REVIEW: KISpeel Skincare – Clarifying Start Toner, Hydra Micro-Raphides & Nutritive Micro-Raphides [Serum & Cream], Marine Vital [Essence & Ampoule], Cica Repair Cream & Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

Hello everyone!

As Chinese New Year draws near, it is kinda imperative that we (especially the ladies) stay on top of our skincare game and ensure our skin leading up to the grand reunion looks healthy and radiant because as much as possible, we certainly do not wish to invite embarrassing questions about our skin from (untactful) relatives whom we’ve not met in a year. If your current skincare regimen hasn’t been of much help, it isn’t too late to start a new one – with KISpeel, that is!

KISpeel, a combination of the acronym for ‘Keep Ideal Skin’ and ‘Peel’ (as in facial peels, a form of exfoliation), is a Korean skincare company that specialises in post-cleanse skin maintenance. Their strong belief in providing long-term solutions to skin woes has led them to steer clear from silicones (e.g. Dimethicone, Methicone, etc.), artificial colourants and synthetic fragrances when formulating their products.

But that is not to say that they are free of preservatives. Although preservatives are  essential in preventing mold, bacteria, and microbial growth in skincare products, some do way more harm than good to our health. Therefore, KISpeel has always been upfront about only including preservatives made with 1, 2-hexanediol – a solvent rated ‘1’ (low hazard) by Environmental Working Group (EWG) and ‘safe’ by Cosmetic Ingredient Review (which I feel is a more reliable database as it offers a more in-depth assessment of ingredients) – in their products.

All KISpeel products

All KISpeel products

As a relatively young brand, KISpeel presently only carries 9 products (but yay to our wallets 😁) which they have kindly sent to me for review purposes. If you’re interested to find out more, read on!

*Prices stated do not include delivery charges

POST-CLEANSER

CLARIFYING START TONER

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$24.90)

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

Ingredients in KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

KISpeel Clarifying Start Toner application

Our skin becomes more alkaline in response to being stripped of its acidic mantle after every cleanse and this makes it more susceptible to damage and inflammation. Toners fill the void by restoring the skin’s pH balance and providing a base layer of hydration so that it would be more amenable to the subsequent products layered on it. But with the Clarifying Start Toner, you get more than you bargain for because it comes with other benefits as well!

Suitable for sensitive skin types, this clear, non-sticky unscented toner effectively exfoliates, soothes and moisturises the skin with Centella Asiatica Water, Witch Hazel Extract, AHA (citric acid) and PHA (lactobionic acid). Moreover, it also contains Propolis and Vitis Vinifera (grape) Culture extracts for their anti-oxidation and anti-ageing properties. Since the product is dispensed from a pump bottle, you can easily gauge the amount you’ve collected on the cotton pad (2 to 3 pumps would be sufficient) and prevent unnecessary wastage. The toner, however, tends to separate if  left sitting for a while. When that happens, simply shake the solution to thoroughly mix it before use.

THE HYDRA SERIES

KISpeel Hydra Series

KISpeel Hydra Series

Specially curated for oily and dehydrated¹ skin (yes, it is possible to have both!), the Hydra series is mainly composed of ingredients such as Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and Propolis extracts (which are also known for their soothing and pore-tightening properties), Shea butter (which aids in cell regeneration) and Macadamia Ternifolia seed oil to remove excess oil from skin and improve moisture retention. Fragrance-free and colour-free, the products are also suitable for sensitive skin.

¹Dehydration is a skin condition caused by a lack of water while dry skin is a skin type and caused by a lack of oil production.

It is common for oily skin to peel and feel dehydrated because of the harsh ingredients often found in skincare products that control oil.

On top of that, the Hydra serum and cream – or as a matter of fact, the majority of KISpeel products – also contain Micro-Raphides. Measuring approximately half the size of a pore, these needle-shaped crystals, which are originally found in specialised plant cells (most commonly in leaves), have undergone purification to remove their toxicity so that they can safely and comfortably penetrate into the skin to stimulate blood circulation and boost cell turnover² while delivering the active ingredients. Therefore, it may produce a prickly sensation (somewhat like little jolts of static electricity) as the product is being applied onto the skin, thereby causing a momentary itch (for me at least, but it went away very quickly).

²Cell turnover is the process where the skin produces new skin cells, which travel from the lowest layer of the epidermis to the top layer, and then shed off the skin (exfoliation) to prevent dead cells from building up on the skin’s surface.

