Today, more and more people are interested in anti-aging. Being the outermost layer of our body, the skin often acts as an important sign of someone’s age. Therefore, it is better to know the causes of aging skin and prevent it.

There are two main causes of aging skin. One is intrinsic aging and the other is extrinsic aging – photoaging. Intrinsic aging occurs due to chronological changes and is an inherent, natural degenerative process which we cannot prevent. It is destined by genetic factors such as level of hormone secretion and thickness of the skin. On the other hand, extrinsic aging can be delayed with proper and continuous care. The accumulated effects of pollutants (dirt, cold, wind, smog and exposure to sun) is the culprit of extrinsic aging. Compared to intrinsic aging, extrinsic aging can appear at earlier periods in more severe degrees. Signs of extrinsic aging include dryness, wrinkles, rough skin and pigmentation.

What is photoaging?

Photoaging is the biggest external factor that makes our skin saggy and old. It is a combination of photo- which is ‘related to light’ and aging. As you can guess from the word itself, it is an aging effect due to light, specifically UV rays. Photoaging is classified into 4 phases from Mild to Severe.

Group Classification Typical Age Description Skin Characteristic
I Mild 28-35 No Wrinkles Early photo aging; mild pigment changese, no keratosis, minimal wrinkles, minimal or no makeup
II Moderate 35-50 Wrinkles in Motion Early to moderate photo aging; early brown spots visible, keratosis palpable but not visible, parallel smile lines begin to appear, wears some foundation
III Advanced 50-65 Wrinkles at Rest Advanced photo aging; obvious discoloration, visible capillaries, visible keratosis, wears heavier foundation
IV Severe 60 & up Only Wrinkles Severe photo aging; yellow/gray skin color, prior skin malignancies, wrinkles throughout – no normal skin, cannot wear make-up because it cracks and cakes

Major factor of photoaging – UV rays

UV rays are part of the light spectrum that reaches earth. UV rays have short wavelength so it is not visible to our eyes. There are 3 kinds of UV rays; UVA, UVB and UVC. Severity of UV rays can be measured by UV index.

1.       Categories of UV rays

  • UV A

UV A cannot be absorbed by ozone layer. It can penetrate through windows even during cloudy days. Among UV rays, it mostly damages our skin. It creates redness and it is responsible for premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

  • UV B

UV B radiation is stronger than UVA. 90% of it is absorbed by ozone layer, but the rest still reaches earth’s surface. It is the most intense in summer from 10 am to 2 pm. It usually affects outer layer of skin, causing sunburn, premature aging of skin and skin cancer.

  • UV C

UV C is the most devastating and harmful to our skin. It has the strongest UV radiation. However, it can be absorbed by ozone layer.

2.       Effect of UV rays

When UV A and B work together the damage becomes a lot harsher. It will penetrate into our skin breaking down collagen and elastin. To make matters worse, it slows down production of collagen. Hence, repeated exposure to Sun will cause premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, freckles, discoloration, and dryness.

UV rays also interact with melanin. Melanin first absorbs UV rays in order to protect your skin from damaging. However, if it receives excessive UV rays, you will get sunburn. Other than that, it can modify DNA called p53, which is in charge of repairing damaged cells and discarding severely damaged cells.

3.       Measure of UV

The amount reaching the Earth’s surface can be affected by several factors, for example weather, time of the day and year etc. Thus to help people understand intensity of UV rays, meteorologists came up with UV index. It is a global standard indicating the strength of the UV rays reaching the ground for an hour around noon. It is advisable to check before going out and prepare for potential sun damage. 1-3 means low exposure; 4-6 means medium; 7-9 means high; 10+ means extreme exposure. The higher the number, the greater the exposure to UV rays. Therefore there is a higher change of getting sun damage which ultimately leads to skin cancer.

Effective way to avoid photoaging

1.      Wear Sunscreen

To minimize aging caused by sun, reducing UV ray’s effect is the key. So wear sunscreen! Sunscreen acts as a protector which prohibits harmful UV rays from penetrating into our skin. It is recommended to wear it at least 15 minutes before going out and reapply as frequently as possible.

2.       Avoid peak sun hours

Most of sun rays reach the ground from 10 am to 2pm. Thus, staying inside during peak sun hours is a good way to delay photoaging.

3.       Wear sunglasses and hats

It is a good way to block sun ray from reaching our skin with accessories. Wearing those accessories not only makes you appear more fashionable, it also reduces intensity and amount of UV rays reaching our skin, preventing wrinkles and fine lines.

4.       Soothe your skin

After an entire day of outdoor activities, you have to soothe your skin. Cleanse properly and apply soothing products such as aloe vera gel. Slicing potato and putting it on your face will also moisturize and soothe sunburn skin.

Featured image taken from Faceworkshops

We seriously can’t emphasize enough the importance of sunscreen to reduce or prevent the appearance of pigmentation and premature aging. Though we’re sure most of you do know the importance of applying sunscreen daily, there are a few other must-knows that we’d like to share today. It could change how well your sunscreen works for you.

