If skincare was categorised like social class, I would say I am firmly upper-middle: comfortable but not astounding, notable but nothing that’ll blow your mind. My skin has always been good, but not great. I’ve struggled with dark spots, hormonal flare ups, acne and bumpy texture. About a week before my cycle, I get the telltale dormant volcanoes: reddish, large bumps that slowly come to the surface in an angry burst.
However, as I’ve started getting older, I definitely have noticed a difference in how quickly my skin recovers from these blemishes. Dark spots take much longer to clear, if they do at all. The breakouts have migrated from my temples to my cheeks too. My texture is still alright, but I’ve started to notice fine lines and dull looking skin. At 26, I’m not by any means ‘old’ but I definitely was not expecting to start aging so noticeably so soon.
I recently watched a Tiktok that said that our skin begins really ageing at 25, and that’s when we should already have started pumping the Vitamin C, collagen and hyaluronic acid. Insert blinking meme. Excuse me?? You’re telling me I’m a year late?? Suffice to say, I had a lot of catching up to do. That’s why IDS came into my life at the perfect time.
To give you a quick summary of my old skincare routine: I used an oil based cleanser followed by a neutral face wash, which I would follow with either BHA or Zinc & Niacinimide. Depending on my mood, I would add Hyaluronic Acid or a Peptide Serum, and finish it off with a moisturiser. I thought I was a skincare maven, and aficionado if you will. I thought I had my skincare in the bag. Then IDS came along and offered me a free doctor’s consultation and products, and I realised just how much of a skin amateur I was.
Watch my IDS TikTok video here!
My first session with IDS took me deep into the heart of Orchard. The clinic is located in the International Building (also known as ‘the silver joint next to Hans Im Glück’). It’s a rather quiet mall, so I wasn’t expecting much of a surprise. What I found turned out to be the first of many times IDS demolished my expectations. Their open-plan space quite literally made me stumble when I walked to the front desk only to realise that I was already standing in the middle of the luxurious lobby. Rather than closed behind frosted glass, IDS was completely open on the side and looked more like a luxury brand showroom than a skincare clinic. Dotted between plush, navy blue seating were gleaming cabinet displays of their skincare products, an array so impressive it could steal the show at Takashimaya.
I was greeted by multiple staff and assigned a skincare specialist who walked me through the procedure before taking me to see the doctor. The doctor was friendly and to-the-point, taking a look at my skin before rattling off a list of products that would be best for me.
Now, I’m a suspicious person. When I go to a doctor, I like to be looked at. I will tell a doctor about the one time I got a pimple on my armpit just in case it might be relevant information that could save my life. So when the doctor was able to have such a quick look and prescribe products, I was thinking hold up. You’re not even gonna pull out the blue light thing and do an in-depth analysis? I dunno how accurate this is going to be.
Girl. I was shook. But I’ll get to that soon.
After the consultation, I went into a room to get my initial photos taken to track my progress, after which the consultant came to explain the products they were giving me and the order I had to take them in:
Cleansing Milk (night-time only)
Double-cleansing is a really important part of my skincare routine! I actually even triple cleanse with micellar water first after I come back from a modelling job, to remove all the thick makeup. It helps to get rid of all the surface layer-gunk on my skin before a cleanser can get into my pores. The cleansing milk feels light and doesn’t foam on the skin. It leaves my skin with an interesting feeling, almost as though it’s covered with a light, oily serum, which I quite like the feeling of. I also find that the majority of my spots/oil plugs pop out during this step of the routine. I never use a scrub or cloth, just my fingertips rubbing in circles for about two minutes ( you should never wash your face in less than one minute!)
This cleanser is fantastic, I love the fresh feeling it leaves on my skin! It has a citrus-y smell and foams up a little bit when it’s spread. It leaves my skin feeling clear without feeling dry. I do wish it was a little bit stronger, because some days I have needed to wash a second time in order for the cotton pad to come away completely clear.
The pore formula is interesting to me. I haven’t quite decided if I like it. The formula has a greenish-beige colour and the smell reminds me of citronella. It has to be spread strictly on the T-Zone, avoiding the eyes, ears, nostrils and mouth. I once made the mistake of getting a small bit on the rim of my nostril and I felt like my nasal passage had been cleared so thoroughly that if you looked up them, you could see all the way to my medulla oblongata.
This is my favourite product of all of them! I’ve wanted to try Vitamin C for a really long time, and I was just about to buy it when IDS came along! The vitamin C serum is a clear liquid that absorbs quite quickly. IT doesn’t have a distinct scent, but it feels really pleasant and light on the skin.
This is a white gellish sort of formula that I apply like a spot control I’ve found that my best way to apply it is to do so when the Vitamin C serum is still wet. It absorbs completely that way, as opposed to when I apply it to dry skin, which leaves it with a tacky film that rolls off the skin. I like to give it about ten minutes before I apply the moisturiser, just to be sure everything sinks in!
Oil Free Moisturiser (day-time only, I use an orchid skin cream at night)
This is my favourite product of them all, because let me tell you, the things it does to my skin, baybeeee. It feels like dew when it spreads over my skin: very light and soothing. It dries matte and keeps a great texture throughout the day. I spend most of my day at home, so I don’t tend to sweat. My T-Zone usually gets quite oily, but with this moisturiser, only my nose tends to shine after a while. I usually apply a layer of sunscreen after and it never feels heavy or thick when applied together. A lot of moisturisers feel like they sit on the skin, but this one feels like I’m not ever wearing anything!
The last step in my skincare routine looks and feels a lot like the blemish clear: white and gel-like in texture. It absorbs quite quickly, but I have to be sure to use only a tiny bit otherwise it leaves a white film over my spots. It’s definitely helped clear/dry up white heads quickly.
One day, literally one day after doing the skincare routine for morning and night, my jaw hit the floor. I could see a difference immediately. Two days later, I was on a video chat with my brother and I caught sight of how good my skin looked, and I geniunely gasped out loud. My skin looked so glassy and bouncy, and much less fatigued and dull.
I’ve been using the products for about three weeks, and used it over the course of my cycle and these have been the improvements in my skin:
My skin is a lot smoother overall, especially on my cheek bones and forehead. I’ve always had a slightly bumpy texture, not like white heads, but just small bumps with no visible pores. I know that it’s quite a common texture on people with dark skin, but I didn’t know how to go about smoothening it. I really like the way my skin looks now, and I only have a few of those bumps remaining around my eyes/eye-sockets.
The dark spots on my cheeks have lightened considerably since I first started. I noticed the biggest leap in improvement when I first started, and since then it has been steady but not as dramatic as the first few days.
I still have had a cluster of spots on my left temple and right cheek that have been really stubborn throughout my period and for some time after. My next appointment with IDS will be a facial and pore extraction, which I’m really looking forward to. I’ll be posting another article afterwards, so follow me on Instagram to stay posted.
I’m really glad that I’ve had the chance to find out what is best for my skin specifically, because I feel like YouTube videos only managed to take me so far. Skincare for the past several years has felt a lot like fast fashion. There are so many new things constantly popping up but they fit me poorly in some places, or eventually turn out to be poor quality for me. Having a professional look at my skin and getting a personalised routine has felt like an investment in my skincare, and so if you’re wondering whether a consultation with IDS is worth it, honestly I would say ‘yes.’
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*Credits to Iwani
Visit Iwani's blog post here.
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