Skincare – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly
‘What do you do for your skin? It looks so lovely’ is something I hear from so many of my patients. Most of them are spending hundreds of pounds on ‘premium’ skincare they’ve bought in a department store, after someone has told them this is the latest anti-ageing technology. But what does any of that actually mean?
The truth is – not much! Whilst many products list an ingredient, they won’t tell you the concentration in it. Almost all of these products contain ‘homeopathic’ doses of good ingredients, together with things that make your skin feel soft and smell nice. But they do very little to help your skin fight ageing, let alone reverse early signs. Worse still is that regular use of these sorts of moisturisers can make your skin dependent on them – I’m sure many of you recognise that in yourselves. If you forget to put your moisturiser on your skin goes dry and a little flaky.
So why is soft nice smelling skin bad news? Healthy skin should feel plump, firm, be pink in colour, and not be dependent on external moisturisers. The good news is I have some top tips for getting your skin back into good health:
- Drink at least 2 litres of water a day – boring I know, but it is detoxifying and helps your skin to hydrate itself from within
- Follow a balanced diet – I’m not telling you to be saintly and never eat another chocolate bar or burger, but do make sure you get enough fruit and vegetables. They are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants which will nourish and protect your skin
- Don’t smoke – it’s another killer for that nice healthy glow
- Plenty of sleep – aim for at least 7 hours. Sleep is when our body heals and regenerates, and our skin (the biggest organ in the body) needs plenty of recovery time!
- Exercise – not only will you feel better for including some activity in your daily routine, but it also improves the circulation to your skin. This will help your skin to produce all the proteins it needs to stay healthy as well as giving you that nice healthy pink glow.
- Take off your make-up at night – not only are you removing the make up, but also the natural oil your skin has produced. The two together can clog up pores and provide a haven for nasty bugs who want to give you spots.
- Don’t use make-up remover wipes – they contain alcohol and dry out your skin.
- Cleanse with lukewarm water – using cold or hot water can dry out dry skin, and make oily skin more oily.
- Use a clean flannel – a flannel that has been sitting drying out all day is another haven for bacteria. Buy a cheap multi-pack of flannels and use a fresh one each time.
- Sun protection – I know I sound a bit like a broken record here of all the advice you’ve ignored before. If I could only have one single skincare product it would be this. Prevention is better than cure and protecting your skin from the ageing UV rays will help prevent pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles and will preserve the elasticity of your skin. Apply it generously – if you just apply a thin layer you won’t have anywhere near the SPF it says on the bottle. And don’t forget to apply it to your décolletage, neck, ears and back of the hands – these are areas we often forget but show our age in. Remember any hint of a tan is actually sun damage.
- Vitamin C serum – Vitamin C provides a strong antioxidant barrier for your skin, and should be applied before any creams. A good product will improve the effectiveness of your suncream by 4 times.
What can you do if you recognise yourself in some of what I’ve said here? Start yourself on a skin detox. I swear by the top 5 of the points above being the most important – there’s very little point in spending money on good skincare without nourishing your skin from within. The next most important thing – stop using your current skincare products. Even if you don’t use anything on your skin except a cleanser and a sunscreen I bet you will find your skin start to improve.
At Illuminate Skin Clinics we offer in depth skincare consultations, including Visia skin analysis. We take a photograph of your skin which looks below the surface and shows you how healthy (or not) your skin is. Based on the results of this we can look at introducing a new skincare regime with ingredients that really work. Both the skincare lines I work with – Obagi and iS Clinical – use active ingredients in concentrations that really work, and you will see the results from both on the surface and using the Visia as an extra tool. Every skin has different needs and different problems and the right regime for you will be individual and not necessarily the same as your best friend’s.
Let me know how you get on!
Disclaimer: Please be aware that results and benefits may vary from patient to patient taking into consideration factors such as age, lifestyle and medical history.