With so many beauty products to choose from, taking care of your skin and navigating the world of skincare can be extremely daunting. Each skincare brand claims their range is the best, but how do you really know what is right for your skin and how do you get started?
All of us (and our skins!) are completely unique and we each face an individual set of skin challenges. This means that skincare as a whole cannot be a “one-size-fits-all” approach as it needs to be tailored to each individual, so finding your perfect skincare routine involves a little bit of trial and error.
Below we’ve provided some general skincare guidelines to follow which should give you a base from which to build your own bespoke skincare routine using the perfect combination of products to keep your skin clear, hydrated, and healthy.
What is your skin challenge?
Acne-Prone Skin: Underlying congestion, blackheads and breakouts go hand in hand. When our skins start becoming inflamed with lesions (pimples, pustules, and papules) we normally reach for scrubs and anti-acne formulations to try and stop the breakout. This is not always the answer.
Adding strong actives to a skin that has become inflamed and compromised could exacerbate the problem. This skin is already under so much pressure, the barrier function is under performing and the addition of strong/harsh actives can sensitise the skin further, leading to increased breakouts and sensitivity. Using scrubs on breakouts can also spread them by cross infection.
When a skin has changed drastically and responds with breakouts, we need to adopt the “less is more” rule until we can figure out what exactly is causing your skin to breakout.
Keeping the skin clean by double cleansing in the morning and the evening with a gentle, hydrating cleanser will ensure all bacteria, oils, makeup, and dust are removed from the skin’s surface to avoid further infection. Adding a mild toner will balance the pH of the skin and help to restore the barrier function back to normal. It’s also important to select a serum that works to improve the skin barrier function and contains active ingredients proven to gently, but effectively, target and treat breakouts and blemishes – like our Crème Rescue Serum.
Skins that change and become oilier or have breakout issues tend to have a pH change on the surface which hampers the natural barrier function of the skin. This leaves the skin more susceptible to bacterial invasion. Finishing your routine with a basic moisturiser that provides the skin with more water than oils will keep the skin’s hydration levels stable and combat dehydration. It is very normal to want to stop all moisturisers when your skin starts to break out, thinking that you are “feeding” the skin with too much oil, but if we suddenly stop moisturising and start using drying or harsh products we dehydrate the skin, leaving it even more compromised and open to further breakouts.
Sensitive Skin: Skin often becomes increasingly sensitive over time, and usually all that is needed is a look at your current skincare routine - what is the culprit causing the sensitivity? It could be that the cleanser used contains acids that are over-exfoliating the surface. Or perhaps it could be that the skin is being scrubbed too often with an aggressive physical scrub. Does the moisturiser contain ingredients too active for your skin?
We all want to ensure our skins age slowly but starting anti-ageing products at a very young age can increase the sensitivity of the skin as young skins do not need to be stimulated to function - they are already functioning at an optimal rate.
Take a look at your current skincare regime and eliminate the suspected culprit to see if the sensitivity subsides. If you are unable to identify the cause of the sensitivity, it is best to go back to basics by using a gentle cleanser and repairing the skin’s barrier with a deeply hydrating, desensitising moisturiser or serum – like our Crème Rescue Serum.
Pigmentation: Spending time in the sun during the summer months (especially without SPF) can cause changes in our skin colour known as skin pigmentation. Before you turn to aggressive skin brighteners and lighteners take a look at the SPF you are using. If you are not using an SPF on your face every single day, or are using anything less than SPF 30, it is time to invest in a good SPF that is light, non greasy and contains a high protection factor to protect your skin daily. This is not the fastest way to lighten pigmentation, but it is certainly the safest, most effective and long-term solution. Once you have built an SPF into your morning skincare routine you can then look at products designed to help reverse skin damage and fade pigmentation – like our Crème Rescue Serum with powerful active SWT-7 designed to stimulate the self-regeneration of skin cells, reducing the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.
Dehydrated or Dry Skin: We have 2 elements in our skin that provide moisture to keep our skins supple, glowing and youthful. These are epidermal lipids (oils) and water (glycosaminoglycans in the dermis). Dehydration is often mistaken for dryness, and in the thought is to get a heavier moisturiser to combat the dryness. Unfortunately this is often the start of many additional problems on the skin’s surface.
How to tell the difference between oil dryness and dehydration?
They may feel very similar on the skin’s surface but the difference is in how the skin looks. Dehydrated skins look ‘crepey’ and ‘liney’ on the surface and feel very tight after cleansing. Dry skins have a ‘powdery/flakey’ look and feel. When the skin is dehydrated, a moisturiser with a higher water content is needed to supplement the water that is being lost from the lower levels of the skin. A drier skin needs oils to replace the epidermal lipids being lost from the superficial layers of the epidermis.
Taking a closer look at the skincare products we use:
Cleansers: Cleansers are an essential part of getting the skin ready. It is important to find a cleanser that is gentle and will not strip oils from the skin’s surface. Best practice is to always double cleanse your skin in the morning and the evening. Be careful when using products that claim to be ‘2-in-1’ (especially if your skin is sensitised)! There is no such thing as a short cut without any consequences in skincare.
Toners: Alcohol is one of the harsh ingredients that could be in the formulation of your toner. This can strip the skin of natural oils making it feel sensitised as well as dry and dehydrated. Always check your toner! Avoid alcohol and instead look for ingredients such as witchazel, rosewater, hyaluronic acid, and lactic acid, that are safe and support your skin while maintaining clean pores, the pH and the skin barrier.
Scrubs: There are 2 kinds of scrubs used in skincare; physical (these are rough/granulated scrubs needing physical action to be applied to the skin’s surface to manually scrub off dead skin cells) and chemical (these can be acids or enzymes or a combination of both - these are applied to the skin’s surface and left for a short while, no physical action is needed as the ingredients dissolve unwanted superficial debris). When skins are sensitive, prone to breakouts or have just started breaking out, chemical exfoliators are best as they have minimal surface action on the skin and therefore cannot aggravate or increase breakout activity. Enzymatic exfoliators are the safest to use, they have enzymes which dissolve surface debris and once the additional debris has been eliminated they stop working. Acids can be more aggressive with the amount of debris they are able to remove, and often it’s best to seek professional advice on which acid exfoliators to use for your skin. There are so many acids available and each acid interacts differently with the skin so it is best to have a professional guide you on which acids your skin is compatible with.
Serums: These products are added into your regimen when you have a new “challenge” that occurs and then should be used for everyday skin maintenance. They contain a higher concentration of active ingredients and are usually much runnier in consistency to rapidly target the skin challenge, increase penetration rate into the skin and manage the side effects. Again, it is best practice to get some professional guidance when trying to find the correct serum to support your skin, but of course we recommend our all-round hero product – Crème Rescue Serum.
Moisturisers: As mentioned before, the consistency of a moisturiser is dependant on the amount of oil in the formulation.
Masks: These are great add-ons to your regimen to treat excessive oiliness, dehydration, breakouts and blackheads as they can be used locally to treat combination skins. They are also just perfect when you need a bit of a pamper! Keep your eyes peeled for an exciting new Crème Rescue product in 2022…