Many Pinoys are swearing by the 12-step Korean skin care, which is believed to guarantee glass skin.
The whole regimen includes the use of essence, masks, eye creams, aside from many other facial products.
Although it may work for some, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Vicki Belo advises Pinoys to just stick to the basics: make-up remover, cleanser, toner, and retinol or tretinoin.
According to the dermatologist, she and other skin doctors have been treating Pinoys who tried doing the much-hyped skin-care routine, but ended up getting skin problems.
"As far as the Korean thing is concerned, dermatologists have been talking to each other. Yes, we're getting a lot of people with problems because they keep using Korean skin care," she states.
But that's not saying that the 12-step regimen is harmful.
Since Pinoys have oily skin and live in a tropical zone with extreme temperature swings, there's a chance that the skin may not absorb their beauty products, which are more designed to work in colder climates.
She explains, "Kasi our climate is very different from Korea and our skin is also very different.
"So in the Philippines, we usually have oily [skin]. In Korea, they have dry.
"We are very humid. They are very, very cold.
"So that means they cannot evaporate also, so sometimes, it doesn't translate.
"I'm not saying all Korean products are bad, but you have to make hiyang because Korean skin and Filipino skin are different," she clarifies.
Dr. Belo also points out that people with dry to normal skin can be exempted from her recommendations. But people with oily skin or those who secrete more oil in the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin and area circling the mouth) should completely veer away from those products.
"So if you have dry skin to normal, you can use the Korean products.
"But please if you have normal to oily, iyong may mga T-zone, 'wag na 'wag ninyong gamitin ha. Iyong mga step-step, step-step," she explains.
"One day you will figure out there are some products that are good.
"But I don't think the 12 steps, it's just too much for Pinoys.
"And you clog your pores, and then of course if you clog your pores, the oil is trapped inside, then nagiging pimple."
In lieu of the tedious procedure, Dr. Belo recommends this four-step routine that she discussed with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) during the Cosmopolitan Beauty Conference held on August 31, 2019, at the SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.
STEP 1: MAKE-UP REMOVER
Removing make-up before bedtime is a rule of thumb among make-up users.
For best results, Dr. Belo recommends using a gentle remover.
Make sure that you apply an ample amount around your eyes because it is the thinnest and most sensitive part of your face. Keeping it clean would protect it from irritation.
She expounds, "Pinaka-basic, first, a good makeup remover that removes makeup.
"Iyong cleanser, hindi nagtatanggal ng make-up iyon, okay?
"So you have to really do a special one sa make-up, especially around the eyes."
STEP 2: CLEANSER
After clearing your face of make-up, wash off the make-up remover using a facial cleanser.
Dr. Belo says that this is important, as the make-up remover has oil that can also cause pimples on your face.
"Then you have to have a cleanser to wash off the make-up remover kasi the make-up remover kasi is so oily.
"So if you just leave that, then diretso ka na sa skin care, then, maka-clog pores mo, 'tapos pimples. [So] you wash."
For Dr. Belo, washing your face throughly means washing it as much as 20 times, instead of just three to five times.
Does that sound like too much effort? But hey, you want that glass skin, right?
"When you wash, importante talagang rinse thoroughly mga 20 times. Hindi puwedeng tatlo lang, finish na tayo," she says.
Also see to it that you clean the areas where soap is often left unrinsed, such as under the chin and behind your ears.
She relates, "At saka 'wag kalimutan iyong area under the chin and behind the ears, kasi when you wash, usually the soap gets there and when you rinse, nakakalimutan.
"So that's very irritating to the pores, you get pimples."
Apart from washing your face thoroughly, Dr. Belo prescribes using hair products that are gentle on your hair and skin.
"Also makes sure that your shampoo's not so rich, especially conditioner or hair products.
"If you start getting pimples near the hairline, by the side of your face, more or less you know mali iyong shampoo," she explains.
Teenvogue.com lists petroleum, silicones, jojoba oil, shea butter, sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate as hair product ingredients that can cause zits on your face.
STEP 3: TONER
After washing your face with a cleanser, gently wipe your face with a toner.
"So you need to get a toner to get off pa whatever you [have there] in the pores," says Dr. Belo.
"[It is also] important because it prepares your face for something."
Toner can help tighten cell gaps and prevent dirt from entering into your skin.
STEP 4: RETINOL OR TRETINOIN
As the last step, Dr. Belo suggests applying retinol or tretinoin cream on your face.
"The number one I've been using since I was 11 for acne and also for anti-aging 'cause it's totally good for everything is retinol, at one percent."
Retinol, according to Cosmopolitan.com, "is a form of Vitamin A, an ingredient that promotes skin renewal and enhances collagen production as well as lessening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol can also reverse some of the side effects of sun damage."
To check if your cream or serum will work on your skin, Dr. Vicki Belo emphasizes that it should have no less than one percent of retinol.
"Kasi minsan, ang baba ng retinol. Sasabihin may retinol pero isang tuldok."
Another option would be a tretinoin cream that Webmd.com describes as "medication used to treat acne; it may decrease the number and severity of acne pimples and promote quick healing of pimples that do develop."
Dr. Belo stresses that the strength of tretinoin in your cream should depend on your skin type.
If you're a first-time user, choose a cream with 0.05% tretinoin. If you're dry, then use 0.025%.
"If you're oily, use 0.05%. Iyon ang pinaka-minimum," she concludes.