Stressed Post-Summer Skin
Holidays and beach days are over for most of us now as is humidity (here's hoping), dehydrating air-cons and permanently sweaty faces. Autumn is a great time for skin and as nature moves slowly inwards, why shouldn’t we spend a little time and rectify the sun’s damage. Following are a few tips to set your skin up for the fresh, cooler months ahead. Much of this taken from my latest book GLOW: Your complete four-week plan for healthy, radiant skin, which is widely available and the ideal way to kickstart your skin and indeed your body as a whole to a healthier, more vibrant place.
Clean your skin
I have written at length about the importance of daily cleansing (here), yet it is still the one area many of us continue to neglect. For some reason people don’t seem to recognise just how crucial effective cleansing is to healthy skin. Would you really paint on a dirty canvas?
Aside from the fact that other products won't penetrate effectively if the skin is not clean, imperfectly cleaned skin is a fertile breeding ground for bugs etc (think spots and more). Skin wipes may suffice once in a while, but are not up to much. Balm cleansers are far and away my favourites especially during the colder, drier months when my middle-years skin needs all the nourishment it can get. For a really thorough clean Pestle & Mortar’s Double Cleanse System works a treat every time.
Remember too that your evening cleanse is crucial for effective skin repair through the night and the earlier this is done (as in when you come home from work or your other activities) the more time your skin will have to rejuvenate.
Treat your skin to a thorough exfoliation about twice a week or so. Be gentle though, as otherwise you WILL damage your delicate outer layers. When skin is exfoliated effectively - not aggressively - surface dead cells will be removed, more oxygen can be absorbed and the bioavailability of ingredients will be enhanced.
Arm your skin through the winter months with a band of antioxidants including Vitamins A, C and E to counteract daily environmental pollution and hyaluronic acid, peptides and essential oils. There are many great products out there, but my go-to choices for these essentials are always meals overflowing with leafy greens, colourful fruits - followed by my skincare.
Vitamin C (citrus fruits, tomatoes etc) in its purest form is a powerful antioxidant and skin brightener that is currently enjoying its moment. It penetrates into the skin to stimulate fresh collagen, while also helping to smooth, brighten and revitalise the complexion. Best used as part of a morning routine to protect skin through the day, while also safe to use at night to help boost collagen. Like all antioxidants, Vitamin C is vulnerable to damage, so choose light, water-based formulations or those that need to be mixed together before applying, packaged in opaque, airtight containers.
As each new season rolls in, I treat my skin to NUORI's Supreme-C Serum Treatment (see review here). I’ve just started my latest 20-day sessions packed with vitamin C (at a concentration of 7.5% which is quite potent) to brighten and refresh my skin. Available on line from Fetch beauty and other boutique outlets.
Also known as HA, hyaluron or hyaluronate, it acts like a sponge attracting and holding up to 1,000 times its weight in water and to me is one of the fastest ways of transforming your face (post-party, post-flight, post season etc) giving it a new lease of life. So layer up an HA-enriched serum by reapplying it or mixing it with your moisturiser during the day or your nightly face oil – trust me it will make a huge difference to very dry skin. And the reality is that most of us have dehydrated skin, even oily skin is likely to be lacking in hydration. Young skin is smooth, elastic and rich in HA, but as our skin ages the natural production of hyaluronic acid slows.
Pure Face Oil
I adore pure, natural face oils especially during cooler, drier weather - they feel so soft and really do repair and nourish my skin. My favourites include: Alexandra Soveral, Romilly Wilde, Modern Botany, Tri Dosha (Ayurvedic) and Ila Spa.
Retinol describes the Vitamin A molecule that is broken down once inside the body into more potent particles that stimulate collagen production, increase cell turnover and exfoliate the outer layers to reveal fresh new cells underneath. The potency of retinol-based products varies depending on whether prescribed (the prescription-only Retinoic Acid or Retin-A used to treat severe acne for instance) or purchased over the counter. It is best used as part of a night routine, starting slowly with a weaker strength every other night, building up to stronger formulation once tolerated. If redness or peeling occurs, stop using immediately.
Suffice to say that the sun is THE single biggest cause of skin ageing. So, regardless of the season and the weather use it everyday!
Your Crowning Glory
Your hair be looking and feeling a little frazzled after the salt water and sun bleaching. it needs a generous lathering of rich and nourishing hair masks. There are so many on the market - some great and others that may even dry the hair even further. If you have a great hairdresser - then treat yourself to a nourishing and rehydrating in-salon mask. Otherwise, many beauty editors swear by Rahua’s Omega 9 Hair Mask to rejuvenate and strengthen damaged and split hair from root to tip. Philip Kingsley is always a safe bet too, a range I always return to for advice and their reliable haircare (especially the Elasticizer). Although the renowned Mr Kingsley passed away a few years back, his emporium is continues to be the go-to place for celebrities.
Finally, remember that what you put into your body is primarily responsible for your outward appearance - so eat meals packed with healthy omega-3 fats, protein and unrefined grains with plenty of easy, nutritious recipes in my GLOW book’s four-week plan.
PS Fab cover photo thanks to the wonderfully creative team at Modern Botany in West Cork