Ask Shirleen A Question – Vexed Over DermaRX Products


Reader’s Questions 1

I have been searching for skincare products advices and reviews online since like forever. I keep reading and reading various blogs n thank god I finally came across yours through word-of-mouth. I am very very impressed by your knowledge and your matter-of-fact, no bullshit, heartfelt and professional advices, reviews and comments (there’s so many bloggers that write rubbish and one has to do many researches to make sure they are not following someone’s advice blindly). And the best thing is you’re also Singaporean (I think? Cos you take about the sale in SG) so you can empathise with the local climate here, which has  everything to do our skin condition.

Have you heard or use products by Derma RX? I have been using them for abt 5 years now and suddenly I feel it’s super-ex to continue using them while I wonder if the products still have any effect on me (but I must say it improved my skin a lot since the 1st day I went to them). Recently I was recommended by a friend to try out Dermalogica products. I have spent lots of money over the last 5 years to improve my skin and I am skeptical to switch to a new brand like Dermalogical cos I am afraid if Dermalogical isn’t that good,what if it makes my skin worse and then all the money I spent the last 5 years will go down to drain… I am currently 33 years old so am concern about skin aging and pigmentation. Like you wrote in your blog, we can’t turn back the clock so the only way to maintain our “youth” is through skin products that are effective instead of some over-hyped, over-priced rubbish that beauty industry tries to sell you.

I only just recently heard of the book “Don’t go to a cosmetic counter without me” by Paula Begoun. I have not read it yet but I checked online about her products “Paula CHoices” and am wondering if it’s really that great.

Lastly, you have one great blog and I am so glad I came across it!


My Answers 1

Hi Dawn,

Yes I’m a true blue Singaporean.

I have never heard of Derma RX before and I believe you’ve gotten the products from your facialist. A few years ago, I have tested one or two of Dermalogica products (one of them is the hydrating mask) and I find that the mask is too drying for me. Instead of hydrating my skin, it dries up my skin and I didn’t like the result. Quite disappointed! The rest I can’t comment.

Yes, you should read ”Don’t go to a cosmetic counter without me” by Paula Begoun, it’s very informative. But I realized that not many products are featured in the book, especially products that are specially formulated for asia markets only. To test if her ratings are accurate, I have picked and tried some products which are marked good rating. After I have tested them, a few of them are not as good as what she has claimed. Their ratings are based on the ingredients and not so much of what they have tried personally.

Yes I adore a few of the Paula’s Choice products especially the AHA 8% Gel and the Antioxidant Concentrate Serum. I can’t leave without them! But there are some PC products which I find them so-so only. These two products (AHA gel and antioxidant serum) are excellent to prevent skin aging. Alpha Hydroxy Acid 8% Gel will help to exfoliate the dead skin cells thereby help to promote new cells renewal, reduce pore sizes, improve collagen production and better penetration of good nutrient onto the skin. The Antioxidant Concentrate Serum is good to combat free radicals and slow down the aging process. It’s not too late to try both now. But not too sure if the AHA 8% is suitable for you, hopefully it doesn’t irritate your skin. Some of my readers have feedback to me that it causes some minor irritation. Occasionally I do feel some tingling sensation that lasts for a few seconds and this is alright. BHA 1% or 2% will be more suitable if you have oily skin. As for pigmentation, I’m still searching for the ideal product hence can’t comment on that too.

My advise to you is that if you intend to switch new product or brand, go for the product, not the brand. It is not necessary for you to use the whole set of the skincare products under the same brand. It’s very hard to find a holistic brand with all the good products. For me, my daily regimen products are consist of different brands. They are painfully selected by me after many tests and errors.


Reader’s Questions 2

Years ago I had very oily skin n bad breakouts n I saw a skin doctor who successfully dealt wif me breakouts. Her products were NIKS. She subscribed me wif a 12% glycolic acid gel n it didn’t irritate me then. It was abt 5 to 6 years ago. I still have a bottle of this gel half used and now I m wondering if it’s safe for me to resume using it? That bottle shld b at least 5 years old in a air-tight pump kinda bottle.

I will give Paula Choice’s antioxidant serum a try cos at least e price is more affordable than e current brand I’m using. Btw, seems like PC no longer sell e serum n brand another under e RESIST line instead. So I guess it’s e same thingy… As 4 e AHA gel, I do have normal to oily skin wif frequent blackheads n large pores so I m still comtemplating whether to get e 1% or 2% BHA as u have suggested.

I read somewhere that some skin doctors say moisturizer is completely redundant as it does nothing for e skin. They claimed it only stays on e surface n shld not even b included in anyone skincare regime. But I read your views and I agreed with you when you said while moisturizer is not e most impt product in one’s beauty regime, nevertheless moisturizer helps to keep skin soft and seals in watevr one applied before e moisturizer. I also think it helps combats instant dryness but on a superficial level… Jus my 2 cents worth. So, now I looking for a suitable moisturizer. Then I read somewhr where someone said applying oil based moisturizer will counteract wif whatever serum or treatment one applys b4 e moisturizer. It will ‘weaken’ or cause e serum to not work yo it’s full potential. Wat do u think? Is there any scientific proof behind this claim?

I also decided to try different products from different brands instead of sticking to a single brand as I usually do. Thanks for all your advices n I really admire and appreciate how you have the patience to read and answer with long mails.



My Answers 2

Hi Dawn,

It’s been 5 to 6 years, I don’t think it’s safe to use the 12% glycolic acid gel even if is in a air-tight pump bottle. Once opened, it is advisable to use up within 12 to max 24 months (depending on the product).

Yes, the old and new RESIST antioxidant serum are about the same (only minor changes on the ingredient list). Fyi, I’m now using the RESIST antioxidant serum.

Since you have normal to oily skin with frequent blackheads and large pores, I will recommend you to use the BHA gel instead. Reason because BHA can penetrate oil, get into the pore and therefore improve and repair pore function while dissolving blockages of dead skin cells and oil that contribute to blackheads. For the start, try the 1% first.

You mentioned that ‘some skin doctors say moisturizer is completely redundant as it does nothing to the skin’, my answer is yes and no. Yes – because moisturizer does not remove wrinkles and lines. It does not firm up the skin. It does not take years off your face. It does nothing to what the cosmetic companies have claimed. No – because moisturizer is the final and important regimen to seal the skin and rebuild the lipid barrier so that the skin does not lose too much fluid and feel dry, irritated and show more lines.

As regards to the oil based moisturizer, I just find it interesting. Never heard of that before. Anyway, I would not use an oil based moisturizer. I believe it’s not the right ingredient to moisturize my skin.

Lastly, thank you so much for continuing visiting my blog. See ya again! :-)


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