With the many different types of skin care products available on the market, it can be confusing when choosing the right one for your skin type and concern. Our journey to figuring this can be a long one with many ups and downs including hormonal breakouts in our 40's!
So where do we start?
Your skin is a miracle of nature and it deserves to be treated with kindness and respect. It is the biggest living, breathing organ in your body and it is working 24 hours a day just for you. To name but a few of the tasks your skin has to perform daily, it provides you with the sense of touch, regulates your body temperature, acts as a weatherproof shield, protects your vital organs, synthesizes Vitamin D for strong healthy bones, teeth and muscles and produces melanin that helps protect you from the sun.
Having a good understanding of how the skin works will help you make the right choices when it comes to your skincare routine. So what are the skin layers made up of?
The outermost layer is the Epidermis and it is your first line of defence against bacteria. Your cells on the skin surface renew and regenerate over the course of the month and they are made in the deepest layer of the epidermis and travel upwards. As we age, our cell turnover rate slows down so we need to step in here and manually help the exfoliation process with acids.
Furthermore, cell turnover isn't as efficient in people with acne. The natural peeling process goes awry and the skin produces more dead skin cells than is typical, and these cells aren't properly shed. This condition, called retention hyperkeratosis, is the reason regular exfoliation is so important for acne-prone skin types.
The Dermis is where your skin holds blood vessels and nerves that provide the sense of touch. This is the layer where your connective tissues are made up of two proteins, collagen (which gives your skin its fullness and shape) and elastin (this provides the skin with the ability to bounce back into shape). This is also where your body contains hyaluronic acid, the cellular lipid that holds water (up to 1000 times its weight), this gives your skin texture, helps relieve inflammation and regulate tissue repair. As we age the breakdown is faster than our cells can replace them so this leads to wrinkles and dry skin. This is where we step in manually with our face serums and our diets so we can provide our skin with the ability to produce more collagen.
The subcutis is the layer of fat and tissue that lies between the skin and the muscles. It protects your muscles and insulates you to assist in temperature regulation. Everyone needs a layer of fat in their body. This does tend to thin as we age so our skin looks less smooth and the underlying veins show through. It can also result in cellulite in other areas of the body.
So you probably have a few questions like: What skin type am I? How many products do I need? In what order should I be applying these products? Which ones are right for my skin? And what do those products even do?
So how do you know your skin type? (This is what you inherit from your parents)
Your skin may feel tight, look dull with small pores, can be flaky and may not absorb products easily. Usually the causes are a lower than usual production of sebum (the oily substance your skin produces to help waterproof itself).
Skin may appear shiny and thickened and show larger pores as your skin is prone to producing excessive sebum. Blackheads and spots can also be present.
Pore size is not an issue and skin texture is good as your skin contains a good balance of sebum and other moisterising factors.
Is the most common skin type as it usually presents a slightly greasier T-zone around your forehead and your nose with dehydrated cheeks.
Skin concerns are different to skin types and usually occur as a result of your lifestyle choices and can be associated with symptoms of your skin type as this is hereditary. This is where you chose a targeted serum to address your needs. Common skin concerns are signs of ageing, acne and dehydration which we will cover below. Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, pigmentation and rosacea require speaking with your skin specialist or doctor to confirm diagnosis and treatment.
So which products are best for my skin concern?
We recommend using serums to treat your skin concern and moisturisers to treat your skin type which forms the basis of a skincare routine that covers most skin types.
Firstly, aging is a privilege not everyone gets, so let’s be joyous about getting older and share all the wisdom that comes with it. There is no product that will turn back the clock but there are products that can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, plump your skin and give you a lovely glow. We recommend the following products:
- Retinol also known as Vitamin A. Rebuilds collagen, repairs sun damage and is your night time skin saviour. There are varying degrees of vitamin A and if you have previously used it and reacted badly it may be that you haven’t found the right one for you yet. So don’t be put off. Our 1% Retinol + Rosehip oil Night Serum contains Retinyl Palmitate and this is the least irritating of the retinoid family, a great option for those with sensitive skin. Containing Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant and a luxurious blend of Jojoba and Rosehip oils leaves the skin feeling nourished, protected, and radiant Do consult with your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before using retinol and build up slowly when using it especially if you are new to Retinol.
- AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) will brighten your skin by gently exfoliating the surface and correct discoloration from scars and age spots. It can also increase product absorption The most effective types are Glycolic and Lactic but salicylic is better for oily/combination skin types. Our Niacinamide + AHA Rescue serum contains these acids and Vitamin B3 which will not only lighten your skin and strengthen the barrier, with added Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid it will also help collagen synthesis and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
- Matrixyl 3000 (palmitoyl tripeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide) are proteins that are part of the building blocks for cell communication and restoration. When used on the skin it will stimulate collagen synthesis and hyaluronic acid production which is a component responsible for water retention (skin plumping). This will work to refill wrinkles naturally from within the skin and aid the removal of impurities. Our Matrixyl 3000 Super Serum also contains Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C so your skin will be protected and hydrated.
- Vitamin C + E will give you antioxidant protection for your skin from damaging free radicals caused by UV exposure. It also inhibits melanin production in the skin to help lighten hyperpigmentation and brown spots and even out skin tone. A hero product by far and one to use for prevention as well so get this into your skincare routine. Try our 5% Vitamin C + HA Day Serum to protect and radiate your skin.