Be sure not to rub your eyes without first washing your hands after using products with Micro-Raphides as the stinging effect will transfer to whatever you come in contact with.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum application

Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum is a water-based milk-type serum that features more concentrated ingredients to control sebum production and seal moisture into the skin. Sleek and simple, it comes in an opaque pump bottle and, if your budget allows, can be used day and night. Weightless and fast-absorbing, it also has a non-greasy finish and does not leave a sticky residue once it settles into the skin. The serum has an emollient but thicker consistency than regular moisturising cream and can be used as an alternative or in addition to creams or lotions to enhance your skincare regimen.

Using your fingertips, take a few pumps of the serum and evenly apply it to the whole face before patting it in. However, because the serum tends to penetrate too rapidly, it may cause slight irritation to sensitive skin. In such cases, it would be advisable to wait for a few minutes for the face to dry completely from cleansing or toning before proceeding with this step.

Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$22.90)

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream application

The cream, on a other hand, is made up of larger molecules and hence works more on the surface. Used at the final step of your skincare regimen, it provides superficial hydration and increases the treatment potential of the serum by locking in its potent actives with a heavier and thicker formula on top.

Taking an appropriate amount of the cream from the tub, apply over the face with some pressure to allow for better infiltration efficiency.

Casual skincare routine for oily and dehydrated skin: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive oiliness and dehydration or to be used during spring & summer: Clarifying Start Toner → Hydra Micro-Raphides Serum → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Hydra Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE NUTRITIVE SERIES

KISpeel Nutritive Series

KISpeel Nutritive Series

In contrast, the Nutritive series nourishes and moisturises dry and dehydrated skin with Panax Ginseng Root Extract (which regenerates skin cells and detoxifies the skin), Shea butter (to provide a heavy-duty dose of emollient benefits), Phellinus Linteus and Bertholletia Excelsa Seed Oil (for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties) to fight winter gloom. Similarly, Micro-Raphides form part of its key ingredients for exfoliation purposes and therefore give the same tingling effect as the Hydra series.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum application

The Nutritive serum is likewise a milk-type serum that combines a cascade of skin-replenishing ingredients to firm up the skin by restoring its natural elasticity. It has a creamier and more opaque consistency than the Hydra serum and takes a longer time for most of its greasiness to subside. When it does, it leaves a protective film on the surface of the skin for a dewy finish.

Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

KISpeel Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream application

The texture of the Nutritive cream is richer and thicker than that of the Hydra Cream which gives it a higher tendency to a leave a white cast on the skin. If that happens, lightly pat your palms against your face a couple of times until the product is assimilated. Another point to note about the Nutritive cream is that it has a faint yet discernible mildly pleasant chemical smell which your nose would be trained to ignore after awhile. To apply both the serum and cream, follow the steps indicated for the Hydra series.

Casual skincare routine for dry skin type: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Cica Repair Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

For combination skin type, use both Hydra and Nutritive series

For excessive dryness or to be used during autumn and winter: Clarifying Start Toner → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Serum → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)
Clear skin boot camp: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Nutritive Micro-Raphides Cream → Micro-Raphides Spot Cream (optional)

THE MARINE VITAL SERIES

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

KISpeel Marine Vital Series

Particularly in the case of modern women, the fight against the signs of ageing starts from an early age and therefore, it is no wonder that essences, ampoules and serums have exploded in popularity in recent years. But instead of having to pile on tons of skincare products to achieve a youthful complexion (like, have you heard of the 10-step Korean skincare regimen?!), KISpeel has narrowed down to just two to rev up the results and keep you from going broke.

Hydrolyzed Collagen, Caviar and Plankton extracts, and Thala Complex are the key ingredients in this anti-wrinkle and brightening series due to their ability to plump and tighten the skin while improving its elasticity and moisture content. The Thala Complex – a combination of clear seawater, Hydrolyzed Algin and Marine Polysaccharides (Exopolysaccharides) obtained from the coast of Brittany, France – represents a good resources of nutrients that helps promote skin regeneration and health. However, unlike the KISpeel products featured earlier, the Marine Vital series does not contain Micro-Raphides.

Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence // 150ml / 5.1 fl.oz (S$26.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Essence

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

KISpeel Marine Vital Essence application

Stored in a pump container for easy dispensing, one pump is all it takes to give your skin its needed vitality boost. The Marine Vital Essence works similarly to a serum as it targets specifically wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tones but it is less concentrated and has no viscosity. Gentler on the skin, it is intended for use before ampoule or serum due to its lightweight nature and more watery consistency. Formulated without fragrance, it instantly adds another layer of hydration while fortifying the natural resilience of the skin without leaving a greasy sensation or causing irritation. Simply apply an appropriate amount of the essence evenly to the skin and lightly tap on it to help it absorb better.

Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$29.90)

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

Ingredients in KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

KISpeel Marine Vital Ampoule application

Toner, serum, essence… As if there isn’t already a maze of beauty terminology to brood over, there’s now ampoule?! Understandably, those who are new to the whole Korean skincare approach may not be familiar with these cosmetic jargon but ampoules are merely supercharged versions of serums with higher concentrations of active ingredients which can help avert a specific skin crisis in relatively less time.

The Marine Vital Ampoule in this instance helps reduce facial lines and revitalise the look of lacklustre skin. However, since it renders a stronger effect than serum, it should be used only when necessary because the potency factor may heighten skin sensitivity. It is ideal, say, on occasions when the skin requires intensive treatment (perhaps a few days before your wedding) and yet, time does not seem to be on your side. Due to its thicker and more luscious texture (but won’t leave a sticky film on the skin), this unscented ampoule is more suitable for night use and should be applied after essence.

For an extra boost: Clarifying Start Toner → Marine Vital Essence → Marine Vital Ampoule → Cica Repair Cream

COMPLEMENTS

Apart from developing a range of products to cater to different skin types, KISpeel is also dedicated in providing solutions for other cosmetic concerns such as redness, hyperpigmentation and zits, as evident by the addition of the Cica Repair Cream and Micro-Raphides Spot Cream. These products can be used in conjunction with those mentioned earlier as part of your daily skincare routine.

Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream // 50ml / 1.7 fl.oz (S$19.90)

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

Ingredients in KISpeel Cica Repair Cream

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

KISpeel Cica Repair Cream application

Slick and soft in texture, this moisturising cream boasts a therapeutic blend of Centella Asiatica leaf water and Centella Asiatica Extract, along with other soothing ingredients known for their healing and anti-inflammatory properties, to calm irritated and sensitive skin without leaving an icky feeling. It contains Allantoin and Aloe Vera leaf juice to stimulate the growth of healthy tissue and aid the skin repair process while keeping the skin hydrated. Multi-functional, it can also be applied on any other parts of the body (e.g. neck, that require a little tender loving care. To use, evenly massage a suitable amount of product into the skin and gently pat until absorbed.

Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream // 10ml / 0.3 fl.oz (S$21.90)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

Ingredients in KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream applicator (click to enlarge)

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

KISpeel Micro-Raphides Spot Cream application

Formulated with almost the same set of ingredients as the Cico Repair Cream, the Micro-Raphides Spot Cream offers targeted treatment for hyperpigmentation and pimples by soothing inflamed skin and diminishing their appearance with Centella Asiatica and Aloe Vera extracts. That said, this would only be effective with surface blemishes and not so much with more severe skin conditions such as cystic acne.

What sets this spot cream apart from the repair cream is the added Micro-Raphides which helps revitalise the skin and exfoliate dead skin cells. Likewise, the thin crystalline needles may cause a tingling sensation as it penetrates deep into the skin. But fret not, the (bearable) sting typically does not last beyond a few seconds and it will be gone before you know it.

To minimise contamination and preserve the purity of the product, the spot cream is dispensed through a convex applicator (when pressed down) which can be directly applied to the affected areas in circular motions twice to thrice a day. Unless you choose to apply the cream with your fingers, be sure to disinfect the applicator with soap or anti-bacterial wipes and then dry it after every use to keep it sterile.

Finished face!

Finished face!

All in all, apart from the tingling sensation given rise by the Micro-Raphides which I’m still trying to get accustomed to, I like that the ingredients are gentle enough on my sensitive skin. Furthermore, I really appreciate the no-nonsense approach KISpeel has to skincare as they do not allude to the need of having a myriad of products, but just the essentials! In terms of price, KISpeel is pretty much on par with or lower than most mid-tier Korean beauty brands which, of course, have a much wider distribution since KISpeel is only available online and at I’M STARTICE.

What are your thoughts about KISpeel? Would you be willing to give this brand a shot? Let me know your views in the comments below 🙂

Thanks for reading!

