Thursday, 23 January 2014

All About Skin Care....

Hey guys!

I know I've never really delved into skincare here on my blog but it occurred to me the other day that this time of year a lot of people struggle with their skin. My skin has been all over the place for the past few months for various reasons so I thought I'd share my current routine. Now, what works for me will not necessarily work for you so my advice would be to try and have a skin consultation depending on what type of products you are buying. I personally like to use cosmeceuticals. I know you're probably thinking what in gods name are cosmeceuticals?! Cosmeceuticals are products that are a mixture between cosmetic and pharmaceutical. They have high percentage ingredients such as retinol, glycolic, salicylic and benzoyl peroxide which means they cannot be sold over the counter like regular cosmetic products. For example, many of the products I'll be mentioning in today's blog would be sold and used in medical skincare clinics. Glycolic acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) which is brilliant for anti-ageing and exfoliating. It is used in many cleansers, masks and scrubs. Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) which helps to control sebum (oil) on the skins surface. It is most commonly used in serums, cleansers and masks. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A which increases your skins cell turnover. This is very beneficial for your skin as retinol can improve the appearance of pores, fine lines and pigmentation. Retinol can be found in moisturisers and serums. Benzoyl Peroxide is an anti-bacterial ingredient used in the treatment of acne. It is now a prescription only ingredient which means you need a doctor's prescription here in Ireland to use anything that contains benzoyl peroxide.

I know this probably sounds a bit scary to those who have never heard of these types of products before but it's really just about knowing what products work for different skin types. It took me years of trying and testing so many products before I finally found out what suited my skin. Treatments will be very beneficial as well but did you know that if you decide to do a course of treatments that 70% of your results will be based on your skincare routine at home? So you really need to get your home care routine right, otherwise there's no point in spending hundreds of euro on treatments. I'll talk about different treatments another time, otherwise this post is going to be far too long!

At the moment my skin is combination. Slightly oily on my nose and chin and normal to dry everywhere else. I used to be extremely dry and sensitive but over the years my skin has calmed down a lot and I've built up a tolerance to certain ingredients. I use mainly two cosmeceutical brands at the moment which are Skin Ceuticals and Image. Both have a brilliant range of products and treatments which I have used and worked with over the last few years.

The cleanser I am using is the 'Blemish and Age Cleansing Gel' from Skin Ceuticals. This cleanser has a mix of glycolic and salicylic in a gel form and when rubbed with a small amount of water turns into a foam. Once I have foamed up the product I apply all over my face and neck and work it in circular motions for around 1-2 minutes. Then I remove with a lukewarm face cloth until my face is literally squeaky clean! This really is a great cleanser and makes your skin super soft. The first few times I used it I did experience some slight tingling due to the glycolic and salicylic but after a few uses that goes and you don't feel anything at all.

Next I use the 'Blemish and Age Solution' also by Skin Ceuticals on my nose and chin. This helps to control any extra oil production which is why I don't use it all over my face. This product can be quite drying so I normally only use this at night however you can use it twice a day if you are more oily. Just spray onto a cotton pad and work it into oily areas concentrating especially on pores.

An antioxidant is a very important part to all skin care routines. I love 'Serum 10' by Skin Ceuticals. This is only for use in the morning, around 3 drops after your cleanse and tone. This serum contains 10% L-ascorbic acid (vitamin c) which means it has a high potency. When using an antioxidant and high sunscreen everyday you are protecting your skin in the best possible way from free radicals. Here comes the science! A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell. The free radical theory of ageing is the idea that free radicals are responsible for the damage of biomolecules resulting in changes to the biology of the cell and thus organismal ageing through oxidation. In terms of your skin think of free radical damage like a tin left out in the garden. The tin will eventually start to rust and age as it's been left exposed. Scary isn't it?! Don't worry, an antioxidant everyday will help prevent oxidation! 

My moisturiser is a serum again by Skin Ceuticals. 'Hydrating B5' is a hydrating gel that is absorbed instantly into the skin, brilliant for the morning as you don't have to wait around for your moisturiser to dry. This is great for every skin type especially combination/oily skin. As its absorbed instantly it doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy or looking shiny and its still a very effective moisturiser. I use this morning and night.

My current SPF is by Heliocare and its the 'SPF 50 Gel'. I use this everyday without fail. There is absolutely no point in using expensive products and having regular treatments if your not going to protect your skin on a day to day basis. The suns UVA rays are between 30 and 50 times more prevalent than UVB and account for a range of skin problems including pigmentation, premature ageing, lines, wrinkles....the list goes on. You need to be using an SPF of 30 or higher in the Autumn/Winter months and SPF 50 for Spring/Summer. I personally just use SPF 50 all year as I suffer with pigmentation and need to be careful. Just because it isn't necessarily warm outside does not mean you don't need to protect your skin. UVB rays are short wave rays which can burn us. Think of 'B for BURN'. UVA rays are long wave and can penetrate through glass. So if you are sitting in your car or your desk at work is next to the window UVA can penetrate through even on cloudy/rainy days. Think 'A for AGEING'. Both rays are harmful so when choosing your sun block you need to find one with both UVA and UVB protection. Heliocare has both which means it is a broad spectrum sun screen. It is for all skin types and has the slightest tint so that you don't get that 'white face' look like you can with other high sun creams.

The exfoliant/mask I use is by Image. I use the 'Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque' once a week, usually on a Friday so my skin is looking nice for the weekend! This is a product to which you need to build up your tolerance to. After cleansing I apply a thin layer all over my face and leave for 30 minutes. Once the time is up I then wet my hands and massage lightly for 1-2 minutes. The grains in this a fairly big so you don't want to go hell for leather otherwise your skin will be rubbed raw so lightly does it. Then I remove with a lukewarm facecloth making sure no residue is left behind. This product is just amazing. it leaves your skin feeling like a baby's!

The last product I'm currently using is my Skin Ceuticals 'Retinol 0.5%'. Like the name suggests this is 0.5% retinol. I use this only once a week, a pea sized amount usually a Monday evening. This is a pretty effective product however it does have side effects. As retinol increases your cell turnover it does cause peeling but after about 4-6 weeks of use this stops as your skin becomes accustomed to the retinol. I use this at the start of the week and the peeling usually starts by the Thursday so Friday is a perfect day to use my exfoliant. When using retinol you need to be using a high SPF everyday as without one you are leaving your skin open to more damage which you definitely don't want!

So there you have it! Again I would advise seeing a professional skincare expert before rushing out to buy cosmeceutical products. Any good clinic will not sell you the products until after you have had a consultation. If you have any questions please let me know, I will be happy to try and help you out as best I can!