[By Candice Chen]
“Take a deep breath and enjoy your life.”
In reality, life is full of ironies. It is hardly possible to breath without inhaling the rancid smell of smog in Singapore over the past few days. The ongoing raging fires from deliberate deforestation in Sumatra, Indonesia had covered this sunny island well known for her lush greenery, blue skies and fresh air in a blanket of thick haze; turning the ‘little red dot’ into a ‘little grey blob’. It is a known fact that air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, causes serious health problems. Like second-hand cigarette smoke, particulate pollution causes many issues, both short-term and long-term.
According to a published article in US News & World Report, “short-term adverse effects from particulates include diminished lung function, coughing, wheezing, cardiac arrhythmias, and heart attacks. Long-term exposure can also worsen asthma, slow normal lung growth, damage lung airways, and increase the risk of dying from lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.” Our skin is our body’s first line defence against environmental pollutants so it’s little wonder that the haze might wreak havoc to it. Such detrimental effects include dryness, premature aging, skin rashes, eczema and acne. So when the government bodies are busy sorting out the big picture, let us at RSB show you how to haze-proof your skin to tide you over these smoked out days.
When toxins and particulates from air pollution become trapped in the outer layer of our skin known as the epidermis, they can get lodged in the hair follicles leading to clogging of pores. This interferes with our skin’s natural ability to slough off dead skin cells and debris, often leading to the formation of pesky whiteheads and blackheads (comedones) as well as acne papules, pustules and cysts. If you are prone to oily skin to begin with, it is of utmost importance that you cleanse your face thoroughly in these days of haze.
Specially designed ‘skin-solvers’ sets to address your skin needs is the Matte in Heaven convenient pack put together by The Sloane Shop. Consisting of an Active Cleansing Gel, Calendula Toner, Clarifying Gel and Fruit Enzyme Renewal, this oil-foiling set will deep cleanse, close pores, zap shine and mattify your skin so your complexion will look as fresh and clear as the cloudless Singapore sky you remembered it to be.
The ultimate in deep-cleansing, the Deep Deep Clean facial treatment available exclusively at The Sloane Spa combines Microdermabrasion with a fruit acid wash followed by a 5-10 minutes of Ultrasonic deep pore purging and a targeted facial wrap to really cleanse away the grit and grub of the enveloping smog that’s attacking your skin relentlessly and keep potential breakouts at bay.
Air pollutants rob skin cells of oxygen, a study with from UC Berkeley found that exposure to air pollution in urban areas and in areas with high concentrations of ozone depletes the levels of Vitamin E in the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the epidermis). Vitamin E is an antioxidant and lipid that helps maintain the skin’s barrier function by fighting off free radicals and inhibiting oxidation. Skin that has a youthful glow has that glow not only because its barrier function is intact, but also because the cells that produce the proteins collagen and elastin are also intact. To function properly, these cells need enough oxygen, and vitamins like A, C, and E which protect them from free radical damage. Pollutants increase the number of free radicals in the air and in combination with UV radiation decreases the production of skin collagen, causing the skin to lose elasticity thus leading to sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles of premature aging.
Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to reduce the amount of particulate pollution in the air that we are experiencing at the moment. However, it is definitely within our capability to slap on some potent topical antioxidants to mop up the increased free radicals leaving their footprints all over our faces.
Harvested from micro algae, Astaxanthin, with the nickname of Vitamin X, is the world’s most powerful antioxidant; being 6000 times stronger than Vitamin C and 800 times the potency of Vitamin E. Being the main active ingredient in Sloane Inc Skin Superfood Red Algae, this innovative controlled release formulation delivers bursts of ceramides and astaxanthin goodness all day and all night, working overtime to boost skin’s health, restore dermal elasticity and prevent the formation of wrinkles and lines. If you ask me, this is definitely an item to include in my ‘survival kit’ for the grey, hazy days ahead!
Our Triple Oxygen Heaven facial treatment is all-round complexion reviver that kicks off with an intensive facial cleansing using oxy-hydropeel,” explains Miss Noelle Tan, a trained therapist with The Sloane Spa@ The Shoppes, Marina Bay Sands. “We start off with a jet spray of fine, misty pure oxygen and vitamins to thoroughly clean, exfoliate & brighten the skin, followed by a soothing oxygen whitening wrap and a nourishing colostrum sonophoresis therapy to plump and firm up skin ravaged by toxins and free radicals overload.” Definitely a welcoming breath of fresh air we henceforth learn to appreciate more!
It is important to check the local air quality forecast and take the proper precautions, avoiding going outdoors altogether if possible. Wearing appropriate protective clothing such as a N95 mask and long sleeves garments help to cut back on exposure to air pollutants. Sun protection is of utmost importance and choose a broad spectrum sunblock and ensure you are well hydrated with fresh, drinking water. Following a proper home skin care regimen and eating a diet rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients will help repair and maintain the skin’s barrier layer internally and externally. In the meantime, let’s pray that heaven will bless us with some rain to wash our woes away!