Some of you may question – ‘why is it that pigmentation spots still appear despite me applying my sunscreen religiously?’. Well, often we apply sunscreen as a base before applying our blusher or powder. Unknowingly, some of our sunscreen gets wiped off when applying make up. So, our suggestion is to wait for 3-5 minutes for your sunscreen to set. Also, remember not to apply too much pressure when you’re applying make up. Alternatively, you can opt for a tinted sunscreen. A good tinted sunscreen should give you some coverage and a radiant glow. Then, you’re good to go, without even having to pile on more make up.

We would also recommend that you apply your sunscreen around 30 minutes before leaving home. The reason is simple. Your sunscreen needs to take some time to be fully absorbed into your skin. This would prevent your sweat from wearing it off, especially during summer climate.

Apart from knowing the importance of applying your sunscreen religiously, it is necessary for you to know what it does for you and how you can pick your perfect sunscreen.

For a start, you will often see the term ‘SPF’ on your sunscreen. This represents ‘Sun Protection Factor’, which essentially means how much longer you can stay out in the sun as compared to when you are not wearing sunscreen. This may be a little hard to comprehend, so allow me to do a bit of explanation…

If you are someone who normally gets burnt under the sun without wearing sunscreen after 15 minutes, and you’re now using a sunscreen of SPF 20, then you can now stay out in the sun for 5 hours (20×15=300 minutes) without getting sun burnt. With this in mind, you can pick the ideal sunscreen according to your activity and length of stay out in the sun.

Also, try not to be too stingy with your sunscreen. If there is a need to reapply, go ahead. Sometimes our sunscreen gets worn off due to our sweat, especially when we are involved in vigorous activities like swimming, playing beach volleyball, wakeboarding…etc.

So, remember to slap on sufficient amounts of sunscreen whenever required, because prevention is definitely better than cure!

 

Porcelain’s, Flawless, Skin Perfecting Cream with SPF 20, gives you a glow, allowing you to regain natural youthfulness while protecting your skin against the harmful UV rays. Its advanced formula also prevents pores from clogging, making it an ideal make up base.

It’s summer time! This is the perfect time to be flaunting your perfect bikini figure at the beach. But hold your horses babes! Don’t forget to protect your youthful skin while having your fun and games! Repeated or prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation leads to skin cancer. Your skin also starts to age prematurely if you don’t shield it from the harmful rays of the sun. You can find out more about the sun and premature aging here.

With the sun being so evil, our only protection against it is to slap on sunscreen religiously.

According to Patricia Agin, director of photobiology research at Schering-Plough Corp., the maker of Coppertone products, sunscreens work by either absorbing or reflecting and scattering UV.  This means that most of the sun’s harmful rays don’t get to penetrate or damage your skin when you use a product with a minimum of SPF15. It is highly recommended to use a broad-spectrum coverage, meaning a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB. This information can usually be found on the product label.

Sun Protection Factor, SPF

woman-applying-sunscreen

Sun Protection Factor, more commonly known as SPF, measures the extra length of time a sunscreen will protect your skin from reddening or burning. A generally the higher the SPF, the more protection you have. For example, without sunscreen, you can usually stay in the sun without reddening or burning for about 20 minutes. Theoretically, a sunscreen with SPF15 should increase your skin’s protection levels by 15 times. This means that your skin should be able to last for about 5 hours, instead of 20 minutes. However, that does that mean that if you apply a sunscreen for SPF15, you will definitely be fully protected during the 5 hours. Sunscreen will wear off after a certain time.

Common Sunscreen Myths

surprised girl with book

It is important to know that layering products with sunscreen doesn’t give you more protection against the sun. On the contrary, you are only given the protection of the highest SPF. For example, you use 3 sunscreens of SPF 15, 30 and 60 at the same time. This does not mean you have SPF105 worth of protection. You are only protected with SPF60.  It is also not advisable to skimp on sunscreen when you are indoors. UV rays are still able to penetrate the windows and glass. Similarly, it is also not advisable to skimp on sunscreen on cloudy days.

Sunscreen Tips

sunscreen_and_kids

1. Apply sunscreen SFP 15 or higher 20 minutes before going outside

2. Remember to re-apply sunscreen!

Set your cell phone timer to remind you to re-apply sunscreen every two hours when you are outside. Sunscreens often degrade in the sun – “all-day protection” does not exist.

3. Avoid the hottest time of the day – Between 11:00 am and 4:00 pm

4. Don’t forget your – Lips, Ears and Eyes

If you’re worried about melting sunscreen that irritates your eyes, you can try using lip balm with SPF 30+ on both your lips and your eyelids. It doesn’t bother the eyes and it stays on really well.

5. Always choose a Broad-spectrum sunscreen to block both UVA & UVB rays.

6. Use water-resistant sunscreens

This is useful whenever you go swimming or exercising as your perspiration will wear the sunscreen off. Water-resistant sunscreens are also useful for daily use in Singapore’s humid weather since we tend to perspire more.

7. Exfoliate often as it helps the skin absorb moisturizers in the sunscreen

8. Seek shade especially when you feel your skin burning

Don’t worry if you’re currently using a sunblock! Sunblock also shields the skin from the sun’s harmful rays, deferring only in mechanisms. Sunscreens usually last for about 3 years, so invest in a good one and start including sunscreens in your daily skincare routine to fight the prowess of the evil sun!(:

P.S: Porcelain’s Flawless Tinted Moisturiser not only shields the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays with SPF 20, but is oil and Paraben free as well.

Flawless Moisturizer (3)

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.