While there are some old wive's skincare solutions that you should never do, The Skin Nerd Jennifer Rock reveals the common skin tips that actually work.
The internet is filled with quick skincare fixes and questionable skincare advice, such as using toothpaste on your spots (nope, don’t even think about it); putting lemon juice on age spots, and using apple cider vinegar as a toner. All three of those things will strip your skin of its oils, dehydrating it, making it sensitive to things and possibly making skin concerns you have worse.
However, not everything that you’ve heard time and time again or read online is incorrect. There are definitely helpful tips out there that you may think are rubbish but are actually true.
The skin is like a sunflower. What you see is the beautiful flower on the top, but you can’t just water the petals. You have to nourish from the roots so that that gorgeous flower can blossom. Getting the right skingredients into you as well as on top of you is the key to the glowing, healthy skin you’ve been looking for.
Having enough of the right nutrients will assist in feeding the skin at a cellular level, for example, ensuring that your skin has the right amount of vitamin C to create collagen or vitamin A to help with the growth and repair of skin cells.
The simplest way to eat in a skin-friendly way is to eat a rainbow on the daily - and I do not mean all the different coloured jellies! Get as large a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and pulses as you can manage.
Is it worth it to chuck this cornucopia of nutrient-rich goodness on top of all the sugar, coffee, alcohol and nutrientless food in your diet? Not really. Sugar can actually cause you to age faster due to a little something called AGEs or advanced glycation end-products and alcohol dehydrates your skin, causing “drinkles”. Caffeine can get in the way of your absorption of vitamins too.
Eating well will mean looking younger for longer (get your berries in for antioxidants, FYI) and radiant, hydrated skin. For even better skin results, add in supplements so that you’re hitting the optimal daily allowance rather than the recommended daily allowance.
Wearing Sunscreen Daily
You hate to hear it but it’s true - sunscreen is the most important skincare product as it protects our skin from UV damage. When you read UV damage on its own, you can’t envision the consequences… of which there are many.
When I talk about UV damage and the skin, I’m talking problems with pigmentation such as uneven colouring and age spots, our skin’s collagen becoming damaged over time leaving us saggy and heavily lined and - the most pressing one - the possible development of skin cancer which both UVA (all year round, through windows, through clouds) and UVB rays (those that come with heated sunlight) are linked to.
Hand on heart, really and truly, get yourself a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you from UVA and UVB rays and apply the right amount, which is a full teaspoon to the face, neck and ears. (And ½ a teaspoon for each arm, a full teaspoon on each leg and the front and back of you, if these areas are exposed). The SPF in your makeup or moisturiser is not enough unless you are wearing a full teaspoon of it on your face, neck and ears - I guarantee you that you are not.
Exfoliating Before Tanning
Exfoliating before tanning is a given for those who, like moi, rarely go without a bit of a bottle-gotten glow. However, the importance of this is often underestimated. The layer of skin that we can touch and see (the stratum corneum) is made up of dead skin cells on their slow journey out. There are parts of us that accumulate more dead skin cells than others - if you know where I’m going with this, you can say them along with me: elbows, knees, ankles, knuckles… Anywhere that we move a lot.
Exfoliating before tanning with skin-friendly exfoliating acids or enzymes as opposed to scrubs or exfoliating mitts will help to slough off this excess to prevent patches of fake tan in these areas. Fake tan isn’t like a paint - the ingredient that does the darkening, DHA, actually stains the skin by causing a reaction in the amino acids in the skin. This is why the areas with more dead skin cells appear darker - there are more cells being stained!
I believe you get the best result from a fake tan product that hydrates the skin whilst bronzing it - I find that most actually dehydrate my skin! TanOrganic’s range is fab because their products contain skincare ingredients like aloe vera extract, hyaluronic acid and argan oil to keep your skin full of moisture.
When we are stressed, a bundle of hormones are released which can affect the way that our skin functions. Our wounds heal slower and our skin’s barrier, the protective layer that prevents the baddies from getting in and hydration from escaping, doesn’t work the way that it should. This means that spots will take longer to heal and we could see dry patches and general skin dehydration too. Eek!
On top of that, the results of some studies have led researchers to believe that stress can cause our skin to age faster - at present, they can’t figure out exactly why.
How do we reduce stress? Quit your job, get divorced, bin the kids, stop paying the mortgage… If only! It’s about checking in with yourself and finding your personal way to de-stress, whether it’s going for a walk, using a mindfulness app or just watching Love Island with some (dark) chocolate. You could try to make your morning or night rituals more relaxing - give yourself a facial massage, use a shower gel with essential oils like Urban Veda’s Soothing Body Wash which smells like an aromatherapy spa or do deep breaths while you cleanse.
There you go! Some practical, doable skincare tips that will help your skin now and in the long run.
Jennifer Rock aka The Skin Nerd is a skincare guru with a skin consultation service that everyone needs to check out. Follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.