It’s time to get Scrub’d up! Order now. 

by Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya 


This year one of my new year resolutions was to take better care of my skin. Seven months into it and I have spent ample time researching and testing out products to make sure my skin is GLOWING. As with all trials, you learn things about your skin type – what does work and what definitely does not! Listed below are the top 5 tips that I’ve learnt over the past 7 months – some not so secretive, but a good reminder!

What I’ve learnt about my skin

I have combination skin which is very common – an oily T-zone whilst the rest of my face is relatively dry. I get the occasional pimple once a month or so (currently going through it!) – it may be rare, but oh when it comes, it comes in full force! My main problems are hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin tone and the peach fuzz hairs that us Asian women have to deal with. It’s taken me a while to find a routine that pretty much suits my skin and I’m still experimenting with more products. You’ll find my regular routine, by clicking this link – it keeps changing and maybe annually I’ll update everyone with my current routines.

To find out what skin tone you are and to find a starting place for a routine check out this page by byrdie which is what I checked out when I was starting out.

  • Stop stressing out your skin

This point is probably common sense, but I didn’t realise it before – stress and dehydration make a HUGE difference to your skin. Working in the NICU, I tend to do all my shifts together and so for 7-10 days at a stretch I work, sometimes doing 24-30 hour work shifts. Even though this is easier for me to get it all done with it definitely plays havoc with my skin. Sleep is also a new struggle for me and without my 6-8 hours of sleep (in one go), my skin literally feels exhausted. Drinking adequate amounts of water whilst working is also a challenge further adding to the stress. After these chaotic shifts, my skin normally breaks out and the dark circles under my eyes become more prominent (i.e. below).

It’s near impossible for me, but I would definitely advice everyone to get their beauty sleep on and catch those zzzz’s. You need approximately 7-9 hours of sleep per night if you’re an adult according to the National Sleep Foundation. Also WATER! Opt for water whenever you need a drink. If your pee is not clear/light yellow you are dehydrated so drink up.

  • Calamine lotion is the

The answer to a lot of your skin woes. Got a pimple? Put on a dollop of good ol’ lactocalamine lotion. Chicken pox lesions? Bathe yourself in lactocalamine lotion.  You get the picture.


Good ol’ Morrison lactocalamine lotion – the cure to almost everything!

Calamine lotion is known for its’ drying properties and is sure to shrink all those comedones that plague your face. It is chalk pink, but when I do get pimples I apply a dollop onto the pimple in question and sleep overnight with it. Works like magic! When I got chicken pox at age 15, my entire body had little water filled vesicles – my mother literally bathed me thrice a day in calamine lotion and to this day I only have one scar which occurred because it was the first lesion I got and I broke it like a dumbo.

Mario Badescu’s drying lotion is all the rave by facialists around the world, but it basically has calamine lotion with some salicylic acid a.k.a aspirin. I wouldn’t advise adding aspirin to your face by itself, but save yourself the $24 and buy some good ol’ Sri Lankan Morrissons Lactocalamine lotion available at almost any pharmacy or supermarket in Sri Lanka.

  • Wash your brushes!

Make up brush cleaning pad from Primark

It’s annoying I know. But ever thought about how much gunk is on your make up brushes? Think about it. Now think about the amount of bacteria just having the time of their lives in that gunk. Nasty, I know! I don’t wear make up that often, but I realise that my brushes/beauty blender soak up all that gunk. You must wash your brushes regularly – I’m no pro, I only wash my brushes twice a month, but still if you don’t wash your brushes all that gunk is going back on your face leading to pimples and clogged pores. So invest in a make up brush cleaning pad – I got one for about 300 rupees (1.50 pounds) from Primark UK. You can also do it by hand which is what I used to do. There are now little machines (stylpro) to clean and dry your brushes for you, but I haven’t had the chance to buy one yet. I let my brushes air dry and it takes about 24 hours.

  • Layering products

The way you put on your skin care products is actually very important as it this changes how much of each product actually gets absorbed into the skin. I didn’t realise this before and I would mix my facial oil with my moisturizer when I applied it on my face because I hated the idea of putting oil directly on my face. This is a big no no! It’s only later on that I learnt that there should be an order in which the products are applied – from water soluble to water insoluble! So once you cleanse and tone (?maybe also apply essence), you then start with your more watery/water like serums, then your moisturiser and finally the face oil ! You should also give the product a few minutes to seep in before applying the next layer. This will make sure that all the products can seep into your skin and actually work.

Taken from (click the link)

  • Physical vs. Chemical exfoliation

Had absolutely no clue about this until a few months ago when I heard about peel pads. So physical exfoliation is something that we all are very used to like scrubs, whilst chemical exfoliation was something new to me. Exfoliation itself is the removal of all the dead skin cells from your skin which tend to build up on your face. Physical exfoliation is when you have a gritty substance that when massaged onto your skin removes all the dead cells. Chemical exfoliation is products that have alpha/beta hydroxy acids or glycolic acids. These chemicals help loosen up the cells and remove the dead cells, but this can be a bit scarier to use because at the end of the day it is A CHEMICAL!

Know your exfoliants – chemical vs. physical exfoliants

I used to use the St. Ives’ apricot scrub once or twice a week, but more recently I splurged (basically my biggest and only splurge for this year) on chemical peel pads byDr. Dennis Gross. These were scary at 1st, but I definitely saw a change instantly. Even though they say daily peel pads, I’m still a bit chicken to use them daily and have only been using them twice a week. I’ll keep everyone updated on how it goes!

Do you have any tips and tricks for skincare? I’d love to hear them so do comment below or send me a message. I’m still on this skin care discovery journey so as I learn more, I’ll make sure to share what I learn with everyone else too!

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Hi there!

Hi there! Dr. Rashmira Balasuriya is a medical doctor in Sri Lanka, currently training in Family Medicine. Navigating the healthcare system in Sri Lanka is no easy task and this website was created to help guide other foreign medical graduates and junior doctors. This website also helps demystify life as a doctor in Sri Lanka and also combats medical misinformation circulating amongst the general public!