Top Tips for Simple and Effective Skincare

Skincare has always been an area I have been interested in. Early in my teenage years, I was constantly reminded to use a moisturiser. Both my mum and my grandmother swore by the Nivea cream and I stuck by it for years. As I got older, I found that there is so much more out there than just Nivea cream. As a matter of fact, the choices are endless. I started to experiment with different creams to try to find my holy grail products. It wasn’t easy, considering the number of great products out there. I tried a number of different brands, ranges, recommended products, etc. Some of the products worked for a while and then it almost felt like my skin stopped liking them or needed something different. I couldn’t understand why but when that would happen, I would move on to another product I’d heard someone talking about. I didn’t question why this was happening. I also never really knew what type of skin I had. I had an idea, but I was never 100% sure. I purchased products because they were popular and not because they were appropriate or suitable for my skin type. Have you purchased a product because it was “popular” but didn’t do your research first? 

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

There was a time in my life, probably between my late teens and early twenties, when my skin just went crazy. There were times that I went through episodes of atopic dermatitis, acne, high skin sensitivity and scaring. It impacted how I felt everyday and my self-esteem levels. I went to a dermatologist who recommended certain creams. I tried facials with manual extraction and chemical peels. Only after the consultations and the recommendations I was given, I started to see positive results. I tried a lot of different treatments because I was desperate and so badly wanted the perfect, clear skin that was portrayed all over social media. The seemingly unachievable perfectly clear and glowing skin still continues in glossy magazines and edited social media.

Back then, I didn’t appreciate my skin for what it was. Only now when I’m in my mid-twenties, am I truly grateful for the skin I have and I’ve learnt to appreciate it. As I mentioned, my skin went through an unsettled phase. Oddly enough, during that phase, there was a short period where I was really happy with my skin. Then my skin broke out again and probably got worse than it ever was. Now I finally feel my skin is in a good place. It could always be better but I have started to focus on what I like about my skin and even though it may not always be amazing I’ve learnt to accept it and appreciate it. After all, self-love equals a healthy mind.

Some valuable lessons I’ve learnt over the years:

  • Listen to your skin
  • It is okay to have bad days, they will pass
  • Price does not always equal results
  • Do not squeeze red, inflamed spots; that can leave scars
  • Wear sunscreen 

Over the last 2 years or so I was able to develop a skincare routine that works for my skin. I still had plenty of unanswered questions about skincare and the variety of products available. The information I was reading until now came from either the internet, magazines or friends. I haven’t seen a dermatologist in a long time and with all the information I had read, I wasn’t sure what was true or not. As conflicting information left me confused in certain ways, I decided to educate myself to learn what is important to keep my skin healthy.

This is when I came across a podcast episode from The Food Medic who interviewed Dr Anjali Mahto. It was so insightful and eye opening. Dr Mahto is a UK-trained consultant dermatologist who has published original reports in scientific literature and is a peer-reviewer for medical journals. I decided to purchase her book; “The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Great Skin”.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It has most certainly become my skincare bible. I’d like to share with you the most valuable points I’ve learned and have implemented for my skincare routine.

As mentioned by Dr Mahto, which I can 100 per cent agree with, skincare is something that most women initially learn from the older women in their lives. We simply observe their behaviour and try to imitate it. I remember, when I first started to gain interest in skincare. The advice I learnt was taken from either YouTube, magazines or from my friends. After reading “The Skincare Bible”, I realised that the first step to healthy skin is an appropriate cleansing routine. Cleansing helps to remove the “dirt” from our skin and prepare it for products that will nourish it and moisturise it. So here are the 5 rules of skin cleansing I have implemented after reading “The Skincare Bible”.

5 Rules of Skin Cleansing I applied after reading “The Skincare Bible”

  1. Cleansing the face both morning and night. The evening cleanse is especially important to remove make-up, sunscreen and pollution the skin was exposed to throughout the day. I’ve notice, if I don’t remove my make-up completely at the end of the day, I’m more likely to develop break-outs and blemishes. 
  2. I no longer use face wipes regularly. They are part of my wash bag when I travel but I would only use them as last resort if I have no access to water. I’ve learned that although my skin seemed clean, it was never the same type of clean compared to using a facial cleanser and water. Additionally, due to the material they are made of, it can take years for them to decompose.
  3. I would only use warm or lukewarm water when washing my face. According to Dr Mahto, hot water can leave the skin feeling dry and irritated while cold water is not as effective and may not remove all make-up and oils from the skin.  
  4. I would wet my face with water before applying cleanser.
  5. When I’m finish cleansing, I would pat my face dry with a towel instead of rubbing it.

Skin Cleansing

Clean and cleanse skin both refers to removing dirt or impurities from the skin’s surface. You can use water and a face cloth to clean your skin. However, a cleanser is a product that helps to remove make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt and other types of pollutants from the skin more thoroughly.

How to Cleanse

  1. Choose a facial cleanser that works for your skin
  2. Wet your face with warm/lukewarm water.
  3. Apply facial cleanser and massage it onto your skin. Continue massaging until all the skin is covered.
  4. Rinse with warm/lukewarm water.
  5. Dry the skin by patting with a towel.

