Our appearance, particularly our face, is the first thing people notice when they look at us, and it goes a long way in influencing their opinion of us.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body, making up for about 60% of our entire body, yet it’s the one that is most ignored. The skin is a reflection of how we treat our bodies. If you take care of your body, it will in turn take care of you.
A major sign of healthy skin is natural glow, but causes like stress, age, lack of sleep, or even what you eat can take the shine off your complexion. Transform skin that looks dull and tired to a luminous and glowing skin with these skincare tips:
#1. MAINTAIN A HEALTHY DIET
The adage “you are what you eat” is everything. In the quest to achieving that stunning natural glow you wish for, a key ingredient is to monitor what you eat, whatever you eat, good or bad will be reflected in your skin.
In the book “Eat Pretty” the author and nutritionist Jolene Hart talks about the importance of eating right. In her own words: “no amount of pills or potion can make up for lack of sleep and poor diet.” stressing that you are what you eat. She further prescribed the Eat Pretty philosophy, which is predicated on the creation of a healthy relationship with food, free from restrictive habits and guilt.
Avoid foods that contain a high amount of sugar as they are a big culprit in causing
breakouts and burns.
#2. SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY
Whether you are going out or not, whether it’s warm outside or cold, make it a habit to wear sunscreen 365 days a year. Yes, it’s that important! Or are you having a second thought on having that flawless skin?
It’s well know that UV from the sun damages our skin, so we need to protect our skin from too much exposure to it. Use UVA/UVB sunscreens with a high SPF that will protect your skin from sunburns and fast aging.
It’s best to apply them after all other makeup has been applied as applying another oil or serum on it will reduce its effectiveness.
Whilst this is not an exhasustive list, chemicals included in suncreen are changing through further research, look out for these ingredients for UVA/UVB protection; titatium oxide, zinc oxide, avobenzene (aka methoxydibenzoylmethane), tinsorb and ecamsule, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate and octisalate. Ideally a range of these chemicals are used for maximum protection.
#3. Know your skin Type
According to Paula Begoun, understanding our skin type is key to ensuring that we buy the right products for our skin, Then having a basic understanding of what chemicals to look for and what types of textures that are suitable for our skin (i.e. emollients, serums and liquids), means that we have a good chance of not exacerbating our existing skin conditions and are more likely to get it looking wonderful.
Very simply, skin types come in four different forms which are; nomal, oily, dry to very dry or a combination. If you don’t have an oily sheen and are not prone to too many breakouts and rarely have flaky skin, then you probably have normal skin. If you have an oily sheen and can get the odd breakout then you are in the oily camp. If you get flaky dry patches on various parts of your face, then guess what you have dry skin. Finally, combination skins are a mixture of oily and dry skin.
For normal to oily skin, use water based or very light fluid or serum type products, for oliy skin use a well formulated toner avoiding emolients and for dry skin use emolient based moisturisers (these are the more creamy, silk products out there). For combination skin you need to use a combination for each of the areas that are exhibiting the particular skin type.
It will be no surprise that our skin requires a number of products and ingredients to make it look at its best. There is no one magic product or chemical to use.
#4. STAY HYDRATED- IN AND OUT
Hydration is one of the most important aspects of skincare. Our skin barrier is weak and easily gets dehydrated leading to breakouts, burns and flaky skin. You need to give your skin a water boost to enable it to stay hydrated.
Asides from that, you need to stay hydrated on the outside and that’s where skincare products like moisturisers and hydroxy acids (HA’s) come into play. Use moisturisers containing antioxidants, avoiding chemicals that irritate the skin, and moisturise every day and night. with HA’s to help retain moisture within the skin. Your skin will thank you.
With regards to moisturising “remember these terms – antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-identical ingredients”, says Paul Begoun in her book ‘The Original Beauty Bible‘, an expert in cosmetics. She has challenged the beauty industry to be more truthful with what they promise and seeks out the evidence to support what really works.
#5. EXFOLIATE YOUR SKIN
Your skin renews itself every 28 days and it’s only normal for dead skin cells to build up. The dead skin cells can block your pores, causing breakouts and blocking hair growth. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the outer layer of your skin to reveal youthful skin and increase blood circulation. Apart from removing dead cells, exfoliation also serves as a foundation for skincare. Moisturisers, serums, etc will be more effective on exfoliated skin. To get the best results, you should exfoliate at least two to three times weekly.
Exfoliators come in different forms- either scrubs or chemical. Generally, chemical exfoliators are normally less aggressive to your skin and normally achieve better results,
Some important ingredients in chemical exfoliants to look out for are; alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) or beta hydroxy acids (BHA’s) , to gently remove dead skin cells. For AHA’s look for glycolic and lactic acid which tend to be used to counteract the impact of sun damage. For BHA’s look for salcylic acid which tends to be used for removal of blackheads and breakouts.
#6. Re-programme your skin cells
Would you believe it, that our cosmetic scientists have founds ways to help us re-programme our skin cells so that when new cells are produced they act more like how we want them to be? As we expose our skin to sunlight, this damages the upper and lower layers of the skin and therefore we start to produce poor quality skins cells. By using certain products and chemicals we can communicate to the skin cell producing agents to generate more healthier cells.
