Skin care has become a serious hot topic and somewhat of an art in recent years. A large boom took off through lockdown as with Covid came the mirror of, what some people would call, DOOM. Zoom, Teams, Facetime and other video technology took over our lives at a time when we couldn’t physically be together, this forced many of us to stare at our ‘boat races’ and compare ours to everyone else’s, intensely, for many, many extended periods of times.
Over analysation is never a good thing, we are all beautiful just as we are but of course this does lead to people spotting supposed flaws and things they don’t like or would like to change, which is natural, particularly if the skin is in poor health and ageing. The simple act of being isolated and/or looking into a screen all day, every day plus the stress that lockdowns and Covid bought with them, had a real negative impact on our health and our skin health.
Aside from the last few years most of us come to the conclusion, at some point in our lives, that we should start taking better care of our skin and begin addressing concerns. Prevention is always better than cure so the earlier you start to look after your skin, the better but it’s never too late. From the age of 25 we lose 1% of our collagen stock p/year, we also start to see visible signs of sun damage.
There really is no need for it to be over complicated, when it comes to good skincare the basics are what’s important and these fit into 3 categories:
- Care, Practises and Consistency
- Active, skin specific, scientifically proven ingredients.
Care, Practises and Consistency:
Our skin is actually the biggest organ we have and it has many different jobs to perform, this is why care for it is so important. Caring for the skin doesn’t just mean using products, it means using the right products in the right way with the right application and avoiding bad products, pollutants and aggressors, both internally and externally. Good practices must be employed including thorough cleansing to prep the skin for product delivery, avoiding harsh scrubs and avoiding overprocessing the skin. Consistent behaviour is the key to success when it comes to optimum skin health and gaining results. You must be consistent in good practices, with the correct products and adequate protection on a daily basis. The basics of this are…
- Cleanse with WARM water (avoid hot) and use a soft flannel, cloth or mitt where possible. Single Cleanse AM, Double Cleanse PM in order to remove product and pollutants first and then prep skin for product delivery.
- Avoid harsh scrubs or over-exfoliation.
- Use products picked to suit your skin condition and concern.
- Application order of treatment products is: Serums – Eye Gels – Moisturisers/Creams – Sun Protection.
- Daily sun protection is imperative, particularly when treating pigment conditions and throughout the Spring & Summer months. In both these instances sun care should be reapplied regularly. In Autumn/Winter sun care should be applied once, daily over moisturisers & creams in the morning.
The most vital of all ingredients when it comes to skin function is Vitamin A, this is known as the cell normaliser, with the ability to bring all the powerhouse cells within the skin from immunity to pigment creation back to fighting fit performance. The aim is either to retain or refill our Vitamin A stocks along with other targeted ingredients in order to ensure our skin is firing on all cylinders. Hydrated, plump, firm, even colour, no sensitivity or inflammation, clear, smooth and bright.
Vitamin A is commonly known as Retinol, Retinyl and Retinal and has very much become a keyword in skincare and skincare marketing. Although, in my mind, everyone should be including it in their skincare line-up, it’s important to ensure the quality of the product you’re purchasing or you won’t gain the results you desire. It’s also important to understand that upon “refilling” our stocks we must introduce it slowly in order to avoid upset and irritation. Your skin care therapist will discuss this with you at consultation.
Besides Vitamin A, many, many other anti-oxidants such as Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Vitamin E and so on are ideal to not only combat skin concerns but also offer protection from free radical damage and oxidative stress, again, caused by diet, lifestyle, pollutants and UV damage. Hyaluronic acid is also a very popular ingredient, again found naturally within our skin but depletes over time. When used correctly, at the correct molecular weight, there’s not much it can’t aid e.g. cell function, healing, volume, protection and in the main hydration. Peptides are another well-known and publicised group of ingredients, often employed to aid and encourage collagen and elastin growth, strength and stability.
By using these types of actives (active ingredients) on your skin, you are able to create physical change, improving skin condition and function and gaining the skin confidence you’ve been looking for.
As we’ve mentioned, protection is the final key to success and by protection, we mean sun care. The sun is responsible for over 80% of extrinsic ageing, meaning ageing from environmental stressors. Sun damage presents as elasticity loss, volume loss, dehydration, thickened and uneven texture, pigmented and uneven skin tone and in severe case can lead to skin cancers.
All of these effects are extremely ageing, let alone potentially dangerous and so not only must we care for the skin properly and feed it the correct ingredients, we must protect it using adequate sun care and use correct sun care practises.
We only need 20 minutes of sun exposure per day in order for your body to synthesise an adequate amount of Vitamin D. I recommend taking your tea/coffee outside, or taking a stroll in the early morning light on a good sunny day. If the weather is not on your side, which is often the case in Autumn & Winter I’d recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement. Daily light exposure is actually incredibly important for our health & well-being for many different reasons, but that’s for a different blog.
- Sun care should always be a stand-alone product, not blended with moisturisers or make-up.
- Sun care should offer full spectrum UVA & UVB protection. Many now also help with infrared-A and visible light.
- Sun care should be applied as the last product in your skincare regime. Allow moisturiser to settle and apply an adequate amount over face, neck and décolleté. Ideally all areas exposed to the sun should be protected, our hands for example are often neglected, but end up being the biggest teller of age. Make up may be applied over your sun screen, many modern formulations work very well with make-up.
- 1/3 – 1/2 of a teaspoon of product should be used just for the face and neck, more to cover other areas.
- Open bottles should be used within 12 months.
- During Spring & Summer, sun protection should be reapplied every 3-4 hours, as many of us will spend extended periods of time outside. Say you are working out of the suns reach during the day, then sun protection should be applied in the AM and then again upon finishing work, for example.
- Sun protection should still be adhered too, once per day in the Autumn & Winter.