Best Skincare ingredients: A guide to choosing skincare in Malaysia


Know your skin type

Understanding your skin type is paramount in deciding the skincare product you choose.

Based on Baumann Skin Type Indicator, there are basically four parameters to consider when assessing skin types. Evaluating all the four parameters would yield 16 potential skin type combinations.

The four parameters in assessing skin type according to the Baumann Skin Type Indicator are

  1. Oily versus non oily
  2. Pigmented versus non pigmented
  3. Wrinkled versus tight
  4. Sensitive versus resistant

Based on these four parameters, I will briefly describe the common skin types and concerns plaguing Malaysians, as well as delving into the most suitable skincare ingredient for that skin type. 

Oily skin/acne

These types of skin are usually plagued with large pores and acne. Overproduction of sebum is one of the major contributing factors to acne and comedones. 

Salicylic acid (a type of Beta Hydroxy Acid) is derived from willow bark, sweet birch and wintergreen leaves. It is frequently used to reduce skin lipid production and control acne. 

Salicylic acid has also been found to exfoliate skin by removing dead skin cells (keratolytic and comedolytic effects) and possess anti-inflammatory properties.  

By targeting the primary etiologic factors for acne Salicylic acid is a powerful ingredient in the arsenal against acne. 

Salicylic acid is also a vital ingredient in Silkpeel treatment with Clarifying Serum and in chemical peels.

Dry skin/Sensitive skin

Dry skin is characterized by dull colour, rough texture and an elevated number of ridges. Levels of stratum corneum lipids, sebum, natural moisturizing factor and aquaporin are considered important factors to regulate skin hydration levels.

Dry skin is also commonly associated with a weak protective skin barrier. Impaired barrier function leads to increased permeation of chemicals, inorganic compounds or protein molecules, initiating inflammation and irritation, causing sensitive skin.

Hyaluronic acid is a type of glycosaminoglycan which can act as a humectant. Hyaluronic acid is naturally occurring in our skin, acting as a lubricant between the collagen and elastic fibres of our dermis. 

When applied onto skin, hyaluronic acid attracts water into the epidermis and stratum corneum. The end result is supple, well hydrated skin which is then more resistant to irritants. 

For more serious skin conditions such as severe skin dryness, sensitivity or aging skin with loss of elasticity, you may want to consider doing Hyaluronic Acid Skin Booster treatment or Profhilo, an injectable moisturiser that will not only hydrate your skin but give bio revitalisation benefits as well. 

Pigmented skin

This skin parameter does not refer to the skin colour (as per the Fitzpatrick skin classification system), but rather the propensity to develop undesirable hyperpigmentations on the face, chest and arms.

The development of unwanted skin pigmentation can be treated and prevented by inhibiting tyrosinase, a key enzyme involved in melanin production. 

Hydroquinone happens to be the most widely used and most extensively researched medication in the management of pigmentation disorders. 

Unfortunately, due to the popularity of Hydroquinone, it is commonly detected in skincare products not registered with the Ministry of Health. Hydroquinone is frequently associated with adverse effects, which is why it is classified as a scheduled poison, and should only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner.

Arbutin is a hydroquinone derivative derived from a number of different plant species including bearberry, blueberry and cranberry plant as well as pear trees. 

Alpha Arbutin is a potent inhibitor of the tyrosinase enzyme. Studies have shown that a combination of Arbutin and pigmentation laser to be safe and effective for treatment of refractory melasma.

Wrinkled skin

Skin aging can be classified as exogenous or endogenous. Natural intrinsic aging is genetically driven, whereas a major factor in extrinsic aging is exposure to Ultraviolet radiation. Both would manifest as wrinkles, loss of elasticity, fragile skin and thinning.

UV radiation is the biggest culprit in skin aging, causing harmful effects by initiating a cascade of events resulting in the degradation of collagen. 

Being in Malaysia, we are exposed to UV radiation pretty much all year long. Therefore the importance of applying protective sunscreen regularly.

Apart from being just lazy, one of the biggest reasons why most people do not apply sunscreen would be the texture of sunscreen. Most consumers would complain that the texture of their sunscreen is too sticky and/or oily, and some may even be comedogenic.

Hence it is important before purchasing a sunscreen that you should try out the texture on your skin. Instead of just going for the highest SPF rating, it might be worthwhile purchasing a slightly lower SPF product which texture you are comfortable with to use on a daily basis. 

If you have moderate to severe wrinkles which are inadequately addressed with skincare, you may want to consider doing dermal filler injections, which will volumize and smooth out your skin for a rejuvenated appearance.

Dr Bob Remedies

Dr Bob Remedies is a range of skincare that has been curated to cater for various skin types. Whatever your skin type and concern, rest assured that Dr Bob Remedies has a skincare product that will address it.

Facial Cleanser

A gentle facial cleanser that contains Vitamins A, C, E and F. Promotes collagen growth to

reduce wrinkles and restore firmer, younger and smoother skin.

Arbutin Serum

Arbutin is an extract of the Bearberry Plant. Inhibits Tyrosinase activity and blocks melanin production. 

Sunscreen SPF46

A light textured sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and Octinoxate.

Contains Niacinamide and Hyaluronic acid to promote the appearance of healthy looking skin

Suitable to be applied daily as a barrier beneath make-up

Salicylic Acid 2% Lotion

Light moisturizer containing the therapeutic properties of Salicylic acid. Moisturises the skin while removing oil from the skin surface and pores.

Hydromax Essence

Soothing Hyaluronic acid based moisturising serum that is designed to enhance hydration.

Vitamin B3 and B5 help to revitalize and renew uneven skin tone.