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From Dryness to Weakened Skin Barriers: 5 Ways M’sians Can Tackle These Skincare Issues According to an Expert


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Source: NBC News & Organic Authority

Skincare can be quite the fickle mistress. Some days, you look in the mirror and see a few blemishes that make you look a couple years older than you really are. On other days, covering up your eyebags can feel like a lost cause. And then there’s the breakouts. Yep, sorry, we’ll need to talk about those breakouts soon.

Suffice to say, we’ve all been there and done that when it comes to humanity’s never-ending deluge of skincare issues. But fret not, little one, for we have science on our side! And instead of trying to Google our way out of a skincare problem like we always do, let’s have our Consultant Dermatologist Dr Kartini Farah Abd Rahim help us navigate through our skincare woes and see if her findings say anything that can get under our skin (get it? 😉).

Now without further ado, let’s touch upon the FIVE skin sensitivities AND the ways you can counter them according to Dr Kartini!


1. Dealing with dry skin drama? Then moisturise yourself!

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Few things are more aggravating than experiencing dry skin. It’s rough (literally!), scaly, and God forbid it becomes so severe, that your skin starts to crack and bleed. And this condition can actually be much more detrimental than you think, as the top layers of skin are our first line of defence against harmful outside aggressors.

But let’s look at some of the root causes as explained by Dr. Kartini, shall we? Ageing, for one, affects our skin’s ability to secrete natural oils. Having a compromised skin barrier could also lead to notable moisture loss. Aside from those factors, other causes may include environmental conditions, smoking, washing yourself too frequently, and other underlying medical conditions.

SOLUTION: First off, cut back on your hot showers! You can either keep your hot showering time short or use lukewarm water instead to lock in moisture. Cleanse your face twice daily with gentle skincare products like Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser and moisturise immediately for the best results. And lastly, put on some sunscreen to protect your skin from those pesky UV rays! 


2. Prevent irritating situations using a simple skincare regime


Ah yes, irritation. Even the word “irritation” sounds irritating. Alas, we’ll have to go in-depth into what causes skin irritation in order to better understand how to deal with it. Oh, and if your skin is irritation-prone, DO NOT scratch that itch you’re having. It’ll cause your skin barrier to break and trigger bacterial infections. Keep your hands where we can see them!

According to Dr. Kartini, skin irritation happens when your skin is exposed to certain substances that damage the skin’s barrier, penetrate the skin, and set off inflammation. Some of the everyday products that contain harmful substances may include:

  • Antiperspirants 
  • Harsh bath soaps
  • Cleaning products
  • Makeup products
  • Nail polish and fingernail glue
  • Skincare product preservatives

SOLUTION: The first rule is to not scratch yourself, as mentioned before. And then, as usual, opt for gentle cleansers and moisturisers to keep your skin moist. And lastly, keep your skincare routine as simple as possible. Now, it may be tempting to want to try everything on a pharmacy shelf, but it’s essential that you use products with basic ingredients to avoid any flare-ups to your skin.


3. The skin barrier: Protect your skin’s first line of defence!

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Now, let’s learn about the skin barrier with Dr. Kartini. The skin barrier is the topmost layer of skin which consists of tough skin cells bound together by lipids such as cholesterol, fatty acid, and ceramides. It acts as a shield for your skin against bacteria, pollutants, irritants, allergens, and UV rays. It even has a bunch of fancy alternative names and everything (stratum corneum, acid mantle, etc.)!

Sadly, our skin barriers are not always invincible. The skin barrier can become undone by several common causes such as prolonged contact with water, improper skincare products and practices, and environmental factors including exposure to UV rays (darn those UV rays!). Once the skin barrier is weakened, it could lead to an assortment of issues such as dry scaly skin, redness, bacterial infections, stinging, wrinkling, and of course, “ol’ reliable” acne.

SOLUTION: First, it’s time to go easy on the exfoliants. Sure, they can make your skin smooth and radiant, but too much of it can damage your skin barrier to the point of redness and discomfort. Another thing we recommend is using a barrier cream as it helps maintain the skin barrier, provides protection against irritants, and prevents the skin from drying out. And don’t forget: moisturise yourself!


4. Rough days for your skin? Here’s the remedy for you!

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Let’s play with numbers, shall we? According to Cetaphil’s Skin Health Survey in 2021 conducted in part with Dr. Kartini, roughly (no pun intended) 86% of Malaysians experience skin roughness, making it the most experienced form of skin sensitivity of the five we are discussing today. So, it’s safe to assume a lot of us have been afflicted with the occasional episode of itches, cracks, peels, and burns.