Skincare Regimes

Skincare regime is another aspect of skincare I learned a lot about after reading the book. As many of you probably already know, there are 4 main skin types: Oily, dry, sensitive, normal/combination. One major piece I didn’t realise was that skin type can change over time and because of that we need to make sure appropriate changes are made to our skincare in response to it. Now that I look back, I used to have pretty oily skin in my teens, dry and sensitive skin in my early twenties and now in my mid-twenties I find my skin is more normal/combination.

Below is a quick guide to what different skin types are. To get a professional diagnosis it is always better to seek a consultation from a dermatologist.

Oily Skin: Characterised by visible pores, shiny or thick skin, and a predisposition to blackheads and other blemishes. The skin can also be potentially affected by weather and hormones.

Dry Skin: Characteristics of dry skin include redness, scaly patches and feeling of tightness. The pores generally are small but with visible lines. Overall, the skin can feel rough, itchy or flaky and irritated. Cold and windy weather in the winter as well as central heating can have a negative effect on the condition of the skin.

Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin is characterised by redness, burning sensation, itching and dryness to varying degrees. Dermatology consultation is recommended for anyone who has ongoing sensitivity issues and who’s unsure of the cause.

Normal/Combination: Normal skin is characterised by very few problems. It is not too oily or too dry. You might find however, a slightly oilier T-zone, mainly affecting the forehead, nose and chin.

Depending on your skin type, the skincare regime could be slightly different. However, there are similarities across the different types: 

Morning

  • Cleanse your skin
  • Applying serum that meets your skin needs
  • Use a moisturising cream that works for your skin
  • Apply Sunscreen

Evening

  • Cleanse your skin
  • Moisturiser if you feel your skin needs it

Treatments such as exfoliation or face masks can be also included in your skincare routine but you should listen to your skin when you look to implement those treatments into your skincare regime.

You may wonder why I didn’t include eye cream on that list. Personally, I don’t believe it is necessary to have separate eye cream if you are happy with your moisturiser. When comparing ingredients at the back of a moisturiser and an eye cream from some ranges, I found, they were quite similar. This may not always be the case, therefore you should always go by what works best for you and your skin. If you like using a separate eye cream and it works for you, absolutely stick to it. 

Sunscreen

I was always aware of the importance of sunscreen. When I was in my nursing school, for one of my placements I got to shadow a dermatology nurse specialist. She told me about the link between skin exposure and cancer which stuck with me up until this day. Here in Ireland, we wouldn’t consider it the norm to put sunscreen on unless we are going to be spending a full day out in the sun above 20 degrees (celsius) or off to the continent for a get-away. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Irish Cancer Society recommends that sunscreen should be worn at least for the months from April to September. However, UVA rays can penetrate through clouds, rain and fog, leaving you exposed throughout the year.

In regards to sunscreen, I always found it confusing what was meant by SPF and the number. Once I did more research in relation to SPF, I feel I now understand what it means. Let me give you a quick summary of what I learnt. You should always use broad spectrum SPF to protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays. The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of the ability of sunscreen to protect against UVB radiation. UVB causes damage to the outer layers of the skin which as a result leads to sunburn. In theory the SPF is a multiplier of the duration of time you can stay in the sun before your skin starts to turn red.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and is associated with skin ageing.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burningskincancer.org

Let’s look at an example:

For instance, you expose your skin to the sun without wearing any protection and your skin starts to get red after 10 minutes. If you wear SPF 20, in theory, this will allow you to stay outdoors for 200 minutes. Similarly, by wearing SPF 30, this should allow you to stay outdoors for 300 minutes.

Unfortunately, in real life this is not entirely accurate and there are many factors that need to be considered. Keeping the theory in mind, you should know that the following SPF ratings reflects the protection of sunscreen from UVB rays :

  • SPF 15 blocks about 93 percent of UVB
  • SPF 30 blocks about 97 per cent and
  • SPF 50 blocks about 98 per cent

It very interesting to see the difference in protection provided by SPF 30 and SPF 50. There is no sunscreen that gives 100 per cent protection against the sun.

Top 5 Tips for Sunscreen

  1. Using sunscreen daily can help protect against skin cancer and premature skin ageing.
  2. Broad-spectrum sunscreen offers protection against both UVA and UVB light.
  3. Sunscreen should be a minimum of SPF 15-30.
  4. Use a sunscreen that works best for your skin type.
  5. You should aim to use separate sunscreen instead of make-up products containing SPF.

Final Thoughts

Good skincare doesn’t always have to be complicated or cost a fortune, and I feel “The Skincare Bible” clearly demonstrates this. I really enjoyed reading this book. It has been very interesting to learn about the skin facts that I didn’t know before, especially the scientific ones, and now having the opportunity to implement them into my own skincare routine

There is one particular song that pops into my head every time I think about valuable life lessons and skincare. I’ve listened to it on a number of different occasions and I don’t think it will ever get old. I would highly recommend that you give it a listen too. Many of you probably know it well, and it also perfectly ties in with this post. The song I’m talking about is Sunscreen by Baz Luhrman. Enjoy!

Let me know if you learnt something new today. I hope you will find some of the tips helpful. If you are interested in reading the book and learning even more, you can find a link to amazon below. 

Yours,

Rose

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