Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #1: The Ultimate Beauty Regimen for Acne-Prone Skin

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Hello everyone!

Being a long-time acne sufferer myself, I can fully relate to the inconvenience this common skin condition poses. As envious as I am of friends who are able to live by the simplest beauty routine (like, using just water to cleanse their faces) and yet still have perfect complexion, I know it is virtually impossible for me to do likewise and get similar results. But due to sheer laziness and the fact that I didn’t like the feeling of a pile of skincare products weighing down on my face every night, I had been depending on a single facial cleanser for years solely to keep dirt and oil from clogging my pores.

But with my recent breakouts (no thanks to the prolonged haze), I’ve come to realise that I needed to step up my game if I wanted to clear up my face. And to achieve that, I’d have to incorporate toning and moisturising into my daily beauty regimen. However, finding the right skincare products for my routine can be no easy feat, especially when I have oily skin that breaks out even with the slightest change in my regimen.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to search high and low for a suitable product because help eventually came knocking on my door!

Thank you, Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula!

For oily and acne-prone skin

For oily and acne-prone skin

In case you haven’t heard of Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (or TDF for short), it was first established in the USA and later Singapore in 1994. A pioneer in alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) glycolic acid formulations, TDF’s areas of expertise include management of acne, pigmentation disorders, photo-ageing and ageing skin conditions. It is a respected name in the field of aesthetic dermatology and also a well-recognised prescriptive skincare brand among medical and aesthetic professionals.

As the saying goes, the best things in life are meant to be shared. Hence, in this first installment of a four-part skin care series, I will be sharing with you guys my day-to-day beauty regimen using TDF products. Have oily and acne-prone skin like me? This should definitely be interest to you so read on! 🙂

Let's begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn't kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

Let’s begin by wetting our faces! (I wasn’t kidding when I said I had breakouts, right?)

1. Cleanse

Regardless of gender, face washing is no doubt the most fundamental step in any skincare regimen, especially for night time. No matter how tired or sick I am, I would muster up my last bit of energy just to wash my face and get that squeaky clean feeling. Besides, the last thing I’d want to get during my sleep are more pimples from my contaminated pillow!

This beauty rule doesn’t just apply to people who wear makeup often as research has shown that cleansing is key to maintaining youthful looks. It does a lot more than rinsing the face with water which only removes about 65% of oil and debris from the surface. As a resident in one of the most humid cities in the world, it is also important to note that cleansing helps to unclog pores, dissolve dirt and makeup as well as to remove excess oils and prevent excess oil production in the day.

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash & Deep Acne Facial Wash

TDF has recommended 4 types of cleansers for their Oily and Acne-Prone regimen. Here, I’ve shortlisted two – the AHA Facial Wash and AHA Deep Acne Facial Wash. They are primarily catered for the same skin type, just that the former is suitable for oily and acne-prone skin (preventive) while the other is ideal for comedogenic and acne-ridden (corrective) skin. For clearer illustration, I will only be using the AHA Facial Wash in this quick guide!

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

The AHA Facial Wash is a 2-in-1 gel cleanser and exfoliator that combines with an acne-fighting alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) and soothing botanical and marine extracts as well as antiseptic agents to help prevent flare-ups.

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

TDF AHA Facial Wash

A pellucid pale green liquid at first, it gradually works into a lather upon contact with wet skin. It gently deep-cleanses pores, removes excess oil without over-drying and clears surface impurities. After cleansing, my skin felt very refreshed and supple!

Do wash with lukewarm water as too hot a water temperature can strip your skin of essential natural moisture and healthy oils. Try not to wash your face in the shower as the high water pressure can also break capillaries and in turn aggravate your skin condition. Besides, your skin will also become dry if it stays in water for too long!

2. Tone

After cleansing comes toning, which is absolutely necessary for people with oily skin. While toners are usually optional for people with normal skin type, they actually provide the extra kick needed by oily skin to remove any little traces of makeup that the cleanser is unable to reach.

