Fortunately, Tracy Chean, Regulatory Affairs Manager at Galderma South East Asia, was very kind to answer all of my (and everyone else's) questions! If you've read the previous post you'll already have some idea of who she is, but in short, she ensures that Cetaphil and other Galderma products comply with strict safety and compliance standards, and is also a licensed pharmacist. She was very friendly and helpful in answering questions at the Cetaphil Experience Workshop, and I really appreciated her broad knowledge of everything from cosmetic regulation to skincare science.
Some of the bloggers during the session - everyone is busy taking notes!
As with the previous post, while the content of the answers is reflective of the information conveyed, it might not be the exact word-for-word answer that Tracy gave, just because I was furiously scribbling down notes during the entire session, and couldn't get down every single word said exactly. However, the gist of each of the answers is accurate. I've also added in some editor's notes (aka my own additional thoughts) here and there to provide supplemental information where appropriate.
A quick photo of one of my notes pages - I'm not kidding when I say I was furiously scribbling down notes!
So without further ado, let's take a look at some common questions about building your skincare routine, and Cetaphil products! If you want to learn more skincare facts, and find out what else went on during the Cetaphil Experience, do check out the Cetaphil Singapore Facebook Page!
Q: If I have dry skin, how often should I cleanse my skin? Is it true that I should cleanse my skin fewer times a day?
The idea that you shouldn't "over-wash" your skin stems from the belief that frequent cleansing with harsh ingredients compromises your skin natural p-H balance. There is some merit to this belief, because the more you wash your skin, the oilier it could end up being if you're using a harsh cleanser, as the skin might produce more oil to compensate for the lack of natural oil. That said, I don't want to be too prescriptive about the specifics of how many times a day you should wash your skin, but I think the general idea is that you don't want to be too harsh on your skin. The same principle of not using overly harsh cleansers also applies for oily skin as well - the idea is that you want to remove surface oil, but also want to strike a balance between removing dirt and being too harsh on your skin.
A graphic showing how inflammation can affect the skin, which can happen if skin is treated harshly or exposed to pollution particles
Q: When choosing a cleanser, should I make sure that it foams in order to be sure that it is effective?
Consumers often think that a cleanser has to lather in order to clean the skin, but it may actually dry the skin out. Some consumers like a squeaky-clean feeling skin, but if the skin is too tight after cleansing, it could actually be a sign that you are over-cleansing! So you need to go beyond looking at how it foams, and you need to look at the ingredients list to evaluate the cleanser, and ensure that it cleans effectively without being too harsh.
Q:If I have oily skin do I still need to moisturize?
Yes, even if your skin is oily, the inner layers of your skin still need to be hydrated. If the inner layers of your skin are dry, the skin may produce more oil as a compensatory response, so I would recommend that you still moisturize even if your skin is oily.
The three layers of the skin
[Editor's note: The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, may be oily, but at the same time, it is possible for the inner layers of skin to be dry, because skin is comprised of three broad layers - the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis.]
Q: Would you recommend a cream or lotion product for oily skin?
In general, it's better to take the less risky option, in this case the lotion.
Q: Can I use expired skincare products?
The expiry date represents the company's assurance to the consumer that within the time period the product is efficacious. As such, it is not really recommended to use the product once it is past its shelf life (typically 2 or 3 years). Also, once the product is opened, the longer you use your product, the number of microbes in your product will start to increase, so I don't really recommend to use opened products past the recommended period.
[Editor's note: There were some follow-on questions as to how to read the expiry dates and signs. Basically, the shelf life of the product is determined by its expiry date, which is usually 2-3 years. That's how long the product can be kept on its shelf unopened. Once opened, then you would ideally want to use up the product within the number of months stated by the Period After Opening sign - the little open jar with "12M" or "6M" or "24M" on it.]
Questions on Cetaphil Products
Q: Which Cetaphil products would you recommend someone new to the brand start off with?
[Editor's note: Below is a list of products Tracy highlighted during the session, with the info compiled into one place, as this information was shared throughout the session.]
1. Gentle Skin Cleanser: It's short ingredients list of 7 ingredients, which means that it is less likely to irritate sensitive skin
2. Oily Skin Cleanser: This cleanser has a stronger cleansing power, but also has glycerin and panthenol, which helps to ensure that it does not damage the skin barrier or dry the skin out
[Editor's note: I've actually reviewed both the above cleansers, and really like both of them. You can read my Gentle Skin Cleanser here, and my review of the Oily Skin Cleanser here.]
1. Moisturizing Cream: Unlike steroid creams which can cause skin thinning over time, the moisturizing cream does not thin skin out over time. The Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream has been shown to help improve atopic dermatitis when used together with a steroid cream.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream can help in the management of atopic dermatitis
2. Moisturizing Lotion: This offers effective hydration for dry skin, but is also proven to be non-comedogenic, and well-tolerated on people with acne-prone skin
Some of Galderma's own research on file on the moisturizing ability, comedogenesis, and tolerance of the Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion
3. DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion: This is best for skin that is extremely dry, and contains Cetaphil's Epidermal Replenishing Complex 5, or ERC5, to rapidly hydrate the skin, and provides hydration for 24 hours from a single application.
[Editor's note: ERC5 is actually a combination of 5 ingredients that are meant to help the product provide rapid hydration. For those curious, the 5 ingredients that make up the ERC5 are Sodium PCA, Panthenol, Shea butter, Cyclopentasiloxane, and Dimethiconol.]
1. UVA/UVB Defense SPF50: This product has 7 chemical UV filters and 1 physical UV filters for effective protection against UV rays
[Editor's note: I know some of you are going to ask me about the UV filters and what rays they protect against, so here's a quick rundown: Ethylhexyl Salicylate (UVB), Titanium Dioxide (UVA2, UVB), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (aka Avobenzene, UVA1), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (aka Tinosorb S, UVA1, UVA2, UVB), Octocrylene (UVA2, UVB), Drometrizole Trisiloxane (aka Mexoryl XL, UVA2), Ethylhexyl triazone (UVB), and Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic acid (aka Mexoryl SX, UVA1, UVA2). The combination of UV filters does provide broad spectrum protection across both UVA and UVB rays, and also is largely photostable.
Interestingly Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL are both patented by L'Oreal group - and if you've read some of my other sunscreen reviews you might have seen me mention this before. Galderma developed the UVA/UVB Defense SPF50 in collaboration with L'Oreal, so this is the only Cetaphil product with both Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL.]
Q: Cetaphil's DailyAdvance Ultra Hydrating Lotion feels lighter than another brand's lotion. Does this mean the other brand's product is better for my skin?
Don't assume that just because something is greasy, it means that it is better for dry skin. Companies often formulate a product's texture to aesthetic specifications to appeal to customers, so the texture and feel of a product has a lot to do with how the company formulates the texture, and may not actually be a reflection of how effective the product is on your skin.
So that's a summary of what was shared at the very informative sessions! To learn more skincare tips and tricks, and find out more, check out the Cetaphil Singapore Facebook Page.