With the plethora of skin and beauty products available to us is it any wonder we find ourselves overwhelmed with what to use, where, when and how often?
As someone like myself who spends a good chunk of time on social media, I am repeatedly exposed to a delightful stream of beauty ‘must-haves’ and on-trend products. For me it raises the question of whether we are working with the right products to deliver the most suitable solutions for our skin or wasting our time with products that make zero difference, promising to give our skin a ‘boost’ but which only really end up boosting our egos, sitting proudly on our bathroom shelf like a trophy because of their aesthetically pleasing qualities.
Maybe, what we think we should use isn’t actually what we need to?
Oily, dry, combination, sensitive, dehydrated; every skin type falls into those categories somewhere along the line and I’ve come to appreciate what a hard working tool our skin is. Treating it right is now a very high priority of mine and a visit to my local skincare clinic confirmed why: I’d been putting my skin into the wrong category all these years and what I mistook for oily was actually dehydrated.
I had an entire shelf dedicated to catering for oily skin, living under the illusion that I needed to treat oily-ness with oil-based care. My cleansing routine had become a gazillion-step process in which I firmly believed was doing the world of good. I now realise less really is more and I don’t need half the products I thought I did, or half the time it takes to do it.
My consultation went a little something like this:
Skincare professional: ‘What’s your current skincare routine?’
Me: ‘Oh you know, the usual cleanse, tone, moisturise, exfoliate, mask etc’
Skincare professional: ‘Mmhmm, and why do you do all that?’
Me: ‘Errr to balance the skin?’
Skincare professional: ‘Let me advise you on what your skin needs’
The result? My dehydrated skin needs a very simple (and drastically reduced) routine which goes a little something like this:
- Drink more water – signs of general dehydration due to lack of water show on the skin and can also affect basic daily body function. What I failed to realise was my dehydrated skin overcompensating by increased oil, shine and sagging – happy skin is hydrated skin!
- SPF protection – the sun contributes to the biggest percentage of skin damage and changes throughout our lives, I’m sticking with SPF every day no matter what as a matter of priority.
- Cleanse – I now choose gentle, cream-based cleansers and avoid oil or gel based. They feel wonderful, but my skin works best with cream cleansers to help keep hydration levels up and provide the skin with extra moisture, keeping it at a healthier balance throughout the day and night.
- Moisturising serum (like hyaluronic acid) – hyaluronic acid holds up to 1000x its own weight in water, which means the smallest amount can have the biggest effect and a tiny amount goes a long way, replacing thick creams.
- Exfoliate – 2-3 times a week to help retain the natural cycle of skin regeneration – hello buffed, brighter skin!
I would encourage anyone to have a consultation about their skin. Now I have a better understanding, I treat it with only the essentials and have seen a huge improvement in the general health and condition. Like a lot of things in life, it’s about maintaining a happy balance to reduce stress and your skin is no exception.