Don’t get us wrong; living in Asia is the dream. Because what’s not to love about constant warm weather, plenty of sun, and beaches at an arm’s length? But here’s the kicker: pollution, humidity, and the skin issues that come with it. To mitigate the effect, Singapore-based brand Alcheme has developed a personalised line of skincare that addresses the needs of women who want a simple beauty routine which delivers on all skin needs—and best of all, it’s conscious.
Asia is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, which can make finding the right skincare regime a challenge. There are so many products on the market for so many different types of skin, knowing where to turn can be tricky. And don’t even get us started on the climate. If you’re an expat, it can be hard for your skin to adjust to the humidity and products that used to work back home don’t seem to have the same effect. And if you’re a local, then you’ve been battling pollution and increased risk of sun damage your entire life. Either way, we could all do with some help in finding a skincare routine that works. Knowing that we all have different lifestyles, priorities, and skin types, Singapore-based brand Alcheme came up with a solution in the way of a personalised skincare routine that is simple and effective, with products tailored to each person’s unique needs. And considering the brand is a start-up developed by three ex-Clarins staff, they know a thing or two about skincare for women.
It also knows a thing or two about the environment and believes that answers to your skin problems do not lie in mass-produced bottles that harm the planet. Instead, it works towards reducing our carbon footprint by not only focusing on the product but also how it’s produced and packaged. Alcheme calls it ‘intentional skincare’. Every bottle is produced with minimal waste and formulated individually to ensure that the ingredients that go on your skin are exactly what you need. Because everyone’s skin is different, and that’s a beautiful thing. If you’re living in Asia, here a few more things you need to know to ensure your skin is getting the love it needs.
1. Breaking out more? It could be the pollution
Pollution is a thing right now in Asia. Well, it always is in some parts but the dry season seems to be exacerbating the issue in areas that aren’t usually plagued with haze. What’s worse is the effect it’s having on our health and skin. According to Alcheme, pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide attacks skin cells, generating free radicals, causing inflammation, dehydration and loss of skin elasticity. Also, air pollution consists of tiny particles, sometimes twenty times smaller than your pores. These micro-particles cover your skin with an invisible film that dulls and poisons it.
Day after day as our skin is exposed to these attacks, the pollution causes the breakdown of collagen, which is responsible for firm and elastic skin, leading to premature signs of ageing. Alcheme suggests three steps to guard your face from the haze:
Wash and clean your skin daily to remove all traces of grime and bacteria you will likely have picked up from the air during the day. Got dull skin? You need to exfoliate regularly to remove the dead cells.
Fight against the pollution with anti-oxidant rich products and food to prevent break down of collagen. This includes eating foods like blueberries, leafy greens, dark chocolate and pecans. You should also drink plenty of water to flush toxins from your body.
#3 Create a barrier
The best option is to limit the impact of pollution on your skin altogether. Make it a point to use skincare products that feature anti-pollution properties. As pollution compromises your skin barrier function, making it more vulnerable, always use UV protection.
2. Hot and humid weather exacerbates issues like acne and oily skin
Oh to be one of those people that thrive in a humid climate. Unfortunately, most of us look like we’ve just stepped out of a sauna at all times. And you might even find your skin doing things it didn’t even do in your teens. That’s because humidity amplifies skin issues. Since pores tend to dilate as the temperature rises, skin becomes more oily further aggravating the problems faced by acne-prone skin. According to Alchemy, these are the root causes of acne:
#1 Too much oil blocks pores
The oil produced by the skin (sebum) is key to keeping it healthy and beautiful. Indeed, sebum keeps the skin lubricated, soft and supple. Excess oil production, however, triggers acne by blocking pores. Genetics also plays a part: for example, Asian skin tends to produce more oil, leaving it prone to acne. Life events such as puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycle or stress, also drive hormone levels up, leading to excess oil production.
