While a lot of people tout skincare as a hit-or-miss situation, the truth is that youcanlock down a basic routine without taking massive risks as long as you understand how skin generally works. Customization according to how your skin feels and behaves comes in once you’ve narrowed down the basics, so it’s important to iron those out before considering additional steps.
We’ve had a ton of skincare related questions over the past weeks, so we invited a board-certified dermatologist for an #AskEllana Skincare 101 session: Meet THE NERDY DERMA, Dr. Erin Tababa-Santos!
In case you don’t know her yet, Dr. Erin Tababa-Santos is a board-certified dermatologist with a subspecialty in dermapathology. Dermatology is the science of taking care of skin, nails, and hair. Dermapathology is the study of skin cells under a microscope to find out what the skin’s condition is and the appropriate treatment for it.
Missed out on our live #AskEllana session on skincare basics, common skincare misconceptions, and most frequently-asked skincare questions? Geek out over our rundown of all the mind-blowing skincare information that she shared:
Do people with oily skin need moisturizer?It depends. You need moisturizer if you’re on acne medication, which tends to dry out your skin. On the other hand, if you’re super oily, just moisturize on the dry areas, which include around the mouth. Also, it’s important to note that oiliness is different from hydration.
How do you know your skin type?There are four categories: oily versus dry, sensitive versus resistant, pigmented versus non-pigmented, and wrinkled versus tight. Each type, therefore, requires different skincare products that are specific to its needs. In the Philippines, we usually have oily, resistant, pigmented, and tight skin.
Does sleeping late affect my skin?It depends on what causes you to sleep late. For example, stress triggers stress hormones to produce oil, which can lead to breakouts. However, if it’s because you are doing something that’s not so stressful, like watching series, it won’t break you out.
How does acne form? There are four steps:
Your pores become blocked, so your skin cells pile on top of them.
Because your pores are blocked, the oil that your oil glands produce is trapped inside.
The bacteria inside your pores feeds on the built-up oil, sebum, and dirt inside, which causes the bacteria to multiply.
Eventually, your pore swells up and explodes. Then, your white blood cells try to fight off the accumulated oil, bacteria, and sebum from harming your dermis, which causes pustules to form.
How do blackheads and whiteheads form? Blackheads and whiteheads are non-inflammatory lesions of acne. When oil becomes exposed to the air, it oxidizes, which becomes blackheads. On the other hand, oil that’s trapped inside blocked pores becomes whiteheads because it’s not exposed to air.
What are useful ingredients in treating acne scars or dark spots? Acne scars can come in different forms: red spots (post-inflammatory erythema), dark spots (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), and atrophic scars. For erythema, use niacinamide and Vitamin C; for dark spots, you can also use those two and sunscreen.
Is it okay to skip sunscreen if I’m already using products with SPF or just staying inside the house?Even if you’re just staying in, it’s advisable to still use sunscreen to lighten dark spots more easily and fight signs of aging. Also, using sunscreen together with products with SPF is even better protection for your skin.
Does diet affect your skin?Oily food doesn’t cause acne because the oil from there doesn’t reach your pores. However, food rich in dairy and sugar, like milk tea, has a higher risk for more severe acne.
Can I use over-the-counter retinol?You can try them; however, make sure to read and follow the instructions properly and start slow. Don’t mix it with acids because it will cause burns. Also, be prepared for the transition period (purging or breaking out) because it needs to worsen first before it gets better.
Prescription-based products are way more efficient and stronger. As such, the adverse effects are also stronger, which is where dermatologists help you. They explain the side effects, tips for taking care of your skin, and other recommended products to include in your current regimen. At the end of the day, it’s always best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist.
Can you mix lemon juice with face masks to address pigmentation? No, it’s not recommended. Citrus plants, when combined with the sun, actually cause pigmentation, doing the opposite of the desired effect.
Is there a way to prevent the pimples you get before your period?100% prevention is difficult. However, there are ways to reduce them, like consistently using your anti-acne regimen. When they come, go to a dermatologist for pimple shots to flatten them quickly or use pimple patches.
How do you achieve K-drama-looking skin or glass skin?Glass skin means blemish-free and hydrated skin with not-so-visible pores. For blemishes, use your anti-acne and anti-pigment regimen. For a dewy appearance, you need your moisturizer. To minimize pores, however, genetics play a role in it; if you’re born with big pores, you can only do so much.
What is doxycycline and is it okay to use? Doxycycline is an antibiotic that’s used for inflammatory lesions. However, for it to be effective, there’s a certain dose that you have to take within a specific timeframe.
How do we treat blackheads and whiteheads?You can use benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, or antibiotics mixed with these two ingredients. Depending on your dermatologist’s prescriptions, AHAs and BHAs can also be used to physically remove them.
When I use an exfoliant or facial scrub, how come I get acne the following day?There are several factors to consider: Did you use a new facial wash? Did you use a new acid or retinoid? Are you about to have your period? Are you stressed or eating well? With these said, physical exfoliation is not a direct cause of breakouts.
How do I distinguish purging from irritation or breakouts?Purging is your skin’s reaction to a new product, like retinoids, for example. There’s a period where you are expected to have more breakouts or pimples because retinoids speed up your skin’s turnover before they stabilize and make your skin better. On the other hand, breakouts are your skin’s way of telling you that it doesn’t like the product and it will never adjust to it.
What are retinoids and retinol, and how can they help with acne?Retinols are milder derivatives of Vitamin A. Meanwhile, retinoids are prescription-based that come in the forms of tretinoin, adapalene, and tazarotene. They’re also an anti-inflammatory, which helps minimize cystic acne when your pore explodes.
Oral retinoids, which is isotretinoin, is the only one that can decrease oil production, which can cause a feeling of dryness upon use. With topical retinoids, you can experience scaling or flakiness, and mild irritation. When it comes to treating acne, the solution that will be prescribed to you depends on your skin condition.
Want to learn more skincare tips and how you can #ChooseBetter for your skin from The Nerdy Derma? Watch out entire #AskEllana session below: