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It remains to be sen why Asians are obsessed with lightening their skin while the West has a bizarre fascination with tanning. But in a society where television and print advertisements dictate that fair skin is associated with beauty, the fixation on skin whitening is hard to avoid. While we won't go so far as to say that society's obsession with whitening is healthy, there certainly are effective methods through which you can achieve enviable porcelain skin. Sometimes, the age-old advice of sufficient sleep and a healthy diet just isn't enough to do the trick. We talk to Dr. Patricia Yuen, one of Singapore's leading dermatologists to find out essential facts and tips to skin whitening.
1. Always read the fine print in advertisements
You're probably heard this before, but that doesn't mean it's any less important. If the fine print reads that "a product is based on "in-vitro" or "in-vivo" results. It may not translate to human skin. "Dr Goh and Dr Yuen recommend only products that have "lots of scientific and clinical data to back the technology and safety behind them."
2. Look out for certain ingredients clinically proven to work
Effective whitening products usually include certain specific ingredients and components that have been clinically proven to work, so keep an eye out for them. These include "Hydroquinone (A prescription-only ingredient), Retinoic acid (Vitamin A), Fernblock, Ellagic acid (pomegranate extract), Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), L-Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and L-Cystine."
3. Aesthetic-whitening treatments produce faster results
Aesthetic-whitening treatments such as IPL, chemical peels, Vitamin C iontophoresis or lasers may require you to dig deeper into your pockets, but in return they promise faster skin lightening results. However, "it is important to be clear about the risks that may come along with them. Discuss any concerns with your dermatologist before undergoing the treatments."
4. Use a variety of products that complement each other
Nowadays, most people don't stick to just one product, but is using too many products harmful? The good news is "there are no side effects from using too many skincare, supplements or treatments, unless you're allergic. To reduce the risk of allergies or adverse effects, have a dermatologist examine your skin to determine the right aesthetic treatment for you."
" You may use topical skincare products and oral supplement concurrently as they are complementary to each other - topical products work on the surface layer of the skin whereas oral supplements work from within." Dr Yuen recommends "Heliocare Purewhite Radiance" as an oral supplement.
Dr Yuen recommends Heliocare Purewhite Radiance pills as an oral supplement that'll work from within.
5. Incorporate these steps into your skincare regime
Besides applying whitening products and treatments, you can take these extra steps to enhance their effectiveness. "Exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells that cause the skin to look dull, as well as to allow better penetration of skin whitening products. Drink plenty of water and moisture your skin well to make it more receptive to skin whitening ingredients. Lastly, apply sunscreen (at least SPF30) daily to protect the skin from the sun's damaging rays, which can cause spots and skin aging."
Source: LifestyleAsia.com, Beauty, 27th February 2013
Journalist: Gwyneth Liew