One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘what can help my skin?’ The answer is more often than not a very simple one – concentrate on repairing your skin barrier. Once you get that in order a lot of other issues will fall into place. Pollution, stress and ageing all take their toll on our skin causing, amongst other things, dry and irritated skin, acne and fine lines and wrinkles
There are, however, some simple things you can do to help – but we warned – they may involve changing some bad skin care hygiene practices.
So let’s start with some of the more common questions.
I get asked this a lot, but really the question should be ‘should we moisturise at all’?
We’re constantly being told we should moisturise day and night. In one way it’s important as it stops what’s known as Trans Epidermal Water Loss or TEWL. But what research has found is that this can stop the skin from making its own moisture, so people end up in a vicious cycle having to apply richer and richer creams.
The better way to keep your skin hydrated is to improve your skin function and while repairing and maintaining the skin barrier. To do this you need a skincare routine that corrects and repairs the skin’s activity at the deeper layers.
Your age and health and your environment can all cause your skin to become dry, flakey and rough And this will make it look older with fine crepe-like lines.
Again, we want to reduce these symptoms and restore skin function so it can make its own moisture, but there are some simple things you can do to help reduce the dryness including:
Instead, treat your skin gently. Cleanse and remove your make up with products like Beaute Pacifique’s Micellar One Step Water or the Cleansing Foam.
Both these products are easy to use and designed for all types of skin as they won’t irritate the skin.
The next step is to find a good cream with the right actives to restore the skin barrier and function. Squalene is a great soothing and hydrating ingredient that really helps. Antioxidants are also important as they repair cells damage, boost collagen and help to even the skin tone. Crème Metamorphque and Crème Paradox are great examples of these as they reach the layers of the skin where they can start the repair process. And, they form a great barrier on the surface of the skin to protect it from the elements.
There are the main types of exfoliation – with scrubs, acids or things like Vitamin A. I’m a fan of Vitamin A and for a couple of good reasons.
Exfoliating with scrubs and acids does deliver a quick and satisfying glow, but what we’ve found is that they thin the skin and damage the skin barrier. In the long run this results in older looking, easily irritated skin – the exact opposite of what you want. And if you’re skin in oily, it can make that worse too as it goes into over-compensation mode and produces more oil to try and restore the balance so it can make breakouts worse.
I take an alternative approach. Cleanse gently, then use a product like Beaute Pacifique’s Super 3 Booster which contains an effective dose of Vitamin A that naturally exfoliates the skin and stimulates natural exfoliation or cell turnover.
We see a lot of people who have bad skincare hygiene. They’re using products with strong acids or harsh scrubs, or alcohol wipes to remove make up, and that can dry the skin and damage the skin barrier. It thins the surface layer, and the skin will end up looking irritated, inflamed and dryer.
Again, the gentle approach is a better one. Use a product that removes the make up without stripping the skin’s natural oil such as the Micellar One Step Water or Cleansing Foam. Your skin will be clean but not tight and dry
Acne can be difficult to get on top of and is a multi-factorial problem. The pores get blocked and bacteria builds up, so if we can stop the pores from blocking in the first place we can make a difference.
This is where Vitamin A comes in because it naturally exfoliates and removes the dead cells that block the pores. The added benefit of Vitamin A is that it helps regulate sebum or oil production. When you combine this with propolis – an natural anti-bacterial derived from honey, it can help get inflammation and redness under control.
You also need to work on the skin barrier but using an oil free cream that doesn’t block the pores. don’t skip the day cream. You still need to repair the skin barrier and our Oil Free day cream is ideal for this. Team it with a gentle cleanser and Super 3 Booster and you’ll get results. It won’t happen overnight but you should see an improvement within a couple of weeks.
Shirley Nicol an aesthetic nurse prescriber and the Medical Director of Clinica Medica in Glasgow and the UK distributor for the brand Beaute Pacifique. For more skin care advice from Shirley click here.