It is our pleasure to introduce Sophia Phan (@skincarebysophia), our founder Yu-Chen's clinical esthetician of many years, who worked closely alongside plastic surgeons for over 10 years. In this new series, Sophia will share her expertise, advice, and recommendations on the basics of overall skin health!
But first, we wanted to hear from you! Here are Sophia's answers on the questions you all submitted on our social media a couple weeks ago.
So for Asian skin, is it recommended to use 10+ korean skin steps?
While a ten-step program may be ideal for some, it’s definitely not for all! For sensitive skin, a basic routine may be more appropriate. For customized recommendations based on your skin type/conditions and lifestyle, I recommend scheduling a skin consultation with a licensed esthetician.
How should a Hapa treat their skin as Asian/Caucasian skin seems to be so different?
“Hapa” is a term that is used to describe someone of mixed Asian heritage. It’s borrowed from the Hawaiian word that means “part.” More often, Hapa skin will tend to have a tendency to pigment easily due to your Asian heritage. It is best to protect skin with an antioxidant vitamin C serum such as SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF and a physical sunscreen with 10% zinc oxide or more, such as Revision TruPhysical or Susan Obagi Physical Defense.
How can I fix my dry patches?
Without knowing more about the dry patches, such as, how long you’ve experienced them, what color they are, and where they are located, it’s hard to advise on how to treat them. In any case, try adding a hyaluronic acid serum before applying moisturizer to improve overall hydration levels.
How do I stop milia from forming around my eyes?
Milia are small white bumps trapped under the skin that often form around the eyes and upper cheeks. They are sometimes mistaken as whiteheads but are different because they contain a hardened protein called keratin whereas whiteheads contain sebum-- a mix of oil, sweat and dead skin. Unlike whiteheads that extract easily, milia require a medical professional to create a small and precise opening to deroof, or remove the granular-like debris. Milia is sometimes due to genetic disposition, but could also be caused from excess cellular build up. To prevent milia from occurring, thoroughly remove makeup before bed each night, avoid waterproof make up or concealers, and use a toner containing glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the areas milia are present before applying eye cream and skin care.
How do I reduce acne scars? Does Vitamin C help with this?
To treat acne scarring, I recommend adding a retinol or Retin-A to your nightly routine. Try SkinBetter Science Intensive AlphaRet. You’ll notice improvements in texture, tone, and clarity as well as reduction in fine lines, and discolorations. It will also help with reducing future breakouts by increasing cell-turnover, which brings new healthy cells to the surface and forces damaged, dull and congested skin cells off. For daytime routine, add a Vitamin C serum such as Obagi Professional C 20% to brighten and protect skin from free radical damage and aging.
How does humidity and dryness affect Asian skin?
As a general rule, prolonged excessive humidity or dry environments are equally damaging to our skin in different ways. For instance, people living in drier, desert-like climates are much more susceptible to transepidermal water loss (TEWL). This leads to skin feeling dry, itching, scaly, and undernourished. Lack of humidity causes skin to appear dull and could contribute to premature fine lines and wrinkles. On the other hand, excessive humidity could potentially create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause acne and infections and increase the potential for rashes and other skin irritations. A great product to balance both conditions is PCA Skin Hyaluronic Boosting Serum. For counteracting TEWL, apply it before moisturizer to boost hydration. If living in a humid environment, use it as a stand alone lightweight moisturizer.
Is a thinner epidermis what causes drunk “Asian flush”?
A common condition that happens to about a third of Asians while they drink is called Alcohol Flush Reaction (AFR), or what is commonly known as “Asian flush or Asian glow.” It has less to do with the thickness of their skin and more to do with the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), or lack thereof, that helps to metabolize alcohol in the liver.
How do we treat aging eyes?
Signs of aging first appear around the eyes. The skin around the eyes is the thinnest and most delicate on the body and contains fewer sebaceous glands than the rest of the face, which makes it more prone to loss of elasticity, puffiness, and premature wrinkles. Eye creams are not just moisturizer—they are formulated specifically for the fragile skin around the eyes and tend to be thicker and have a higher concentration of key ingredients that can significantly help minimize signs of aging. A favorite eye cream of mine is SkinMedica Instant Bright Eye Cream. It contains a hyaluronic acid blend with antioxidants and stem cell extract to hydrate, brighten, and smooth fine lines. It also contains caffeine to reduce puffiness.
How do you prevent blackheads on Asian skin?
A great way to reduce blackheads on Asian skin is with chemical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation uses various acids (such as salicylic, glycolic, lactic) to gently remove dead skin and excess oils which will help prevent blackheads and improve skin’s texture, tone and radiance. It will also enhance the penetration and efficacy of skincare products which will amplify your glow. A gentle chemical exfoliator that will work for most skin types is: Peter Thomas Roth Peptide 21 Amino Acid Exfoliating Peel Pads. For a more oily complexion, try ZO Skin Health Oil Control Pads.