Elevating Skincare for Women with Dr. Rhia Romano

Elevating Skincare for Women with Dr. Rhia Romano

As women, we understand the importance of caring for our skin, especially in the tropical climate of the Philippines. Skincare is not merely about following trends or purchasing the latest products, rather it's about nurturing a deeper connection with ourselves and honoring the unique needs of our skin.

Moving beyond the surface, let's delve deeper into the world of the skin microbiome. These microbes, mostly harmless or even beneficial bacteria, fungi, and viruses, play a crucial role in keeping our skin healthy. Our skin is a complex ecosystem teeming with trillions of tiny organisms, collectively known as the skin microbiome.

In fact, the makeup of your skin microbiome actually varies depending on the location. Moist areas like your elbow creases have different bacteria thriving there compared to drier zones like your forearms. Unfortunately, this delicate balance can be disrupted by everyday things like harsh soaps, antibiotics, hormonal changes, and even stress. This disruption is linked to the rise of various skin conditions like acne and eczema, highlighting the growing importance of understanding and nurturing our skin microbiome. 

We have rounded up the most popular questions that we frequently receive through our social channels and sat down with our featured dermatologist for the month, Dr. Rhia Romano of Dermaroma, Makati City.

Question 1: “How do we take care of our skin microbiome?”

Cultivating a healthy skin microbiome goes beyond just following trends. Here's how to nurture this vital ecosystem: First, ditch the harsh soaps and antibacterial products. These can strip away natural oils and disrupt the delicate balance of microbes on your skin. Opt for gentle cleansers with a slightly acidic pH, similar to your skin's natural state.

Regular moisturizing is also key, as it strengthens your skin's barrier, protecting your microbiome from harmful invaders. Choose a moisturizer suited to your skin type.

Looking after your gut health is surprisingly important too! Prebiotics, found in plant-based foods and fiber, nourish the good bacteria there, which indirectly benefits your skin microbiome through the gut-skin connection. 

Chronic stress can disrupt this balance as well, so find healthy ways to manage it,  like exercise, meditation, or spending time in nature. Remember, be gentle! Avoid harsh scrubs and over-washing. Twice a day with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser is sufficient. While these are general tips, consulting a dermatologist can provide personalized advice for your unique skin microbiome. 

Question 2: “Are there specific skincare products or ingredients that can support a healthy skin microbiome?”

Supporting your skin microbiome goes beyond gentle cleansing and moisturizing. Look for prebiotics like inulin and chicory root extract to nourish the good bacteria on your skin. While research is still developing, some topical probiotics containing Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium may also be beneficial. 

Postbiotics like lactic acid and niacinamide can further support the microbiome by nourishing the skin and strengthening its barrier. Remember, a healthy lifestyle is key too! Prebiotics from a balanced diet rich in fiber and plants, along with stress management, can all contribute to a thriving skin microbiome.

Question 3: “What are the most common skin concerns women should be aware of, and when should they seek a dermatologist?”

Throughout their lives, women encounter a variety of common skin concerns. Acne breakouts can happen at any age, but hormonal shifts often worsen them around menstruation or menopause. A dermatologist can be helpful for severe, cystic acne or breakouts that don't respond to drugstore treatments. Sun damage, hormones, and medications can also lead to pigmentation issues like dark spots or uneven skin tone. For stubborn pigmentation, a dermatologist can recommend stronger solutions like chemical peels or lasers. 

As we age, collagen production slows down, causing wrinkles, fine lines, and loss of elasticity. While topical creams can provide some improvement, a dermatologist offers more advanced options like fillers or Botox. Rosacea, a chronic inflammatory condition, presents with redness, bumps, and visible blood vessels on the face. 

Early diagnosis and treatment by a dermatologist are crucial for managing symptoms and preventing worsening. Eczema, another common concern, is an itchy, dry, and inflamed condition triggered by various factors. A dermatologist can identify the cause and recommend appropriate medications or strategies to manage flare-ups. 

Remember, a dermatologist is your partner in healthy skin.  See one if you experience any persistent or worsening skin concern, notice a sudden change in a mole or birthmark, or if a condition significantly impacts your daily life or self-esteem. Even if over-the-counter treatments or home remedies aren't effective, a dermatologist can create a personalized plan to achieve healthy, glowing skin.

Question 4: “What daily skincare habits can women incorporate to maintain healthy skincare?”

Building a healthy skincare routine is about more than just products! Here's how to keep your skin glowing: cleanse twice a day with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water to remove impurities without disrupting your skin's microbiome.

Daily moisturizing is key – choose a moisturizer based on your skin type (oily, dry, or combination) to hydrate and strengthen your skin's barrier. Sun protection is non-negotiable – apply SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen every morning and reapply throughout the day. 

Beyond these essentials, incorporate gentle exfoliation 1-2 times a week, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and manage stress. Simple habits like avoiding touching your face, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated all contribute to healthy, radiant skin.

Question 5: “From your perspective, should women care about societal beauty standards?”

Societal beauty standards are everywhere – from airbrushed magazine covers to targeted advertising. It's no wonder we, as women, might feel pressure to conform to these narrow definitions of beauty. These standards can fuel the desire to be seen as attractive and accepted, and in some cases, fitting the mold might even be perceived as advantageous in social or professional settings. 

However, it's important to remember that these expectations are often unrealistic and promote a limited view of beauty. There's so much more to being attractive than physical appearance. Inner qualities like confidence, kindness, humor, and intelligence all shine through and can have a lasting impact. The most beautiful thing we can do is embrace our unique qualities and develop our own styles that reflect our personalities. 

Dr. Rhia Romano is the head dermatologist of Dermaroma. She is also an active member of the Philippine Academy of Clinical and Cosmetic Dermatology. Dermaroma operates at Raman Condominium, 1130 Chino Roces Avenue, San Antonio Village, Makati.


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