What are the most asked skincare questions?
Every day I receive emails from men and women wanting to know how to best look after their skin. Questions range from ‘How do I get rid of my blackheads?’ to ‘How do I prevent my skin from ageing?’ Here I hope to help grow your knowledge and cut through all the confusion by answering some of the skincare questions that are most asked about….
How do I prevent my skin ageing?
1. Use a sunscreen
Firstly you need to know the causes of skin ageing and the number one cause is the sun. Around 80% of ageing is from the sun and not genetic as many people think. The sun breaks down collagen fibres and when they are broken down your skin starts to line, wrinkle and sag. So number one thing to do to prevent ageing is to wear a sunscreen everyday. This is even more true nowadays as even indoors we are subject to all kinds of light pollution from mobile devices etc. An spf 30 is a habit you have to adopt as soon as.
2. Use antioxidant-rich skincare products
You must use skincare rich in antioxidants to protect your skin from those bad guys – free radicals and also inflammation. Think of antioxidants as skin saviours and the more in skincare products – the better for your skin.
3. Eat healthily
If you want to ensure your skin looks younger for longer, you need to eat the right foods so that you are keeping your skin healthy from the inside out.
4. Quit the ciggies!
Bad chemicals from smoking encourages the free radicals to run amok causing lines and wrinkles. The oxygen isn’t getting to the skin tissues due to smoking and therefore the skin isn’t getting all the nourishment it needs.
Invest in a skincare product that contains Retinol which is a form of Vitamin A. This is a super antioxidant that can smooth fine lines and wrinkles while stimulating collagen!
How often should you exfoliate?
A good rule is to exfoliate twice a week. We all want smooth, bright, clear and fresh skin but the most important thing here…never use harsh exfoliating products. When using an exfoliator, use it gently and I prefer if you do it in the evening before bedtime. I’m not happy when you exfoliate during the day and then go outside. You have sloughed off dead skin cells and somewhat ‘thinned’ your skin. Going outside to face harsh environmental factors such as strong sunshine, harsh wind and rain, is going to sensitise your skin.
Have you got oily skin? Then I would up the exfoliation to three times a week and choose a cleanser with salicylic acid that you can pretty much use every single day to prevent blackheads and spots.
Have you got sensitive skin? Then do not exfoliate but instead use a soft facecloth with your cleanser to take off dead skin cells that way as a means of gentle exfoliation.
What about your body? Don’t forget to exfoliate the skin all over the body. The skin on your body is not very sensitive and so you can exfoliate it twice a week. A good way to do this is to use your skin scrub onto dry skin and massage in round circles. Then step into the shower and shower off. Your skin will soon be glowing.
How do you know what skin type you are?
This is how to find out… Cleanse your face with your cleanser and gently pat dry. Leave you skin with nothing on it for around half an hour. Now go to the mirror and look carefully. Does your skin look dry and flaky or does it look shiny? Does if feel tight and dry or does it feel fine?
If your skin is shiny, you have oily skin.
If your skin is flaky and tight, you have dry skin.
If your skin is shiny in the T zone and dry on the cheek area, you have combination skin.
What can I do about my large open pores?
Enlarged pores happen due to a number of reasons such as genetics, smoking, hormones, diet, make-up, oily skin, UV (the sun), pollution – and it doesn’t end there!
I think you need to know a few more facts here so let’s go:
1. You cannot close pores – they are meant to be open!
2. Sebum is produced from your pores to lubricate your skin and hair.
3. Pores are actually hair follicles.
4. The more sebum you produce, the larger your pores will be.
5. Sun damage can enlarge your pores.
So the answer to what can you do to reduce the size of your pores is a range of different treatments. The first one should be to wear a sunscreen. The nose obviously tends to catch most sun and that’s why we notice our pores are particularly enlarged on the nose. So wearing a sunscreen daily will protect our face and our noses :)
Secondly, it would be good to use a ph balancing cleanser together with a facecloth. Massage the cleanser onto the face and neck and take time to do this step. Then rinse a clean facecloth in lukewarm water and take the cleanser off. Making sure your skin is always well cleansed morning and night will help normal sebum production. Using a skin scrub, ensuring it is a mild one, twice a week – paying attention to the areas with large pores – is going to prevent a build up of sebum and dead skin cells within the pore and this will ensure the pores are more refined looking.
Thirdly, use ingredients such as salicylic acid which is a beta hydroxy acid that is going to dissolve the oil in the pores, keeping them from being enlarged or clogged or turning into a pesky blackhead! Another ingredient to look out for is niacinamide (vitamin B3) which is a water soluble vitamin that helps to improve enlarged pores by balancing out the sebum production. Think of looking for cleansers that combine glycolic acid (aka AHA) and salicylic acid (aka BHA) which is going to tighten, brighten and smooth out the skin’s texture.
Lastly, consider using a retinol which is a form of vitamin A. This ingredient speeds up skin cell renewal and it can shrink the appearance of pores – think of this as a skin resurfacing ingredient.
What products or treatments would you recommend to treat melasma?
So Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation that’s more common in women especially in those of us with darker skin tones. It looks like brown patches on the face, on the cheek area, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin and on the upper lip. It’s usually triggered by the sun but sometimes arises from hormonal changes. Melasma is also common during pregnancy and this is when it’s often named the ‘mask of pregnancy.’
The first thing I would recommend is sun protection and this means wearing sunscreen every day and reapplying it every couple of hours. If you can wear a wide brimmed hat and big sunglasses.
Certain skincare ingredients will help balance out your melanin production so I would use skincare with ingredients such as vitamin C and vitamin B3 (niacinamide).
Does topical collagen penetrate the skin? Would taking supplements be more effective?
This is one of those questions that I have a very strong opinion on. I don’t believe applying a Topical collagen is going to absorb into your skin. The science bit says that the collagen molecule is too big. What about if you take it as a supplement? It goes through your gut where it’s broken down into amino acids and then does nothing to stimulate your collagen. So sorry for all you who are collagen lovers out there and will do anything to get more. My secret to stimulating your collagen is the cell communicating ingredients such as peptides. Start putting them into your skincare and in a few months you will start to see plumper skin.