While others may envy our shorts-and-singlet style in sunny Singapore, the increased solar exposure, humidity, and the extra oil and sweat we produce means it's more likely for dead skin cells and sebum to be trapped in our pores. This then means that these tiny facial openings get clogged up more often, leading eventually to whiteheads and blackheads.
Blackheads are often referred to as open comedones as the opening of the hair follicle is not completely blocked. This allows for air to penetrate the pore, causing oxidation of the melanin and turning the head black. Once developed, a blackhead can remain on the skin for several weeks or even months. Whiteheads, on the other hand, are closed comedones as the opening of the hair follicle is completely blocked. When the sebum cannot escape the pore, it accumulates, giving the whitehead its characteristic white hue. Once developed, a whitehead remains on the skin for 3 - 12 days. After this time, it will either heal on its own, which occurs in about 25% of whiteheads, or develop into an inflammatory acne lesion that becomes red and sore, which occurs in about 75% of whiteheads.
To avert pimples therefore, you've got to minimize clogged pores as much as possible. Short of using medical means to reduce oil production (which we wouldn't normally recommend since oils are necessary for skin health), there are definite steps you can take to keep pores clean and reduce their appearance. We skipped the overwhelming (mis)information on the internet and went directly to Singapore skin and beauty guru - Apple from Apple Queen Beauty @ International Plaza. This miracle acne specialist has healed the faces of hundreds of women in Singapore, including Banker HG, Student ZP and Shipping Manager S, making her possibly the best person to ask for tips on curtailing congestion.
Most of us know that washing your face is vital, but might not realise how easy it is to do it wrong. Corners and creases around our hairlines or the areas surrounding the nose and mouth are often not cleansed thoroughly enough, causing dead skin and sebum to accumulate and eventually plug up our pores.
Pay attention to these easy-to-neglect areas, but remember: Approach all parts of the face gently instead of aggressively scrubbing. Rubbing too hard might actually traumatise our delicate skin, causing broken capillaries which leave visible marks, inflammation, or just general skin irritation which can then lead to other issues.
After the wash, remember to treat your skin to a toner or essence to calm it, while replenishing moisture and nutrients.
You might have heard that using warm or hot water will help to open pores, loosen the gunk and help you get it out. That's true, but what you might've missed is that it takes awhile for the pores to close again, and in the meantime they are more prone to admitting bacteria and blockages. Also, water that is too hot can strip your skin of its natural oils, which can then lead to acne, breakouts and skin irritation.
The next time you wash your face, stick to room temperature or even cool water. Don't worry, good facial cleansers will still be able to remove any unwanted substances - that's what they're made for!
After a good workout or being out in the sun all day, you'll probably be tempted to wash your face the first chance you get so you can sploosh off all that sweat and dirt. But before you start dousing your face, pat your skin dry with a clean tissue and wash your hands thoroughly to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria from your hands (accumulated from all your outdoor escapades) to your face.
Then, wait a few minutes for your overheated skin to return to its regular temperature. Otherwise, the sudden drop in degrees caused by throwing cold water on warm skin can lead to irritation and flare-ups.
If your schedule allows you to have your workouts after nightfall, Apple highly recommends doing so. Exercising after dark means you're likely to sweat less, which then also means your body is triggered to produce less potentially pore-clogging oils. As a bonus, perspiring less also means you have a lower chance of getting heat rash - a common complaint in these parts.
Purifying products - or stronger substances especially formulated to clear out clogs - are meant to target problem areas, so Apple would prefer you don't use them all over your face. Using too much product or applying it on unaffected areas can cause dryness and irritation.
And remember, always be gentle when putting on your skincare. Try patting your face gently instead of slapping and tugging on your skin unnecessarily, which can cause damage and irritation.
Although using fancy machines in facials can help with exfoliation and product penetration, Apple feels that over-reliance on them can gradually reduce your skin's self-healing abilities.
If you're going for a facial after a bit of a break, consider having that first one machine-free, just to encourage your body's own natural cell turnover. Of course, machines can be extremely helpful in times of need - just make sure they are used in moderation.
Signature Extraction Facial at Apple Queen Beauty
Sometimes, clogged pores have to be left to the pros. If you're experiencing rough and uneven skin texture, poor absorption of skincare products, and skin problems that don't seem to go away, it's probably time to send an SOS to a good facialist
Apple Queen Beauty has launched a new Signature Extraction Facial that deeply cleanses and purifies your skin. It's suitable for first-timers and even skincare fanatics - even for those with regular skincare routines and treatments, there is still gunk hiding beneath the skin's surface that you might not be able to get to by yourself.
Agent C.W.'s face was covered with small bumps, but she managed to get rid of the culprit - congestion - and improve her irregular skin texture after this signature treatment. Click here to read about her transformative experience.
Do you have any special skincare tips from your facial therapist too? Share your experience on BU.sg!