Previously, Dr Teo Wan Lin shared with us all we needed to know about acne mechanica.

Now, she shares with us measures we can take to reduce and prevent it while practising the social responsibility of donning face masks.

Tip 1: consider double cleansing
Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

Start your skincare routine with a cream or oil-based cleanser first. It helps to emulsify fat-soluble impurities as well as build-up like your moisturiser, sunscreen, perspiration, sebum, and dirt.

After rinsing, follow up with a gentle cleansing gel, which complements the first product by removing any residue.

First step: Oil or Cream-based cleansers
We recommend
Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, Drunk Elephant
Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, Drunk Elephant
  • Slaai Makeup-Melting Butter Cleanser, Drunk Elephant
  • What it does: Breaks down stubborn build up while repairing damage.
  • Key ingredients: Oils of marula, baobob, kalahari melon, mongongo, and ximenia break down gunk. Oils of kiwi and strawberry seeds provide antioxidant properties.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Whole'istic Cream, My SkinBar
    Whole’istic Cream, My SkinBar
  • Whole’istic Cream, MySkinBar
  • What it does: Gently removes grime, sebum, and oxidised skincare with oils of rosehip and sunflower seed. Provides gentle exfoliating effects with AHAs.
  • Key ingredients: Oils of rosehip and sunflower seed, and lactic and malic acids.
  • Available at mySkinBar
  • Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk, Aesop
    Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk, Aesop
  • Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk, Aesop
  • What it does: Emulsifies sebum and impurities with grapeseed oil. Panthenol conditions and strengthens the skin while the scent of sandalwood puts your mind at ease.
  • Key ingredients: Grapeseed oil and panthenol.
  • Available at Aesop
  • Second step: Gel-based cleansers
We recommend
Rescue Water Gel Cleanser, Lab Series
Rescue Water Gel Cleanser, Lab Series
  • Rescue Water Gel Cleanser, Lab Series
  • What it does: Gently cleanses blemish-causing residue while maintaining moisture levels with vitamin B3, and oat amino acids.
  • Key ingredients: Hyaluronic acid, vitamin B3 and oat amino acids.
  • Available at Lab Series
  • Pore Care Splash-Away Cleanser, JS Orphic
    Pore Care Splash-Away Cleanser, JS Orphic
  • Pore Care Splash-Away Cleanser, JS Orphic
  • What it does: Effectively removes residue with gentle surfactants while restoring the skin’s balance with powerful botanical extracts.
  • Key ingredients: Extracts of witch hazel, sage leaf, lemon balm, peppermint leaf, juniper berry, St John’s Wort, saponaria root, and burdock.
  • Available at Lazada
  • Miel Honey Cleanser, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
    Miel Honey Cleanser, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Miel Honey Cleanser, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • What it does: Effectively purifies the skin while leaving it moisturised and soothed thanks to natural honey and mountain arnica extract.
  • Key ingredients: Natural honey and mountain arnica.
  • Available at Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Essence In Cleansing Foam, D Program
    Essence In Cleansing Foam, D Program
  • Essence In Cleansing Foam, D Program
  • What it does: Cleanses your skin while also strengthening your skin barrier with the brand’s proprietary ingredient, H-stabilizing B. Dipotassium glycyrrhetinate prevents irritation and soothes inflammation.
  • Key ingredients: H-stabilizing B and dipotassium glycyrrhetinate.
  • Available at Watson’s
Tip 2: Treat Correctly
Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

For those who choose to treat the symptoms with over-the-counter products, Dr Teo advises against sensitising chemicals such as AHAs, BHA, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide.

Instead, she suggests opting for products containing Chlorella vulgaris (algae) extract. The ingredient is rich in natural moisturising factors (NMF) and has proven to effectively reduce sebum production. Otherwise, soothe problem areas with soothing products instead of harsh ones.

