Anyone else got April 12 circled in their diary? As we all countdown to shops, bars and restaurants opening, albeit alfresco, now’s the perfect time to start get ready to face the world.
With just four weeks until the glorious twelfth, VIVA asked the experts for their easy tips to help us to change up our skincare routine and emerge from lockdown with beautiful skin.
The skin is our biggest organ and these 12 golden rules will make sure you’re glowing!
Ditch the makeup
“Typically, when people stop wearing makeup, especially if the makeup they were wearing was occlusive or comedogenic, they notice after a week that their skin does looks a lot better,” says cosmetic doctor, Dr Rekha Tailor at Health and Aesthetics.
Dr Rekha Tailor
“A skin cycle is around 28 days and so if you can avoid wearing makeup for at least 28 days, your body will be in a much better position to be able to regulate your skin’s temperature, its oil control, its hydration and its natural exfoliation process.”
With lockdown and masks, there’s no better time to try this and get your natural glow-up.
Don’t get irritated
When you’re ready to go for make-up watch out for products that may cause problems for those with a sensitive or dry skin type, an underlying inflammatory skin condition such as rosacea or a history of contact allergy should try to avoid irritants and potential allergens.
“Foaming agents, astringent products (such as toners that remove oils), scrubs and acids (such as alpha hydroxy acids used in acne and anti-ageing) tend to be irritating,” explains Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Aikaterini Charakida at EF MediaSpa.
“Instead, hypoallergenic formulations and perfume-free products that specifically target sensitive skin are a good choice. For those with normal and combination skin, look for products that are oil-free, alcohol-free and with a water base. Oil-based and ointment-based makeup is much more likely to clog pores.”
Wash your makeup brushes
“’Your makeup brushes harbour a plethora of bacteria which, when introduced to the skin on the face, can quickly result in blemishes and breakouts – especially when used repeatedly every day,” says Dr Rekha Tailor.
“Wash your brushes thoroughly once a week in fairy liquid, rinse them well and leave them to dry fully before using them.”
Up your sun protection
“There is no such thing as a safe tan,” adds Dr Tailor. “When cells are exposed to UV light collagen degenerates which in turn causes loss of volume, fine lines and winkles. Apply a broad spectrum SPF regularly throughout the day and reapply it if you do sport or get your skin wet.”
Gorgeous Mollie King recently took to her Instagram story to talk about the Weightless SPF from PCA Skin saying that it is ideal for those with oily or breakout-prone skin, and those who dislike the feel of traditional sunscreen products.
“It absorbs into the skin easily. It can also be used as an eczema treatment because of the fact that it’s full of natural skin-balancing properties. It’s an incredibly gentle natural emollient with anti-inflammatory properties.
“For those suffering with really dry skin I particularly love Skin Silkcoat Balm from PCA which is formulated with antioxidants, botanicals and hydrolysed silk to effectively moisturise dry skin.”
…but don’t forget to hydrate from within too.
Natural hydration ultimately has to come from within the body and cannot in fact be reversed by applying moisturiser on the skin’s surface.
“What most people really need is a good exfoliator, a healthy diet rich in fruit, vegetables and nuts and plenty of water,” said Dr Tailor.
Include Vitamin C in your skincare regiment
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals such as pollution. The pollutants cause inflammation, which is the root of numerous skin issues, including breakouts, a breakdown of collagen, and excess melanin production that leads to dark spots.
Lose the face wipes
No matter how tired you feel at the end of the day, according to the beauty experts, face wipes are a big no, no. “I would always advise against using face wipes as essentially, they just move dirt and oil around on the face,” says consultant oculoplastic surgeon, Dr Elizabeth Hawkes.
“The skin around your eyes is also extremely delicate, the rubbing motion alone will drag the skin and could cause premature ageing.’
Moist environments are the perfect breeding conditions for bacteria, so face wipes need a high amount of preservatives to keep them free of nasty bugs. These preservatives – along with the perfumes within them can be extremely irritating to the skin and the preservatives and perfumes can also cause allergies.
“Instead, cleanse your skin thoroughly in the evening with an oil-free cleanser to remove dirt, pollution and oil,” advises Dr Tailor.
Treat dark circles
“Eyelid skin is unique to the rest of the body,” added Dr Hawkes. “’Importantly there is no subcutaneous fat underneath the skin. The eyelid layers are skin, orbicularis muscle, septum, fat (eyebags). Whereas in the rest of the face there is a subcutaneous layer of fat directly underneath the skin. For this reason eyelid skin is prone to appear darker than the rest of the face.
“Topical creams are good for dehydration and allergy relief but they will not restore volume. They will not cause the blood vessels under the eyes to constrict, nor will they reverse a family history of dark circles. There is a prescription only treatment that will help reduce the production of melanin in the skin and can be a useful tool in improving the appearance of dark circles, however it has to be used under the guidance of a specialist only. Online consultations are readily available throughout the lockdown so now would be a great time to consult one.”
High concentrations of microscopic bacteria from your phone’s screen mixed with oil and makeup from the skin, along with heat from the phone, breeds more bacteria.
“This can clog pores and often result in inflammation and acne. To combat these problems, use a headset when on the phone for a lengthy period of time and regularly wipe your smartphone with an alcohol wipe to remove as much bacteria as possible before using it,” added Dr Lakhani.
Stop touching your face
People often touch their face by habit and this, like our mobile phones, introduces bacteria to our skin. This can in turn exacerbate acne.
Treat your skin to some TLC
Add some cosmeceutical products to your skincare regimen at home to make you feel (and look) as if you’ve just stepped out of a medispa.
“Treatments like the new Micro Peel At-Home Kit from PCA Skin are an exciting development,’ says Aesthetic Nurse Prescriber, Susan Young.
“The kit, which can only be prescribed by a specialist, features an enzymatic treatment which is formulated with enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids with antioxidant action and anti-inflammatory benefits. This winning combination will exfoliate, brighten, tighten and strengthen skin so will help to correct all of the main skin concerns – such as ageing skin, acne skin, redness/rosacea, dry skin and pigmentation at a time when our skin is changing seasons and battling maskne.”
Don’t forget your hands
When doing household jobs that involve getting your hands wet, such as washing up and cleaning, make sure you wear rubber gloves.
“Some people (like those with eczema or contact allergies) should wear cotton gloves underneath the rubber gloves. These will protect your hands from the harsh chemicals in the household cleaning products that strip skin of its natural moisture and result in excessively dry hands. Then apply a thick layer of moisturiser to them before bed,” says Dr Tailor.