KISpeel is available on Qoo10 Singapore and I’M STARTICE. For more information, visit KISpeel website or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
This post is brought to you by KISpeel.

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REVIEW: Palladio Rice Paper in Translucent, Natural & Warm Beige

Hello everyone!

The hottest month of the year might have gone by but the agony still remains for people with naturally oily skin especially in a hot and humid country like Singapore. Our dewy makeup turns into a greasy mess within a short span of time as our complexion vigorously produces a surplus of oil enough to fry an egg. It’s surely impossible to stay matte without the help of blotting papers to soak up the shine but with so many choices available, looking for the best one for your skin at the right price can be arduous and time-consuming. Hence, to help you with your selection, I would like to bring your attention to the newest kind of blotting papers in town by Palladio 🙂

Palladio Rice Paper (S$6.90)

Palladio Rice Paper (S$6.90) – love the vintage oriental packaging!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Palladio Rice Paper

These rice papers, like your regular blotting papers, are the quick fix for removing excessive oil on the face when outdoors. Housed in a handy little cardboard dispenser packet that fits into the smallest purse or pocket, each of these 40 on-the-go rice paper tissues pulls easily from the box despite their stiffer texture. The pieces don’t stick to one another so you won’t pull out more than what you need. Measuring twice the size of the packaging, they are big enough to dab the entire face so you would only need one piece at a time!

They are made from natural rice to provide great oil-absorbing functions and can actually do more than the usual job of blotting sheets. Each side of every piece has its own purpose – the matte side blots away excess oil while the powdered side provides occasional touch-ups. You can choose from three Asian-friendly shades – in Translucent, Natural or Warm Beige – to match your skin tone or foundation.

Three shades available in Translucent, Natural and Warm Beige

Three shades available in Translucent, Natural and Warm Beige

In Natural

In Natural

With a flap that locks easily into the slot on the side of the box, there is just nothing to dislike about the packaging. The blotting papers can also be simply retrieved without having to yank the cover open (and potentially damaging it). Furthermore, for the price of just S$6.90, it’s easily one of the cheapest high-quality blotting papers around in Singapore and maybe everywhere else.

Perhaps incorporating a reflective material on the inside cover would be ideal for people who want to check themselves while touching up their makeup with the powdered side of the rice paper.

Matte side

Matte side

The matte side reveals a yellowish and grainy and seemingly coarser texture akin to that of recycled paper but feels fairly soft and gentle on the skin. At times, I would use this side to prep my skin before applying makeup so as to prevent the makeup from becoming cakey. It also does wonders in ensuring that the skin stays shine-free for hours. When outdoors, using this removes any sign of oiliness on my T-zone with minimal interference with my makeup. Occasionally, it does take off a little of my foundation especially when I had forgotten to blot my skin for a long time, causing it to be sticky. But that slight patchiness can be easily fixed with…

Powdered side

Powdered side

..the powdered side! The rice powder is hardly noticeable. Yet, it gives a very natural and smooth finish to the skin and compensates for any uneven makeup caused in the process of blotting. Although the sole purpose of the powdered side is to touch up your makeup, it also does a reasonably good job in absorbing excess facial oil at the same time. Hence, if you’re on a tight schedule, you can kill two birds with one stone by using only the powdered side of the rice paper.

Touching up makeup with the powdered side

Touching up makeup with the powdered side

My natural skin tone leans slightly towards Warm Beige but I can afford to go one shade lighter with makeup on. I’m not sure why there aren’t shades catered to darker skins because obviously the ones available are way too light. Perhaps Palladio can consider having a more diverse range of shades now that they have entered the Asian markets.

Blot away!

Blot away!

On the nose..

On the nose..

One downside of these unique blotting papers is probably the rigidity of material which kinda impedes its malleability, so it tends to miss the oily spots around the inner corners of the nose.

The amount of oil my face is capable of producing within just an hour of makeup application -_-

The amount of oil my face is capable of producing within just an hour of makeup application -_-

Like traditional Japanese calligraphy papers, these rice papers are strong and highly absorbent – they do not tear or rupture easily upon contact with a ridiculous amount of oil no matter how many times you run over your face with them.

Stay matte - effortlessly!

Stay matte – effortlessly!

I used to think that blotting papers are a waste of money because facial tissue papers could do a similar job but these dual-function rice papers are a game changer. I make sure I slip a packet of these into my handphone pouch every time before I leave the house. If you’re in doubt, just give it a try. I mean, it’s only S$6.90! How much damage would it do to your wallet? 😉

Thanks for reading, lovelies!

