April 16, 2011

Whitening Skincare Regimen - Short Product Reviews

I have always believed in investing in good skincare. Being a victim to acne, the long and ardous process of searching for complementary skincare products has not been easy. During certain stages of my life, even the expensive products didn't work well for me. I had to stop everything that I was using and resort to gentle Cetaphil and generic aqueous cream while on my Roaccutane treatment. Believe me, Roaccuatane has been a miracle for me in calming my incredibly sensitive skin. But since this is a harsh prescription medicine, it is best to consult with your dermatologist on other available options. I would only resort to Roaccutane when all other treatments have been unsuccessful. It has many contraindications so it has to be used cautiously under medical attention.

Seemingly, my skin tolerates most skincare products in the market now. Although still plaqued with old acne scars, I have started to use whitening and retexturising skincare products to improve my skin. It has definitely improved from what I see. People has commented that I'm so fair that I could burn easily under the sun, almost like the Norwegians. Fair statement but no. I do tan relatively easily.

Although our skin is a complex organ and plays a protective role, it's important to consider that our skin adapts very well to the external environment. Overloading our skin with a million and one products and a complicated day and night regimen is not the point here. We should only be evaluating what our skin needs at the time. I was once a victim to beauty advertisements that promise the 'Nicole Kidman' translucent porcelein skin. So now and then, do step back and think about whether this product is absolutely necessary. So with that, I choose to not include descriptions from beauty companies on their products. Please go ahead to search on our good friend, Google, if you want to read their descriptions.

My current skincare regimen is pretty simple really. I always have an eye makeup remover, cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, sunscreen and eye cream (which I didn't include here because I ran out!). I use the clarisonic now and then to exfoliate. Oh yes, and my Shu Uemura Cleaning Oil (pink bottle) which I forgot to include here too!

Lancome Bifacils Non-oily Instant Cleanser for Sensitive Eyes 125 mls is a cult favorite by many. It is worth the S$48 I spend on every 3-4 months. Lancome being the originator in the dual-phase makeup remover, works on stubborn waterproof mascara. You do not need to tug, pull or reswipe to get any residue off. Shake the bottle to mix the 2 phases, apply to a cotton pad and remove your eye makeup by pressing gently and holding it for a few seconds.

Tip: There are now ALOT of dual-phased makeup removers out there in the market. Check for their quality by observing the fluidity of the 2 phases. The better the fluidity, the better the quality. :-)


My current cleanser is the Diorsnow White Reveal Gentle Purifying Foam (asia exclusive) 110 mls, which I bought recently to test out. If you follow my blog, I am a long-time devotee to the IPSA Smooth Cleansing Foam. It is true that the Diorsnow White Reveal Gentle Purifying Foam is gentle, but it doesn't lather to the extent of the IPSA Smooth Cleansing Foam. It does clean well, and leaves your skin feeling fresh but let me admit that cleansing after a whole day of grease and dirt is an experience - the thicker the lather, the better it is, for me anyway.

Diorsnow White Reveal Lotion (asia exclusive) 200 mls in the rich formulation is my 'first' step to achieving brighter skin. My skin loves this. I use this without a cotton pad, and gently press the lotion into my skin with both palms. The lotion soaks in easily into my skin and over the 3 weeks of usage I have noticed that my skin looks a little fairer with this lotion. I choose not to purchase the serum and moisturiser in this product line. I have heard that if you want to achieve maximum benefits of a whitening range, you should purchase the entire range. I can see their point, but I really didn't like the stickiness from the serum and moisturiser. Plus, it is incredibly expensive for what it is.

I still have my doubts on Lancome Genifique Youth Activator Concentrate. It competes with rivals like the Kiehls Midnight Concentrate and the infamous Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, promising to delay the effects of aging and bring youth back in just 7 days. Seriously though, if you stumble across this kind of advertisement, wouldn't you think that it sounds quite gimmicky? It claims to work on the DNA, which to this day, seems mindboggling. I just do not see how it is capable of doing that when the superficial layer of your skin doesn't even have a 'cell nucleus' (that holds the DNA) to begin with!

