As a teenager, I thought that what happened as you got older was that your skin ‘grew up’ – it wouldn’t have spots, wouldn’t be greasy and would sit there happily looking good until it started to get wrinkles – nothing to worry about in between at all! Yeah, about that…. I feel like the older you get the more your skin reacts to day to day things, and the more you have to learn to react to whatever your skin is reacting to – but there are many things you can do to keep on top of things and have the closest to a glowing complexion that you can.
A couple of caveats before I start – firstly, my skin is not 100% ‘glowing’ at the moment so this is as much a reminder of what I should be doing as it is to help anyone else! And secondly, what I’m about to talk about is unlikely to provide any type of miracle cure if what’s actually going on with your skin is adult acne, rosacea, anything hormonal etc – it may help but you should really talk to your doctor or dermatologist.
Turn wine into water
Sad but true, alcohol will do nothing nice to your skin – it will leave it duller and more dehydrated (and drinking more of it will make you less likely to take your makeup off, and more likely to eat crap). Water will do the opposite – simple!
Eat the good stuff
Your skin likes to be fed nutrients and minerals – if you eat lots of chocolate and pizza it will show you that it’s not happy with that (this is what I need to remember!!), if you eat lots of nice multicoloured fruit and veg (all the green things, all the antioxidants), it will develop far better behaviour.
More things that your skin likes – sweating out the toxins and lots of oxygenated blood pumping round. I.e. what happens when you get a bit of cardio going on. If you do things that are good for your body overall, chances are that this will be reflected in your skin.
Ok, we’ve dealt with the water, but make sure you’re keeping your skin hydrated with the right products (serums, oils, day and night creams, cleansers…) – for the extra boost look for hyaluronic acid or glycerin. And remember that moisture isn’t just for dry skin – you can be oily and dehydrated, and in fact the dehydration will be making you more oily as the skin tricks itself to produce more oil in response!
To smooth and prep, ensuring you have the best possible base for anything else you’re layering on top to work its magic. Work out what works for you – I use a mix of abrasive exfoliants and acids to smooth and clear my skin, some people will react better to just one type.
Acids are your friends
They really are! If you’ve not knowingly used acids on your skin before it can sound like a dangerous idea/a shortcut to a red and peeling face, but it’s highly unlikely to be the case (if you have sensitive skin always test first). Most acids are naturally occurring – some even in the skin itself (see hyaluronic acid above – products with this in just give an extra boost to what’s already there). To clear, exfoliate and boost radiance, look for lactic, glycolic and salicylic acids – most products will have a far lower dose on than a salon would use, but will give you a bit of the effect of a facial at home.
Cleanse, and cleanse again
I love cleansing! I sit on the tube on the way home thinking about how good it will feel when everything from the day has been cleaned from my skin and it’s all fresh and ready for night treatments, and even on nights where I stumble in at 4am with a vague memory of sambuca I will still head straight to the sink & my beloved Organic Pharmacy cleanser. While it’s not quite necessary to reach my levels of obsession, proper cleansing is essential if you want your skin to be the best it can. Unless it is an emergency situation, this never ever means giving a quick swipe with a face wipe. Use a proper cleanser (find one which works for your skin – check out Caroline Hirons’ blog & Sali Hughes’ Guardian columns for some starting points – on everything really, not just cleansers), massage in and remove with a hot flannel or muslin cloth. If you’ve been wearing makeup and/or sunscreen, double cleanse in the evening – the first to remove the products, the second to fully cleanse and get the benefit of the active ingredients in your cleanser. And yes, you do need to cleanse in the morning – getting rid of sweat, dead skin cells etc from overnight and making your skin nicely prepped for whatever products you’re about to use.
Is there anything here that’s new to you? What’s your #1 basic tip for glowing skin?