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Unnecessary skincare products: Do oily skin types need to use moisturisers?

Unnecessary skincare products: Do oily skin types need to use moisturisers?

Au revoir, moisturisers!

Text: Guan Tan


We've all been taught to care for our skin in a certain outdated way –– an ultra-lathering foaming cleanser is good, best if it strips your skin down to a squeaky clean state. Quickly chase that with some watery toner before you butter your skin with a serum, creamy moisturiser, and sunscreen. Wait a minute... is that even right? Why do we accept skincare regimens as they are?

Well, we don't. Our generation has defied all skincare rules –– we've abandoned the once-beloved St. Ives Apricot Scrub and learnt that abrasive scrubs create micro-tears on the surface of our skin. We've also villianised the super foaming agent, sodium laureth sulfate, that's commonly found in facial cleansers and uncovered that they are industrial, oil-stripping chemicals that dry and irritate our skin. All in all, it seems like the beauty industry is headed for a gentler, au naturale eco-system. So, what's next in Gen Z beauty CSI?

Moisturiser myths, it seems.

So we asked Dr. Benjamin Yim, resident skincare and aesthetics guru at IDS Clinic,. what's the most redundant skincare step. Lo and behold, Dr. Yim broke out into a grin and retorted, "Well, if you don't have a problem with dry skin, do you need to apply a moisturiser because everyone else is applying?"

Dr. Benjamin Yim, resident skincare and aesthetics guru at IDS Clinic

Did we hear that right? Every single 3-step, 5-step, or 12-step skincare programme around the globe has a moisturiser entrenched within. How could the moisturiser be redundant.

Here's the explanation: you only need to pick up a creamy moisturiser when your skin is dry (whether from genetics or dry, wintry climates), has a tendency to itch, flake and crack, or if your skin is showing signs of fine lines and wrinkles. With that being said, if you have normal combination (oily around the T-zone) and oily skin types, your skin is producing sufficient oil naturally.

In other words: if have oily skin, your skin is well hydrated naturally. "You should be washing it off, not adding on an extra layer," he quips.

Here comes the myth –– there's a widespread belief that if you have oily skin, you shouldn't be blotting or stripping the oils lest your skin overcompensates the loss by producing even more oil. So, some beauty junkies with oily skin types have amplified this theory by embarking on oil-based skincare regimens in a bid to alleviate their skin's oil production prowess. You get it? Fighting fire with fire.

"Oh, that is wrong. That's just so wrong, right?" Dr. Yim gasps. "There is no feedback mechanism [telling] your sebaceous glands, 'Produce less oil because I'm using a moisturiser!' There is no such thing."

So, if you have oily skin and are living in a tropical, humid climate like Singapore, here's what your skincare regimen should look like: cleanse, pile on an oil-control serum, a vitamin C serum, and top that off with physical sunscreen.

With that being said, if you have genetically dry skin, are travelling to dry and wintry climates, and spend most of your waking hours in a parched dry airplane (humidity levels are notoriously low), arm yourself with some trusty moisturisers.

"You must remember that your skin changes throughout your entire life," Dr. Yim cautions. "[If] you don't need a moisturiser now, it doesn't mean that you won't need a moisturiser later in life." Yes doctor, we're aware that our bodies produce lesser hydration ammunition as we age. But... till then, au revoir moisturisers!

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