Words by Michelle Squire.
The festive season is just around the corner, and I’m often asked how to whip skin into shape in double-quick time.
Unfortunately there’s no such thing as an instant fix, and going in hard with scrubs, acids, actives, masks and treatments may leave your skin dry, irritated and breakout-prone. Not your best festive soiree look!
The answer lies in getting the basics of your routine right, being consistent, and managing your expectations: great skin isn’t perfect, and the latest miracle ingredient will never compensate for sticking to a daily routine. Good skin takes time – with consistency, you should notice results within a few months.
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Here’s my party-ready skincare guide:
- Cleanse twice daily (maximum) with a mild, non-foaming cleanser to remove excess sebum, sweat, makeup, sunscreen, dirt, microbes and exfoliated skin cells that can clog pores. You don’t need ingredients like vitamins or acids in your cleanser because they’re not on your face for long enough to be effective.
- Moisturisers are the most important of all skincare products in making your skin look and feel soft and hydrated. They keep the skin barrier healthy by minimising water loss and smoothing dry outer skin cells. Don’t buy into the miracle cream hype – most of the beneficial effects are due to simple moisturising ingredients (like glycerine, hyaluronic acid, silicones, lipids) rather than expensive ‘active’ ingredients. Just choose a texture that works with your skin type.
- Sunscreen is the least sexy, but most effective, weapon against aging in your routine. Daily, cumulative exposure to UV rays is responsible for 70-90% of the signs of aged skin – deep wrinkles, rough, dull skin, redness, broken capillaries and hyperpigmentation. Applying the correct amount of a high factor (at least SPF30) sunscreen every day is key to keeping your party-worthy glow for years to come.
- Glow-getting add-ons: gentle, leave-on chemical exfoliants (4-10% glycolic acid or the newer gluconolactone/lactobionic acids), vitamin C (10-15% L-Ascorbic Acid), hydrating sheet masks, hyaluronic acid and niacinamide serums. Introduce these gradually, after cleansing and before moisturizing, with at least a week between new products.
- What to avoid: Harsh scrubbing of any kind just contributes to dry, dull skin. Now is not the time to start vitamin A/retinoid/retinol as it can make skin dry, flaky and irritated initially and takes 6-12 months to show results – make this your new year’s skin resolution!