#2 Dead skin cells stick together (aka hyperkeratinization)
When the skin produces too much keratin, the lining of the pores become sticky and dead cells get stuck. They then combine with excess oil and clog up pores further. This attracts P. acnes, a bacteria which feeds off oil and dead cells.
#3 Bacteria then triggers acne
As the bacteria multiply, they cause damage to the cells as well as inflammation of the skin resulting in the formation of red bumps and pimples. In turn, these lead to scarring and post-inflammatory pigmentation of the skin.
#4 Pore enlargement as a result of acne
Pores become enlarged as a result of the blockage of the skin pores by excess sebum, dead skin cells.
With this in mind, Alcheme offer product with high-quality ingredients such as iris root extract, zinc sulfate, and vitamin A and C, which all work to prevent pores from becoming blocked and limits inflammation. To help you find the right product for your skin, whether you’re Asian, American, or alien, it will help you assess your skin and find a personalised skincare solution that is a perfect match for your skin needs.
3. Even if your skin isn’t dry, don’t underestimate the importance of hydration
Hydrating your skin does a lot more than combat dry skin, it also helps combat dehydration, diffused redness, eczema and breakouts. Your skin might also be reacting to the higher levels of microparticles and pollutants and need a little boost. But in case you’re not getting enough water, hydrating your skin can come from more than just water actually, and there are several tips you can get a little help.
To remain soft and supple, Alcheme recommends that your skin needs to retain water within its different layers and be insulated from the outside (the outer layer of the skin acts as a barrier against environmental damage, as well as reducing water evaporation). In case you need a little extra help, these ingredients will help you achieve these goals:
#1 Hyaluronic Acid: It helps the skin retain water
#2 Japanese camellia seed (Tsubaki oil): A dry, fast penetrating oil, camellia seed oil is rich in antioxidants and nourishes the skin, leaving a light protective film at the surface.
#3 Vitamin B3 (niacinamide): Stimulates the production of ceramide, which is present in the outer layers of the skin, helping reinforce the skin’s barrier function.
#4 Glycerin: It traps the moisture that it draws to the surface and hydrates the outer layers.
4. The effects of the sun are real
Skin pigmentation is often a natural occurrence, but it is also triggered by factors like hormonal changes, acne, environmental factors, and the big one; overexposure to UV radiation—and let’s face it, we get a lot of year-round sun in Asia. First and foremost, never skip applying quality UV protection daily, even when you don’t intend to spend time outdoors.
Even if you’ve experienced pigmentation from a young age, Alcheme believes that all skin pigmentation problems are either caused or worsened by exposure to the sun. Alcheme offers a free online consultation that can help you determine if you have skin pigmentation and what kind, and provide you with personalised products that will make your dark spots fade completely. But it also has some more tips to reduce the appearance of pigmentation:
#1 Stimulate skin renewal: the first step is to moisturise and exfoliate your skin to stimulate the regeneration of skin cells. This will accelerate the removal of discoloured dead skin cells. Ensure you use gentle skincare products, avoid scratching or picking at your skin, and popping pimples and blemishes.
#2 Stimulate collagen production and slow down the production of melanin: Look for ingredients that stimulate collagen production, as well as slow down the production and the transfer of melanin to the surface of the skin, such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Babchi seed extract. Bear in mind that these products take time to show visible results, as the skin needs about 28 days to renew itself.
#3 For immediate results, consider skincare treatments that remove dark age spots already present at the surface of the skin: There are many readily available solutions. Laser therapy destroys cells that produce melanin. While dermabrasion and chemical peels remove outer layers of the skin (along with the discoloured cells present in them). Avoid sun exposure at all costs after these treatments as they may trigger a chain reaction where your skin becomes more sensitive to UV exposure and produces more melanin to protect itself.
Shop online with Alcheme here, and connect with them on Facebook and Instagram. You can also find Alcheme at the Conscious Festival where it will be debuting its new even more sustainable glass packaging. And if you bring in an old (but clean) plastic skincare container to recycle at the Alcheme booth at the Conscious Festival, you’ll be rewarded with $5 off your next purchase.