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Understanding the nature of our skin problems is the start of eradicating the ever-looming threat. But what exactly causes the variety of skin problems that plague us?
The verdict is in, and the answer appears to lie somewhere between genetics and environmental factors. “It’s always the interplay between our genes and the environment,” Dr. Ang Chee Beng from Ang Skin & Hair Clinic specifies.
Certain people are plagued by skin problems more than others simply because of their genes, he posits, but is also quick to point to the role that the environment plays, stating that a genetic propensity may not necessarily lead to a manifestation. “If one manages one’s surroundings, one can prevent certain attacks from happening,” he insists. Physician Yan Qi from the Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic at Marina Bay Link Mall echoes this sentiment, claiming that our lifestyle causes not only the onset of skin problems, but the extent of it as well.
The relationship between the environment and our genes is important. Despite genetic predisposition, it is possible to manage one’s skin condition—if one is aware of the various environmental factors that come
Stress can manifest itself physically as a skin problem. In fact, Physician Yan reveals that it’s one of the main reasons for bad skin, which is why physicians sometimes act more as counsellors. Studies have shown that one’s emotional wellbeing is important to skin health.
Physician Yan says that seafood, coffee, tea, cold beverages or food that is raw, spicy or fried should be avoided for good skin. She highly recommends bird’s nest. “It has levels of protein and is great for your skin,” she reveals. “However, it must be consumed over a long period of time.”
Cold, dry climates cause eczema to flare while hot, humid climates aggravate acne—that’s the common belief. It’s not always so. While cases vary, both Dr. Ang and Dr. Nick Ngui from Neu Age Clinic agree that a change in climate will usually bring about a change—good or bad—in one’s chronic skin condition.
Your environment can aggravate or even induce the onset of a skin problem. Both doctors advise against being surrounded by dust and dirt.
Improper skincare can exacerbate any skin type or condition, especially if one has sensitive skin. When used improperly, skincare products can do more harm than good. This includes the use of soaps, moisturisers or commercial products that contain ingredients that are potential allergens to you.
Sun exposure is one of the most damaging things we can do to our skin. “If we can avoid the sun, we avoid a lot of problems: we avoid skin pigmentation, our likelihood of cancer is much lower, and our skin ages less quickly,” Dr. Ang asserts.
This article first appeared in NATURA magazine issue No.8. Find NATURA at Eu Yan Sang retail outlets, newsstands and major bookstores in Singapore.
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