Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates – Weight Loss and Sagging Skin

Weight loss does lead to sagging skin – sad truth especially for those of us who have worked so hard to reduce weight. The reason was when we put on weight, our skin stretches to accommodate additional fat tissues but as this is lost, the skin doesn’t shrink back. This leads to sagging skin often seen after rapid weight loss.

The obvious way to reduce the effect that weight loss has on sagging skin is not to lose weight so rapidly. Here are 5 tips on limiting sagging skin as you try to lose weight.

#SkinishMom Investigates Weight loss and Sagging skin
Share these 5 tips with someone who is exercising lots for weight loss!

Tip #1: Don’t Lose Weight Too Quickly

Losing weight too quickly, especially when combining crash diets with lots of exercise, can lead to a loss of both fats and muscles. The aim is to lose weight gradually (1 to 2 pounds per week), without losing muscles that support your skin.

Tip #2 Resistance Training

Mild to moderate intensity resistance training each week help to build muscle mass which “fill out” loose skin, reducing the appearance of sagging skin. The resistance training does not tighten your skin but shape your muscles and fill out your skin with increased muscle mass.

Tip #3 Don’t Suntan and Smoke

Both lead to oxidative stress, damage to collagen and elastin fibres and lead to sagging skin (plus UV exposure lead to skin cancer).

Tip #4 Eat Well

It is especially important to eat well when you’re exercising – we mentioned not taking a crash diet but we should also avoid diets that are highly inflammatory. In an interview with dermatologist Dr Cherly Lee, her advice was to reduce processed foods, animal proteins and sugars.

To build muscle, ensure adequate complex carbohydrates, proteins and sleep. Also include minerals and vitamins in your diet, along with essential fatty acids (EFA). In this WebMD article, nutrition and skin experts advised that EFA built cell membrane which not only acts as a skin barrier (to prevent irritants from penetrating and transepidermal water loss) but also as a pathway for nutrients and waste. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids also help to reduce inflammatory compounds, limiting skin damage from oxidative stress. Include also vitamins A, C and E which can increase collagen production and reduce UV damage to skin.

Tip #5 Drink Enough

We have investigated effect of water on skin and the conclusion was lack of water is bad for the skin but excess water does not benefit skin. Drinking enough is important when you’re exercising as water helps to carry nutrients, regulate temperature, improves your ability to work out and reduces heat cramps and heat stroke. However, drinking too much has drawn much concerns, due to abnormally low sodium (hyponatremia).

There are products that you can use or surgical and non-surgical treatments to counter sagging skin. Products containing retinols, vitamin C serus and alpha or beta hydroxy acids (AHAs or BHAs) are believed to increase collagen production, restore skin elasticity and renew skin. Be careful of overuse of retinols though, as it has been linked to skin irritation. Laser, ultrasound, radio-frequency, infrared, skin lifting/ tightening, dermal fillers and skin removal treatments are available to help sagging skin.

Off to do some squat press, planks and catch some zzz, #SkinishMom

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates – Sagging Face Myths

Recently, I was asked about sagging breasts. As I read more about ‘sagging’, I realized that there are many myths surrounding sagging face. So as usual, I did some ‘Skin Investigation’ and here are 3 Sagging Face Myths.

Wait.. What causes Facial Sagging?

There are many factors and it makes sense that if we reduce the causes, we can limit facial sagging. Some factors like genetics and age are impossible to limit, graceful aging comes with sagging.

Genetics – There are certain genes that are studied to have an impact on how much the skin is affected by UV exposure.

Gravity – Can’t escape this one overtime.

Weakening skin structure – Key tissues that hold up our skin are collagen, elastin, fatty tissues and muscles. These reduce with age as the skin doesn’t renew itself as fast. Muscles that support our skin also gradually weakens, allowing fats to accumulate in areas that result in the appearance of sagging skin.

UV exposure – UV exposure damages collagen and elastin and it is a clear observation in studies involving twins where the twin who suntanned looked older. Collagen is a structural component of skin connective tissue. Elastin allows our skin to return to its original shape after stretching and contracting. Elastin also keeps skin smooth as the skin stretches with movements.

Sagging face looks sunken with less tissues around the cheekbones. A jowl means hanging skin around the neck/jaw. There are also marionette lines between the nose and corner of the mouth.

3 myths on Saggy Face
Don’t start that Facial Exercise!

Myth #1 Exercising (Jumping, Running) causes your Face to Sag

Not true –  The pounding motion does not have sufficient impact to damage collagen. What is more likely to fuel this myth is for people who exercise a lot outdoors, the UV rays damage the collagen AND if your exercise successful yielded rapid weight loss, your skin couldn’t shrink back and appear as sagging skin. Study had shown that moderate exercise had anti-aging benefits, however too intensive exercise may lead to oxidative stress that damages skin.

Myth #2 Sleeping on Tummy causes Facial Sagging

Not true since tummy sleep does not affect collagen but it affects wrinkles. The more the pillow pulls against your skin, and with age, your skin starts to wrinkle (study).

Myth #3 Facial Exercises work Your Face and reduce Sagging

Not true! Actually all that facial movements lead to wrinkles and possibly, unnatural ones where wrinkles wouldn’t have normally formed (review article showed no benefit).

Laser, ultrasound, radio-frequency, infrared treatments, skin lifting/ tightening and dermal fillers are some of the ways to fix sagging skin, but I won’t want to be so ‘unnatural’ in my aging. What’s your take?

Skin ish Mom Column

Why do Chores Divide? #SkinishMom Stumped

Last week, I’ve answered the question on Working Mom – Helping or Harming my Child by Working and while research seemed to give the thumbs up for working mom in terms of parenting, there’s still a lot of Ds over Chores.

Divide – How do you divide chores equitably between both parents?

Divided – Why is chores always a matter of stress and contention in dual-income families? (and a topic that keeps on coming up when mothers get together)

Dread – Ever heard of someone getting excited over chores?

Delegate – How do you delegate chores to kids?

Damn it, just get it over with! (week after week after week… is there chores in heaven?)

Chores is also something most commonly nagged about and I’ve got comments in my Am I Really Nagging? post whether I’m helping men to find excuse not to do chores,  because I’ve said

#1 First ask yourself – Do you really want him to do it or is it easier if you just do it? Put aside equality of sexes and fairness, and consider seriously. If you can answer no and yes, just do it yourself. And read on.

I admit that I’m stumped when it comes to chores. I used to do chores grudgingly, resentfully because I think my spouse has to do the same thing that I do. But it gradually evolved to an appreciation that he does chores that I don’t do and there’s no need to calculate chores. Now, I’m at the stage of ‘Leave me alone to do my chores’ and ‘Can you do this other chore, please?’. It has been working peacefully for the past 2 years.

