I’m a firm believer in investing more money, time, and effort on your skincare than on your makeup. If you’ve got £30 to spend on either a nice bottle of Estee Lauder Double Wear, or some alpha/beta hydroxy acids, a nice, soothing moisturiser, and a gentle cleanser, I’d go for the latter because it’s better to have skin that glows and is blemish free, than to cover up your mishaps with the thickest, hardiest foundation you can find.
I like to think I have pretty good skin. It’s not perfect – I’m prone to eczema, sensitivity, redness, dryness and the odd hormonal blemish – but on any given day i’s generally blemish free, and I find it’s at its best when I follow these tips…
1. Always remove makeup before bed
I can’t stress this enough. This is usually the leading cause of breakouts, because if you don’t take your makeup off, your skin is going to cling on to any of the crap left on your face after the day is done – makeup, dirt, sweat, you name it – and turn them into nasty clogged pores. I always, always, always take my makeup off, unless it’s after a heavy night out – after which I’ll usually wakeup with terrible skin, and a surfacing spot or two. Sort of on this topic – try not to touch your face too much. You’re hands are gross, and you’re putting all that grossness onto your face, which makes your face dirty and spotty.
2. Have a routine (and stick to it!)
Test out some products, find what works for you, and then stick to them. It’s no good changing up your routine constantly, ’cause you won’t know what is and is not working, and you’re just going to stress the shit out of your skin. If you’re completely refurbishing your skincare routine, I’d recommend trying out one new product at a time, giving each one a week to see any results and decide if you like it, and then moving onto the next. If you’re using more than one new product at a time, how will you know which one is causing you any irritation or breakouts? I know this sounds time-consuming, but it’s worth it in the end.
3. You are what you eat
Your diet is really important. If all you eat is sugary, fatty, salty, processed snacks, then you’re more likely to see the results in your face. Alcohol is another big cause of poor skin. Usually, after a night out on the beer/vodka/sugary shots, followed by a nasty meal of cheese and chips, and a kebab-shop burger, I’ll have a nasty breakout. Which leads us to the next point…
4. Keep it hydrated
Water is so, so important. Not only for your body in general, but for your skin too. Dehydration is one of the major causes of bad skin, especially dryness. I’m not 100% sure about the science around this one, but keeping hydrated also stops you retaining water and helps your kidneys flush out all the nasties.
5. Chemical exfoliants are your buddies
Physical exfoliation has long been the go-to method for removing dead skin cells, but many scrubs can actually be harmful to your skin because the particles which cause the scrubbiness can make tiny mico-tears in the surface of your skin, leading to damage, sensitivity and accelerated ageing. These physical exfoliants are much too large to get into your pores and flush out the crap, but if you choose a good alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) product, and combine it with a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA), your skin will be gently exfoliated (AHA’s break down dead cells) and your pores will be unclogged (BHA’s get rid of blackheads) without damaging the skin. So put down the St. Ives Apricot Scrub and invest in some chemical goodness! Look for ingredients like glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids.
If you do have some obvious flakies, I’d recommend gently scrubbing them away with a warm, damp flannel or muslin cloth, or using a scrub with spherical beads rather than walnut shells or iron filings (or whatever those nasty scrubs have).
6. Know your skin type
Oily, dry, sensitive, combination…there are more, but I won’t go into it too much because there’s a great guide here to help you if you don’t already know what skin type you have. Once you’ve figured out your skin type, you can choose products which are likely to be more compatible with your skin. For example, you can buy a moisturiser to control shine and oil production for oily skin, or one with no fragrance or known irritants for sensitive skin. Trust me, your face will thank you for it!
7. Use an SPF
I know we all love sunshine, but it’s not great for your skin. While vitamin D is essential to your health, the harmful UVA/UVB rays can cause permanent skin damage like hyper-pigmentation, accelerated ageing, and worse, lead to skin cancer. I’d recommend using a moisturiser with a generous SPF (15 or above, depending on where you live) if you plan on being outside for more than 10 minutes. Even if it’s cloudy, the rays can still penetrate your skin, so you have to be careful.
But most importantly…
Everybody’s skin is different! What works for one person may not work for you, so you don’t have to stick to these rules – if you do it differently, and that works for you, that’s great, carry on! I just find these work well for me. So if you have any suggestions for tips or advice, please let me know in the comments below 🙂
What’s your skincare routine like?