Facial Makeup FAQ by Dr. Nicholas Ngui

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Q: If someone wears make up every day (foundation etc), what type of negative effects does it have on the skin? A: Makeup can be worn everyday without any problems if a proper choice of make-up and proper daily cleansing is done. If proper care is not taken, any person using daily makeup can potentially experience clogged pores. For instance, a person who has acne-prone skin, oily skin or combination skin has a higher chance of developing clogged pores with oil-based foundation or makeup. To avoid this, she should use makeup that is labeled “water based”, “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic”. A person using makeup everyday should cleanse the skin thoroughly twice a day (morning and night). Leaving makeup on overnight is not a good idea as it may increase the chance of clogged pores. So leave the makeup on for only as long as you need it. All makeup should be removed at the end of the day by using a makeup remover or milk cleanser, followed by a skin cleanser and toner. This is to allow the skin to rest and “breathe”. There are toners that not only provide enhanced cleansing of the skin but also hydration and anti-inflammatory effect (to soothe the skin). The use of a mild daily exfoliant containing AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) is helpful in preventing build-up of debris and dead or old skin cells in the pores, thus reducing clogging.

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Q: About mineral make up, is there concrete proof that it's better than conventional make up? A: It’s debatable whether mineral makeup is better than conventional makeup. Opinions are divided even among top makeup artists. On one hand, mineral makeup has been said to be natural looking and wears better in hot humid weather than conventional liquid makeup. On the other, it can collect in fine lines and pores and accentuates dry flaky areas. Manufacturers of mineral makeup claim that their products are make from crushed pure minerals and hence more “natural” than conventional makeup. However, this may be a little bit of a hype because you will find the same mineral ingredients like titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, mica and iron oxide in conventional products too. So technically, all makeup is mineral makeup! All that said, mineral makeup does have an advantage over conventional makeup. Mineral makeup does not contain preservatives (eg. parabens), mineral oil, chemical dyes and fragrance. These ingredients are all possible causes of irritation and allergy. So from the medical stand point, mineral makeup is less likely to cause an adverse reaction in women with sensitive skin. And because it does not contain oil, it won’t aggravate acne-prone skin. Apart from the less irritative nature of mineral makeup, the choice of mineral powder makeup or conventional liquid makeup really depends on the individual and what works best to create the appearance that is desired.

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Q: Is it safe to line the waterline with eyeliner or can it cause eye infections/problems in the long run? A: When applying the eyeliner onto the eyelid edge make sure that none of it gets onto the conjunctiva or the “wet” inner side of the eyelid. The particles or liquid of the eyeliner may cause irritation to the eye if that happens. Also be aware of skin irritation that may develop in individuals with sensitive skin and this may happen soon after application or after prolonged use.

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Q: Does mascara really cause eyelashes to fall out? A: Firstly, it’s normal for eyelashes to fall out every now and then. It’s the same with hair on other parts of the body, which gradually fall off and get replaced by new ones. The use of mascara can aggravate the loss of eyelash hair but it depends on how you manage it. Heavy usage of mascara can weigh down sensitive eyelashes and cause them to fall out. Using low quality mascara, leaving the mascara on overnight and inadequate cleansing of the eyelashes can lead to dryness and breakage of the eyelashes. Wiping too hard when removing eye makeup can also cause you to accidentally pull out some lashes. The tugging and pulling action when using eyelash curlers can also cause breakage and fall out. Finally, allergy or irritation from the mascara can cause inflammation of the eyelid which can lead to eyelash fall out. Mascara enhances the beauty around the eyes by darkening, thickening, lengthening and defining the eyelashes. The proper use of mascara and gentle handling of the eyelashes will minimize the eyelash fall out. For individuals with inadequate eyelashes there is now a prescription solution called bimatoprost which can make eyelashes grow darker, thicker and longer.

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Q: A lot of Asian girls have monolids/hooded lid, and thus they correct it using a double eyelid tape. Is it a safe habit? A: The application of the eyelid tape to create a double eyelid does not appear to be harmful. However, the person needs to ensure that the tape is sized and placed correctly onto the eyelid. The eyelid should feel comfortable after the application. If there is any sharp, uncomfortable sensation from the tape edges or tips, the tape should be removed to avoid physical irritation and harm to the delicate eyelid skin. Another possible adverse occurrence is the development of allergy or irritation from the tape adhesive. If there is any itch, stinging sensation, redness or swelling of the eyelid after the application, the tape should be removed and further application should be avoided. A doctor should be consulted if the eyelid is red and swollen.


Dr. Nicholas Ngui is a highly experienced general practitioner with a special focus on Aesthetic Dermatology with 19 years of clinical practice experience and 12 years of pharmaceutical industry experience behind him. As a pharmaceutical medical director, he was involved in physician and patient education and clinical research with a strong emphasis on ethical practice, treatment compliance and patient safety. Dr. Ngui now practices at Neu Age Clinic in Outram and is known for specialty services in Acne & Acne Scar Treatment, Pigmentation Treatment, Anti-Aging Skin Rejuvenation, Laser Hair Removal, Tattoo Removal and Skin Tag/Mole Removal. If you have a skin-related concern and would like to find out a bit more about it, you can visit www.neuageclinic.com for more information.

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