Sleep

  

The skin’s functions follow 24-hour cycles called circadian rhythms. During the day, the skin defends itself against environmental aggressors;wind, sun, cold and pollution. At night it focuses on regeneration in preparation for the next day.  Overnight four important events take place, skin renewal, cell differentiation, microcirculation & restoration of the barrier function.  Studies have shown that the number of cell divisions reaches a maximum between midnight and 1am, and a minimum in the day between 12pm and 1pm. This change demonstrates that cell regeneration is much higher at night than during the day.  This is why I recommend that you practice a nighttime skin care regime; cleansing the skin, applying a good serum and night cream will allow your skin to have time to take in any active ingredients and regenerate. In the morning it is sufficient to cleanse, and apply a moisturising sun block.

Irregular or poor sleep quality can disrupt the balance of our circadian rhythms, resulting in drawn features, a dull complexion and uneven skin tone.   Busy lives, stress, shift work and family can all impact on our quality of sleep.   To make the most of your sleep establish a routine no matter what time you sleep at. If you are a shift worker do this routine when you come in from work before you sleep.

To improve your chances of sleeping avoid smartphone and tablet screens before bed, the blue light they emit has been proven to disrupt sleep.

Avoid stimulants from 5pm (or 5am if working overnight).

Relax!  Get into the habit of incorporating relaxation into your nightly routine.  Even 15 minutes of reading a book, having a bath, lighting a scented candle, practicing deep breathing or yoga can help you wind down and ensure you sleep well.   The reason we include candles in all of our our skincare boxes is that we really believe in this. By making your bedtime routine relaxing and enjoyable you will be more likely to stick with it and notice a real difference.

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❄️ Winter Woes ❄️

Humidity levels fall both indoors and outdoors in winter causing the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) to dry out. This can create tight, dry, red, sore skin with breakouts or flare ups of existing skin diseases such as eczema. Add in extremes of heat from central heating and the blustery outdoors and you have a recipe for some serious skin woes.  Here are some LOVESKIN tips to protect your skin this winter.

Exfoliate! You may find that your skin becomes patchy in this weather. Exfoliation will help to even out your skins texture and allow you moisturiser to be fully absorbed. Be very gentle when you exfoliate and do this once a week not as part of your daily routine. Avene have a gentle exfoliator which will suit even sensitive skin, but you can also try a small amount of honey and sugar mixed together. Gently work your exfoliator in circles on your face avoiding the eye area, rinse and pat dry. While the skin is still damp spray on a fine mist of Avene Eau Thermale spray and pat dry. I was initially quite sceptical about spraying Eau Thermale on my face but it seems to be incredibly soothing and is now part of my daily routine.

Moisturise. Once you have exfoliated it’s time to moisturise. If you have prescribed emollient or cream from your doctor make sure you stick with this throughout winter. Many people stop using their emollients as they find them greasy and cosmetically unappealing. If this is the case try applying it at night. For everyone else stick with your favourite moisturiser. Make sure your moisturiser is non-comedogenic to prevent blocked pores.

Serum. If your main skin concern is dryness change your serum to a product which focuses on hydration such as Avene Hydrance Optimal serum or La Roche Hydrphase Intense Serum. Apply this after cleansing and before you apply your nightly moisturiser.

Soothing mask. If dry skin is a problem for you use a once weekly mask such as Avene’s soothing moisture mask – apply to the face for 10-15 minutes and then blot off the excess cream.   

  
Oil….This makes a lot of people nervous as they associate oil with acne but trust me on this one. There are so many uses for a good skin oil. It can be applied directly to the skin (if my skin is very dry I apply the oil to my hands and pat over my nightly moisturiser), mixed into your moisturiser to boost its hydration (2-3 drops is sufficient), or added to the bath. I use Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse of almond oil (make sure it’s a facial oil and not a concentrate).

Don’t forget your lips and hands! I recommend Nuxe reve de miel lip balm. Carry hand cream and lip balm in your bag to apply throughout the day.

To make the above easier our Winter Skin and Party Skin boxes combine our top products to keep your skin winter ready.

Simple Skincare Routine

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.