YET sometimes chores is a real chore. AND many working moms continue to do more chores. Let’s look at some of the studies:

OECD study showed that women spend more time on chores, read this Time article ‘ Closing the Chore Gap

Report that showed women spending 17.8 hours per week on chores and men spending 9.8 hours (for couples with kids below 18)

Interesting infographics on Cozi that showed women tended to perceive doing more chores

In Chore Wars: Working Mother Report – working moms still do more chores but millennial dads are doing more housework than their babyboomer dads

So chores are indeed tricky:

1st, it’s a dread

2nd, what chores need to be done is often perceived very differently by every family member

3rd, how much chores had actually been done by who is also perceived very differently

4th, is it right to ask another family member to do what you want done but not agreed by all needs to be done?

I’m stumped when it comes to chores. Every working mom would have found a way of dealing with it. I think that whatever don’t get you cursing under your breath, shouting at the top of your lungs, bottled with negativity is the right way – you don’t need to hear how other working moms manage chores (or their men!). One solution is being creative to keep chores to a minimal – a smaller house, outsourcing, rotating the chore duties and not being hung up on dirt. Some cartoons for you!

Removing House Dust Mite even when there's no sensitization improves eczema
This is a sure sign you’re doing too much cleaning!
Mom NeedyZz cartoon on Fair Parental Baby Care EczemaBlues
Dividing chores start from birth!
Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Am I Helping or Harming my Child by Working?

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

Sometimes I feel that I spend too little time at home – I reach home at 9pm, my kid goes to bed at 11pm (sic, I know it’s late but I reach home at 9pm). That’s only 2 hours, of which I spend 30 mins to cook, 30 mins for must-do chores and 45 mins for dinner. (Anyone doing the math?). 

So uhmm.. very strictly, quality time speaking, I only have bedtime routine from 11 pm to the time my kid falls asleep (which is 11.45pm to midnight, I know (double) sic). Bottomline – I’m a working mom who is not so much feeling guilty but worried if earning that 2nd income harm my kid.

Worried Working Mom

Totally understand! Your question applies so much to me, it’s spooky! Ok, we all love to be validated by hard evidence and there are quite a few studies that suggest, point toward, conclude that working moms are not harming, but helping our children. Studies have reported:

  • Review article found that children whose mothers worked before age 3 didn’t have worse academic or behavior problems later in life than those with stay-at-home moms.
  • Based on meta-analysis study, toddlers with working moms grew up to have fewer depression and anxiety issues and got better grades.
  • Open-ended questionnaires study did not find that children wanted more time with their parents or thought that their parents were inadequate in their parenting.
  • On the other hand, having resources (including money) and offering stability seem to correlate positively with a child’s academics. Childcare quality is critical to a child’s development, especially since working mom’s kid will spend longer hours at childcare. Quality childcare is associated with better academics and higher likelihood of college graduation.
  • Based on review of surveys, there were observations that daughters of working moms had higher incomes (supervisory roles) while sons were more likely to spend more time at housework and childcare.

Sounds good right? I’m a working mom and when I first read the headlines, I was saying ‘Yes!’. But (there’s always a BUT) deep down, I know I don’t need studies on other families to tell me if I’m doing the right thing. You also don’t need me to tell you if you’re doing the right thing. Well, since you wrote in, you’d probably like some advice.. so here’s my Working Mom – Work or Stay at Home? thought process!

#SkinishMom thinks Work or Stay at Home? for Working Mom
#SkinishMom thinks Work or Stay at Home?

That’s what I believe – I don’t think it’s so much of an issue whether you’re a working mom or stay at home mom. I think (I can be wrong though!) that it’s THE ISSUE that got to be sorted out. So what’s the issue? Hmmm.. maybe

  1. You are impatient or get upset easily with your kids from work stress?
  2. You are not happy at work?
  3. You want to pursue an interest, a cause but that can’t be achieved while you’re holding a 9 to 5 job?
  4. You don’t parent when you should be parenting? (I’m all for chilling at parenting, but sometimes it needs warming up.)
  5. You find cracks in your marriage from how little time you spent with your spouse (and not with your kid)?
  6. You find yourselves hiding behind the excuse of ‘busy work’ to not do what you know it’s right?

If you often think about whether you ought to be a working mom, you ought to think why you’re thinking about it. And of all the studies in the world on what’s good for our child, no study can tell you what’s right for you. Only you know what’s right and being happy is a clue if something’s right.

Signing off with xoxo, #SkinishMom

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Present for Mom of Eczema Kid

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

I want a surprise! A present! I’ve worked so hard (at work + at home), and we all know that eczema isn’t the easiest condition to manage. Can you make some suggestions on what presents my husband should get for me so that all dads reading your column will ‘GET IT’.. (got it?)

Surprise-Deprived Mom

You are so right! We love presents, especially for those of us whose love language is ‘Receiving Gifts’ (click here for your love language test from Dr Gary Chapman). Here are some suggestions, for men to get your spouse:

Presents and Love Language for Mom with Eczema Child
Gift Ideas for Mothers with Eczema Children!

#1 Time off – Sometimes your wife may seem like she has it all under control and she may even appear not to trust you with eczema care. BUT she may have been wishing for you to step up and volunteer to spend some daddy-child bonding time so that she gets time-off. You never know if you don’t ask, and ask on the day you bring flowers home.

#2 Cheesecake and Coffee – If you don’t know the type she likes, buy a different one each time or even those where you can mix different flavors. Top this with time alone without kids/chores to do when she’s savoring them

#3 Beauty products – Sometimes it can get maddening when you’re applying all the moisturizers on your child but your own skin is dry. Getting beauty products for a mom of eczema child has a deeper meaning – you appreciate her efforts in your child’s skincare (please don’t get one with irritants on the list! Check this ingredients to avoid interview with dermatologist Dr Verallo-Rowell)

#4 Hotel staycation – Even with children along, this is a break from the daily routine. The important part? Be in-charge of packing and playing with your kids during the staycation!

#5 Love – Any small ways you show love is good, including doing your share of chores and not adding to the chore list, hugs and kisses, not snapping at her but showering praise instead. Comes from the heart, man.

Wishing my spouse is reading this too! xoxo, #SkinishMom

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – How to Love when You’re Tired

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

Is it possible to love when you’re tired? I’m too tired to think, feel or do anything, can I still actively love someone? Some days I ought to smile more, hug more or even really look at my loved ones more, but I’m too tired. Eczema parenting + full-time work.. love, it’s (almost) out of the window.

Tired Mom

Love when you tired #Marriage
Have you loved when you’re tired?

Close that window.

Totally understand that it is difficult to love when you’re tired. I feel the same way too. Some days my eyes are only looking at the computer at work or looking at the floor, or the sink or the clothes hangers. But some days I think back of how doing something I know is good and loving will refresh me.

