My Secret to Healthy, Happy Skin: Learn To Understand What Your Skin is Asking For

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It is so much easier said than done, and as I write this post I am not quite sure how I am going to get my message across. Either way, I hope this makes a teensy bit of a difference to you and your skin knowledge.
In a nutshell I don't feel there is a set routine that everyone should be sticking to day-in and day-out as our skins are constantly changing. My skin can go from oily and problematic to flawless and combination/dry in one month, easily! That's what hormones will do to you! This is the reason why we all need to learn more about our skin and what it's trying to tell us; then treat it accordingly. So on your pre-period days when your skin is oilier, more blotchy and perhaps breaking out then your usual wintery cleansing balm might not be what your skin needs and your rich night oil that you lather on every night might be adding fuel to the fire.

Now, I understand that I studied this stuff so have a good understanding for the skin and how it works, however, I truly feel that we all *should* spend enough time on our skin on a daily basis thus should have a better understanding of it than anyone else. You have to observe your skin on a daily basis, it;s always changing. This is why I find it so annoying when a random sales lady starts advising me on my skin whilst I stand on the shop floor with a full-face of make-up on. You know your skin best, it's just about understanding what it's telling you.

Now this is obviously more complex than these simple headings below, but if I were to get into every condition we would be here for days. This also isn't as straight forward as I may be making out but tailoring your skincare according to how your skin feels that day might be all the change you need.

Last point to cover is that I am by no means saying you now need to head out and purchase 4 different cleansers and 5 different moisturisers but us girls usually have a few options on our bathroom counter so I will incorporate product recommendations too. Use it, don;t use it:

Exhausted Skin

What does this look like?
Generally any flaws in your skin will be accentuated when you are lacking in sleep. You might see break-outs, dry patched and lack of glow - basically you just look really aged and worse for wear!
So, what should you do?
Start your day off with a invigorating cleanse (think scrub-like or a balm) and use deep massaging techniques on the face, this will help blood flow which works wonders for dull skin. Remove your cleanser with a warm face cloth until your face is squeaky clean and then finish off with a cold compress - this also helps circulation.
On days like this your skin needs a quick pick-me-up - Clarins Beauty Flash Balm is a great moisturiser to have and acts as the ultimate primer giving you a radiant glow. An uplifting facial mist can be kept in the fridge and spirtzed on the face for added moisture. I love Dermalogica's Anti-Oxidant HydraMist. Check out Lisa Eldrige's video below, it gives some great tips:

Angry Skin

What does this look like?
This is when your skin is breaking out and not for hormonal reasons. This breakouts are all over and your skin is just generally looking congested with small bumps underneath the skin.
So, what should you do?
Well this is never going to disappear over-night but I do have a few ways you can try and calm this type of skin down and prevent further breakouts. Firstly, keep your skin as clean as possible so minimal make-up (even though you feel like applying 10 pumps of foundation!) and remove any make up you do have on as soon as you get home! Whatever you do, make sure your face is super clean! I like using a light, gentle face wash like the REN EverCalm face wash with a clean, cool face cloth. In the evenings I tend to avoid my usual thick balms, oils and creams and opt for a super-lite serum or just a spot treatment - let the skin breathe and touch it as seldom as possible! If you can find time, I deep cleansing clay mask should be applied, left on for a good 20 minutes and removed - do this twice each week until things are back to normal. I love REN Clarity Restorative Mask.

PMS Skin

What does this look like?
My skin might differ to yours in the lead up to my period but I get much oilier and get the odd deep blind pimple on my jaw-line area. My skin is also a little more flushed than usual.
So, what should you do?
Skincare wise I don't change things up too much during this time. I swap out my richer moisturiser for something more gel-based and keep this very minimal. I use my beloved Darphin anti-redness balm during this time which I love and helps with my flushed skin. When applying make-up I opt a primer than has a matifying effect. I certainly don't normally have an oily skin, but my T-Zone area looks pretty oily some midday at this time of the month. The below primer and anti-redness base is a lifesaver - it is very green (which combats redness) so use a teensy amount. It helps with excessive oil too. I only use this if I am heading somewhere where I actually bother with my make-up, so not every day. Oh, it's also cheap as chips, R69.95 at Clicks. Thank me later :)

Dull & Sallow Skin

What does this look like?
You know when you are just generally feeling flat and bleh? Well, this is generally also going to be reflected in your skin. You look dull, probably haven't seen sunshine in a while, have maybe been travelling quite a bit (aeroplanes = skin hell) and are feeling rather stressed.
So, what should you do?
This is usually pretty fixable and you have no idea what a difference your will see if you set aside an hour or so to fixing it up, you can do it faster the point here is try and relax a bit. I usually opt for a bath when my skin is looking like this and I am feeling the same way - a bath oil or Lush bath bomb always helps too. Start by cleansing the skin with a active cleanser that assists with exfoliating - Prevage's Anti-Aging Treatment Boosting Cleanser is divine, I'm on my second one just save it for days like this, it's not for daily use. Once the skin is cleansed thoroughly pop on a deep cleansing mask - something clay based to remove any gunk! Keep this on for 10/15 minutes remove it and apply a thin layer of your favourite serum (Estee Lauder Advanced Recovery Concentrate works well). Once this has sunk in, apply a moisturising mask that you can keep on through the night. Antipodes Honey Manuka Mask is my best :) In the morning you can remove the mask with a warm face cloth then carry on as normal - your skin should be soft, supple and calm!

Thirsty Skin

What does this look like?
If you skin is just looking dry all over then follow the above steps for Dull & Sallow Skin or Exhausted Skin. When I say Thirsty Skin I am talking really dry patches around the mouth and nose area - flakey bits of skin than are red and itchy. Wearing make up with this type of skin is basically impossible!
So, what should you do?
Even though a balm cleanser seem liek the obvious choice here, I prefer a gel and a very light one, the REN HydraCalm mentioned before is my best, remove this with your face cloth which you can use to gently buff these areas to remove flakey bits. I then forego any masks or active treatments as this skin is usually a bit raw and super-sensitive so any active ingredients sting and cause more redness. I apply this Skin Barrier Repair Cream from the pharmacy, nothing glamorous but works brilliantly. It's a thick balm which I warm up between my fingers and apply a good amount to the effected areas. That's all, keep it simple when your skin is like this. Oh, and drink all the water in the world!

Hope that helps. More than anything, take time to really look at your skin before you just go with your usual daily routine. You need to be able to give your skin what it needs and throw things up a bit sometimes to address your skins changes as well as the usual seasonal changes.

Shout if you have any questions or if you have a skin concern I didn't answer :)