Skin toners are available in several kinds – skin fresheners (the mildest form), tonics (slightly stronger) and astringents (strongest form). Astringents are normally recommended for oily skin as they tend to be drying. However, when the skin loses oil, it goes into an overdrive to produce more to keep its moisture balance in check. In view of this fact, TDF has come up with a milder and gentler version of astringent (hence, you probably can call this a tonic instead) so that your skin remains smooth and clean after use!

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

Similar to what I’ve explained earlier, the Mild Astringent is a clarifying toner that removes traces of cleanser and impurities. It maintains your skin at a healthy balanced pH level (which was distorted by the cleanser earlier on) and aids in the application of serum and moisturiser products thereafter. It helps to tighten and shrink pores, making it more difficult for debris and dirt to penetrate your skin. As a result, it also controls acne and prevents blackheads.

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

TDF Mild Astringent

You can use own fingers for this step but I personally like using cotton pads to prevent wastage (and I don’t really trust that my fingers would be entirely clean too). Unlike the cleanser, you’d only need to apply the astringent to problem areas of the skin, such as the pimples themselves to prevent dehydration on unaffected parts.

Do prevent rubbing the cotton pad back and forth or it may cause irritation to your skin. In addition, toners are meant to be dried off naturally or absorbed into the skin so there is no need for you to rinse it away after that!

3. Moisturise

Finally, moisturise your skin after the toner has dried as a wrap-up to the regimen. The moisturiser helps to retain and restore the moisture (duh!) that was robbed in the process of toning. Nevertheless, this is a step that’s often skipped by those with oily skin due to the common misconception that moisturisers would cause the skin to appear “oilier”. In fact, it’s the complete opposite! Without moisturisers to increase water content of the skin, it would actually produce excess sebum to make up for lack of hydration and then defeat the purpose of this entire routine!

To tackle the problem of having an even greasier complexion after wearing a moisturiser, you can try a light one with mattifying properties like the Ultra Light Hydrator I’m about to introduce to you!

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

The Ultra Light Hydrator is a must-have mattifying moisturiser for oily and combination skin types. This sheer lightweight formula hydrates the skin to restore moisture balance and regulates sebum production, keeping blackhead-bearing oil at bay. Regular use enhances your skin’s texture, firmness and clarity. Oil-free and with a non-greasy finish, it is also excellent as a makeup base.

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator

TDF Ultra Light Hydrator (oops, a little too much here, but this picture is for illustration purpose only!)

With just a tiny amount, massage it into your skin in an upward motion (to prevent premature sagging) and be more gentle on delicate areas around the eyes.

Once you’ve completed the above, you’re done! It’s that simple 🙂

Here’s the result after going through the 3-step beauty regimen!

After

After (you can compare this with my Moisturise selfies)

Notice the natural glow around my face? I definitely felt a lot cleaner and more refreshed after using the recommended TDF products!

Do you have similar experience with TDF? Chime in below!

Thanks for reading and do stay tuned for the next installment 🙂

All TDF products are exclusively sold at all clinics, National Healthcare Group polyclinics, SingHealth polyclinics, hospitals and public/restructured specialist centres. For more information on product availability, click here.

Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF)

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REVIEW: Minus 417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, Aromatic Body Peeling & Aromatic Body Butter

Hey guys!

The -417 products that will be reviewed in this post

-417 products

Choosing the right face wash is an integral part of my skincare regime. However, it’s not easy finding a suitable one because of the sensitive nature of my skin. To top it off, I’ve also been battling serious acne since my adolescence although it’s a billion times better now. My self-esteem and self-confidence took a nosedive during my secondary school years because I often got taunted and humiliated due to my facial flaw, especially during petty arguments where the other party would resort to using personal insults and name-calling to get their point across. Jokingly or not, those words definitely stung and made me even more self-conscious. And that kinda sparked my obsession with facial products.

