Here’s a chance to get your “always wanted to know but didn’t know who to ask” beauty questions tackled.

I’m in my 20s. I have dark spots on my face which take a very long time to lighten and fade. I am assuming these spots are hyperpigmentation. I think my bad skincare habits in the past caused this, such as picking at the skin and overexposure to the sun. Now I don’t know what to do.

I am tired of covering up my spots with concealers. I want to be able to bare my face, but the spots look so stark against my skin. I have tried countless products, both from the pharmacy and high-end brands, but all of them have done zilch for my problem.

Even if the products do work, they dry out my skin completely. These spots really affect my self-esteem and confidence. Please recommend a serum that lightens the spots, but will not dry out my skin. Anna

What the expert says:

According to Winnie Lai, Clarins’ training manager, to fade dark spots, it’s important to understand why and how we get them in the first place. Many dark spots or patches can be easily lightened or eliminated to restore a glowing facial complexion. Dark spots, patches and other marks on the face may be due to excess melanin on the surface.

Factors that can lead to this condition include overexposure to the sun, hormonal imbalance, ageing, genetics, menopause, pregnancy, certain medications, vitamin deficiency, improper skincare, smoking and stress. Brown spots generally appear on areas like the face, back, neck, chest, shoulders and hands.

Skincare can help to lighten and prevent new spots from developing, but they can’t be removed entirely. To lighten and prevent the formation of new dark spots, try this regimen.

Firstly, make sure you pre–cleanse your skin. Excess sebum, debris and make-up can clog your pores and lead to hyperpigmentation. Using a pre-cleanser prior to your cleanser is called double cleansing. Clarins Cleansing Milk will remove the excess oil and make-up, and prepare your skin for further treatment. Then, use the Pearl-to-cream Brightening Cleanser for all skin types. Be sure to wash your face twice a day. Never go to bed with make-up on. This can lead to acne and even hyperpigmentation.

Follow up with a Soft Aqua Milk/Lotion. The toner helps to rebalance your skin’s pH and soften your skin in preparation for the moisturiser and treatment serum to come.

If you need to, apply Clarins All Spot Brightening Corrector, a practical “roll-on” stick to treat stubborn pigmentation marks and small spots. Also, try the Intensive Brightening Serum, considered the “hero” product for addressing hyperpigmentation. The Trans-Luminescent Complex works to revive the skin’s micro-mirrors, layer by layer to restore rosy luminescence – it is anti-dullness, anti-dark spots and anti-yellowish complexion. To enhance draining action, warm the product on the palm and use gentle pressing motions when you apply.

Your skin needs moisturisation, and Brightening Hydrating Emulsion and Brightening Velvet Emulsion SPF 20 will help to reduce dark spots, whiten complexion and protect against external aggression in the day. A new generation emulsion that gives skin twice the hydration, it is instantly absorbed and leaves a velvety finish. At night, use the Whitening Repairing Night Cream so that skin can repair itself.

Make use you wear a sunscreen. Clarins Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 comes with triple protection against UV, pollution and has advanced anti-free radical protection (oxidative stress). For your weekly routine, the Hydra Quench Cream Mask will help to improve skin hydration while the Whitening Luminescence Restorer will give you the fresh-looking, rosy transparency of youthful-looking skin.

>> Clarins will be giving Anna an All Spot Brightening Corrector worth RM195.

I’m in my mid-20s and the beauty consultant told me that I have dry skin. I’ve been drinking a lot of water and have diligently been using moisturiser. However, when I went back to the same consultant, she said my skin was still dry. What should I do to hydrate my skin?

Also, I have blackheads and whiteheads. They seems to be concentrated at my nose and chin areas. Is this due to my dry skin? Jasmine

What the expert says:

Michelle Tay, Biotherm’s assistant education manager, says that a basic skincare routine is important to maintain a healthy skin level. However, our skin changes every day due to lifestyle habits, diet imbalance, overexposure to UV rays and a polluted environment. All these contribute to skin dehydration, and also cause other problems such as skin sensitivity, uneven skin tone, melanin overproduction and wrinkles.

Therefore, a basic hydration range may not be sufficient to increase your skin’s hydration level. But now, you can have “newborn skin” in just eight days with Biotherm Life Plankton Essence. The fundamental skin renewing essence has eight benefits: hydration, soothing, smoothening, softening, improving radiance and resilience, reduce fine lines and even out skin tone.

In addition to the skin renewing essence, consume at least two litres of water daily to maintain body moisture, probably more if you are working long hours in an air-conditioned environment. Avoid fried and spicy foods, get quality sleep and exercise regularly.

The skin loses moisture four times faster during the night compared with day time. This can be reduced by maintaining your air-conditioner at five degrees lower than the temperature outside of the room. Having a night skincare routine helps to prevent moisture loss and regenerate the skin to help replenish water reserves.

A single drop of Biotherm Aquasource Nuit provides the skin with 15 hours of hydration. It has the unique ingredient called P.Antartica, a micro-organism which has the capability to conserve water.

Pores can look more visible on skin that lack moisture and elasticity. Open pores tend to leave skin congested with impurities like blackheads and whiteheads. You could cleanse the impurities Biotherm Purefect 2 in 1 Pore Mask. Secondly, hydrate the skin with Biotherm Life Plankton Essence.

Do visit any Biotherm counter near where you stay for a proper skin diagnosis.

>> Biotherm will be giving Jasmine an Aqua-source Nuit worth RM 180.

E-mail your queries to beautyq@thestar.com.my to be answered fortnightly by beauty professionals from beauty or skincare houses. The queries should be beauty-specific and may be on skin or hair concerns, cosmetics or products, too. Please include your name, address and contact number. Published letters will receive a gift. All the best in your beauty quest!