Health

How to look better in the buff

From cellulite tobruises, tackle below-the-neck troubles so that you can bare it all

CELLULITE

Plagued with these bumps and lumps? Well, you are not alone.

According to Dr Eileen Tan, dermatologist at Eileen Tan Skin, Laser and Hair Transplant Clinic, about 85 per cent to 98 per cent of women are affected by cellulite.

Cellulite is generally caused by excess fat retention under the skin, which creates a dimpled or orange peel-like appearance.

Dr Cheong Wai Kwong, dermatologist at Specialist Skin Clinic, said unlike other fats in the body, these fat deposits are separated by bands of connective tissues in the deeper layer of the skin and form into pockets.

When you put on weight, these pockets of fat will expand and cause the skin surface to become irregular.

Water retention can also cause cellulite. When your body has poor circulation, it leads to the accumulation of water between your fat cells, which also results in the appearance of dimples on the skin's surface.

Presently, there are no easy ways to get rid of cellulite.

The best way to treat and prevent the formation of these annoying lumps is through diet and exercise.

You can also try going for treatments that improve your body's microcirculation, such as the Clarins Contour Shaper Treatment ($185 for 60 minutes).

It uses massage techniques and specialised products to get rid of water retention and improve lymphatic drainage.

Skincare products with caffeine, such as the Edible Beauty & Coffee Contouring Creme ($54, from Sephora), can stimulate circulation and help with cellulite.

BODY ACNE

Most often found on the chest and back, these breakouts are common in hot climates due to heat and sweat clogging the pores.

Body acne can usually be treated with proper cleansing and the application of over-the-counter acne treatments.

However, if the problem persists, Dr Cheong advises visiting a doctor to get oral medication.

BRUISES

Bruising becomes more common with age, Dr Cheong said, as the tissues that support fine blood vessels weaken, causing them to rupture more easily.

To hasten the fading of these marks, he recommends applying creams that have vitamin K.

You can also consume foods that contain the vitamin - broccoli, lettuce and beef.

STRETCH MARKS

These are developed when the skin is stretched, resulting in the dermis breaking up in places and the deeper layers showing through, said Dr Cheong.

They usually occur during pregnancy, rapid growth spurts or weight gain. Found on the stomach, buttocks, thighs and lower back, these unsightly marks are the bane of women.

Newer stretch marks that are less than a year old tend to be pink, purplish or brown in colour and can be treated using infrared lasers. However, multiple treatments are required, depending on the severity.

As stretch marks get older, they begin to turn white. Such marks are almost impossible to get rid off completely.

Presently, there are not many treatments that can effectively remove stretch marks.

However, medicated creams that contain tretinoin can help make them less obvious in the early stages of their formation.

If you are pregnant, Dr Tan advises against applying such creams. She recommends using moisturisers so the skin is kept hydrated and supple.

PIGMENTATION

We get sun spots on our body as well. These brown, irregularly-shaped patches tend to appear when women hit their 30s and 40s. They are caused by overexposure to UVB rays, which activates the production of excess melanin pigments.

Over time, these pigments gather on the surface of the skin to form dark clusters.

Topical products are usually unable to get rid of extremely dark spots as these have more pigments and may be too deep in the skin to be erased by cosmetic products alone.

In such cases, Dr Tan recommends going for intense pulse light or laser treatments.

Whitening creams can help to lighten newly developed, less obvious sun spots, if applied consistently.

Lotions - such as Cle de Peau Beaute's Concentrated Brightening Body Serum ($120) - not only brighten and hydrate, they also help get rid of pigmentation.

However, removing existing spots does not mean new ones will not form. To prevent reoccurrence, apply sunscreen liberally over your entire body.

About five teaspoons of sun protection should be enough.

Try the Supergoop! 100% Mineral Sunscreen Mist SPF 30 ($49). The refreshing mist is lightweight and you can apply it on the go.

SLACK SKIN

It is inevitable that skin gets stretched out and becomes loose with damage, ageing and even weight fluctuations.

A treatment you can try to treat loose and sagging skin is Exilis.

It is non-invasion and uses radio frequency to tighten skin. Results are said to last for about a year.

However, if you prefer something less pricey, you can also try massaging firming products, try the Clarins Extra-Firming Body Lotion ($110) twice a day.

How to look better in the buff
 

This article first appeared in Female magazine (www.femalemag.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY