Think of your skin care products like your employees. They have a job to do, you’re paying good money for them to do it – and you expect results. However, cleansers, serums and masks, like people, all have different skill sets. You wouldn’t expect a baker to wax your eyebrows into submission, would you? But point them at the oven and they’ll whip you up a ripper sourdough. Here’s how to recruit the right product for the right role and max your ROI.
Is your skin overreacting to everything from fragrance to food? You probably blush easily and sport a solid beetroot face after exercise too. “The most common cause is a genetic disposition to rosacea, which affects a large number of people, especially those with lighter skin types,” says dermatologist Dr Shoban Manoharan. Add environmental factors like stress, alcohol and extreme hot or cold and your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin can range from pinkish to angry red.
1. First, use a mild, soap-free cleanser to keep the peace.
2. Then, recruit a redness-reducing spritz, says Emma Hobson, Education Manager at the International Dermal Institute. Ingredients to look for include anti-irritant oats, ginger and bisabolol, which reduce itchiness, redness and irritation, and anti-inflammatory calendula.
3. Finally, don’t rub or manually exfoliate the skin – but don’t avoid exfoliation altogether. “Products with beta hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid, in low concentrations, are useful to reduce the inflammation associated with rosacea,” says Manoharan. Look for a gentle exfoliator containing salicylic acid, and keep it to once or twice a week.
If your skin is lacking radiance and glow, poor diet, cold weather and tiredness could be to blame, says Hobson. Bouncing out of bed and eating squeaky clean? Blame exfoliation. You need to do it regularly (once to twice a week), gently and not with your grainy old scrub. “Exfoliating with hydroxy acids ensures you have a speedy cell turnover rate,” says Hobson.
1. For gentle exfoliation try a microexfoliant powder, which polishes and brightens the skin using phytic acid (from rice bran).
2. Follow with an oil-based serum (argan, rosehip, etc) to provide extra nourishment for a fresh, dewy appearance.
3. For serious results, you’ll also need vitamin A, says Manoharan. Vitamin A (often going by the name retinol in skin care circles) ramps up the production of healthy, younger cells and speeds up the process of skin renewal. The result of using retinol is much denser, plumper, more hydrated skin with reduced wrinkle depth, improved skin tone and an overall healthy glow, says Hobson. Always use retinols at night, and follow with sunscreen the next morning.
Those dark mottled and discoloured patches of skin are primarily caused by sun exposure, genetics and ageing. Hormone (pregnancy, the pill, etc) and certain medications can also play a role.
1. The first step to getting rid of it? Reason 187,667 to use sunscreen. “The use of SPF 50 every day is critical and will ultimately determine the results you’ll achieve and reduce the chance of further pigmentation issues,” says Hobson.
2. A cleanser containing gentle hydroxy acids, ideally lactic acid, will also hydrate, brighten and accelerate cell turnover, says Hobson.
3. You’ll also need a serum containing antioxidants to fight dark spots. Go for vitamin C, it can reduce melanin formation and brighten skin.
Caelia is the former Beauty & Grooming Director of Women’s Health and Men’s Health Australia and continues to provide monthly beauty content for Women’s Health. She’s a mum of two and loves to write beauty that is easily adapted into the everyday lives of busy, active women to help them look and feel fantastic. Her freelance credits include Harper’s Bazaar, Body+Soul, Stellar, mamamia network, PopSugar and JONES mag.