When I was living in Shanghai, I had to travel all the way from city area to the very west end of Shanghai for bible study. Almost every Friday, I felt like skipping bible study, especially while jostling in the cramped train (it’s so cramped that when the driver announced to get ready and move to the door for alighting at the next stop, he really meant it!). But every time at the end of the bible study, I felt refreshed and not tired – my husband felt the same. I kept this in my heart, knowing that if traveling so far, under such crowded (and often stale air) conditions, I could still feel refreshed, week after week for two years. Then, maybe I can love when I’m tired too.

Whoever are your loved ones are the people who God had put on earth for you to love, with the full knowledge that life on earth is no bed of roses. Love and your loved one was never meant to be a burden from the time of Adam and Eve (though that was the start of the ‘blame game’ among couples!). So how can a tired mom love? Especially if you have a child who needs extra care.

6 #SkinishMom Love-When-You-Are-Tired Tips

#1 Don’t blame or beat yourself up on bad days when you snapped or didn’t show TLC to your loved ones

#2 Don’t blame anyone, for anything

#3 If you are constantly too tired, then you should do something about it – ask for help, cut down on work that don’t matter

#4 Smile – Mother Teresa said

“Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love,

a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.”

#5 Hug – it’s de-stressing, from Dr Mercola’s website

Hugs are one of the most succinct ways to encourage your body to release oxytocin, and the more oxytocin your pituitary gland releases, the better able you are to handle life’s stressors.

Oxytocin decreases the level of stress hormones (primarily cortisol) your body manufactures and lowers your blood pressure response to anxiety-producing events

Oxytocin has also been found to reduce the cravings of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as for sweets. It even has a positive influence on inflammation and wound healing.

#6 Warm someone’s heart – When I’m tired, I’m bogged down by too many things to do. Usually none of these things satisfy my heart (it satisfied my brain though cos I’d have checked off my to-do list!). When you love, someone else who may be as tired as you has been loved. Knowing that you have done something to warm another heart will warm yours too.

I hoped this post has warmed your heart too, #SkinishMom

“Do not think that love in order to be genuine has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates Confusing Citrus on Skin

It was reported end June 2015 that an association (not causal link) was found between the consumption of citrus fruits (grapefruits and oranges) and skin cancer. Key points in these reports were:

  • Increased risk of skin cancer melanoma with drinking orange juice and eating grape fruit
  • Association, not causal
  • Possible (in theory) that psoralens and furocoumarins in citrus fruits make the skin more photo-sensitive
  • Association found from questionnaires filled by about 100,000 health professionals

#SkinishMom looked up Pubmed for more on citrus fruits and got into ‘Citrus Confusion’ – studies seemed in general to point to benefits from citrus fruits, including that of skin cancer protection. Below are the studies:

Citrus Confusion - Is it causing or protecting against skin cancer?
Citrus Confusion – Is it causing or protecting against skin cancer?
  1. Citrus peel use is associated with reduced risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the skin – showed that peel consumption, the major source of dietary d-limonene, is not uncommon and may have a potential protective effect in relation to skin squamous cell carcinoma
  2. Hesperetin induces melanin production in adult human epidermal melanocytes -Hesperidin, a flavonoid in citrus fruits, may protect from photodamage if its capacity to increase melanin production in human melanocyte cultures could be reproduced on human skin
  3. Topical hesperidin prevents glucocorticoid-induced abnormalities in epidermal barrier function in murine skin – Hesperidin can stimulate epidermal proliferation and differentiation, therefore protect against the side effects of topical glucocorticoids
  4. Protective effect of red orange extract supplementation against UV-induced skin damages: photoaging and solar lentigines – Red orange extract intake can strengthen physiological antioxidant skin defenses, protecting skin from the damaging processes involved in photo-aging and leading to an improvement in skin appearance and pigmentation
  5. Oral dose of citrus peel extracts promotes wound repair in diabetic rats – showed significant reduction in blood glucose and time to wound closure. Tissue growth and collagen synthesis were significantly higher

It is true though that psoralen (compound in citrus fruits) make the skin more photo-sensitive; there is a treatment for severe atopic dermatitis (eczema) in adults that prescribed psoralen to be taken 1.5 to 2 hours before phototherapy so that the skin will be more sensitive to the light (“PUVA“).

Taken together, #SkinishMom isn’t going to stop taking citrus fruits but always, sun protection please.

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinisMom Investigates – Tattoo Skin Rash

There was a recent study published “Self-reported adverse tattoo reactions: a New York City Central Park study” where lead researcher Dr Marie Leger, Assistant Professor at NYU Lagone Medical Center, and her team surveyed about 300 people. It was noted that up to 6 percent suffered from rash, itch or swelling that lasted longer than 4 months. About 10 percent surveyed had short-term skin complications.

This again highlight that we ought to take tattooing seriously – it is not just ‘fashion’ because tattoo works by damaging skin barriers. Tattoo also cannot be ‘taken off’, as the process of doing so is a series of painful laser treatments to remove the skin layers that can take months.

As covered in this post, red ink results in the most allergic reactions. However, it is not clear what about the tattoo ink causes the reactions (dye, preservatives or brighteners). There is no easy way to know ahead if you will get a rash/ hypersensitive reaction because patch test may not be accurate since patch testing is meant to test for contact reactions (not when the chemicals are embedded into the skin layer). Tattoo presents a risk of skin rash or irritation/ swelling AND such skin reaction will change the way the tattoo looks! Wrinkled skin will also change the tattoo appearance.

Why Tattoo is Becoming Popular

Tattoos were once popular among sailors, bikers but for the past few years have been increasingly popular among celebrities. Today, ordinary folks in traditional occupations like teachers and government work also spot tattoos. For some, tattoo is about lending a voice to their life with tattoos that mean something to them. Other reasons include beauty, art, group affiliation, on impulse or addiction.

Step by Step Tattoo Safety Tips from #SkinishMom

Step-by-step Tattoo Safety Tips
Step-by-step Tattoo Safety Tips

#1 Is your skin generally hypersensitive? If yes, it’s best to skip it. As patch testing is not full-proof, there’s no absolute way to know you won’t get any skin reaction. Some reactions can appear months later and get only be rid of by removing the tattoo.

#2 Consider patch testing for the common chemicals used in a tattoo, such as mercury sulfide (cinnabar), ferric hydrate (sienna), sandalwood or brazilwood. Each ink has different components so you can decide on your colours and then patch test the ingredients. It is not a full-proof though.

#3 Check regulation monitoring tattoo establishment. Different country and state has different regulation, including inspection and equipment/supplies (contact with blood) handling procedures. You may even want to travel to a state that has stricter regulations.

#4 Go to regulated tattoo establishment.

#5 Get a tattoo you won’t regret! It is reported that more than 20% of adults regretted their tattoo choice… for instance, do you really want the name of an ex-girlfriend on your skin?

#6 Check the batch number of the pigment used. Also check if the brand of tattoo pigment is from more established companies, such as Millennium Colors Inc. Also make sure that sterilization is practiced.