We recommend
  • Chlorella Serum, Skin Inc
    Chlorella Serum, Skin Inc
  • Chlorella Serum, Skin Inc
  • What it does: Deeply hydrates the skin while soothing any irritation and sensitivity. Skin not only looks more balanced, the appearance of blemishes and comedones significantly reduces with prolonged use.
  • Other useful ingredients: East Asian arrowroot and aloe vera extracts.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Blemish Spot Cream, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
    Blemish Spot Cream, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Blemish Spot Cream, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • What it does: Treats existing blemishes with an effective botanical blend. Includes C. vulgaris extract which is known to soothe inflammation and heal damaged skin. Existing blemishes will flatten within just a couple of days.
  • Other useful ingredients: Methionine, and argan extract.
  • Available at Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Tip 3: Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

    Photo: Unsplash
    Photo: Unsplash

Switch cream-based formulas out for molecular ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and polyglutamic acid. These lightweight skincare heroes boost hydration levels, resulting in sebum reduction.

The best part? They also provide age-defying benefits.

  • Polyglutamic Acid
  • We recommend
  • Wrinkle Resist Serum, Peter Thomas Roth (in the form of sodium poluglutamate)
    Wrinkle Resist Serum, Peter Thomas Roth
  • Wrinkle Resist Serum, Peter Thomas Roth (in the form of sodium polyglutamate)
  • What it does: Introduces a surge of moisture to the skin, thus reducing the production of excess sebum. A peptide complex and a slew of potent antioxidants help to protect and strengthen the skin’s barrier, preventing irritation and promotes healing as a result.
  • Other useful ingredients: Peptide complex, squalane, natto gum, and vitamins.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Polyglutamic Acid Serum, The Inkey List 
    Polyglutamic Acid Serum, The Inkey List
  • Polyglutamic Acid Serum, The Inkey List 
  • What it does: Soothes irritation, improves skin’s elasticity, and balances the skin’s hydration levels. Less sebum is produced, hence reducing the risk of blemish-formation.
  • Other useful ingredients: Rice bran extract, glycerin.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • We recommend
  • Hydraceutic Double Power Vitamin Concentrate, Derma Lab
    Hydraceutic Double Power Vitamin Concentrate, Derma Lab
  • Hydraceutic Double Power Vitamin Concentrate, Derma Lab
  • What it does: Reduces excess sebum production, hydrates the skin, and conditions it with vitamins B3 and B5. Skin looks much more balanced and will be able to withstand prolonged use of masks.
  • Other useful ingredients: Vitamin B3 and B5.
  • Available at Watson’s
  • Intensive HA+ Hydrating Serum, Porcelain
    Intensive HA+ Hydrating Serum, Porcelain
  • Intensive HA+ Hydrating Serum, Porcelain
  • What it does: Aside from keeping your skin hydrated with its double hyaluronic acid complex, it also soothes irritation and prevents blemishes with calming botanical extracts.
  • Other useful ingredients: Cucumber, wakame, aloe vera, and elderflower extracts.
  • Available at Porcelain
  • Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex, Estée Lauder
    Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex, Estée Lauder
  • Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex, Estée Lauder
  • What it does: Heals, repairs, and rejuvenates tired and damaged skin while you sleep. With an enhanced skin barrier, the skin is less susceptible to irritation, leaving it appearing more even-toned with fewer occurrences of blemishes.
  • Other useful ingredients: Chronolux Power Signal Technology, probiotics, adinosa digitata extract, sodium robinucleic acid (RNA).
  • Available at Estée Lauder
  • The Most Super Nutrient Hydration Serum, PSA
    The Most Super Nutrient Hydration Serum, PSA
  • The Most Super Nutrient Hydration Serum, PSA
  • What it does: Hydrates, repairs and protects the skin with a powerful blend of hyaluronic acid complex, botanical extracts, and ferment filtrates. Skin is left more resilient.
  • Other useful ingredients: Bisabolol and acai berry extracts, radish root ferment filtrate, kombucha extract, and panthenol.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Tip 4: Antioxidant boost and other soothing ingredients
Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

Dr Teo recommends botanical extracts of purslane (portulaca oleracea) and tiger grass (centella asiatica), as they are powerful antioxidants that don’t just protect the skin from environmental damage, but also soothe inflammation, strengthen the skin barrier, and keep it hydrated.