But what causes skin roughness? For starters, it could be caused by excessive skin irritation and dryness. And the usual “target area” of rough skin, which is our heels often suffers from dryness due to friction from our footwear. Plus, your skin roughness could also be attributed to a prolonged build-up of dry skin and dead skin cells. 

SOLUTION: To start off, try seeing a dermatologist about your condition. There’s nothing wrong with going through the self-care route every now and then but perhaps an expert can better identify the underlying cause of your condition. You should also exfoliate regularly (but not too much!) to get rid of dead skin buildup to smoothen your skin. And please, PLEASE moisturise afterwards.


5. Tight skin troubles? Then get hydrated!


Let’s talk numbers again: instead of feeling fresh, clean and, hydrated after cleansing, the Cetaphil Skin Health Survey in 2021 found that 68% of Malaysians feel tightness in their skin. The feeling of uncomfortable tightness you get in your skin is most likely attributed to dryness and dehydration.

As mentioned before in Dr. Kartini’s research, skin dryness happens when there is not enough oil on the layer of the skin’s surface, which may be a byproduct of conditions such as eczema or ageing. Meanwhile, dehydration takes place when water evaporates from the skin to the environment. Other causes of skin tightness include the use of harsh soaps and dead skin cell buildup that causes the skin’s surface to dry out fast and accelerates dehydration.

SOLUTION: The first thing you need to do to counter skin tightness is to tackle dryness and dehydration first. The best way to do that is by utilising a gentle cleanser that is hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and soap-free. And again, we absolutely cannot emphasise this enough: moisturise yourself! Moisturisation is pretty much enemy number one for dehydration and dryness, so be generous with it!

Massage Face Skincare

So all in all, with the right knowledge that’s backed up by the best experts in the game (thanks, Dr Kartini!), skincare isn’t as complicated as some of you may think it is. Just keep your routine simple, apply moisturiser and sunscreen when applicable, keep your thorough hot showers to a minimum, and use gentle cleansers from recommended skincare brands such as the Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser!

Cetaphil’s Gentle Skin Cleanser is trusted by many as it is a dermatologically tested cleanser which actively hydrates and cleans the skin without stripping its natural oils. Plus, it defends against the aforementioned 5 signs of skin sensitivities, too! So go grab one from the kind folks at Cetaphil! And speaking of Cetaphil…

Think you have what it takes to be the next face of Cetaphil? Then stand a chance to be one of Cetaphil’s 10 Skin Health For All Ambassadors! 

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As one of the most recognised and doctor-recommended sensitive skincare brands around the world, Cetaphil is of the belief that anyone should be able to achieve the best health for their skin regardless of their age, gender, or skin type using only the best in dermatologically-recommended skincare. So in order to achieve this vision, Cetaphil is on the lookout for 10 Skin Health For All ambassadors to commemorate Skin Health Awareness Month!

Cetaphil believes that everyone’s skin story is unique and personal. This is why Cetaphil has dedicated Skin Health Awareness Month to listening to Malaysians’ skin stories and inspiring others to get the best skin health they can achieve!

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So from now until 31st May 2022, Malaysians can take part in this contest where they’ll be given the opportunity to share their skin story as one of Cetaphil’s Skin Health For All ambassadors!

So how can you join? Well, read on to find out how to participate: 

  1. Simply buy Cetaphil products from official retailers and online stores. (No minimum spend is required, so don’t worry about scraping the bottom of your piggy bank. 😜)
  2. Share your skin story with Cetaphil products through your Instagram or Facebook post, using photos/videos. (Remember, keep your accounts public. Cetaphil has to see them for you to be eligible, duh! 🥴)
  3. And don’t forget, include #SkinHealthForAll, tag Cetaphil Malaysia and 3 friends in your post. Spread the skin health love, Malaysia! 💞

And did we mention that sweet prizes and perks await the chosen ambassadors for this contest? Well, here they are!:

  1. RM2,000 worth of Touch ‘n Go eWallet credits (That’s a lotta credits!)
  2. One year’s supply of your chosen Cetaphil product range (Skincare addicts rejoice!)
  3. Exclusive information on new Cetaphil products, promotions & launches
  4. The opportunity to be featured on Cetaphil’s official social media pages

So what are you waiting for? Go get some awesome Cetaphil skincare products, inspire and move others with your skin story, and stand a chance to bag yourself some awesome prizes from Cetaphil!

For more info, visit Cetaphil’s official website, or check out their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram!


Source: 123RF
Source: TallyPress
Source: Tenor
Source: Healthline
Source: Tenor

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