If you live in the eastern part of Singapore, you’d probably have been greeted by a burning smell and slight haziness these past few days, especially at night and in the morning. While the government hasn’t declared that haze is back, they did warn that it could potentially happen these few days, as there are three “hotspots” in southern of Johor, to the east and northeast of Singapore. Some other areas that reportedly have “burning smell” include Bukit Panjang, Punggol, Bishan, Serangoon, Yishun and Aljunied.
You probably don’t want to bust out your N95 just yet if the situation doesn’t call for it, but it’s never too late to start taking special care of your health (drink lots of water!) and skin before the air quality gets worse.
Scroll through the gallery to see how to treat your skin right during this period.
Up your cleansing game
Quite simply, there’s pollution in the air, and yes, some of it will settle on your skin, mixing with sebum and sweat, leading to clogged pores. So you definitely need to pay extra attention to the cleansing part of your regime right now. The shu uemura anti/oxi+ pollutant & dullness clarifying cleansing oil, $55 for 150ml, eliminates micro-sized pollutants while removing traces of makeup, thanks to the infusion of moringa extract.
When skin has been exposed to pollutants, it’s important to double cleanse (although we recommend doing it on a daily basis, regardless). Look for gentle yet effective cleansers such as DRUNK ELEPHANT Beste™ No. 9 Jelly Cleanser, $46, Sephora, which contains mild surfactants and makeup-dissolving emollients, to remove makeup and pollutants from your skin.
Go deep into the pores
Pollutants can build up in your pores, clogging them and leading to problems such as dull skin and breakouts. This is why it’s important to exfoliate regularly to clear out your pores. And when it comes to haze season, do it every day if your skin allows it. Pick a gentle exfoliator that’s safe for daily use, such as the Dr Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta® Daily Peel. This comes in little sachets containing sheets soaked in the solution, making it great to bring along even when you’re travelling!
Probiotic your skin
When looking for a serum to protect your skin against the haze, look for one with probiotics to improve your skin’s defenses. Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, $95, contains Probiotic Complex, which not only makes skin appear smoother, but also optimises skin’s natural microflora and defenses to make skin more resilient to environmental factors and pollution.
Get your dose of antioxidants
Organic pollutants and particulate matter from wood burning may lead to oxidative stress on the skin. Translation: free radicals are causing havoc on your skin, increasing inflammation and messing with your natural collagen, which shows up as hyperpigmentation and aging on the skin. Solution: antioxidants. These combat free-radical damage, and promote cellular repair and healing. To find them in your products, look for ingredients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Resveratrol (a compound found in red grapes, red wine, and other types of berries) and Green Tea. Try Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate 12.5%, $105 for 50ml, contains 10.5% L-Ascorbic Acid and 2% Ascorbyl Glucoside, and is infused with Hyaluronic Acid to maintain skin’s hydration levels.
Hydrate. A lot.
Your skin’s natural function is as a barrier—it’s meant to keep bad stuff out. Dehydrated skin will not do its job properly, so keeping your skin sufficiently moisturised is key when prepping it for battle against the elements. Pack as much moisture as you can into your routine, whether it’s via humectants like hyaluronic acid, or emollients like botanical oils. Also, now’s the perfect time to use up all those sheet masks you’ve been hoarding, so mask away! We like For Beloved One Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Bio-cellulose Mask, $63 for a box of three.
Use a city sunscreen
Why do you need a city sunscreen? Well, apart from protecting yourself from harmful UV rays, you’d want your sunscreen to work harder and protect you against pollution as well, especially during the haze. The Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30, $62 for 60ml, contains antioxidants to protect your skin while infusing it with skin-loving benefits.
Prime and protect
When it comes to fighting the haze, you don’t only want a primer that can make your makeup last longer, but also one that can fight against pollution. The Cover FX Water Cloud Primer, $58 for 30ml, ticks all the boxes and protects your skin against blue light. It comes in a mousse formula and leaves a cooling sensation upon application, which is great for Singapore’s hot weather. And once you’ve applied this, opt for a full coverage foundation, which can act as an additional layer of protection against the pollutants.
Additional text: Chua Kit Wei