Ever wondered about the reason behind your dull skin, even after a good night’s rest and use of proper skincare? One of the key reasons behind dull skin is insufficient oxygen flow, but there are other factors that matter.

  1. Improper diet, lifestyle and dehydration causes dull skin

Our skin reflects the food we eat. Proper nutrition greatly affects the health of your skin! The late nights partying may seem like harmless #YOLO fun, but drinking and smoking severely dehydrate the skin. Keep yourself adequately hydrated after a night out, eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise regularly to get the blood pumping!

  1. Environmental pollution, too.

Environmental pollution can result in dull skin

Credit: Joe Robles

For city dwellers, smog, dust and other kinds of environmental pollutants congest our pores daily. Environmental pollution also increases the free radicals in your cells, which cause premature ageing. Ensure you double cleanse daily with an antioxidant-rich milk cleanser before your usual cleanser for a hydrating deep cleanse. This rids your skin of unwanted congestion.

  1. Lack of proper exfoliation

Regular exfoliation prevents the buildup of dead skin cells. It also stimulates the cell renewal process and microcirculation as you massage your skin. Do use gentle, hydrating exfoliators as over-drying ingredients can stimulate more sebum and unwanted skin issues.

  1. Sun exposure

Sun exposure can result in dull skin

Credit: William Randles

A bad tan is not the only problem that comes from prolonged sun exposure to the sun. Your complexion can also become dull and your skin can take on a leathery, rough feeling. Apply (and reapply) sunscreen to slow the ageing process.

  1. Air-conditioned spaces

Air conditioning may be the greatest invention of the 21st century, but it causes dehydration to the skin. Using a humidifier when and applying moisturizers before you sleep can help your skin remain hydrated!

With all these factors in play, it is important for your skincare routine to include products that are suitable for your skin. Porcelain’s new and proprietary Revive, Glycolic Acid Toner is alcohol-, paraben- and mineral oil-free to prevent skin irritation. Boasting ingredients like witch hazel, Vitamin C and aloe vera, the Glycolic Toner also has glycolic acid and lactic acid to gently exfoliate dead skin cells while thoroughly removing traces of makeup and dirt that may be left behind even after cleansing.

What’s left is skin with pH balance-restored at its natural level to allow for better absorption of products. Lactic acid, a.k.a. alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), also increases collagen production to aid in skin regeneration as the skin ages. Besides unclogging pores and reducing the chances of a breakout, sodium hyaluronate in the toner locks in moisture to leave your complexion smooth and supple.

Here are other benefits the Glycolic Acid Toner can offer:

  • Tone and brighten skin
  • Visibly reduce the appearance of pore size
  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of ageing
  • Refine skin texture

Fixing Dull Skin: The Glycolic Toner gently exfoliates dead skin cells for a clear, radiant complexion

For every strand of hair on your body, there is a corresponding pore. We can’t see all the skin pores, and the same holds true for hair. While we share the same number of hair as apes, human hair is much less coarse, and most are so wispy they can’t really be seen.

Skin Pores: How Do They Work?

Credit: Gabriela Mendes

The average adult has around 5 million hairs on his or her body. If you think you suffer from large pores and feel low about it, take heart! 4.9 million or so of them are nice and tiny.

Maintaining clean, healthy skin pores is important for maintaining healthy (and healthy-looking) skin. Dirt and oil collect around them like leaves and debris collect around a storm drain. When these get clogged, it creates a pile-up of oil and dead skin cells in the follicle. Soon, bacteria make their way to the blockage, and the growth in bacteria causes inflammation.

Now, if you keep squeezing, poking and rubbing the blocked pore, it doesn’t help one bit. It only adds more oil, dirt and unwelcome physical pressure — everything a zit needs to flourish. Worse, you may just make those pores stretch more.

While there isn’t a permanent solution to shrink skin pores, there are ways you can make them look smaller.

To learn more about skin pores, read on!

The Function of Skin Pores

The Function of Skin Pores

Credit: Tookapic

Our skin is abundant with hair follicles, tiny shafts through which hair can grow.

“Follicles” and “pores” are sometimes used interchangeably, and other times referred to as two different things. In truth, the pore is simply the opening on the skin of the hair follicle, which extends downward through several layers of skin.

