As a doctor I am often asked “what should I use on my skin?” With so many products available choosing a skincare routine seems very complicated. Often cosmetics companies incorrectly lead us to belief that the more expensive a product is the more benefits we will see. They may even furnish these statements with statistics which are often based on tiny sample populations and poorly designed studies.
So what should you look for in creating a skincare routine? While I could happily spend hours discussing skincare products and routines this little blog post will hopefully give you a guide to my top tips.
- Choose Non-comedogenic products. This means non-pore blocking. Products with this feature help to prevent break outs. It can be tricky to find but will be printed on the product and tends to be a feature of skin specific brands such as Avene, La Roche Posay, Vichy….noticing a trend? French pharmacy products are popular amongst bloggers and with good reason. These companies have dedicated skin laboratories and a strong history of dermatological research. Avene even offer a dedicated skin clinic for patients suffering from dermatological problems such as eczema and psoriasis.
- UVA/UVB When selecting skincare products make sure that you chose something that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB during the day time. I recommend daily application of spf 50. Again sun creams should also be non-comedogenic. This can be used as a base under makeup. If you follow one skincare tip make it this one. Apply spf 50 daily and in six months you will see a difference in your skin. Remember though, if you follow this tip you need to supplement your D3 levels.
- Cleanse twice a day. Make sure to remove all make up before cleansing (and before exercise). When I think about cleansing I think of it as a two stage process. Stage 1: remove make up. Stage 2: cleanse. Without removing makeup you are wasting your cleanser and not giving the active ingredients a chance to get to the skin. So how should you remove make up?
You may have read that you should never remove your make up with make up wipes. But is this actually based on anything? Make up wipes tend to create problems when they are used as a one step cleanser. They are often highly scented (a real issue for those with eczema or sensitive skin), leave a residue and can contain formaldehyde releasing chemicals causing contact allergies. These chemicals include things like 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol….so what should you take from this? Use a micellar water or cleanser to remove make up and then cleanse or if you do use make up wipes rinse with water and then cleanse.
- Price. You do not need to spend large amounts of money to create fantastic results. Be realistic with your skincare budget. You want products that you will buy again and again not one off spends which can create skin chaos. Which brings me to my next tip…
- Routine. Be realistic with how long you plan to spend applying products. Your products should fit your lifestyle. This way you will be more likely to stick to your routine and see results. For me it as equally as important to know when, and how skincare products should be applied. I advise applying your products at night time (if you’re a shift worker this is whenever you go for your main sleep). This gives your skin time to absorb your products while it repairs and regenerates.
- Toner. You might notice the absence of toner from my routine below. Toner should really be reserved for oily skin were large pores are a concern. If you decide to gone be careful when choosing a product. Toners are often alcohol based which can strip and irritate the skin.
Below are my personal favourites with an example of a quick routine and some extra add ones if you can find the time once or twice a week.
In the morning cleanse (I use the Avene cold cream cleansing bar) and apply spf50 (La Roche is my favourite). In the evening remove makeup (I use bioderma), then cleanse, apply a serum specific to your skin concern (eg ageing, pigmentation, dry skin) and finish by moisturising.
On less frenzied evenings try to add in a once weekly exfoliation. If skin is very dry try a mask such as Avene’s hydrating mask or add a few drops of a moisturising oil like the Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse to your regular moisturiser.
Oily blemish prone skin should follow a regular routine including moisturisation (don’t be tempted to strip your skin of moisture) but consider an acne specific range such as Avene Cleanance-the mask and cleanser are excellent.