In a bid to improve my complexion, I started spending a wallop of money on products that promised results. I have probably tried almost every product sold at pharmacies, mostly recommended by sales reps. But none of them managed to keep my awful pimples at bay. Instead, some of them actually aggravated my skin condition (extreme dryness, skin inflammation and whatnot) and caused multiple scarring on my face because my pimples just couldn’t heal properly. It was devastating and demoralising!

But after many years of trial and error, I finally found the face wash that best suits my skin type. Prior to that, I had used The Body Shop‘s Aloe Gentle Facial Wash faithfully every day and night. However I felt that my skin kinda got immune to the effects after a couple of years and my face became a minefield for acne once again. Boyfriend noticed the severity of my condition and got me -417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel as part of my birthday present last year (after doing his research) and I’ve been using it as my daytime facial wash ever since!

What is -417?

-417 is the developer of an exclusive and unique line of natural skincare products based on natural active components and minerals from the lowest place in the world – the Dead Sea.

Founded in 2003, -417 has been committed to keeping the value that has established itself as a trendsetter in the beauty industry. Through meticulous research and development, scientific advances, professional expertise and the understanding of a customer’s well-being, -417 is continuing to change the world of beauty. With global distributors in more than 15 countries including France, Switzerland, Russia, Denmark and Argentina, -417 products are sold through international distribution channels such as at department stores, chain retailers and pharmacies, perfumeries, chain cosmetic stores and at leading spas & hotels.

(read more)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel (S$120)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, 200g / 6.8oz

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel (pardon the dirtiness ‘coz it has sat in my bathroom for quite some time)

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

Yup, it’s recommended to be used only in the day because it contains micro natural luffa beads that help to dislodge impurities and dead skin cell. Therefore, it may be too harsh on the skin if applied too many times in a day. According to -417, the foaming gel itself is based on the Vitamin-Mineral Complex – a combination of natural active ingredients, including moisture-balancing minerals from the Dead-Sea together with nourishing plant extracts and active vitamins (A, B, E, F and H) – as well as jojoba oil, olive oil and grape oil, that leaves the skin clean, soft fresh and glowing. It aids in reducing the appearance of dark spots while speeding up the skin’s micro-circulation and providing a deep cleansing. Impressive, eh?

And the crazy part?

It costs a whopping S$120* at retail.

*gasps* No wonder boyfriend refused to disclose the amount he paid regardless of how much I bugged him about it because he knew I’d definitely lambaste the hell outta him for spending that kind of money! It’s like what, the cost of two premium ribeye steaks at an extravagant restaurant combined?!

With the price that ridiculous, this product has got to work. And very fortunately, it does to a pretty large extent as visible improvements were seen as early as one week. I had my qualms about the exfoliating function of this product initially as I had read somewhere about face scrubs being harmful to the skin.  As it turned out eventually, my worries were for naught.

Before and After

Before and After (the seemingly sharper and fairer complexion could be due to the use of other products)

My face, once clogged with filth and oil, now appears cleaner and more radiant. It had also eliminated most of my greasy sheen and stubborn zits. Of course, these results are also dependent on my lifestyle and diet. Still, although staying away from fried food and having enough rest help to subdue my acne eruption, they can’t purify and unclog my pores. I would need a facial product like this to do the job.

Furthermore, if you’re eagle-eyed enough, you’d have realised the great difference in the timestamp of my before and after shots – they were taken almost a year apart! Believe it or not, I’m still on my first tube despite using it every single day! And I’m probably only halfway through. That’s because a teeny weeny layer of it is enough to make a lather for the entire face.

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

-417 Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel

Just a thin layer like this will do

Just a thin layer like this will do (actually, I squeezed out way too much product – it’s more than enough!)

As this is advisable to be used only in the day, there’s another product that is designed for night use. The Whitening Cleansing Soap helps to lighten hyperpigmentation while removing eye and face makeup together. Like the Facial Micro Luffa Foaming Gel, the price is likely to burn a hole in your pocket and I was almost tempted into buying it when I was at their nex booth to redeem a gift for my boyfriend’s birthday a few months ago.