Other key compounds to look out for are vitamin C and resveratrol, which help by boosting the rate of skin rejuvenation.

We recommend
Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum, Kiehl's
Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum, Kiehl’s
  • Vital Skin-Strengthening Super Serum, Kiehl’s
  • What it does: Repairs and strengthens the skin, thus preventing damage and reducing the risk of sensitivity. Additionally, it enhances the effects of skincare products applied after.
  • Key ingredients: 11kDa hyaluronic acid, and extracts of Schisandra root,  ginseng root, and holy basil.
  • Available at Kiehl’s 
  • First Care Activating Serum, Sulwhasoo
    First Care Activating Serum, Sulwhasoo
  • First Care Activating Serum, Sulwhasoo
  • What it does: Heals damaged skin while building your skin’s resilience with JAUM Balancing Complex, the brand’s updated technology. Skin is left stronger and less susceptible to damage and infections.
  • Key ingredients: Honey, as well as peony, sacred lotus, Solomon’s seal, white lily, and rehmannia extracts.
  • Available at Sulwhasoo
  • Calming Serum, Dr Barbara Sturm
    Calming Serum, Dr Barbara Sturm
  • Calming Serum, Dr Barbara Sturm
  • What it does: Provides anti-inflammatory benefits while keeping the skin healthy and strong. The appearances of redness and irritation are reduced with continued use.
  • Key ingredients: Purslane, cardiospermum, echium, and sunflower extracts.
  • Available at Mr Porter
  • Cicapair Serum, Dr Jart
    Cicapair Serum, Dr Jart
  • Cicapair Serum, Dr Jart
  • What it does: Calms and soothes irritation. Reduces the appearance of blemishes and prevents new ones from forming.
  • Key ingredients: Centella asiatica (tiger grass) complex, vitamins B3 and B5, and extracts of cocoa, holly, and ivy.
  • Available at Sephora
  • Reservatrol BE, SkinCeuticals
    Reservatrol BE, SkinCeuticals
  • Reservatrol BE, SkinCeuticals
  • What it does: Protects and strengthens the skin, preventing the skin from breaking out due to sensitivity. Provides anti-inflammatory benefits as well.
  • Key ingredients: Reservatrol, baicalin, vitamin E
  • Available at Skinceuticals
Tip 5: fabric check
Photo: Unsplash
Photo: Unsplash

It’s not easy to find a mask that does it all, but Dr Teo has developed both the Lyosilk mask slip and Cuions face mask to meet current needs. Using sustainable plant cellulose fibres, the mask slip adds a layer of protection to surgical masks with its antimicrobial properties.

The mask, however, takes it a step further. Its biomaterial contains copper nanoparticles and is rated UPF50, thus reducing the risk of infection while protecting you from the sun’s damaging rays.

We recommend
Copper Fabric Face Mask, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
Copper Fabric Face Mask, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Copper Fabric Face Mask, Dr TWL Dermaceuticals
  • Highlights: Plant silk infused with copper ions. It significantly reduces abrasions and irritation, while preventing blemishes and halting signs of premature ageing.
  • Available at Dr TWL Dermaceuticals 
  • UA Sports Mask, Under Armour
    UA Sports Mask, Under Armour
  • UA Sports Mask, Under Armour
  • Highlights: Antimicrobial, water-resistant, and breathable material that’s suitable for both everyday use and working out.
  • Available at Under Armour
  • Runners' Face Cover, Asics  
    Runners’ Face Cover, Asics
  • Runners’ Face Cover, Asics 
  • Highlights: Waterproof material made from recycled materials. Features strategically placed air vents for enhanced breathability.
  • Available at Asics
written by.
Syed Zulfadhli
Syed Zulfadhli knows a thing or two... thousand about skincare and grooming.

Subscribe to the magazine

Subscribe Now