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Skincare 101



Do we need a skincare routine and facials?


Looking after our skin can be overwhelming, first we need to figure out our skin type then we need to get products that best suit and don't forget treating those pesky pimples or fine lines.

It can be a minefield looking for the right products for your skin and not to mention it can get costly, so I am going to break down the products that I think you should consider using (not the brands) and why some can be left out of your routine.


First lets start with some basics about skin and skin types


Skincare Basics


Skin Type - figuring out your skin type can be checked by a professional when you get a facial or you can follow this simple guide to try and figure it out for yourself.


Take a basic cleanser, one that is designed for all types of skin, then wash your face, making sure there is no left over residue from products or makeup and then let your skin breathe for an hour without putting any product onto it.

After the hour have a good look at your skin in the mirror, does it appear oily? Is it tight and dry feeling? Is it irritated and red? Below is a guide to what your skin type might be based on these results:


Dry Skin: skin feels tight and dry (may even be a bit itchy) Pores are not very visible and skin may have a ashy and scaly appearance.

Oily Skin: oil can be felt al over the skin (use a tissue to dab all over to see oil residue) skin appears shiny, hydrated and pores are visible.

Combination Skin: skin feels oily on the forehead, nose and chin but dry on the cheeks. Or you have oiliness in certain parts of the face and dryness on the other parts. Areas with more visible pores are likely your oilier areas.

Sensitive Skin: skin feels itchy and irritated, and may be red with dry patches and bumps (rash).

Normal Skin: skin feels balanced, not oily or dry - no real concerns

Acne-Prone: skin is broken-out all over the face with whiteheads, or blackheads, or comedones (or a combo of al 3) plus its red and inflamed.

Mature Skin: Fine to deep lines, skin damage, dullness and dryness. Usually mature skin is the same as dry skin types because as the skin ages its looses a lot of natural sebum, however not every mature skin will fall into this category, so read through all the skin types to find which best suits you.


Keep in mind that your skin type will change as we age but it can also be affected by hormones, the environment, lifestyle, diet, medication and products (too harsh, wrong type for you).

Once you have determined what your skin type is then you can figure out what sort of skincare routine to follow.


FACE WASH

I have always been a big advocate of washing ones face to remove dirt, debris, pollutants and makeup. I always wash my face every night no matter what, otherwise I wake up with breakouts. Even if you don't wear makeup face wash is good to remove all of the environmental factors that you encountered during your day, as well as sweat that can clog your pores.


What type of cleanser should you be using?


One that is as clean and natural as possible, because putting harsh chemicals on your face strips away your natural oils, can cause irritation, breakouts and can mess with your hormones.


Dry skin types - should look for face washes that will be hydrating and moisturising to help combat the dryness and flakiness, usually these cleansers are more creamy or oily based, however they can also be milky or in a balm.


Oily skin types - need a face wash that will help combat the excessive oil and balance the skin back out, usually a deep cleansing wash works great at making the skin feel refreshed but not stripped. Usually these these cleansers are gel, foam, and a clay consistency.


Combination skin types - look for a cleanser that is for combination skin or normal skin as it should have a natural balance in the product where it deep cleans, getting rid of excess oil but also hydrates to replenish those dry patches. If you find you lean more towards the oily side then you can get a cleanser for oily skin but just make sure to have a good moisturiser or serum to add afterwards to lock in some hydration on those dry patches.


Mature skin types - This type of skin is one that has skin damage, fine lines, wrinkles and suffers from dryness. As we age we lose collagen, our skin becomes more thin, less elastic and becomes drier due to decline in oil production. The best face wash for your skin would be a hydrating, moisturising and brightening cleanser to help combat the dryness and dullness, while gently removing all makeup and debris. Usually the best cleansers are cream or oil based for this skin type.


Sensitive skin types - Natural and no added fragrances are usually best to avoid causing a reaction or irritation. These cleansers can come in a variety of consistencies such milky, cream, balm or oil. When you have sensitive skin its important to know what causes your skin sensitivities and avoid those ingredients. Then chose a cleanser that suits your other skin conditions, for instance some rosacea suffers have dry skin so a cream based cleanser for sensitive skin would be best to use.


Acne-prone skin- Usually acne prone skin is oily, but there are sufferers who have dry skin and breakouts. Its always tricky to know which product to get. First is best to try and figure out the root of whats causing the acne and a holistic therapist such as myself could help assess this for you. Usually acne prone skin needs a face wash that is going to be balancing, deep cleansing without stripping the oils and calming for the inflammation. When I was younger I had oily skin that I irritated by drying it out as I thought I needed to get rid of the oils, but I over cleansed when I should have had a more gentle cleanser and routine, so I caused myself more issues instead of treating it correctly.


