Skin Care – Sun Protection


Save for when I don’t sleep or when I have my period, my skin has been behaving really well. I’ve been trying out different brands and products over the past several years, but I generally stick to the same active ingredients –vitamin c (or its derivatives), retinoids, niacinamide, and spf (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide).

Since February, though, I have been sticking to the same products and I noticed I’m no way near getting bored of them. My skin is far from perfect but I think it moved past a plateau, thanks to the new products I switched to.

I’m going to split this skincare routine series into 3 posts — morning, evening, and ‘as needed’.

I’ve managed to keep my morning ritual down to 4 steps max. It involves:


Step 1. Wash

At the moment, I’m using up the samples I’ve accumulated the past months. If I wasn’t doing that, I would be alternating Innisfree Bija Trouble Cleansing Gel and Safeguard Dermasense for Acne-Prone Skin.

Innisfree Bija Trouble Cleansing Gel

This was a gift from my friend, Cheche. Like many gel cleansers, this doesn’t make a thick foam which I like because it’s not difficult to rinse. I don’t find it drying (for reference, I have oily skin) but if you wait for your skin to completely dry before applying moisturizer, you might feel some tightness. It’s no longer listed on the Innisfree website so I’m not sure if it’s still on the market, but I remember that it was priced at around PhP 375 on Althea Korea.

Safeguard Dermasense for Acne-Prone Skin

My favorite face wash. I can see why some people don’t like it; it feels like a rinse-off skin lotion. If you’ve tried The Body Shop’s skin conditioner, that’s how it feels on the skin.

To me, it’s like Olay Regenerist’s Cream Cleanser without the polyethylene microbeads. I loved that cleanser. I just don’t like scrubbing my face every day. I wished P&G would make it without beads and, in a sense, they did with Safeguard (also by P&G). Both Safeguard Dermasense for Acne-prone Skin and Olay Regenerist have salicylic acid. I’ve read that salicylic acid doesn’t perform best in cleansers, because the acid must stay on your skin. However, there’s something about those two cleansers that makes my fingertips feel prune-y in less than 60 seconds. It must be softening dead skin cells, right? (Times like these, I wish I’m a chemist.)

Anyway, this cleanser won’t remove most of your makeup. I only use this in the morning to remove excess oil on my skin, or at night, following a makeup remover.

New Picture

Step 2. Tone

Toners are not a must-have for me, but I need one because tap water in Pasay City leaves rusty orange watermarks on our dish drain. I can’t help but imagine rust on my face after rinsing off my cleanser. I don’t have much to say about Dear Klairs Supple Preparation Toner* yet. I’ve only been using it for 2+ weeks. I can’t tell if it’s moisturizing but it doesn’t dry my skin out.

Step 3. Vitamin C Serum

I’m one of the lucky ones who can use Vitamin C in the morning. Some people I know report skin irritation when they use Vitamin C during the day. I don’t get a lot of sun exposure because my commute to work is short and I don’t go out to lunch. Anyway, I’m using Vitamin C Serum under sunscreen because of this 1993 study:

We report that (in swine skin) vitamin C is capable of additive protection against acute UVB damage (sunburn cell formation) when combined with a UVB sunscreen. A combination of both vitamins E and C provided very good protection from a UVB insult, the bulk of the protection attributable to vitamin E. However, vitamin C is significantly better than vitamin E at protecting against a UVA-mediated phototoxic insult in this animal model, while the combination is only slightly more effective than vitamin C alone.

And this article on Pubmed:

To optimize UV protection, it is important to use sunscreens combined with a topical antioxidant. Vit. C does not absorb UV light but exerts an UV-protective effect by neutralizing free radicals, while this effect is not seen with sunscreens. Under laboratory conditions, it has been shown that application of 10% topical Vit. C showed statistical reduction of UVB-induced erythema by 52% and sunburn cell formation by 40-60%.

I’m alternating between Kiehl’s Powerful-Strength Line-Reducing Concentrate and The Ordinary Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate Solution 20% in Vitamin F. The latter is oil-based while Kiehl’s has 10.5% L-Ascorbic Acid suspended in silicone. If I had known about The Ordinary ($) sooner, I wouldn’t have bought Kiehl’s ($$$$$). Ragrets. These two deserve separate posts so let’s wish the universe for me to get my blogging act together.