Lets go back to high school biology. This is what the skin looks like from a cross-sectional histological view:

Keratinocytes (the upper layer of the skin) has no cell nucleus. No cell nucleus, no DNA. How are they able to alter DNA? Beats me.

 And honestly, there is NO chance that the Lancome Genifique Concentrate is able to penetrate beyond the superficial layer (the basal layer and deeper do have cells with a nucleus). If you do notice differences to your skin after using this product, it is probably due to the sodium hyalurate which is a hylaluronic acid that 'fills' any skin crevices. Temporary solution to skincare in summary. For what is is worth (I didn't purchase this product fortunately - it was given by a friend), I think you're better off getting something else.

Shu Uemura Red: Juvenus Vitalizing Retexturizing Cream is a moisturising cream I use day and night. This product line claims to prevent the first signs of aging. And trust me, I never knew this day would come but heck, I have lines on my forehead already!

This product aims to hydrate, offer nutrition and and revitalize the skin. I'm such a skeptic when it comes to skincare marketing claims. But I like that it absorbs nicely to the skin without leaving a sticky feeling. It works very well in tropical climates. Being in a much colder climate now, my skin is feeling quite parched and dry. I might have to combine this with the night cream from this range to offer my skin more hydration during sleep.

Guerlain Perfect White UV Refining Base Intense Brightening SPF 30 PA+++ 30mLs is a big mouthful to say.

Did I mention before that applying sunscreen is really important? In our lifetime, our skin is only capable of tolerating 6000 hours of intense UV exposure. After that, we are not guaranteed against the harmful effects of the sun, including actinic keratosis, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. In the Asian population, we are confronted with hyperpigmentation of the skin as a result of aging and the sun, called 'melasma'. It is tough to remove melasma. Really tough.

Use that sunscreen! Your older self will be thanking you 30-40 years down the road!

This product combines makeup and skincare in one. I like that it reduces one step in my morning routine, and I can quickly apply some powder and rush out the door. It has a beige tint that helps to even out your complexion, but unfortunately I find that this shade slightly too dark for my skin. However, I hardly noticed the difference in shade until I held both hands to compare.

Initially it has a slight sheen but this disappears within a good hour. Creamy in texture and spreads easily. Smells lovely and a great sunscreen overall.

In summary, my current skincare regimen probably needs a night time moisturiser especially in drier climates. I like what I'm using at the moment. I will always be a cynic in regards to over-hyped marketing claims, but I will always appreciate quality products. I think it's worth investing and trying out different skincare products until you achieve what you need. Our bodies change over time and naturally our skin will too.

So have fun with trying new products and do share with me what you're currently loving (and not!).

Have a lovely weekend!



everbluec said...

Sodium hyalurate, alot of products contain that nowsdays... I was thinking about trying Lancome Genifique Youth Activator concentrate.. BUT now, I think I can give this a miss and save my $$$$

P/S: How are YOU???

Tracy said...

Chantana, how are you?! It's a pity that the Lancome Genifique doesn't seem to do much for my skin. It's not cheap too, I can't remember how much it was since I didn't purchase it, but the dupe in this case would be the Kiehls Midnight Concentrate. Lots of great reviews online. I hope you're doing well! Miss you all so much already!

Rainy Days and Lattes said...

What a great post... so informative! I really want to give the Dior snow a try. I've wanted to try it for so long but I would have to order from Asia. Have you ever tried Naruto products? I'm not sure if they're good but they certainly are very hyped :p Interesting thoughts on the Lancome serum. I am skeptical by nature as well, and gimmicky things come off too cheesy for me to believe. It's true that it's probably the hydraulic acid. I am using a serum right now that is hydraulic acid based and it cost me less than Lancome's for sure :p

everbluec said...

Tracy: I'm doing pretty good! I miss you too<3

Kiehls Midnight concentrate! I should check that out.

Cherry Wu said...

Great recs tracy! I am searching for whitening skincare recently too^0^~

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