If a hair follicle were a tall chimney, the pore would be the opening at the top of the chimney. Instead of emitting smoke, the follicle emits a shaft of hair. Skin cells are constantly dying inside the follicle. Additionally, small sebaceous glands located inside the follicle (picture a cul-de-sac located to the side of an otherwise straight road) produce oil called sebum. Sebum is a mixture of fats, proteins, cholesterol and inorganic salts. It travels up the follicle and (in a perfect world) exits through the pore. It also carries dead skin cells found within the follicle up to the skin’s surface.

What about sweat — doesn’t that come out of the same pores? No. Sweat is produced by separate glands that also heavily populate your skin. However, it does still affect your skin’s appearance. Once it reaches the surface, it dries and leaves salts behind that can block your pores.

This mixture of oil and dead skin cells helps to coat your skin, protecting it from bacteria, viruses, wind and rain. Sometimes, though, the pore is occluded (blocked) and the materials trying to get out can’t, resulting in acne.

If you have large pores, here’s some good news. As we age, our skin produces less oil, leading to dryness. This dryness, coupled with environmental damage to the skin, causes the skin to age and wrinkle. Large pores produce more oil, and this comes in handy later in life when your skin needs it most.

Maintenance of Skin Pores

Maintenance of Skin Pores

Credit: Kevin Laminto

Many people don’t like having noticeable pores, but there are steps you can take to minimize their appearance:

  • If you use makeup, wash it off every night with a gentle cleanser to prevent pore blockage.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. The sun and ageing thicken the outer layer of skin, and as the tide of skin cells rises, they form a tiny volcano rim around pores. This makes pores seem bigger than they really are.
  • Oily-looking skin tends to make pores look larger. Wash your face regularly with mild, hydrating cleansers.
  • Debris, such as dead skin cells, collects around the edges of pores, making them look bigger. Topical Vitamin A treatments can prevent skin cells in the pore from sticking and clogging it up, and help reduce the ridges or rims that develop around pores.
  • Exfoliating treatments like microdermabrasion (where tiny particles are blasted against your face and immediately vacuumed back up) remove dead skin layers with the goal of making your skin look smoother. Some people opt for chemical peels or laser resurfacing, but these are more intensive procedures and carry the possibility of unwanted side effects.

As frustrating as it can be to have large pores, you can minimize their appearance — and your frustration — through regular care and maintenance.

Begin a healthy diet and lifestyle:  Your lifestyle habits do not only affect your health but also affects the way you look. Therefore, in order to feel healthy and look healthy, it is important to have a well-balanced diet and reduce your salt intake as well as consumption of fried or unhealthy stuff.

Also, our skin regenerates itself while we are asleep. Hence, it is not difficult to understand why a lack of sleep will be detrimental to our skin’s health. In order to achieve healthy and glowing skin, be sure to sleep early and get at least 6 hours of sleep. I’m sure these tips are not new to us, but despite knowing it, many of us still fail to be disciplined enough.

So if it helps, try to do this step by step, start by reducing the amount of junk food you eat and sleeping an hour earlier than you normally do and gradually improve your lifestyle habits. Remember, all this effort put in to maintain our body and skin health is for our own good, and it’s worth it!

Reduce stress levels:  Make it a point to give yourself some personal time and space to do things that you like such as reading a book. At the same time, it is important that work and stress are not causing you to withdraw from your friends, family and other social activities as keeping to yourself may cause severe stress or personal issues.

Pamper yourself once in a while. Go for a short massage, spa or manicure, or even plan for a short trip overseas with your friends or family. You will feel re-charged and revitalized, and you will be surprised by the improvement in your productivity level.

Practice a proper skincare regime:
1. Cleansing – It is an important step as it removes dirt, excess natural skin oils, bacteria etc. It also helps your skin breathe and attain the correct nourishment.
2. Exfoliation- Exfoliate your way to radiant skin
3. Toning – Toning balances your pH level, minimizes your pore size and prepares your skin for further treatments. It also replenishes the moisture you lose when you cleanse your face.

Enhance your beauty: At Porcelain, we believe that good skin should be clear and radiant from within. To do so, we advocate “foundation free” makeup so as to let our skin breathe. Nevertheless, we understand the importance of makeup to many women nowadays.

