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Health and Beauty Articles

How to find the perfect skincare routine for you

Your skin is one of the most essential parts of your body to look after: yes, that means more important than obsessing about your hair and nails! Both your hair and nails are dead, whereas your skin is the largest breathing organ in the body and is very much alive and needs looking after. Not looking after the skin by simply doing nothing with it or using the wrong products will sensitise the skin as well as making it dry; oily; dull or promote premature aging.

Living in the Hebrides with our exotic climate doesn’t help either of course! External factors such as wind, cold temperatures and damp conditions means that 80% of the client’s I see on a daily basis have dry or sensitive skin. I’ve put together a straight forward guide to skin types, product advice and what not to do to the skin; in further articles I will explain more in depth about these topics but this but the following has everything you need to know to look after your skin from today.

And a quick exclamation to the man that’s about to turn the page- STOP MAN!

This is relevant to you too!

The routine

You’ll have heard it before and will feel like switching off when hearing it again: Cleanse, tone and moisture TWICE daily. Even if you don’t wear make-up the skin accumulates dirt which blocks the pores every day; if this is not washed off at night then the skin will have a build up of dirt that will dull the complexion and make the texture rough to touch.

Cleansing in the morning will freshen the skin- ensuring make up application is smooth and that the complexion is boosted. It also serves as a barrier on the skin to protect against free radicals such as pollution, smoke and dust during the day.

Most cleansers require a toner to be applied afterwards to restore the skins natural PH balance, freshen the skin and remove excess cleanser – it’s amazing how much cleanser and dirt can be missed!

After this a suitable moisturiser should be applied – a day time moisturiser in the morning and a night cream in the evening – the night cream must be much thicker than the day cream to last all night and ensure the skin is moisturised sufficiently.

An eye cream should also be applied at night – this helps tone the area, while reducing puffiness, lines and wrinkles around this delicate area. People often mistake dehydration lines for ageing lines around the eyes.

 The skin needs a thorough exfoliation once or twice a week to rid the skin of dead skin cells which accumulate over the week. However, this should only be done minimally as over exfoliating will damage the skin. If you suffer from eczema, psoriasis or are on medication such as accutane exfoliation should not be carried out as the skin is exfoliating on a daily basis due to these factors.

Please avoid face wipes unless removing eye make-up. These are full of alcohol, do NOT remove all your make-up and tend to strip the skin of all natural moisture. In addition to this, do NOT use baby wipes on the face, they’re meant for a babies bum – not a face!

Knowing your skin type and finding the right product

Sensitive skin: Sensitivity is caused by a thin epidermis (top layer of the skin) and blood vessels that are very close to the surface, thus sensitivity tends to be noticeable in the complexion first of all. Red colouring is very common in sensitive skin. This is not always the case however, as sensitive skin can have a normal colouring but will react adversely to a variety of products and ingredients. Common characterisations of this skin type are: Dehydration; blotchy patches; premature wrinkles; red veins on nose and cheekbones and a skin that is frequently allergic.

Product advice: Abandoning the skin will make the problem ten times worse. Treat it regularly by using products with ingredients such as camomile, aloe vera and sulphur.

Dry skin: This skin type has a lack of ability to retain moisture: too little sebum in the lower levels of the skin and small amounts of natural moisture in the upper levels. This skin type is most likely to age prematurely and can be dehydrated in neglected skins (dehydration is a short term problem.) Characteristics of this skin type are also tightness; roughness; closed pores and flaking of the skin. This skin requires a lot of maintenance but a good skin care routine can eliminate all of these issues.

Product advice: Use gentle but hydrating products to boost moisture levels in the skin. Cream based products are most suitable, with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and algae.

Oily Skin: This is most common in teens and people in their early 20s. It’s not uncommon for you to have this in your 30s and beyond though. People with in this category don’t tend to age prematurely due to the oil in the skin. In general men tend to dominate this skin type, thus why they age later in life in comparison to women (yet another good card they were dealt in life!) This skin tends to characterised by acne; large pores; visible shine; blackheads and whiteheads.

Product advice: A huge misconception is to use harsh, astringent products to reduce the problem. This causes the oil glands to work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils. Products with anti-bacterial ingredients (tea tree oil, witch hazel, zinc oxide) are most suitable.  

Mature: This skin is 40+ or 50+ if it’s looked after earlier in life! It tends to be thin and delicate in texture. Lines; wrinkles; dehydration and folds of the skin are common characteristics in this skin type. The skins aging process can be accelerated by sun damage; smoking; climatic conditions; stress; medication and poor diet. However this process is ultimately natural and inevitable, but starting a thorough skin care routine from a young age will slow this down dramatically.

Product advice: Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Follow the guidelines for a dry skin but use thicker, more regenerating products. Useful ingredients are retinol and active collagen. Monthly firming facials will help plump and tighten the skin.

Follow this advice and see noticeable results in a matter of days! A step to step guide to looking after your skin in the sun will be in June’s edition of Events.


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