I don’t know about you but growing up in an asian household, I was always getting yelled at by my mom anytime I came back from the beach and my skin was a couple shades darker. Or when I left the house in tank tops instead of a long sleeve sweater to cover my skin….in 30 degree heat.
“You have to keep your skin pale!” exclaimed my mother. It was almost a crime to be tanned to my mom, but growing up in western society like Canada, we get maybe 3 months of summer before we go back to staying in all the time. Being able to get a tan on my skin meant that I had the leisure time to be able to go outside and was associated with health, wellness and high social status.
To my mom and anyone that grew up in Asia for example, being pale and fair was a sign of wealth and high social status because it meant that you didn’t have to spend your time doing labor outside in the sun all day and had the luxury of being able to stay inside. These cultural associations go deep in many Asian societies and the trend of porcelain skin is a byproduct of these beliefs.
What is Porcelain Skin?
Porcelain skin refers to a complexion that is fair, unblemished and unflawed. This trend in skincare has stood the test of the time with many Korean skincare brands continuously releasing brightening and lightening products to achieve that translucent skin look.
Porcelain skin is typically the fairest skin tone and is without texture or hyperpigmentation. These things can also be replicated in makeup for pale skin but the principle of porcelain skin is the ability to achieve it naturally and have that filtered skin appearance – without the filter. No pressure, right?
How Can I Get Porcelain Skin?
One of the most important concepts of porcelain skin is flawless, even, radiant, skin. One of the main reasons why your skin tone is uneven is due to sun spots and hyperpigmentation.
Constant unprotected exposure from the sun causes dark patches to form on your skin because of an excess of melanin. Melanin is the brown pigment that gives your skin its colour. These deposits are harmless but creates uneven skin tone and texture and are not desirable for most people. Hyperpigmentation can also occur as a result of acne and skin conditions and can be treated with skincare products.
This process is called photoaging — damage to the skin caused by exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light. Photoaging is responsible for 90% of visible changes to the skin, and is a direct result of cumulative sun damage you’ve been exposed to throughout your life.
When UVA and UVB rays hit your skin, they damage its DNA and the cells in the dermis scramble to make more melanin in the epidermis to prevent more damage. This is the process that gives you a tan – it’s your skin trying to block the radiation from penetrating the layers of your skin.
Porcelain Skin Routine
If you want that look of radiant, bright, flawless skin, then following this routine or incorporating individual steps into your existing routine will get you that much closer.
- Don’t skip the H20: The first step to achieving porcelain is to drink your recommended daily intake for water. This may seem like the most reiterated advice to good skin but for good reason. If you want healthy, hydrated skin, the first step is put in what you want out. Make sure you drink enough water daily to clean out toxins in your body, this will eventually show in the quality of your skin.
- Preventative cleanser: You can look for a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid to prevent acne, which will prevent hyperpigmentation. Your cleanser doesn’t have to do just one job however. Use a cleanser that also has vitamin C because it is a naturally occurring antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals in the skin, boosts collagen production, reverses cell damage, and helps with hyperpigmentation of the skin. You don’t need a lot of vitamin C because it can cause irritation in high doses – a small percentage is just fine.
- Tone with Vitamin B3: If you can use a toner with a vitamin B3 ingredient such as Niacinamide then that will help with treating hyperpigmentation because it decreases the number of melanin transferred to pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) to skin cells. It doesn’t stop the production of melanin, but it reduces the amount that is transferred to the skin. Clinical trials using 2% niacinamide have shown that it significantly reduces the total area of hyperpigmentation and increases skin lightness after 4 weeks of treatment.
- Add serum: If you want to reduce discolouration in your skin then look for a serum with liquorice extract or mulberry extract. Liquorice extract is one of the best ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation because it contains glabridin, which improves hyperpigmentation by dispersing the melanin, inhibits melanin biosynthesis and inhibits cyclooxygenase activity which decreases free radical production. Studies have shown that glabridin prevents UVB induced pigmentation and exerts anti-inflammatory effects. Mulberry extract is something that you can also use to reduce discolouration because it’s proven to have anti tyrosinase activity properties. Mulberry extract is known to slow down the ageing process because it contains rich antioxidant properties, making it beneficial for preventing wrinkles.
- Brightening moisturizer: You can brighten your complexion by finding a moisturizer packed with ingredients like kojic acid or alpha arbutin. Kojic acid is the byproduct that is derived from mushroom-like fungi during fermentation. It prohibits the production of melanin and reduces hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of free tyrosinase. Arbutin is one of the most widely prescribed skin-lightening and depigmenting agents worldwide. Alpha arbutin lightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production in the skin by reducing tyrosinase activity, which is a crucial factor for melanin production.
- Don’t skip the SPF: If you only have one product to choose from, then use a sunscreen above all else because without it, all your other skincare steps would be useless without protecting your skin from harsh UVA and UVB rays. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF of 30.
Porcelain skin has historically often been associated with fair skin, but in today’s beauty standards, being pale doesn’t equate to beauty – looking healthy is universally beautiful. Many people want to know how to get pale skin, but what is important to focus on is not the colour skin, but rather the quality and texture of your skin tone. Healthy, porcelain looking skin is when you have naturally radiant, glowing skin that is unblemished and without flaws.
Healthy skin starts first with what you have put into your body and always be mindful of the ingredients list of your skincare products. Ultimately, try to look for products with naturally derived ingredients and antioxidants versus synthetic chemicals.
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