- SPF 30-50+ is a must for every skin type. It won’t fix the damage but it will prevent it from happening in the first place.
There are different types of acne see below:
- Hormonal either just starting your period, perimenopausal, menopause, boys with raging androgen, all of this can cause an overproduction of oil, slow shedding of dead skin cells, creating the perfect breeding ground for acne.
- Bacteria – Propionibacterium Acnes is the bacteria we are talking about here. Clogged pores are all it needs and it is the perfect environment for acne to spread.
- Sensitivities – allergies, reactions to products, reactions to foods/environment, stress and an overworked immune system will cause inflammation providing potential breeding grounds for acne.
- Pick red spots or cysts, they aren’t going anywhere and they will scar your skin. Very gently pop a white head by pressing down and inward to apply pressure, don’t force it to come out, it's not ready yet.
- Say no to foaming cleansers or alcohol based products.
- Using oil free products will strip your skin of moisture and leave you inflamed and sensitive.
- Avoid mineral oil and shea butter as they can clog your pores.
- Use plant based oils as they tend to be lightweight and noncomedogenic (they won’t clog your pores). Sunflower, almond, jojoba and rosehip oils are a good choice. Bioactive oils are your friend as they will also work to improve any scaring.
- Topical exfoliants (think Glycolic Lactic, Malic, Citric and Tartaric ) alleviate blocked pores, dead skin cells, trapped hair follicles and reduce your acid mantle to the lower end of the scale which will strengthen your first line of defence to the acne. Prevention and treatment.
- Niacinamide is also known as Vitamin B3. When applied topically it has been shown to inhibit melanosome transfer from melanocytes to keratinocytes which in turn brightens the skin and visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles. Thereby improving the skin barrier function, it has also shown to protect against bacteria, giving good results for acne sufferers as well. Our Niacinamide + AHA Rescue Serum is an excellent choice for acne sufferers.
- Benzoyl peroxide (BHA beta hydroxy acid) is an oil-soluble acid that will penetrate the pore to kill off the bacteria specific to acne. You will find this in spot treatments but go easy as it can dry out your skin.
- Your gut health is so important when it comes to skin health, so consider supplements alongside a balanced diet. Probiotics are your friend, especially if you are on antibiotics. I am a firm believer that your skin is a reflection of your diet and lifestyle. When buying your probiotic supplement, you should seek one that has strains of both Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus and contains around 10 billion CFU (colony forming unit). You can read more about how to improve your gut health here. Omega 3 and 6 oils will help acne, psoriasis and eczema as well.
Dry and dehydrated skin can be similar in appearance but the causes are different with the most common being a damaged skin barrier and a lack of water found in the skin. You may notice fast absorption of moisturiser and your makeup disappears and goes a little patchy as your skin absorbs the water in foundation? The skin will feel tight and blackheads and spots can be visible? The skin tone may appear ashen. The Environment (such as windy, cold or dry air) can make matters worse and so does eating the wrong foods, drinking too much caffeine and alcohol and not drinking enough water, so please do get hydrated.
- Use Hyaluronic Acid, just a small amount of it is capable of helping the skin retain a significant amount of moisture. Our Vitamin C + HA Day Serum contains Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C which will act as a protective shield against free radical damage that comes from daily exposure to sunlight, pollutants, and stress. By neutralizing the production of melanin and halting changes in pigmentation your skin will have a more even tone.
- Our Matrixyl 3000 Super Serum is another friend to add into your skincare regime. The peptides contained within will encourage collagen synthesis and repair the skin barrier thus reducing fine lines, sagging and dehydrated skin.
- Topical application of niacinamide has been shown to boost the hydrating ability of moisturisers so the skin's surface can better resist the moisture loss that leads to recurrent dry, tight, flaky skin. Our Niacinamide + AHA Rescur Serum is another great choice.
- Ceramides (fatty acids) will work to mend a damaged skin barrier. Jojoba contains up to 96% ceramides so get yourself a good facial oil. Rosehip oil benefits all skin types, but is especially good for dry, sensitive, devitalized skin. Apply after your face serum.
- Upgrade your moisturiser to something suitable for dry skin, look for products using the words ‘nourishing’ or ‘hydra. Remember moisturisers lock in the moisture.
- Do use balms, oils and milk cleansers.
- Use harsh scrubs or foaming cleansers. The bubbles should be in your sink not on your face!
- Drink plenty of water and maintain a balanced diet.
- Consider supplements such as Omega 3 and 6 oils as they will help with conditions such as psoriasis and eczema as well.
People say that beauty’s only skin deep; it’s what’s on the “inside” that counts. Our insides are certainly important and definitely contribute to your skin health, but skin is your first layer of defense against the outside world. So wearing SPF everyday, even when it is cloudy is one of the most powerful tools for maintaining a glowing, youthful complexion. So please try to use 30 to 50+ each day.
Skin can also give important clues to your overall health so managing stress and eating a good balanced diet is the second most important thing you can do for your wellness and your skin health. I have always believed that a holistic approach is the key your well-being. It's really about learning to take good care of yourself and your skin, getting the balance right so, your skin can keep taking good care of you.