Morning Skincare Squad | Scatterbraintures

Step 4. Sunscreen

I use either a “proper” sunscreen or a cushion foundation with a minimum of SPF 50+++. I make sure to apply two thin layers of the latter to make sure I put enough. I’m a fan of The Faceshop’s cushions because they have a medium shade that would fit deeper MAC C30 to C35 skintones (aka my skintone).

Now that monsoon season has started, I use liquid foundation over sunscreen, but during the summer, I limit myself to powder.

Let me know if there’s any product here you would like to know more of. I’ll try to post a review.

* received for free from Althea Korea

Next: Evening Skincare Routine

I had to stop using tretinoin for more than 3 months and change my whole skin care routine because I got pregnant. I’m no longer pregnant and I think I’ve already accepted what happened. I decided to use tretinoin again (I was in denial for a while and still avoided products and activities that pregnant women are supposed to avoid).

Incidentally, Olay sent me two pore minimizing products: Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing CC Cream* and Olay Total Effects Pore Minimizing Toner*.

To be honest, I don’t know how I would review those two individually.  I believe products interact with each other. Since I’m using tretinoin, which is a ‘drug’, it would be harder to isolate the effect(s) of the other products I will be putting on my face.

I guess it’s timely that I got them — both the pore minimizing toner and the CC cream has niacinamide.  I read a few studies saying that niacinamide helps reduce irritation from tretinoin.

In the coming months (or until I finish up either the toner or the cc cream), this will be my skin care routine:

Skin Care Routine | June 2015
Skin Care Routine | June 2015

The next few days of sun protection week will be of me slathering a quarter teaspoon of sunblock on my face.

In Day 1, I mentioned that 2 milligrams of sunblock per square centimeter of skin is needed to get the SPF rating as written on the label. I don’t own a weighing scale sensitive enough to measure milligrams so I’ll be using the measuring spoon approximation. Check out Robyn’s attempt on 2mg per cm².

Biore UV Perfect Face

Vanessa told me that it’s possible to apply that much with Biore’s UV Perfect Face Milk (and still manage to look decent.)

Measuring Spoon

I freaked out when I poured the sunblock on my palm because I was not planning on washing the sunblock off and waste precious grams of product. I was dead set on actually going through the day with that much goop on.


Here’s what a quarter teaspoon of Bioré UV Perfect Face Milk looks like on my face. (Note: I am not naked here. I am wearing a tank top.)

Biore-Perfect-Face-Quarter-TeaspoonSay hello to my pale lips. Now you know why I love lipstisks. Haha!
By the way, do you have any eye makeup ideas for my
hooded, droopy, puffy, and tiny-spaced lids?

I look a bit shiny because of the fluorescent light reflection but I was actually surprisingly matte. As soon as the alcohol dissipated, it seemed like I just applied a generous amount of translucent powder on. My face wasn’t as white and slimy as I expected. Maybe people a few shades lighter than me can wear this sunblock on its own. For reference, I’m Gold Shell in L’Oreal and an NC35/ NC37 at MAC, only more yellow-olive.

I powdered my face to counter the ashiness and I didn’t need to retouch (I will have to re-test in the warmer months).

A bottle of Biore UV Perfect Face Milk is 30 ml. Assuming you’re like me who also doesn’t re-apply sunblock every few hours during the day, that’s about 24 days of use (1/4 tsp = 1.25 ml.)

I bought it from TPE Marketplace, behind Makati Medical Center, for Php 480. It seems like a sustainable fixed cost; what worries me is the alcohol. I’m ok with a little bit of alcohol in sunblock because it makes the product easier to work with. But 1/4 teaspoon of it felt like I was scouring rubbing alcohol on my face. If done daily, even the oiliest of all oily skins will dry out, I think.

I’ll write an in-depth review of this product once I use it when it’s more humid.

For now, I’ll use the more emollient sunblocks I own.

Conclusion: 1/4 teaspoon is doable with this sunblock.