Hence, here are some simple makeup tricks to enhance your overall appearance without adding burden to your skin:
1. Apply a light tinted sunscreen as a base to protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays.
2. Apply thin liner using pencil/liquid liner, whichever you prefer and draw the line as close to you lash-line as possible, so it looks very natural but at the same time accentuates your eyes.
3. Apply mascara by placing the mascara wand at the roots of your lashes, going in a zig zag motion to ensure that the lashes are separated. Repeat this motion to make sure you get every lash. Remove clumps with a lash comb to get your desired natural look.
4. Finish off your look with a natural lip colour.

Photos abstracted from Google Images.

Why is Exfoliation Important?

Exfoliation is one of the most important techniques that you can perform on your skin to resolve certain skin problems and to achieve healthy and glowing skin. It is a cosmetic technique aimed at removing dead skin cells that cling to the skin’s outermost surface (epidermis).

Layers of the Skin

New skin cells are constantly generated in the lower layer of our skin, or dermis. It takes approximately 30 days for new skin cells to come to the surface, and during that time, they will die and become saturated with Keratin. Although we need these cells for protection, typically as we age, our process of shedding old skin slows- this means a thick layer of dry and rough skin is often hiding our healthier skin beneath.

Exfoliation is the process of removing these outer layers, and letting the newer skin shine through. If done correctly, it leaves the skin feeling smoother and fresher. Also, it prepares the skin to absorb in a better way any kind of substance you would like to apply like vitamins, revitalizing or regenerating lotions that will help improve your skin. It should always be done after cleansing the skin, and can be done chemically or simply by scrubbing the skin with an abrasive.

The two forms of exfoliation are:

1. Mechanical Exfoliation

During mechanical exfoliation, the dead skin cells are physically rubbed off with an abrasive, and the dead cells are removed through mechanical or physical friction. Products for mechanical exfoliation can contain paraffin, wax, irregularly shaped granules or round beads/poly spheres. It can also include exfoliation sheet, sponges, brushes, washcloths etc. Examples of this include salt glow, body scrub that might use sugar or coffee grounds, or skin brushing. It can also include more aggressive procedures like microdermabrasion.

2. Chemical Exfoliation

It is where enzymes, alphahydroxy acids (AHAs) or betahydroxy acids (BHAs) are used to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to slough away. This kind of exfoliation can be gentle or more aggressive, depending on how strong the product is (percentage of acids). It is important to use an exfoliation regime that suits your skin type to avoid any harm done to your skin.

Benefits of exfoliation include:

– Improving texture of your dull skin, making it more vibrant
– Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
– Sloughing off the dead skin cells
– Unclogging pores
– Keeping skin healthy, thus helping to prevent breakouts

You will notice a significant different in your skin’s softness and moisture retention if you simply follow a routine of exfoliating one to two times a week!

Nothing is worse than having dry flaky skin and contrary to popular belief, it can happen in humid climates too! Even worse still, it can be harder to fix than in drier climates as you simply can’t slap on as much moisturizer as you want. Lets find out what are 10 useful tips you can try to counter dry skin.

1. Bathe

  • Use lukewarm water, not hot water
  • Keep it to 5 to 10 minutes

2. Moisturize

  • Apply lotion 5 minutes after showering
  • Apply hand lotion after hand washes

3. Sunscreen

  • Essential even if you are indoors or at a cold country

4. Lip Care

  • Try to apply lip balm/vaseline everyday, especially before you sleep.
  • Try not to lick your lips as it happens to dry it out more.

5. Exfoliate

  • Do it weekly or semi-weekly to keep dead cells off.

6. Invest in a humidifier

  • Nothing dries your skin like 24 hour air conditioning

7. Hydrate throughout the day

  • Keep a lookout for our soon-to-be-launched Soothe Hydration Mist

8. Find a gentle cleanser

  • For both body & face

9. Check the ingredients

  • Make sure your skin care products do not contain high concentrations of Retinoids or Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)

10. See a Skin Care Expert / Dermatologist

  • If you have severe and persistent dry & flaky skin, you might like to consult a skin care therapist or dermatologist for professional advice.