mix the ingredients together.
  2. Apply to the skin for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Wash off mask with a washcloth steamed in the microwave (careful that it’s not too hot).

For Combination Skin

Rose Mask

This mask, based on roses, is perfect for balancing out the oily and dry areas of your skin.

Ingredients:

  • Optional: 6 fresh rose petals
  • 2 tbsps rosewater
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt, room temperature (not lowfat or non-fat)
  • 1 tbsp runny honey (to get honey runny, you can warm it in a microwave for a few seconds).

Preparation:

  1. Soak rose petals, then crush them in a bowl.
  2. Add the rosewater, yogurt and honey.
  3. Mix well and apply to the skin.
  4. Leave on for 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse.

 

The skin is the largest organ in the human body, and it really takes a beating. Aloe Vera can help alleviate this beating. Read on, and we’ll tell you more about Aloe Vera and its healing benefits.

Aloe, Our Hero!

Credit: Stanislav Kondratiev

Every day we subject our skin to a rigorous routine. Scrubbing madly with harsh, chemical-laden soaps, peeling away hair with deep slicing razor blades, dousing ourselves with moisture-sucking perfumes and cologne, subjecting ourselves to the scorching sun, beating rain, pelting snow or stinging wind. This leaves our skin wide-open to a whole host of problems such as Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Dryness, Scaling and Flaking, Eczema, Chaffing and Chapping, Sunburn & Allergic Reactions.

If you regularly slather cortisone creams or antibiotic ointments to try and heal these conditions, you may be doing your skin more harm than good because these medicines contain powerful steroids which actually thin your skin and leave it prone to even greater irritations!

Aloe Vera is a cactus-like plant growing in the warmer climates of the world and are described as succulents. Aloe vera is a very popular herbal remedy. The Aloe vera plant (also called Aloe Barbadensis) is unique among plants for its importance in natural skin care. It has healing properties, anti-inflammatory properties, scar reducing properties for wounds.

But that’s not all, aloe vera also:

  • Helps cuts, bruises and burns heal faster
  • Minimizes scarring
  • Relieves heat on the skin caused by sunburn
  • Destroys bacteria that try to invade cuts or open wounds
  • Forms a protective barrier around achy and sore joints and muscles
  • Relieves inflammation and redness
  • Soothes itching and helps restore skin’s natural beauty
  • Nourishes the skin and tissues with body-loving nutrients such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C

You might also want to read up on Aloe Vera’s benefits for skin, hair, health and heart diseases.