PALLADIO Rice Paper IS NOW AVAILABLE AT ALL LOCAL GUARDIAN OUTLETS FOR S$6.90 EACH. It is also available on Palladio US websiteUlta and Paula’s Choice for US$4. FOR UPDATES ON UPCOMING local EVENTS, PLEASE VISIT PALLADIO BEAUTY SINGAPORE ON FACEBOOK.
DISCLAIMER: ALL PRODUCTS FEATURED ARE PRESS SAMPLES BUT OPINIONS, AS ALWAYS, ARE MY OWN.

Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula #2: How to Treat Oily Skin & Acne

ADVERTORIAL

Hey everyone!

Despite taking special care of my complexion, my skin is bound to have a major breakout at least once every month due to hormonal shifts (ladies should know what I mean). These are unlike my usual zits as they are typically cystic which mainly occur around my cheeks, chin, jawline and hairline/scalp (mainly at places which are out of sight). They are headless bumps that hurt to the touch and because popping them is close to impossible, they take weeks to heal! They can’t be concealed with makeup entirely too since the bumps would still be very obvious especially from the side. Furthermore, they often leave awful hyperpigmentation when they subside to remind me of the painful experience. Gosh, why is it so hard being a woman?! :\

Another issue I have during my menstrual cycle is the sudden influx of oil on the skin (also the cause of my breakout mentioned earlier). My face becomes a virtual oil slick and it melts down my makeup even when I stay indoors the whole day. I don’t have the habit of carrying oil blotting sheets with me as I had read that they would only lead to more oil production. Therefore I would try to avoid being photographed although sometimes it can’t be helped.

But the condition seems to have improved quite a bit ever since I started using Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF) products for oil control and acne care last month. From the the same range as the ones I had featured previously, I feel that these products serve as a corrective to oily and acne-prone skin rather than a preventive – very suitable for people who are already battling oily skin and acne. So if you’re looking for ways to deal with the shine and the unsightly pustules (or even cysts like mine), look no further!

(from left) Acne E-Rase, AHA Oily & Acne Solution & Clay Mint Mask from Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula

(from left) Acne E-Rase, AHA Oily & Acne Solution & Clay Mint Mask from Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula

Do note that these products work best as supplements to the 3-step beauty regimen (cleanse, tone, moisturise) I wrote about in the first TDF feature and should only be used when necessary or (as advised by an aesthetician) daily until the skin gets better otherwise you may risk having your skin dried up.

1. Control

For those with severe acne, normal cleansing alone won’t be enough to rid them. Therefore you’d need this to be part of your routine:

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 (100ml)

Immediately after cleansing and drying my skin thoroughly with the Deep Acne Facial Wash (a stronger cleanser for my menstrual acne, brief review on Facebook), I applied the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 liberally on my face twice daily, morning and night. This formula helps to control breakouts and clear up complexion and prevent blemishes from forming by clearing clogged pores, correcting enlarged pores and removing excess oil or other lipids present on acne-prone skin. When used regularly, the skin becomes smoother and shine is kept under control.

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8

The solution is a colourless lightweight and runny liquid (like water) that rapidly absorbs into the skin with just a few gentle pats on the face. The excess evaporates like water and does not leave a tacky feeling on the skin.

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*Compulsory

2. Correct

Pimple treatment gel/cream is one of my must-haves for bad skin days because it dries out and flattens specific pimples fast enough before an important event. They are my emergency breakout fix. But from my years of using various acne gel, most of them work better on regular pus-filled pimples and not the cystic ones. They also generally do little to stop the development of zits that have not surfaced. Isn’t it frustrating to be able to feel an oncoming pimple and yet feel helpless about it? Well, now you can!

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

Acne E-Rase (20ml)

The Acne E-Rase is a blend of advanced deep exfoliating ingredients (Salicylic Acid, Lactic Acid) that control the most common concerns associated with acne by regulating the sebum production.

The exfoliant helps to slough off dead skin cells that clog pores which can then cause a breakout. Salicylic Acid, for instance, is both an exfoliant and an anti-inflammatory which effectively reduces inflammation and relieves pain. It’s a lot less irritating like Benzoyl Peroxide (my nemesis – gave me a terribly swollen and crusty face on both occasions that I used it) so allergy level to this product should be relatively lower for those with sensitive skin.

