You Ask, I Tell – July 2017 Edition
Thank you all for the beauty questions submitted through DrGL®’s social media platforms. We’ve rounded up three of our favourite questions amongst the many interesting questions for Dr Georgia Lee to answer. Congratulations to our winners @scarletrose_susan, @shuiyuki and @Weina Chen. Find out more about their questions as well as Dr Georgia Lee’s answers below.
Q: What’s the best way to lighten skin pigmentation and maintain them? Is there a possibility that the treated pigmentation will darken again?
Submitted by @scarletrose_susan
Dr Georgia Lee: The best way to treat pigmentation is to prevent them with adequate sun protection. The sun is one of the main causes of skin pigmentation. Always apply your sun block thoroughly over the face and not forgetting, all over the rest of your body. Touch up whenever you spend a prolonged period of time outdoors, or when you are involved in sports which makes you perspire.
Enhance the effect with lightening products. Start with skin care that contains gentler ingredients first. Skin care that is more potent may treat pigmentation more effectively but it may also sensitize the skin, making you more susceptible to sun burns and hyperpigmentation in some people with more sensitive skin types. Layer a lightening cream or serum preferentially over the darker spots whenever possible to even out the difference in skin tones.
Sometimes, skin pigmentation may slowly creep back but we can manage them as they come. Some cases of pigmentation may require treatments with your trusted practitioners. Just remember that consistency is important when it comes to skin care and you will be rewarded for your hard work.
Q: I’ve been receiving too much information on beauty tips and tricks from the people around me that is making me confused. The most frequent beauty tip I’ve heard is to get SPF, and the higher the SPF the better! Is this true? How much SPF should I get and what’s the difference between SPF and PA++++?
Submitted by @shuiyuki
Dr Georgia Lee: SPF, also known as Sun Protection Factor, is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect the skin from UVB rays (which causes pigments). For example, if your skin would normally burn after 10 minutes in the sun, applying a sunscreen with SPF 15 would allow you to stay in the sun without burning for approximately 150 minutes (a factor of 15 times longer).
PA+ refers to the protective grade of how well the sunscreen protects you from UVA rays (which accelerates aging and confers risk of cancer). The protective grade of sunscreen is often labelled as PA+, PA++, PA+++, with more plus signs indicating a higher rate of protection from UVA rays.
At SPF 15, the sun protection from a proper application is about 93%, SPF 30 is about 97% and SPF 50 at about 98%. I will recommend a sunscreen that is between SPF 15 to SPF 30 with PA++ to PA+++. The reapplication and touch up is important to the make the sun block application successful in blocking UVA and UVB rays.
For sunscreens with a higher SPF, it does not confer a significant increase in protection and may instead instill a false sense of “safety” against the sun. This often causes people to neglect other photo protective behaviours such as seeking shade and wearing photo protective clothing. Moreover, the concentration of chemicals used for such high SPF sunscreens will also be higher.
Q: Can Vitamin C and Vitamin A serums be used together? If so, when should they be used (day/night) and how often?
Submitted by @weina_chen
Dr Georgia Lee: Vitamin A helps in cell production and its derivative, retinol, is often used in anti-aging skin care in the market. It helps to boost collagen production which in turn helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is good for skin brightening. Its derivatives such as ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbyl phosphate helps reduce blemishes, uneven skin tones and brightens the skin. Vitamin C also neutralizes free radicals that cause pre-mature aging.
Vitamin A and Vitamin C serums can certainly be used together. Vitamin C skin care can be used in both your day and night skin care routine, whilst Vitamin A skin care should only be used at night as they can make one more photosensitive (more reactive to sun light). Do take note that when they are used concurrently, the drying effect may be amplified so the base of the ingredient is important.
Those with dry, sensitive skin should approach retinol with caution. As with all skin care, your skin needs time to adjust to using them, so it is important to start with small amounts. For a start, use retinols two-to-three times a week until your skin gets acclimatised.