There are a number of chemicals that support this function so look out for ingredients such as; niacinamide, adenosine triphosphate, retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde and peptides.
#7. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE
I know how difficult it is to not touch your face, especially when it’s itching badly or when it has become a habit. But let’s face it, you are shooting yourself in the foot when you do that.
Our hands pick up a lot of bacteria from our environment during the day and it is easily transferable to our face. By simply restraining yourself from touching your face, you have solved 50% of your skin problems- including inflammation and breakouts.
#8. VITAMINS & Antioxidants ARE ESSENTIAL TOO
A balanced diet is good for the body, but it’s not the only source of vitamins. Serums are a great source too. Take Vitamin E antioxidant, for example, it is very effective in reducing free radical damage to the skin.
Vitamin E is a nutrient your body needs to support your immune system and help your cells to regenerate. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, therefore getting enough Vitamin E is essential to your everyday health.
Its important that we look for moisturising products packed full of antioxidants!
There are lots of antioxidants to look out for in product ingredients, generally, all can help your skin be protected from free radical damage. Examples are; alpha liipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, turmeric, curcumin, vitamin C (ascorbyl), vitamin E (alpha tocopherol, tocotrinols), vitamin A, green tea, soy bean sterols, superoxide dismutase, Palmitate, magnesium ascrorbyl palmitate, pomegranate, beta-glucan, grape seed extract
#9. Avoid Irritants
Being aware of skin irritants in products you buy is another area that requires special attention. Sometimes we are not aware if a product is irritating us, but after prolonged use, it can be harmful to our skin. Sometimes we may notice a tingling sensation when we apply a topical substance, which can be an immediate sign that something is not good for us or our skin.
Some of these products may surprise you and are probably in more products than you would think! Generally, excessively perfumed skin products will be irritating, other examples of irritants to look out for according to Paula Begoun are; alcohol, sd alcohol followed by a number, eucalypyus, citrus juices, menthol, methy lactate, menthoxypropandiol, mint, peppermint, sodium lauryl suplhate, arnica, bergamont, cinnamoin, lavandar, Linalool, wintergreen, witch hazel, ylang ylang and clove. Clearly this is not an exhaustive list, but watch out for these!
#10. TAKE TIME OUT TO RELAX
Stress and lack of sleep also contribute to skin problems. They result in fast-ageing and wrinkles.
We live in a fast-paced world that provides 24-hour service and time is becoming more precious by the day, but regardless of it all, self-time should not be overlooked as a lack of it could be dangerous.
Taking some time-out in the day to relax can do wonders for your skin. Taking yoga exercise is also another great idea. At night, after the tiring day that you must have had, no matter how enticing sleep is, set aside a few minutes to have a bath- preferably a warm one, setting you on your way to a good sleep.
#11. HYALURONIC ACID & skin identical ingredients.
“Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, [and] it helps to bind water to collagen, trapping it in the skin, so that skin can appear plumper, dewier, and more hydrated,” explains Tsippora Shainhouse, a dermatologist in Santa Monica, California.
Hyaluronic acid is critical in maintaining skin hydration keeping your skin looking fresh, full, and bouncy.
When we age, HA decreases in our skin just like collagen, however, there are ways to stimulate its production in our bodies. Eating fruits and veggies with lots of antioxidants protect the skin from inflammation, which in turn, helps the skin retain it.
Check the labels of your favourite skincare—chances are you’re already using it in some form or another. “As a topical product, as long as it is in the right formulation, it will make the skin appear dewier and younger because it improves skin elasticity,” says Dr Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in New York City and the founder of Mariwalla Dermatology.
There are other skin ingredients that are similar to the ingredients in your skin, these are also typically antioxidants and are known as humectants, meaning that they attract water to your skin. So, other than HA other ingredients that can also do this are; ceramides, glycerin, polysaccharides, glycosphingolipids, glycosaminoglycans, glycerides and fatty acids.
#12. AVOID DIRECT HEAT EXPOSURE
Don’t just watch out for the sun — getting too close to heaters and fireplaces can also wreak havoc on your skin. “It causes inflammation and collagen breakdown. I recommend staying at least ten feet away,” explains Dr. Debbie Palmer, a New York
If you must go out, wear sunscreen on your face. Wear loose-fitting clothes that don’t absorb heat. Take along with you sunglasses and hats to protect your skin from the scorching rays and heat.
#13. FOLLOW A SKINCARE REGIMEN
No matter what your skin type is, a daily skincare routine can help you maintain your skin health and natural glow, and improve specific concerns like acne, scarring, and dark spots.
A basic skincare routine like exfoliate-cleanse-serums-moisturise can give your skin the much needed boost it requires.
Paula Begoun, experienced makeup artist, aesthetician, and author of ‘The Beauty Bible’, a bestseller, shares secrets on how to assemble a state-of-the-art skin-care routine with money-saving tips, saving you the stress of sussing through the noise of the skincare industry.