Therefore, besides treating existing blemishes, breakouts and blackheads, this acne treatment gel is capable of addressing future blemishes before they even appear as well without over drying the skin.

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

Acne E-Rase

A pale-yellow light and pellucid gel, the product flows out of the tube uncontrollably when I first removed the cover so do make sure you open it with the tip faced upwards. The Acne E-Rase is to be used after cleansing and drying the skin thoroughly and should be applied on the affected acne spot twice a day (once a few minutes before makeup to allow sufficient time for it to dry, and another before bedtime for me) until they are visibly reduced.

However, because acne treatment gel tends to be drying on the skin, you have to use a moisturiser (the Ultra Light Hydrator makes a great choice!) on top of it to prevent your skin from flaking. Basically, the general skincare rule is to apply the thinner product first so that the thicker one above can “lock in” the one below. Of course, the sequence varies according to different skin types and conditions. When in doubt, consult your dermatologist!

My pimple had clearly shrunk and dried out after application!

My pimple had clearly shrunk and dried out after application! (obviously I didn’t put on any moisturizer because I was too lazy)

I was way past my menstrual period when I took these pictures so I didn’t have any cystic acne (not like I wished there were!) to demonstrate the product on, but I did have some stubborn pustules. The result was quite amazing as I could actually feel that my zit had subsided and the small oncoming ones around it had also dried out completely. They could all be concealed entirely with tinted foundation by the following day.

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Correct (Acne E-Rase) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*COMPULSORY

3. Mask

Facial sessions are the perfect excuse for you to relax on your couch/bed and do nothing (though I still use my phone sometimes hehe eh, don’t act like you don’t) so I am always looking forward to them. Not only are face masks easy and hilariously fun to use (who hasn’t scared anybody with their face mask before?!), it also delivers noticeable results after a single use.

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay Mint Mask (60g)

Clay masks are normally recommended for oily skin because of the drying and tightening nature of their natural clay substances. The Clay Mint Mask combines natural earth clays – kaolin and bentonite – for intensive pore-purging and elimination of impurities. It decongests clogged pores by drawing out dirt, excess sebum and other cellular debris. Weekly use of this mask detoxifies the skin to unveil a clearer and more refined complexion.

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

Clay Mint Mask

The greyish-green product comes out of the tube like a toothpaste but it’s rather structured in a way that it does not break off easily from it so it won’t cause as much of a mess as the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 or the Acne E-Rase.

After cleansing

After cleansing

The picture above was taken at night, hours after applying the AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8 and Acne E-Rase illustrated above! Can you tell that the pimples (on the forehead especially) had reduced quite substantially? Their redness were now a light-pinkish.

With Clay Mint Mask

With Clay Mint Mask

Close up

Close up

To use, apply desired amount (the thicker the better but I’m prudent when it comes to using beauty products) of mask to cleansed face and neck (skipped this area because I didn’t want to wet my body) with finger tips or brush. The mask spreads evenly and hardens completely within 2-3 minutes. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and then, rinse it off with lukewarm water and pat the skin dry with a soft towel. As the name describes, the mask gives the skin a very therapeutic minty sensation (even more shiok in an air-conditioned room!).

Prior to this, I used mainly peel-off masks because it’s less time-consuming. But subsequently I realised that they are not as absorbent as clay masks and certainly a lot messier. Some experts have advised against applying mask after shower as they feel it would be too drying for many skin types yadda yadda (well, there’s always the other side of the coin ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) but I prefer to apply nighttime beauty products on a squeaky clean face and then conveniently head to bed thereafter. Furthermore, the facial pores would also be enlarged after a hot shower so the mask would definitely be absorbed into the skin more rapidly!

Recommended sequence:

Cleanse* (AHA Facial Wash/Deep Acne Facial Wash) → Mask (Clay Mint Mask) → Control (AHA Oily & Acne Solution 8) → Tone* (Mild Astringent) → Correct (Acne E-Rase) → Moisturise* (Ultra Light Hydrator)

*COMPULSORY

Now that I have managed to keep my pimples under control, the next step is to treat the hyperpigmentation left behind by my past acne! If you are trying to get rid of your stubborn hyperpigmentation as well, stay tuned for the next installment of my TDF skincare series! I have more tips and product recommendations in store for you 🙂

Hope this guide has been useful to you and many thanks for reading! 🙂

To find out more about my beauty regimen for oily and acne-prone skin, click here for Part 1!

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Therapeutic Dermatologic Formula (TDF)

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