#7 Protect your tattoo by keeping it clean and out of the sun. The better your skin heals, the better your tattoo will look.

Have you tattooed? and how did it work? Recommend your tattoo artist, brand or inks in the comments!

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom investigates – Acne and Vitamin B12

A recent study by researchers at UCLA examined the link between Vitamin B12 and acne, as it had been suggested in numerous studies or published observations of vitamin B12-induced acne. It was observed in the small sample of 10 participants that after taking Vitamin B12, there were higher levels of the vitamin on the skin. This led to a skin bacterium Propionibacterium acnes to produce more porphyrins, a molecule that is pro-inflammatory. The researchers stressed that the take-away from their study was that skin bacteria is a critical part of understanding acne (and the take-away should not be to stop taking vitamin B).

Acne is linked to the increase of oil/sebum on the skin but the development of acne is not entirely lucid. In an interview MarcieMom had with dermatologist Dr Lynn Chiam, Dr Lynn shared her insight on acne and also tips for those suffering from both acne and eczema.

  1. Acne can be divided into whiteheads or predominantly inflammatory with papules (zits) and pustules (zits filled with pus)
  2. Large and deep zits can result in permanent scarring
  3. Acne usually starts during teen years
  4. Acne can be triggered by increased facial sebum, oily face creams, hormonal changes (pregnancy/ starting or stopping birth control pills/ menstruation), smoking, pollution and high humidity
  5. Mild acne can be treated with creams containing benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics and tretinoin
  6. Avoid applying steroid creams (for eczema) on acne as steroid creams can make the acne worse
  7. Anti-acne cream can cause skin dryness, so avoid applying over eczema skin

The key objectives of acne treatment is to heal the pimples, stop new ones and prevent scarring.

Tips for Caring for Acne Prone Skin
Tips for Caring for Acne Prone Skin

Tips for Acne-Prone Skincare

  • Clean away excess oil from the face and wash using gentle (non-soap) cleanser
  • Do not scrub the acne or squeeze, pinch, or pick the pimples as that increases the risk of scars or dark spots
  • Shave carefully – never dry shave or use a blunt blade
  • Stay out of the sun, if on topical medication
  • Choose oil free and noncomedogenic makeup

Do you have a special regime to care for your skin and any particular diet? Share with #SkinishMom in the comments!

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates – Summer Foods and Skin

Summer Foods for Skin-  #SkinishMom.pngThere are quite a few articles out there on what summer foods you can eat in order for glowing skin and #SkinishMom decides to investigate! You can never take for granted that if a food is recommended on numerous health/ beauty websites, it means that it is the summer (super) food to eat for your skin – sometimes it’s just one website copying another. So #SkinishMom compiles the common summer foods and look at what they are recommended for (vitamins, antioxidants) and research Pubmed to see if there is a scientific basis for such recommendations.

For Water

This has been covered in this #SkinishMom column where it’s concluded (based on general dermatologists’ views online and research (or rather, lack of, since no one can earn money from researching water!) that being dehydrated is bad for the skin but excess water does not benefit the skin.

Foods to eat for water during summer is watermelon, cucumber, celery, cantaloupe, tomatoes and strawberries.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is studied to varying extent (meaning: the trial is either small scale, or it may be at higher dosage than in a fruit or for application instead of oral or studied in mice) to:

  • Increase collagen production
  • Protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays
  • Helped skin healing, including pigmentation problems
  • Improve inflammatory skin condition (do you know mice are injected with a pro-inflammatory chemical to create inflammation, then administered an oral supplement to test the results, gasp!)

Summer fruits loaded with vitamin C are citrus fruits, oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes and watermelon.


Our skin, being the largest surface of our body, is subject to oxidative stress – from the sun, air pollutants, stress, alcohol and the foods we eat. Free radicals are formed during our body’s natural metabolism and oxidative stress but our skin have antioxidants to balance the free radicals. Intake of antioxidants have been studied to prevent carcinogenesis (formation of cancer cells) and protect cells from oxidative damage (e.g. limit the effects of sunburn). One study showed that sunburn to cells was decreased by antioxidant treatment via (i) protection from free radical and (ii) increasing epidermal thickness.

Foods with antioxidants that are popular during summer are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Drink up green tea too!


This compound is studied to for collagen production and quite extensively known for its anti-cancer properties for melanoma (along with proanthocyanidins in grape seeds). Together with soy isoflavones, vitamin C, vitamin E, fish oil, lycopene has been studied to induce an improvement in the depth of facial wrinkles after long-term use.

Foods rich in lycopene are guava, water melon, papaya, grapefruit and cooked tomatoes.

Vitamin A

Retinoic acid is essential for skin and bone growth and in the studies, mostly linked with cell development and use in cancer treatment. Be careful about taking too much neonatal vitamin A supplement as it has been studied to be linked to atopy and wheezing in children.

Foods rich in vitamin A are carrots, sweet potatoes and pumpkins (but these are considered fall vegetables). The case for beta-carotene for skin isn’t so clear in studies though.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E protects skin membrane and guard against UV damage as it has UV absorptive properties.

Avocado, broccoli and tomatoes are foods rich in vitamin E.

Omega 3

Essential fatty acids are essential from the time of our development in our mother’s womb! It’s critical for brain development (our brains are actually quite full of fats!) and for our skin, omega 3 is able to regulate oil production, have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Omega 3 is also studied to maintain our skin (stratum corneum permeability) barrier, inhibit pro inflammatory compounds and elevate our sunburn threshold and promote wound healing.

Experiment different recipes using avocado, chia seeds and salmon! 

Green tea polyphenols

Geen tea polyphenols (GTP) inhibits chemical carcinogen, induced by UV radiation. Green tea being calorie-free is a healthy drink to acquire a taste for.

So this summer, drink enough water and eat some of these summer foods to help protect your skin – sun protection is still a must though!


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Holiday is so not Relaxing!

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

Hi #SkinishMom:

I’m so upset, holiday is supposed to be fun and relaxing right? But it never turned out that way. If we actually go for a holiday, I’d end up packing everyone’s bags, planning the itinerary, cleaning up the home and the dirty clothes. That’s still not the worse part. The worse is when we actually stay at home and entertain guests – gosh, my spouse and I would always end up quarreling and tension run sky-high. What’s up with hols, is it just me?


It is so nooorrrrmal (yawn). It happens all the time – my theory?

Holidays Couple Quarrel

Theory of Failing Expectations

When we are up to our neck dealing with a regular workday, we don’t have time to quarrel. My guess is no one in the family has had the time to even look (like really look and appreciate the other person, as opposed to Yo, Where are my socks?) at each other, let alone talk. If you don’t have time to talk, you can’t quite quarrel.

