It’s not QUITE the time to start cracking on with resolutions… please don’t make me change just yet, I’m too busy having fun! It is time to at least start thinking about them and setting realistic goals for the next year. I am a goal-orientated person, I like to set deadlines for myself and work towards meeting them – to be honest, it’s been essential to the running of my businesses thus far. Although I may not call my resolutions “resolutions”, there is a definite list of things I work towards, year in, year out. I don’t ALWAYS achieve them – I am not Wonder Woman, even if I think I am at the beginning of the year.
Just as I believe it to be indispensable to you as a hooman to keep upping your game, I believe upping your skincare game to be important too. It is this time of year that people think about self-improvement. You are not a house, you do not need a conservatory, but there is also something good and healthy in self-improvement. The desire to self-improve could be the kick that someone needs to start doing something about their life, their general health or even their skin health.
If you are a lower-level skincare user (ie. you wash your face and moisturise but you’ve no idea what does what in the products you are using), starting on the official path to skin health can be incredibly daunting. This is why I am a firm believer in my own philosophy of consults being key – skincare is a massive topic and there are so many different types of products, ingredients and prices out there. It is completely natural to feel like you need guidance and thus you should be guided by a skincare professional. Simple.
Even though a consult is the best way, there are still some small easy changes you can make with regard to your skin that can make it healthier in the long run.
Wear SPF all day, everyday
I’m not sure how many times I can say this without cracking up – SPF all day, everyday unless you are living in a cave with no openings. It is very easy to ignore wearing SPF for many as there are so many who are ignorant to the fact that all sunlight is sunlight. When the day is grey, white, cloudy, not cloudy or rainy, there are harmful UV rays affecting your skin. Full stop. It has absolutely nothing to do with warmth. A day with beaming sun and a light wind can still cause sunburn and people know that, so why is it that people are okay to neglect it regardless? A sunburn is your skin’s way of telling you that is too late and that damage has been caused – this is irrefutable fact. According to Cancer Research UK, studies have proven that getting sunburnt once every two years is enough to possibly triple your risk of skin cancer. It is a possibility and not a 100% certainty for everyone, but it is not a probability that anyone should take risks with.
Continuous, daily exposure to UV light without protection can lead to skin cancer and melanoma as it damages the DNA of your skin cells. Additionally, it is exposure to sunlight (of ANY kind) that causes visible sun damage on the skin. Studies have shown that sun spots (AKA age spots or liver spots) are nearly definitively caused by repetitive exposure to sunlight without the use of a broad spectrum SPF. For the most part, solar lentigos (AKA sun spots, age spots or liver spots) will not fade when you haven’t been exposed to intense sunlight in a while, and will be bigger and darker – this is how you can identify them, but I recommend speaking to your GP or dermatologist if you are worried about sun damage and your skin, and self-checking freckles and moles regularly.
Prolonged over-exposure to sunlight can also wreck the texture of the skin and accelerate the ageing process. So instead of spending hundreds on trying to undo the effects in the future, start wearing a BROAD SPECTRUM SPF that is at least SPF 30 every day NOW. There are so many affordable SPF options that I believe nobody has a real excuse not to use it. My personal favourite is the IMAGE Prevention+ Matte SPF32 (€46.00), but I adore the La Roche-Posay Anthelios range for all skin types. Avène Cleanance Sunscreen SPF 50+ (€20.00) is an ideal pre-makeup primer and Murad City Skin Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (€59.50) is mineral and protects the skin from environmental damage at the same time.
You should be applying about a shot glass amount of SPF under makeup (if you wear it) in the AM and topping up throughout the day. You need to at least be applying it on your face and neck, but if your décolletage or other areas are exposed, you should be applying it there too. The SPF found in makeup is negligible and is usually a low SPF so you should be wearing an additional SPF too.
If you’re not already taking supplements for the skin, you should be. It is time to start popping omegas and vitamin A like nobody’s business. Omegas are so beneficial to the skin’s Tupperware lid-like layer known as it’s barrier or the stratum corneum – this is the part of the skin that helps it to retain moisture. When your skin is well-hydrated, lines will appear reduced (as dehydration can make wrinkles appear more pronounced… I call them “drinkles”) and it will be in better health in general. Omegas are not just for those with dry or dehydrated skin though, I believe them to be essential to ALL skin types even those with oilier, spot-prone skin.
Gone are the days of believing that the key to dealing with facial congestion is paint-stripping the skin with astringent toners and denying it topical moisture. If your skin is dehydrated, it over-produces sebum to tackle that, which can lead to the formation of big aul Fraaaanks.
In my opinion and the opinion of many others, vitamin A is the key to skin health. Everyone should be taking it… unless you are pregnant, reactive to it or breastfeeding. Retinol, the long-term skin expert love, is a derivative of vitamin A. Vitamin A aids in cell renewal and thus collagen synthesis in the skin itself. It is my holy grail and you will 100% notice a difference in your skin when taking it.
It is a monetary commitment, albeit not a ridiculous one, and it means that you do have to take them twice daily if you opt for my personal favourites of Advanced Nutrition Programme (Skin Omegas+, €36.00, Skin Vit A+, €25.35) but it is an easily doable step to skin health that everyone should be taking.
Adopt the Double-Cleanse
To non-beauty-professionals, I can see why the double-cleanse may seem like a fad or a marketing ploy to sell two cleansing products rather than one. There is method to the madness. Cleanse number one should remove the majority of makeup and grime from the skin. Cleanse number two will pick up cleanse number one’s slack and get rid of any residual oils or traces of makeup. Cleanse number two is usually also the “treat” step, ie. the cleanser that includes active or “working” ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. My go-to double-cleanse consists of the Cleanse Off Mitt (yes, yes, bias) and then my cleansers du jour dependent on whether it is morning or night. I remove my (mineral) makeup with one side of the COM, apply cleanser and then do the COM Roll and flip to the other side to remove the cleanser.
The COM is ideal for removing cleanser as it gets into the pore to ensure that no residue of the cleanser is left. Some ingredients can irritate the skin if left on for too long hence the importance of thoroughly removing cleansers.
This is not the only way to double-cleanse. Oil-and-cleansing-wash is one of the most common forms of the double-cleanse and is highly effective as oil dissolves oil (ie. oil is attracted to oil, not water… but jaysus, don’t tell water). Following up with a treatment cleanser means that your face is squeaky clean and treated too – weeeehooo.
A double-cleanse should not contain too many acids, as in it should not be two products filled with actives respectively, as this could spell over-use of acids (or other ingredients) and can damage the skin permanently.
A double-cleanse should not contain anything highly-alcoholic, meaning high-alcohol content micellar water or facial wipes. Applying drying alcohols to the face dehydrate it, causing the aforementioned “drinkles”. Wipes are always a no from me – I am skincare’s Simon Cowell after all.
If you follow all of these religiously, or even one of them, you will see a noticeable difference in your skin and more importantly it will be healthier. Skin health is the goal, folks, and it is not always something you can see until it is too late… oh yeah, and get a consult.