And that’s the thing about their sales reps – they are highly convincing and persuasive in their sales pitch to the point that it may seem a little pushy.  Apart from offering a special rate, they would also do a live demo of the products on you and chances are, you would be wowed by the instant results and enticed into getting it. While waiting for them to retrieve my gift, one of the sales reps took the opportunity to introduce me to some of their bestsellers and managed to win me over with just a simple demonstration. This was despite the fact that I’m usually very strong willed and firm against unrelenting pressure sales tactics. Well, I guess it becomes a different story altogether if the results are proven before my eyes.

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender (450g, RP: S$140 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender

As a mild sufferer of Ichthyosis Vulgaris (a common form of inherited skin disorder), I am always on a lookout for effective moisturising cream to relieve the dry and scaly skin covering most parts of my lower legs. The Aromatic Body Peeling is a fantastic addition to my skincare stash as it contains microscopic grains of the Dead Sea salt that helps to gently exfoliate dead and dry skin cells. On top of that, it also encourages skin rejuvenation and reduces signs of aging. The lavender fragrance smells reeeeally good too!

It comes in 3 other scents – Kiwi & Mango, Mik & Honey and Ocean.

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender - application

-417 Aromatic Body Peeling in Lavender – application

Packaged in a rather large tub that can probably last users for months, this only needs to be applied on the skin once a week during bath. It can be used on any part of the body except for the face and hair (because there are separate products for them). Most of the time I use it on my legs, arms and neck.

Application-wise, it was a breeze. The coarse texture of the salt evens out smoothly like a regular body wash and it leaves a silky, buttery and a minuscule tacky finish on the surface upon washing it off. Indeed, the skin doesn’t feel dehydrated and rough but I didn’t like the greasy feeling. That’s why boyfriend also got me the Aromatic Body Butter to tone it down a bit.

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender (250ml / 8.5oz, RP: $120 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender (250ml / 8.5oz, RP: S$120 but you can get it a lot cheaper. Scroll down for more info!)

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender

Enriched with Shea butter than nourishes and relaxes the skin, it also shields it from UV radiation and prevents skin aging. It contains sweet almonds oil, avocado oil and mango extract to provide a feeling of moisture, nourishment and silk. That said, I was advised to use it just once a week after shower (the same day I apply the Aromatic Body Peeling) but I’m probably going to increase my usage due to my abnormal skin condition. No matter how much of a quantity of the butter I massage on my body, the tubs seems to have an endless pit 😯

Moreover, I absolutely love the sweet aroma of the Lavender fragrance. It’s light enough not to irritate my sensitive nose and the smell actually lingers on for quite some time. Like the Aromatic Body Peeling, this also comes in 3 other similar scents.

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - application

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender – application

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - apply until it is fully absorbed into the skin

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender – apply until it is fully absorbed into the skin

-417 Aromatic Body Butter in Lavender - application

End result. Also, proof that I do have scaly skin :\ It’s better now with maintenance because it used to be a lot scarier and uglier than this.

The butter has a thick and consistent texture which spreads out nicely over a large area with just a dab. The absorption didn’t take very long too, probably in a few seconds. My skin definitely feels a lot smoother and softer after application, and less sticky as well.

*For best deals, purchase -417 products over the counter. Sales reps are usually very eager to close deals hence they would very often offer you the lowest prices possible (e.g. staff discounts, bundle prices at 30% off).

Remember, stand firm and don’t be afraid to say “no”!

All in all, -417 products are generally a costly investment (prices range between S$50 for a soap bar and S$600 for a facial mask, on average above S$100 per item) but the contents are mostly packaged in such large quantities that they can actually last you for months, thus helping you to save a lot of money in the long run. However, if you’re apprehensive about splurging on a product you’re unsure that would work, I’d highly recommend that you share it with a few people in your household.

And that’s about it!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

For more information on -417 and their products, click here.