But on a holiday, especially one where you stay at home – you’d have started a long weekend with the hope of getting your own stuff done (sorting photos, getting that manicure, baking a new recipe) but by the time you reach the middle of your break, you realized that it’s so not going to happen. Instead, you have to rush to the grocery store to get ready for the home party, clean up the house for the guests (and the thought of cleaning up after is already killing you), cook and then pretend to be the calm hostess while inside, you’re screaming everyone’s head off. Then the quarrel and tension come whenever it’s just you and your spouse – blaming about not doing fair share of work, mostly.

I came across other interesting theories too:

Narcissism of Small Differences (from the Atlantic)

This theory is from Sigmund Freud that small differences among people who are similar lead to them being hostile to each other. So family members who are similar tend to be hostile over a minor difference like which candidate to vote for!


Survey showed that jealousy is the common reason why most couples quarreled during vacation, because the men had wondering eyes for other women! Others were worried over everyday issues (finance) or wanted to be in control of what to do during the vacation.


This is a given. Do not associate holidays with rest. Full-day, 24/7 care for your kids (school and alternative caregivers like your parents are having holidays, remember?) is bound to lead to exhaustion. No afternoon coffee breaks and gym workouts at lunch will upset you more than you think. Exhaustion is one of the key reasons why couples quarrel on holiday and when you think of it, it’s not just physical exhaustion. It’s mental as well – exerting mind control over your eczema child to pleeaaase moisturize and your hubby to just clean that up!

It’s the June/ summer holidays – be mindful of the above, lower your expectations on what can be accomplished during this ‘break’, do less and consider not meeting people who will set you off. No excuses for the men with lustful eyes for other ladies; if you happen to be with one during your vacation, dump him and your baggage be lighter!

Heading off for a coffee break and trying not to let all the bad long weekends and hols get to me,


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Am I Really Nagging?

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

To : The #SkinishMom

My husband kept saying that I’m nagging – nagging about my eczema child’s skincare (you know how we have to moisturize within 3 minutes after shower?), nagging about housework, nagging about doing things faster (we have loads of things to do, can’t possibly be doing slower right?). Am I really nagging? I thought I’m just talking – since when my words become ‘nags’?


11 eczema cartoon

I totally empathize. and mystified. Why do men keep saying that their wives are nagging, when we’re just talking? So I did a bit of digging to see if there’s any science I can find about nagging.

  • Nagging is defined as persistent and repeated requests that increases in frequency as the request is not fulfilled.
  • Nagging is a sign of love – we don’t nag at our boss, our co-workers, maybe not even our parents or kids, only at our spouse.
  • The nagger is usually the one who feel responsible about the subject – so, that’s why women nag about chores but not about soccer.
  • Nagging is a sign of not trusting that the requests will be met. It’s no surprise given that nagging turned the guy off and he intentionally didn’t want to do what you want him to do.

There is a lack of science in this area – I researched online and found a study that’s often misreported as men can be nagged to death. Actually, the conclusion was more like both men and women in demanding relationships were associated with increased death risk. This would not be surprising – chronic stress is reflected on our skin so it’s natural to assume it’d affect other parts of our body.

So bottom line, what’s a woman gonna do about her man, her supposed nagging and the negative spill-offs from being thought she’s nagging?

#SkinishMom anecdotes:

#1 First ask yourself – Do you really want him to do it or is it easier if you just do it? Put aside equality of sexes and fairness, and consider seriously. If you can answer no and yes, just do it yourself. And read on.

#2 Put aside negativity – you want to be appreciated for doing it all, not being hated for nagging you’ve done it all. Decide today to be a smart woman – smart in getting your man to love you, not hate you.

#3 Think of what your man wants – appreciation is my guess. Being made to feel like a man in the home, being admired by his spouse. Heck. I know you want the same from him. Men are dumb – give him what he wants first and the aha moment is more likely to hit him to do the same for you.

#4 Actually give your man what he wants – appreciation, in many forms (including but not limited to!) hugs, kisses, praise, touch, praise in front of your kid, sex, praise in front of his family, surprise gifts, praise in front of his friends/co-workers.

#5 If he hadn’t done something you want (not what you were nagging him about, something else- like a present, a cheesecake, a coffee machine, a iPadAir2), tell him POINT BLANK what you want.

#6 Be delighted by your man – he ‘surprises’ you with the thing you want, you’re ‘surprised’ and delighted. He’s delighted that you’re delighted not remembering it’s not a surprise (or not even crossing his mind that a non-surprise is an issue on the scale of ‘delightedness’).

#7 Witness positive change – 1. You didn’t nag (cos you did it all yourself), 2. You no longer see an annoyed look from him (cos there’s nothing he’s annoyed about), 3. He’s happy (cos you actually did something for him and appreciated him), 4. You’re happy cos finally, your husband is showing his love and appreciation.

Notice how easily the requests you were trying to get him to do fall out of the picture? Notice how kids don’t even come into the picture?

That’s the #SkinishMom way of handling nagging – if anyone has a better way, please do share! Since men are universally the same (o.w. why do books like Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus become best sellers if every man is different), do share with the rest of us women what had worked in your marriage!

Off to get a surprise gift for hubby,


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Do I Need a Man?

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

To: The #SkinishMom

You know.. I know you know… I’m a mom of eczema kid, I’m a daughter, I’m an employee, I’m a wife and each of these come with many duties. Some days I feel like I’m doing EVERYTHING – I mean I’ve even bought my in-laws their mother’s day and father’s day gifts (no one bought me anything), I do ALL the housework and I’ve to make my boss and spouse happy. On these ‘some days’, I’m thinking maybe I don’t need a man after all. Quit my job, live frugally just me and my kid. No man, ever. What do you think?

Mom at Cross-roads

I think… get a coffee. What you need (I know I did in the some days you mentioned) is coffee – along with it, the aroma, the caffeine, the frothy milk, the 20-minute break with a book or music. Alone… it’d make your mood ‘swell’. Did I mention that a 10-year study showed that women who drank two to three cups of caffeinated coffee a day were 15% less likely to develop depression.

On a more serious note – I get you. Taking care of an eczema child is not easy – the skincare, the struggles with your child (who sometimes stubbornly refuses to moisturize), the conflicts with other family members who don’t get the need for skincare. Plus, yeah.. women these days are doing housework + real work. Some days things are easier when you don’t go to work or you only have to clean up and cook for your child (as opposed to child + man).

A good moisturizer is one the eczema child uses!

But… I can never encourage you to D-I-V-O-R-C-E; Matthew 19:6

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.

Plus the joy of a marriage takes time to build – the airy fairy, honeymoon period is so over but real love for a lifetime sets in, if both of you work at it. (At least I’m working on mine!). I do however think the solution may be in managing ‘me-time’, ‘man-time’, ‘work-time’ and ‘chore-time’:

1. Take care of your health – you don’t need permission from any man or any kid to take care of yourself. Exercise releases endorphins that trigger positive feelings (same as morphine!) and boost your bone + health.

2. Reduce time at work – if you’re not gunning to crack that glass ceiling, don’t stay back for the sake of staying back.

