Urban Homme : Sun of a Beach

Greetings to all from Ko Samed!

In my previous life, I might have been a sea turtle, or seagull. I love a life by the beach. Blue skies, blazing sun, powdery shoreline and shimmering crystal blue waters draws me like a moth to a flame. I especailly love those beaches where the water is so clear, you can see the bottom and there is marine life close to shore.

I would spend hours snorkelling and free diving to explore every inch of the colourful corals and the creatures that live amongst them. It’s a whole new world down there and I’d never get tired of swimming with shoals of fish. And it didn’t matter that I’ll be terribly sunburnt thereafter.

So you can imagine my misery when I have to stay indoors the whole time while the glorious sun is up at one of Thailand’s most beautiful resort island, Ko Samed.

All I could do at Ko Samed is photograph the beach & lusting after it; yearning to plunge into the crystal clear waves. But alas, I can only stand there longingly & let my saliva become part of the sea.

It’s my 3rd day here at Ao Prao resort, Ko Samed, and I’ve been staying in the room or surfing the internet at the hotel lobby (where I wrote this entry). If you can’t go into the sea, there’s very little to do here. Felt that this is kinda like a wasted trip. What a bummer feeling… sun of a beach.

Hands up if you're not a terrorist to your skin.

But for the sake of making the best of the Urban Homme treatments I’m currently going through, I must endure!

There’s no greater motivation to give up something when you know the sacrifice will bring about even better things to come. Well, at least that’s how I consoled myself. Each time I hear the rush of the waves, my determination gets washed that much thinner.

In the last week preceding this trip, I’ve had all kinds of facial pampering by Urban Homme with Diamond Microdermabrasion, PHA treatment, Oxygen Face Spa, Thermal Eye Therapy, and a series of nourishing facials. It would be a waste if I don’t restrain myself from the sun now and jeopardise the results.

Furthermore, the treatments have revealed my younger layer of skin so damaging it now is going to cause even greater repurcussions. So I have to stay in and if I really want to go out, I’m all covered up. The islanders and tourists all gave me the “this guy is nuts” look.

Apart from dressing up like a militant terrorist, my next line of defense is the range of skincare products I’m slapping onto my face. After-treatment care is equally, if not more important than the treatments themselves because that’s when they skin recovers and heals and you want to make sure it has all the best materials to rebuild. So I jammed my home-based skincare routine up a few notches.

Adding to my fantastic four – cleanser, toner, eye cream and moisturiser, I’ve included a few skin repair and nourishing products as well as sunblock. Yes. Sunblock. It used to be a swear word to me. Now I swear by it.

Number of t-shirts I brought on this trip : 4. Number of skincare products : 9.

After-care products are not included in the Urban Homme Icon Challenge’s range of treatments so I had to buy them. Now I’ve lost an arm, and possibly one foot. Here are the 2 products I bought – MU Anti-Melanin Lightening Cream and MU Emollient Essence (MU stands for Mary Chia-Urban Homme). The Heliocare SPF50 sunblock was given by my mum.

White face, blood red tee, & no sun. I'm an urban vampire!

I invested S$588 into the two products. With this amount, I’m not expecting them to be magic potions, I expect them to be miracles! But I think they’re giving my skin a virgin birth effect because photos of me on this trip showed a more even complexion, and my face is white as sheet. I look like a vampire. Yikes!

I think the ladies would love to have whitened skin like mine and I think it could be due to the ingredients in the two MU products apart from the Titanium Dioxide used in the sunblock. Titanium Dioxide is white in colour.

The two MU products weren’t exactly cheap but I’m going all out this time to see just how good my skin can become. But I’m also convince by the premium ingredients used in the products.

MU Anti-Melanin Lightening Cream uses Arbutin, a plant-based phytonutrient extracted presumably from Bearberry and has the ability to fade pigmentations and discolourations as effectively as hydroquinone but without the carcinogenic perils of the latter. Arbution has also been shown in clinical trials to block future melanin formation. Melanin is the stuff that causes dark patches on our skin.

MU Emollient Essence contains a plethora of the most established and latest in skincare technology. Of the 26 ingredients used in the formulations, of which many are botanically-derived, the one that caught my attention was inclusion of Placental Protein. This is the latest darling of the cosmetics industry with its superior skin-whitening effects and ability to re-ignite the skin’s natural ability to regenerate itself.

Combined with the other ingredients, the Emollient Essence is a comprehensive product that can repair damage, revitalise new skin production, and eliminate oxidative stress on the skin caused by free radicals. For me, I just like that it doesn’t feel heavy on my face. The only thing heavy about it is its price!

Trading high carb foods with more protein & fibre. Losing weight is not about starving but eating fit food. But fat foods just taste so much better!

So much about what I’m doing for my face. Body-wise, I’m trying to control my diet as much as possible and it’s pretty hard! Thai food is just too delicious. I haven’t been really disciplined in what I ate on this trip so far but I try to keep to the rule of high protein, low carbs.

There’s no gym at the resort here so I can’t workout and previous commitments to jog by the beach has given way to white wine by the lobby lounge. Who would have thought being in the challenge would be so challenging?! The self is the biggest barrier.

Having hide out at the lobby area the whole day to wait for sunset, I lost no time in getting into the sea. Even if it was just for a little while.

In order to achieve something, we must be willing to give up something else and do whatever it takes. It is a choice. But looking at the beautiful beach and clear waters before me, I can’t help thinking if it’s all worth it. What’s the point in looking good if you can’t enjoy what you love doing?

Well, if we continue to do what we love, then we must be prepared to bear the consequences. This Urban Homme Challenge is calling for more than just a physical makeover. It’s a lifestyle re-direction.

Anyway, I held myself back enough. I couldn’t stand it any longer. As soon as the sun began to lose the height of its power, I sampled the resort’s pool and took a dip in Mother Nature’s sweat tub… Everything tastes sweeter (saltier) when it’s forbidden. Moments like these are more cherished when you know they’re going to happen less often.


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