Year after year, we break into the refrain of “new year, new me”. Whether the goals we set for ourselves will be achievable is never as confident as the refrain itself, I find! But as we are turning over a new leaf for ourselves, it may also be the perfect time to turn over a new leaf for our skin.
The skin is an organ, indeed, and this should be the year when you lift skincare in your priority list. Skin isn’t vanity, it’s health and the health of your skin can additionally affect how you feel about yourself. Our goal at The Skin Nerd is to empower through the improvement of skin health. I find myself that if I am having a bad skin day, so to speak, I will avoid eye contact and not feel quite as confident in myself. Sticking to some consistent hard and fast skin rules and chucking your bad skin habits means fewer bad skin days and better self-confidence.
Bad skin habits to leave in 2018
Sleeping with makeup on or using face wipes
Earlier this month, Kim K openly admitted to sleeping with her makeup on. That makes me want to claw at things. Sleeping with your makeup on is one of the worst things you can do for your skin, especially if you’re doing it semi-frequently. When you don’t cleanse your face thoroughly, you’re not only leaving makeup on, but a layer of makeup combined with sebum, bacteria and pollution. If you’re prone to breakouts, you can only imagine what this will do to your skin, but breakouts aren’t the only worry. The processes your skin carries out while you’re sleeping are integral for its day to day health, including healing, repairing, regenerating and hydrating.
When you leave your makeup on, it’s getting in the way of your skin doing this, meaning that you will look dull and grey and your skin will be dehydrated, making fine lines and wrinkles more pronounced in the short-term and worsening them in the long run.
However, in my opinion, leaving your makeup on is preferable to using face wipes, the convenient go-to for many. They are the Maccy Ds of skincare, providing a fast solution but doing damage over time. Face wipes don’t actually remove makeup, they mostly move it around, and the large amounts of drying alcohols and sensitising fragrances dehydrate the skin and strip it of its barrier function, meaning that you’re more susceptible to accelerated skin ageing, breakouts, rosacea and eczema flare-ups and a whole host of issues.
I endorse the double cleanse which doesn’t really mean using your cleanser twice but more means having a separate step to remove makeup and then cleanse your face. Step 1 is your precleanse. The Cleanse Off Mitt (€5.95, The Skin Nerd store) is a convenient, easy, eco-friendly and skin-friendly mode of precleansing, as simple as wipes without the detrimental effects to your skin. Wet it with warm (not hot) water and gently glide it over your face to remove your makeup.
The second cleansing step is for the purpose of removing traces of makeup, sebum and pollution and/or treating the skin at the same time. The nerdie approach is to alternate between an active cleanser that contains exfoliating acids or more powerful ingredients and a nourishing, hydrating, milder cleanser.
For example, you could use the IMAGE Vital C Hydrating Facial Cleanser (€36.00, The Skin Nerd store) as your hydrating, mild cleanser, as it is a cream cleanser that contains hydrating ingredients alongside sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable form of vitamin C that brightens the skin whilst providing antioxidant protection. It’s mild enough for daily use but still has benefits for the skin when it comes to redness, dullness, pigmentation and anti-ageing.
As your active cleanser, you could be using something that packs an exfoliating punch such as Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (€39.50, available to Nerd Networkers on The Skin Nerd store). In this one cleanser, you’ll find a combo of pore-clearing and breakout-busting salicylic acid, hydrating lactic acid and super potent glycolic acid to help slough off dead skin cells and get your skin performing optimally.
Neglecting skin nutrition
Our motto is inside, outside and on top when it comes to skincare. If you want a flower to have healthy petals, you must feed it with the nutrients it needs from the roots. To deny that nutrition and lifestyle have an impact on your skin is simply blasphemous. Like any organ, your skin finds huge benefit from what it is getting from the inside, and some nutrients are known to be particularly beneficial to the skin.
You need to make sure that you are getting…
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is key for the functioning of all of the cells within the skin. When we are deficient in it, the uppermost layer of the skin (the stratum corneum) will look and feel thick and rough and the layers beneath it won’t be working as they should due to sluggish cell division. You can get your vitamin A in through liver, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, squash and kale and top it up for maximum benefits with a vitamin A supplement such as Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Vit A+ (€25.50, 60 capsules, The Skin Nerd store).
- Omegas/essential fatty acids: They’re essential because they’re essential. Two particular essential fatty acids that are of great benefit to the skin are linoleic and alpha-linoleic acid, which our skin cannot produce itself. Omegas regulate the skin cell membrane and thus are vital in assisting our skin cells in retaining water and nutrients. Omega 6 (linoleic acid) is abundant in leafy vegetables, grains, peanuts and others, whereas omega 3 (alpha-linoleic acid) is more difficult to find. However, you can get that omega 3 in through salmon, mackerel, mung beans, edamame beans, linseeds, walnuts, hazelnuts and flaxseeds. Due to the low amounts of omega 3 in most people’s diets, supplements are a must-have, like Advanced Nutrition Programme Skin Omegas+ (€36.00, 60 capsules, The Skin Nerd store).
- Vitamin C: Essential for tackling pigmentation and redness, and the creation of collagen, get it through kale, strawberries, pineapple, oranges and supplements.
- Vitamin E: Hydrating and healing, fill up on avocado, almonds, sunflower seeds and kale.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants protect us from damage that occurs due to pollution, the sun and general life. Some edible antioxidant heroes are tomatoes, turmeric, ginger, blueberries and dark chocolate.
- Zinc: Allows the enzymes within our body to do what they gotta do. We actually don’t need a lot of zinc but many are still deficient. You can find it in beans, nuts and whole grains.
- Water: Hydrate from the inside to hydrate throughout the body and the skin.
- Sugar: sugar can cause glycation which leads to premature skin ageing and some believe it contributes to breakouts
- Caffeine: too much caffeine dehydrates you and thus your skin
- Food that is low in nutrients: food should be fuel so opt for nutrient-packed fuel to feed your skin
Easier said than done, of course, but keeping stress to a minimum nearly guarantees better skin health. Stress causes spikes in our cortisol levels (the hormone released when we are stressed). When this happens, it triggers systemic inflammation which in turn leads to skin inflammation, which shows up in some as acne, psoriasis, eczema or rosacea flare-ups. Stress also drives up our levels of androgens, male sex hormones that exist in women too, and excess androgens may mean oiliness and spots that are difficult to control through topical means.
Dedicate 2019 as a year to start taking “me time” no matter what it takes. Self-care like a mothertrucker, light some candles, pop on a face mask and spritz Yon-Ka Lotion (€32.00, The Skin Nerd store) all over yourself regularly. If you find yourself chronically stressed, bite the bullet and try mindfulness, yoga or meditation and stick to it. Life is too short to feel that you aren’t grounded and your skin will suffer for it too.
For more information on how your particular lifestyle is affecting your skin and how to get a grip on your skin health this year, book in for your first online skin consultation with one of our expert Nerds or Nerdettes and join the Nerd Network! We’re like your skin wifey, we’re committed until the end of time.
Getting married this year?