3. Take lunch break = ‘Me’ time. If you prefer to do it alone, do so. You’d be surprised – once your colleagues figure out that you have your own stuff to do at lunch, you won’t be missed anymore. Of course, if you are a people person and like hanging out with your colleagues, do so.

4. Take coffee break – a must

5. Increase time spent with your man at home – by reducing time on chores, even reducing time with your kid. When you’re old, sick or lonely, there’s only one guy who’s there for you – the one you took the time to know and to love.

Removing House Dust Mite even when there's no sensitization improves eczema

Try the above and don’t forget the coffee,


Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Do all Moms have Enough Breastmilk

#SkinishMom Parenting Skin Expert
Ask #SkinishMom any question – parenting, skin, eczema or plain venting!

To: The #SkinishMom

Seriously, I’m frustrated. I’m being told that it’s IMPOSSIBLE not to produce enough breast milk for my baby. Every mom has milk, and blah blah blah. But hello? What I’ve been struggling with for the past 3 weeks is not a dream, it’s a nightmare IRL.


Whoa! I hear you and I’m never ever gonna say that U Will Have Enough M-I-L-K. I absolutely certainly understand your frustration, and MarcieMom understands too. See her cartoons on breastmilk production.

Mom Needy Zz cartoon Lactation consultant breastfeeding

Seriously, I have nothing against the lactation consultant in the cartoon (why should I? It’s only a drawing.) But I do have everything against lactation consultants – gosh, I’m being totally undiplomatic but this is my column and I say it as I meant it. I’ve no idea why lactation consultants (or the few I know and heard of) seem to think all mothers will have enough breastmilk. The worse (and worst) part?

It is assumed that it is you (the mom who’s already struggling with caring for a newborn, lack of sleep, totally fatigue in a touchy state of relationships with every other adult human you’re stuck with) who have not done something right.

This is a sad truth – google ‘low breastmilk supply’, instead of getting articles that tell you there’s a medical basis for not producing enough breast milk, you get articles telling you you’ve done something wrong or not done something, that’s why YOU don’t have enough breast milk. Imagine if you google ‘low phone battery’, you’d get articles on what’s wrong with the battery, the technology behind the battery and that’s why it drains juice faster. We’re apparently less sympathetic when it comes to breasts. Low breast milk? It’s the mom, never the breasts.

Here are the common reasons about the mom (for low breast milk supply):

  • Not feeding immediately in hospital
  • Not feeding enough (variations of this is not feeding baby at each breast long enough, not feeding frequently enough, not pumping enough)
  • Not latching-on correctly
  • Being a wimp and offering formula milk instead of persisting without it
  • Not eating more, not drinking enough, not enough rest

I’m sure above is medically sound BUT what I understand you’re asking is there’s some reason why you’ve done the above and nothing is working. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances that force you to pump less frequently, how about ‘it’s been only 10ml for every 3 hours I pump my breasts, there’s still no improvement after 3 weeks and I’m already at the point when my breasts are already juiced dry’.

Mom NeedyZz Cartoon Breast Milk Storage Bias

So #SkinishMom investigates and finally, for once, I’ve uncovered some reasons that are linked to the breasts, not the mom.

  1. Milk not expressed within 6 hours of delivery – this one I totally agree. Right after delivery, for whatever reason, your baby may not be taking enough from your breast. The initial delay in stimulating the milk production may really make it much harder to get the milk flowing when you return home. Why didn’t anyone suggest expressing milk when you’re in the hospital? Oh wait, maybe the hospital doesn’t have a facility to store the milk. Next time, get a breast pump and mini fridge and plug into beside your bed.
  2. Hospital-grade pump. We’re talking about those that cost $500, electric and double-breast. Since breast milk production is so important and the delay caused by a lousy pump can have long and devastating impact, why didn’t hospitals at least lend moms the pump so that we can go and buy it before we get home?
  3. Not enough milk ducts, clogged nipples, hormones – It’s strange when I think of it. Because it’s assumed that you should have enough breast milk, no one actually diagnosed why you didn’t have enough breast milk. There could really be something wrong with the breasts or the hormones that stimulate the milk production.

Personally, in my totally bias opinion, I think that if there is a higher acceptance for moms who really don’t have enough breast milk, there will be solutions on how to help them. For instance,

  • Don’t expect latch-on; just pump and try your best but don’t drain yourself.
  • Let me see your breasts, it’s possible there’s something to be done about them rather than your fault.
  • Don’t worry about the low breast milk – you’re not less of a mom than the woman beside you with engorged breasts. Don’t worry about your baby taking formula milk – no one will know whether a breast fed baby or bottle fed baby will win the human race.

So there, I hear you, signing off with a cartoon from Mom NeedyZz series


Mom NeedZz Cartoon Breastfeeding Books

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Says – Don’t link Contagious to Eczema

I came across this ‘harmless’ article that was simply sharing about the closure of a children zoo in Gothenburg (the second largest city in Sweden). What caught me was the headline “Animal ‘eczema’ closes Gothenburg kids’ zoo“. I know that animals get eczema but I’m curious about the inverted commas. So I read on and the writing below both infuriated and saddened me:

A statement on the park’s website added that vets had taken samples from the lambs and goats and were currently waiting for test results. Staff suspect that the animals have contracted a skin disease similar to eczema that can be passed between animals and humans and vice versa.

… one of the vets working at the zoo told the TT news agency that humans symptoms would include “sores and blisters on hands”.

I know the writer of the article was probably saying that the appearance of the rash looked similar to eczema and it was suspected that it could be pass on to humans. However, one could easily misread it as the skin disease was similar to eczema which is contagious.

Eczema is not contagious (PERIOD).

Eczema is not contagious

It saddened me because so many children and their parents all over the world are already struggling to manage the eczema in school. Apart from the difficulty of implementing a skincare routine in school, tacking the social impacts of eczema is also an uphill task. Schoolmates may think the eczema rash is contagious especially if the eczema child has rashes on the face, arms or legs, constantly scratching and the rash looks like it’s spreading on some days (flare-ups). Eczema children get shunned because they are feared to infect others. Their parents face a difficult task of explaining eczema to the teachers and getting the school to communicate with the students. We don’t need any news article to possibly further fuel the wrong notion that eczema is contagious, IT’S NOT!

I’ve emailed the online paper to request if they can amend their writing, will update when I hear from them.



Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Follow Hugh Jackman, get Regular Skin Cancer checkups

If you want to follow a celeb, follow Hugh Jackman’s lead in going for regular skin cancer checkups, especially if you’re at high risk. It’s reported by People that he was first urged by his makeup artist to have a spot on his nose checked in 2013. It turned out to be basal cell carcinoma – the most common type of skin cancer. Subsequently, Hugh Jackman went for regular 3-monthly checkups and had 4 skin cancers removed.

