Why Doesn’t Dr. Belo Approve of Using Moisturizer?

By Belo Medical Group on August 20, 2020

Dr. Belo doesn’t believe in moisturizer. A beginner’s skincare mantra might be “cleanse, tone, and moisturize,” but she’d advise that you nix the third step altogether. This has sparked a debate amongst skincare enthusiasts and casual fans alike—after all, how can we not use moisturizer? How do we hydrate, then? Water?!

But, as she’s explained in countless TV guestings, YouTube collabs, and magazine articles, if you live in the Philippines where it’s warm and humid, moisturizer is a no-no. Here’s why.

“I’m anti-moisturizer, because I totally believe that moisturization should come from inside your skin,” she explained to Ivana Alawi during a consultation last March 13.  See, moisturizers, in essence, are created to make the outermost layer of your skin feel softer. This layer is called the stratum corneum. It’s a series of layers of specialized skin cells that continuously shed. Funnily enough, it’s referred to as a “horny layer” (don’t laugh!) because the cells feel tougher, almost like an animal’s horn.

The stratum corneum is already designed to shed on its own. For children or babies, the skin sheds every 21 days, and that’s why they always look so perfect. But as we get older, cell turnover rates take longer, causing us to look dull and dry at times. “When you put moisturizer on your face, you’re telling your fibroblasts—the skin cells that make hyaluronic acid, collagen, and elastin—’Ay, I have so much already on the surface of my skin. Matulog muna kayo. ‘Wag muna kayong gumawa, because marami na ako.’ Pero fake ‘yun. Hindi sa’yo ‘yun, eh. It comes from a bottle,” Dr. Belo continued. 

In essence, you’re tricking your skin into thinking it’s already moisturized, thus impeding your skin’s natural ability to regenerate cells and moisturize itself. Moisturizers might seem to ‘fix’ the problem, but once you stop using them, your skin will only return to the state it was before. You don’t want your skin to be “dependent” on hydration that comes from a bottle. Instead, you want to use products that will encourage your skin to create its own natural collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. The key is to exfoliate, not moisturize. The key is to reveal the baby-soft skin you already have underneath, instead of piling on a faux layer of moisture that won’t really fix the problem.

So what does Dr. Belo suggest instead? 

AM Routine: Cleanse, exfoliate, apply a Vitamin C serum, and finish with sunscreen.

PM Routine: Cleanse, tone, then apply a Vitamin A (retinol) serum.

Exfoliate your skin without drying it out with the ZO® Exfoliating Cleanser. For the next step, Dr. Belo personally loves the ZO® 10% Vitamin C Self-Activating serum. Vitamin C is an exfoliant that safely and gently removes old skin cells. That means it’ll also help remove surface discoloration and pigmentation. Then, you can go in with any sunscreen of your choice (we do recommend the ZO® Sunscreen + Primer, though!). 

For your night routine, replace the Vitamin C serum with ZO® Retinol Skin Brightener 1% Retinol, an ultra-powerful retinol serum that will even out your skin tone and restore the hydration your skin needs. How does it help with hydration? Well, retinol helps increase collagen production in the deeper layers of your skin, and helps preserve the collagen and elastin that’s already there. This serum also contains glycerin, which replenishes hydration to restore the moisture balance in your skin barrier. 

Once in a while, treat yourself to the FillMed Hyaluronic Youth Mask, which contains hyaluronic acid, collagen, and aloe vera. Hyaluronic acid is known to attract 1000 times its weight in water, so it’ll give your skin the hydration it’s craving.

Remember, exfoliation is the key, not moisturization. By improving your skin health and using products that push your body to create collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, you’ll get the smooth and supple skin you’ve always wanted. But don’t throw away your moisturizers! Dr. Belo advises that you save them for when you’re abroad, where climates may be cooler and you’ll actually need them. Now, go forth and exfoliate!

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