Normal skin - You have hit the jackpot if you don't really suffer from any issues like dryness, oiliness, irritation and acne. With that said you still need a cleanser to help remove make-up and the daily build up of debris. Choosing a gentle cleanser that will keep your skin balanced, but removes all of your makeup and traces of product such as sunscreen.


TONER

Do we need a toner? I get asked this question often and to be honest it depends on your skin needs. What a toner is designed to do is clear away any traces of cleanser, make-up and oil while balancing your skins pH. Acne- Prone Skin and oily skin would benefit as the toners help keep the pores unclogged and the excessive oil away. However there are also lovely toners out there that are great for hydrating the skin throughout the day (great for dry, mature skin) and I love these toners during the winter months, because they quickly add a surge of hydration back into the skin without needing to remove make-up. Also if you want to combat dullness and need a little more glow, then a glycolic acid toner or AHA toner would be what you need. Normal skin types don't need a toner unless you want to target these specific needs.


MOISTURISER and SPF

Moisturiser is important for either hydrating the skin, balancing it out, protecting, brightening or combating the oiliness. You can use your moisturiser with an additional sunscreen over the top or a suncream as an all in one moisturiser. Either way make sure to wear a minimum of sunscreen daily (at least spf30) as it is the number one anti-ageing preventive out there.


Dry and Mature - probably benefit the most from moisturiser because it helps rid of the dryness and plumps the skin up making it feel soft and supple. It is also great at combating the appearance fine lines and wrinkles by keeping them smoothed out. Just be careful to not over power your skin with heavy creams, make sure they sink in and don't leave the skin looking shiny - unless you want a more dewy look.


Oily Skin - you probably think you don't need a moisturiser and in some cases your natural oils are hydrating enough, however they wont protect you from sun damage so you still need to wear sunscreen. The good thing is moisturisers for oily skin are designed to help balance your oiliness out and to help minimise large pores.


Combination Skin - Moisturiser that helps balance your oiliness and dryness are what you want in your cream. One that is light weight but packs a hydrating punch with ingredients that will smooth out the dry areas while calming down the oiliness.


Sensitive Skin - a moisturiser that will calm inflamed or irritated skin with soothing and hydrating ingredients. Fragrance free is usually best or organic essential oils that are well diluted. This can be anything from a cream to a gel depending on the level of hydration needed.


Acne-Prone Skin - a calming and balancing moisturiser that helps combat acne with non-pore clogging ingredients. That will help prevent breakouts, while keeping the oiliness down without stripping the skin. Oil-free moisturisers are usually the best, especially those formulated with hyaluronic acid which hydrate without clogging the pores.


Normal Skin - a moisturiser that hydrates and plumbs the skin, the easiest would be one that has SPF of 30+ to cover all of your moisturiser and suncream needs.


Skincare Products That Go Deeper


I will just touch on the below subjects as I plan to write a separate blog and do a workshop that will delve deeper into these topics.


EXFOLIANTS

Exfoliating your skin is important because it helps shed away the dry and dead skin cells so they don't clog your pores and cause breakouts. This also renews your skin leaving it brighter and smoother. The types of exfoliants are either physical (actual scrubbing powder/beads) or chemical (usually acid based that shed off the top layer of skin).


FACE ACIDS

The most common types of face acids you will see are - Alpha Hydroxy Acids AHA's( Glycolic, Lactic, Azelaic) Salicylic, Hyaluronic and Ferulic


ANTIOXIDANTS

The most common and popular antioxidants are Vitamin C, Retinol (vitamin A), CoenzymeQ10. Other antioxidants commonly used are Vitamin E, Niacinamide, Resveratrol, Polyphenols, Flavonoids, and Glutathione


SERUMS vs FACE OIL

Serums are designed to treat specific areas of the skin that are problematic, such as acne scars that you want to fade, hyper-pigmentation (darker patches of skin) that you want to lighten, fine lines that you want to reduce, dull skin that you want to brighten and so on. These products are particularly good because they go deeper into the layers of the epidermis to target these problems, because they have small molecules that can penetrate the skin.

Face oils are designed to hydrate the skin while protecting it from free radicals (antioxidants). Normally oils are designed to sit on the surface of the skin, however some oils do have the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin such as jojoba and almond oil. There are many lovely oils and serums on the market so pick one that suits your skin and the problems you want to tackle.





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