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Given that Hugh Jackman hadn’t been using sunscreen and had lots of sun exposure, he’s at increased risk of skin cancer. The risk factors for skin cancer are:

Skin Cancer Risks

  • Sun Exposure. A tanned look is viewed as healthy but in fact, it’s quite the opposite! The tanned skin meant that the skin cells exposed to UV radiation had increased the production of melanin (skin pigment) to protect the skin from further damage. It is also often misunderstood that we need vitamin D and have to suntan. While it is true that sunlight helps to provide our body with vitamin D, the exposure should not be so much till you get a tan. Check out sun protection from the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Sun Exposure-related Factors. Your age (the longer you’ve lived, the more sun exposure), your gender (male, if work/sports is outdoors) and where you live (warm climate at high altitude).
  • Fair skin. The less pigment in your skin, the more likely for sun damage, therefore fairer skin is at higher risk. Also at higher risk if you have blonde or red hair, or skin that sunburns or freckles easily.
  • Moles. When moles take on a different shape, darker color or irregular edges, it may be a sign of skin cancer. According to a previous interview with dermatologist Dr Verallo Rowell in this blog, her advice was that while not all moles become skin cancer, the risk is higher when (i) there are many (more than 50), (ii) ‘ugly duckling’ sign where one mole looks different from the others, (iii) family history of melanoma, (iv) photo aging evidence and (iv) have characteristics of

A for Assymetry

B for border irregularity

C for irregular pigment distribution

D for diameter of 6 mm or more

E for evolving or changing noted in size

  • Personal or Family History. If you have had skin cancer or immediately family member with history of skin cancer.
  • Weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems (HIV) and those taking immunosuppressant drugs.
  • Exposure to radiation. People who received radiation treatment for cancer or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne may have an increased risk of basal cell carcinoma.
  • Exposure to certain substances. Exposure to certain substances, such as arsenic, industrial tar, coal may increase your risk of skin cancer.

If you’re not in the high risk group or prefer to do some self-inspection, here’s the symptoms to look out for:

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancers are named after the type of skin cells and basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer.

The symptoms of Basal Cell Carcinoma:

  • Unusual bump, sore, skin growth
  • Small, pale, waxy, translucent skin bump (center indent or blood vessels seen)
  • Red scaly patch
  • Brownish scar or flesh-colored lesion
  • Bleed if injured or crusted.

The symptoms are Squamous Cell Carcinoma:

  • Unusual bump, sore, skin growth
  • Rough (pink) skin bump
  • Red scaly patch
  • Bleed easily

The symptoms of Melanoma:

  • New spots on skin
  • Change in size, shape, texture, color or bleeding of an existing mole
  • Sore that does not heal
  • Pigment, redness or swelling that spreads outside the border of a spot to the surrounding skin
  • Itchiness, tenderness or pain

Typically at the physician, there are a couple of tests including skin biopsy to get an accurate diagnosis. Check your skin regularly so that you’d know when something is out of the ordinary.

Slapping on sunscreen,


Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates – Apple Watch and Skin Irritation

There were quite a few reports of users getting skin irritation from wearing Apple Watch and this got #SkinishMom into an investigative mode. It’s not news that items we wear can cause skin irritation, for instance, nickel in jewelry is a common irritant. It’s also not news that wrist bands can lead to skin irritation, for instance, there was a voluntary recall for Fitbit Force after news of rashes last year. As for Apple, there was also a reported instance of a child getting skin irritation after using iPad (due to nickel allergy). So what’s with these materials and their contact with our skin?

Skin Irritation and Apple Watch - Top 6 Suspects

Suspect #1 – Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Nickel

Allergic contact dermatitis involves the immune system by which a hypersensitive reaction (rash) results from a previous contact with the allergen. Of the metal materials, nickel is one of the most common cited that cause this rash. In 2013, when UK issued new coins containing higher level of nickel, it was reported to pose an allergy risk.

For both Fitbit and Apple, there are nickel in the wristbands. From Apple website,

Apple Watch, the space gray Apple Watch Sport, the stainless steel portions of some Apple Watch bands, and the magnets in the watch and bands contain some nickel. However, they all fall below the strict nickel restrictions set by European REACH regulation.

REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. It is a regulation of the EU, which is known for setting strict standards on safety. EU had restricted the amount of nickel in jewelry and products that come into contact with skin in the ‘EU Nickel Directive’.

If Nickel is so much trouble, why do jewelry and wristband manufacturers continue to use it? It is usually selected for its corrosion resistance, toughness, strength at high and low temperatures, magnetic and electronic properties that are superior to other metals.

Suspect #2 – Allergic Contact Dermatitis to Methacrylates 

Methacrylates is a polymer that is commonly used in adhesives and also in both Fitbit and Apple Watch. From Apple website:

The Apple Watch case, the Milanese Loop, the Modern Buckle, and the Leather Loop contain trace amounts of methacrylates from adhesives. Methacrylates are found in many consumer products that come in contact with the skin, such as adhesive bandages. Some people may be sensitive to them, or may develop sensitivities over time. Apple Watch and its bands are designed so that parts containing methacrylates are not in direct contact with your skin.

Suspect #3 – Irritant Contact Dermatitis to Sweat

Irritant contact dermatitis is a delayed hypersensitive reaction due to prolonged exposure to an irritant. There is a wide range of possibilities that trigger irritant contact dermatitis, almost anything is possible including our sweat. Since Apple Watch and fitness trackers are worn to keep track of heart rate and fitness goals, it is likely that it comes into contact with sweat. From an interview with dermatologist Dr Cheryl Lee, she explained:

The salts from sweat can crystalize and act as an irritant to the skin. If you can see that your baby’s sweat has dried and has a salty residue, then I would recommend rinsing it off with plain water (no soap) to prevent it from becoming an irritant. If the sweat is not crystalized, I wouldn’t worry about it much.

Suspect #4 – Irritant Contact Dermatitis to Soap

Those familiar with eczema skincare know that soap is not recommended as it is drying (alkaline) and often irritate sensitive skin. In fact, soap is seldom patch tested as it is almost a certainty that leaving it on your skin for 2 days (norm period for patch test) will result in a rash. If your Apple Watch happens to trap the soap and you’re wearing it without removing, the soap may be the culprit behind the rash.

Suspect #5 – Heat Rash

If it’s hot and humid weather and your Apple Watch is constantly in contact with your skin, it may result in blocked sweat ducts. Similar to a common baby rash Miliaria (as babies have immature sweat ducts, thus more prone to blockage), your blocked sweat ducts can trigger skin rash.

Suspect #6 – Constant Friction

I couldn’t find a Pubmed article on friction and skin rash but from my understanding, it could be

  • Constant friction causes chafing that can be painful. Moreover, exposed skin is more vulnerable to irritants.
  • The sweat residue increases the friction.
  • Wet (sweaty) skin makes the chafing worse.

So What to Do if You Really WANT AN APPLE WATCH?

