Winter and the festive season can wreak havoc on your skin. Why not start the new year by forming some good skincare habits. This can be challenging because the skin can take up to two weeks to respond positively to any changes made in maintaining it. The use of poor quality products or even a lack of knowledge of how to use good quality products in the right manner may prevent you from achieving the best for your skin. Which of the following resolutions should you follow this year?
Resolution 1: Cleanse your skin at night
This step is absolutely crucial for removing dirt, environmental pollutants, debris, makeup and excess oil that may have built up over the day. If you find that you are too tired to cleanse before going to bed, simply cleanse earlier in the evening. If you have been wearing makeup during the day, then you'll need to do what is sometimes referred to as a “double cleanse”. The first cleanse involves taking off makeup using products such as eye makeup remover, cleansing oils, pre-cleansers, micellar waters etc. The second cleanse involves a thorough massage of a cleansing gel, cleansing milk or cleansing lotion into the skin and then rinsing with fresh water. Cleanser should always be applied to dry skin. This is often done incorrectly. Water should only be applied to loosen it up a bit if it's not an oil based cleanser. Use circular motions on areas of congestion such as the chin, nose and forehead to aid drainage of toxins.
Cleansing is by far the most important step of your routine as it can influence the performance of other products that are subsequently applied to the skin. Therefore don’t expect an expensive product to work if you do not prepare your skin properly.
Resolution 2: Cleanse your skin in the morning
Some people prefer to only cleanse their skin at night rather than in the morning because as far they are concerned all they have done was sleep! However cosmetic dermatologists generally recommend that skin is cleansed twice daily. This is because dead skin cells and allergans that may have collected in your pillow can be transferred to your face during the night. In addition, oil may have built up in the skin overnight. Cleansing in the morning is also a great opportunity to remove any traces of makeup which may not have been removed effectively the night before. A morning cleanse also helps towards hydrating the skin and preparing it to be a fresh canvas for moisturisers, sunscreen and makeup etc. When it comes to cleansing, splashing your face with water isn’t enough - a good cleanser is needed to facilitate removal of grease and dirt. Always use clean fresh water rather than water that has been standing in a bowl or sink as this water will become dirty quickly.
Resolution 3: Stay away from facial wipes and cotton wool
These products are not effective in removing dirt and makeup from your skin. Instead, you should start with a pre-cleanser. These generally tend to be oil based and are great for dissolving makeup, sebum and sweat. They should be applied to dry skin with just a little bit of water added to aid emulsification. Pre-cleansers are effective because they enable your facial cleanser to clean deep into your skin and thus encourage clearer, healthier skin and also reduce the occurrence of breakouts. Cleansing oils are similar to pre-cleansers except that they are totally oil based. They get rid of excess oil by attracting oil and therefore are good for those skins which tend to be oily. They are removed from the skin with water. Cleansing oils can be drying to skin that is already dehydrated so it's better to choose formulas which are hydrating.
Resolution 4: Use flannels to cleanse your skin
A clean warm (not hot) flannel is very effective in removing makeup, grease and dirt. They help to give your skin a deep clean. After cleanser has been applied and massaged into the skin, use a flannel and clean water to remove it. Repeat this step if necessary. Invest in several flannels so that you can use a clean one each day. After each use, they can be left to air dry and then put it in the wash the following day.
Resolution 5: Use the correct type of cleanser for your skin
Cleansers which have a high PH (i.e. they are very alkaline) tend to be very drying on the skin. Many foaming cleansers tend to have a high pH. This lead to a build up of bacteria on the skin. In addition, if you have oily skin, your skin will try to overcompensate by producing even more oil. Ensure that you use a PH balanced cleanser.
Resolution 6: Avoid using facial scrubs regularly
These can dry your skin out if used too often. at most, use these no more than once or twice a week. Better still, use a chemical exfoliator i.e. one that has glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid or use an acid based toner straight after cleansing. Ensure that you avoid the eye area.
Resolution 7: Always use an alcohol free toner
Although it may seem an unnecessary step to some, a toner balances the skin’s pH levels and removes any residual impurities and dead skin cells from the surface. After sweeping a cotton wool pad saturated with alcohol-free toner over your skin, dab away excess with some tissue. This is to prevent moisture being pulled away from the skins surface and beneath it thus leaving it dehydrated.
Resolution 8: Hot showers are not good for face cleansing
Cleansing should only be done in the shower if the water is “warm” not hot. If too hot, your skin will dry out and appear irritated.
Resolution 9: Eye creams should be applied before your moisturiser
An eye cream should always be applied first. The skin around the eye is significantly thinner than the skin on the face, so eye products are much lighter than moisturisers. If a moisturiser or serum is applied to the skin first they are absorbed and therefore prevent your eye product being absorbed here too. So always apply eye creams first and use your ring finger to pat it around the eye socket but avoid the tear duct area.
Resolution 10: Apply serums before moisturisers
Serums are intensive lightweight formulas that penetrate deeply into the skin as they contain molecules that are much smaller than those in a moisturiser. Massage into the skin until dry, wait for at least a minute and then apply your moisturiser. Ideally use serums that contain antioxidants as these help to provide protection from environmental damage.
Resolution 11: Choose your moisturiser by skin type not skin condition
Skin types generally fall into one of five categories: normal, oily, dry, combination, or sensitive.
- Normal skin: General moisturisers are needed to maintain this skin type which tends to be even i.e. non-flaky and non-shiny
- Oily Skin: Oil free moisturiser which provide some hydration are ideal for this skin type which has large pores and develops a sheen soon after washing.
- Dry Skin: Moisturisers rich in oil are ideal for soothing dry, itchy, tight skin types
- Combination Skin: A heavier cream is ideal for the cheeks which tend to be drier and a lighter cream for the oilier T zone (nose, forehead and cheeks)
- Sensitive Skin: Oil free, paraben free, hypoallergenic products are best suited to this type of skin which is prone to acne or irritation.
Resolution 12: Don’t forget your SPF
Despite not being able to see how they work every day, SPF’s are ( or at least should be ) one of the most important items in your beauty routine. Daily sun protection will help guard your skin against UVA and UVB rays. These can be damaging even in the most cloudiest days. It’s the UVA rays that contribute to skin ageing. Therefore they are a year-round beauty bag essential.
Although some moisturisers contain SPF15, such moisturisers will not offer you much protection when you go out in the sun. A dedicated SPF cream (of at least SPF 30) separate to your moisturiser would be more appropriate. By applying sun protection now, you’ll not only prevent the effects of the sun today, you’ll help your skin to look healthier in the future too.
Resolution 13: Give up smoking
One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy is to kick your smoking habit. Research shows that smoking cigarettes breaks down collagen and elastin in the skin thus leading to premature ageing.
Resolution 14: Keep your skin hydrated
Last but certainly not least, drinking water alone is not enough to maintain healthy hydrated skin. In addition, you will need to do the following:
- Don’t use soap - use a gentle cleanser
- Avoid using skin care products that contain alcohol.
- Avoid over exposure to dry air
- Moisturise immediately after bathing, showering or washing your hands
- Wear a scarf and gloves when going out in cold weather
So now you’re ready to overhaul your entire skincare routine and work towards achieving the skin you deserve.
Do you want us to give you a hand in overhauling your skincare routine? Give Madame Skin a call on 0207 205 4305 and one of our skincare experts will be happy to help you. Alternatively, complete our online consultation form (https://www.madameskin.com/pages/consultation-form) and we’ll happily help you find the right products to help kickstart your new routine.