If you have not bought the Apple Watch

You can take a patch test to see if your skin will react to materials in Apple Watch, especially nickel. A patch test is quite expensive and take 2-4 days for the patch results to show and require repeat consultations to view how your skin has reacted. I read from WSJ that you can try taping a nickel coin on the inside of your arm for 2 days and see if a rash appear. (I’m not sure if it’s accurate reflection though as the nickel quantity or type of nickel alloy may be different.)

Or decide not to take the risk or take the risk with a later generation of Apple Watch (where possibly nickel and other improvements to apps would have been made!)

If you have bought the Apple Watch > No reaction – Good for you!

If you have bought the Apple Watch > Skin rash – Top 6 tips to Try

Skin Irritation and Apple Watch - Top 6 Tips to Limit Skin Rash

  1. Place a barrier between your skin and the wristband – you can put a layer of emollient over but be sure that your skin is clean. Slapping moisturizer on top of sweat and irritant may worsen the rash. Of course, use a moisturizer that will not irritate your skin in the first place (ingredients to avoid).
  2. Clean your sweat off and put on the watch only when your skin is clean and dry.
  3. Make sure to wash soap off or use a gentle non-soap cleanser if you have sensitive skin.
  4. If it’s hot and humid, you may want to take off the watch for a few hours. (Maybe when you’re sitting down and not exercising?)
  5. Not wearing it too tight or too loose – Apple had provided guidelines on this; both too tight and too loose can cause skin rash, think of a waist band that’s too tight or a watch that’s too loose and created friction.
  6. Keep the Apple Watch clean – it somewhat defeat the purpose of cleaning your own skin and then putting on something that has a host of sweat residue and debris for hours a day. Apple also has guidelines on cleaning their watch.

I’m actually glad that I didn’t go out to get an Apple Watch (it’s not available in Singapore anyway!) because I always get skin rash with watches (leather or metal) and a gym mate told me you can’t play all your iTunes songs on the Apple Watch and can’t blue tooth the songs from the watch to the earphone (gasp! That’s the main reason why I want an Apple Watch). Do share your experience in the comments!

Update on 29 June 2015 – Apple Watch is available in Singapore and one reader Nicholas pointed out in the comments below that you can blue tooth your iTunes songs to earphone. (Hmmm.. should I get one?)

Sticking to watch-free (skin rash free) wrist,


p.s. I’m not sure if Apple is reading this post, comments are my own, from understanding of skin, rashes and reading online. But if Apple is reading this, do amend a formatting error on your guideline – REACH, not REACh (sorry, but I kinda get irritated by formatting error!)

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates – Skin ‘Smell’ and Heal

Can our skin smell? I don’t mean whether your skin smells, I meant if your skin is able to smell. Apparently, yes. Came across a few studies supporting that and though medical advancements using the skin’s ability to smell are far off, it’s amazing to learn how God designed our body!

Skin Smell and heal

Quick points from #SkinishMom’s investigation:

  1. Keratinocytes, of our skin’s epidermal layer, reacted to a chemical odorant of sandalwood to re-generate in wound healing.
  2. Olfactory receptors (that allow us to smell) are also present in our skin and over 20 types of tissue cells, including liver, lungs, prostrate and gut.
  3. Olfactory receptors found in the testicles may be helping the sperm smell its way to the unfertilized egg.
  4. Olfactory receptors in the lungs also help the lungs to switch off airways to limit inhaling poisonous gas.

The skin being the largest organ of our body truly comes into contact with a lot of our environment. Even in food allergy, it is no longer new to recognize that food sensitization (allergy) can come from our skin. In fact, studies support this hypothesis and it is increasingly recognised that we should take care of our skin, strengthen its barrier to protect our body. The next time you itch for a scratch, think about how a defective skin barrier goes beyond a scar.

Skin ish Mom Column

#SkinishMom Investigates Drinking Water for Dry Skin

So, is drinking 8 glasses of water good for skin?

Drinking Water Skin Hydrate

There is little research to back up that drinking more water is going to hydrate the skin, make the skin glow or smooth. The practical reason for this is that research is usually conducted for ‘products’ when they can be patented, thus the lack of research on water. The only research that I can find on Pubmed on water is Effect of fluid intake on skin physiology: distinct differences between drinking mineral water and tap water. The results seemed convoluted though with no clear conclusion.

The conclusion from most dermatologists though is lack of water is bad for the skin but excess water does not benefit the skin.

What happens to Skin when Drinking Too Little Water?

Our body needs water for its organs to function so it will reduce hydrating cells to channel water for essential body functions. The skin will then look duller and wrinkles and pores will be more apparent. However, there is no change to the underlying skin structure but the wrinkles and pores are ‘temporarily’ more obvious when the body is dehydrated. But prolonged dehydration can speed up aging as the skin is persistently drier and more prone to skin irritation as well.

So, does Drinking Water Help with Hydrating Skin?

Water that we drink does not go straight to the skin – it goes to intestines, bloodstream, filtered by kidneys. If you drink excess water, the body will pass it out – it wouldn’t go specifically to hydrating skin cells although water will hydrate all cells in general. To target skin cells, moisturizing is required and avoid doing a list of things that will actually dry your skin such as:

1.     Scrubbing or exfoliating your skin

2.     Drying (instead of dabbing dry) with a towel

3.     Sun-tanning (and not using sunscreen)

4.     Long bath and Hot bath

5.     Using soap

6.     Not eating enough omega 3 (which our diet is generally lacking in, essential fatty acids)

Bottom line – Drink when you’re thirsty.

Signing off SkinishMom, and yes, just remembered that thirst is often mistaken for hunger so I’m drinking up!

Skin ish Mom Column

Ask #SkinishMom – Is Eczema Driving My Child Nuts?

Psychological Impact of Childhood Eczema

Yes, some studies indicate evidence of behavioural disturbances for children with severe eczema from a young age (childhood anxiety, withdrawal, depression). Parents of eczema kids would know there’s likely psychological impact without reading research. Why?

  1. No Sleep, Brain can’t function – cranky.
  2. So much stress as an infant, something may just go wrong as the brain is wiring itself loads at that time. (If you’re a parent of a very young baby with eczema, you can visibly see the discomfort and agony caused by the itchy rash. Plain torture.)
  3. Being looked at with curious eyes. Being avoided. Being bullied.
  4. Whole family is stressed and short-fused. No one dare say living in such environment is conducive for health.

School bullies Eczema

So how to reduce the chance of your kid going nuts?

The model answer is:

  1. Control the eczema, seek treatment.
  2. Recognize signs of depression.
  3. Seek a support group.
  4. Try relaxation techniques.
  5. Educate and raise awareness in your child’s school.

#SkinishMom answer is:

  1. Sleep whenever you can.
  2. Love yourself, love your spouse, love your child. The whole family united can take on challenges.
  3. Chill
  4. Indulge
  5. Positive mindset.

What’s your survival techniques?