Have you ever baked a cake? If so, you’ll realise that most cake-making starts with the basics like
cream butter and sugar
Then you get to add the other stuff that makes this particular cake what it is - maybe the zest of a lemon, or carrots or maybe bananas or maybe my favourite -cocoa.
But you have to start with the basics before you can add the special touches. Otherwise it just doesn’t work.
Skincare - like baking a cake?
I believe that skincare is a bit the same as baking a cake - you need to get the basics right first. But that’s not where most people start and actually there are a couple of basic skincare mistakes that are quite common.
Navigating the marketing hype
I used to get caught up in trying to sort out my skin issues before I had the basics sorted. And honestly, I was most often totally confused and unsure of what I needed.
We’re fed so much hype and marketing on what we have to do for this or that problem. And every season, if not more often, there’s a certain flavour that we need to be incorporating into our regime. Just when we’d got used to the last ‘big thing’
Do you ever feel so confused that you don’t even bother any more?
I mean, how do you navigate the information overload ?
Is it AHA’s or is it ceramides this month?
Do I want a moisturiser that is oil or water based?
Is Vitamin E or collagen the big story this month?
What I’ve learned is - don’t even consider these questions until you have the basics right.
So, what are the common skincare mistakes most people make?
Many people use soaps which are alkaline and so strip the natural acid layer (called the acid mantle) off the surface of the skin which leads to drier, more sensitive skin that is prone to breakouts
Most products have mineral oils as fillers and mineral oils form a barrier on the skin surface. That’s why they are so good at limiting water loss from the skin, but they do not add hydration to the skin and as you get older, your skin dehydrates so you need rehydration
Many people fail to protect themselves from sun damage which has an ageing effect on the cells via free radicals which are increased by UV radiation.
Getting the basic recipe right
Before spending money on serums and expensive skin treatments, make sure you have the basics right and you’re not making a key mistake.
If you don’t get the basics right, you will be wasting your money on other treatments. This is especially true as you get older
I’m going to break the basics down into
If my oven is dirty, I get an alkaline cleaner to strip away all the grease and grime. It works.
The majority of cleansers for our skin that are on the market are alkaline and they too will strip the grease and grime from our skin but at a cost.
Our skin has an acid mantle for a reason - it’s to provide protection. Why strip that away when we clean our skin? It doesn’t make sense.
So, if you don’t want to dry our your skin and make it more sensitive (which is going to be a big problem if you already have sensitive skin), look for cleansers that are pH balanced. That means they have a pH similar to the skin (about 5)
Don’t be fooled by products that say they are pH neutral - that is a pH of 7 and still higher than our natural skin pH.
You can easily test your cleanser out with litmus paper if you want to be sure.
All the cleansers I recommend are pH balanced.
As mentioned most moisturisers on the market are filled with mineral oil which will form a barrier on the skin.
This barrier has draw backs
you will be more prone to breakouts as the body can’t naturally get rid of sebum when there is a barrier on the skin
as you get older, the skin gets dehydrated and mineral oil won’t rehydrate your skin
So, avoid buying products with mineral oil (or its cousin, petrolatum) that will not help ageing skin return to baby-like plumpness.
The body has its own moisturisers and they are humectants. Humectants are substances that can absorb water in from outside so they have the ability to rehydrate and plump up dehydrated cells.
As we age, the natural humectants on our skin decline but we can boost them by using products that contain humectants.
Look for products that have
Na PCA - sodium pyrrilodone carboxylic acid
The best way to prevent premature ageing is to prevent sun damage to your skin and particularly to your face, neck and decolletage.
So wear a hat, wear sunscreen and be sunwise.
You can also make sure you have anti-oxidants in your skincare products as they can counter the free radical damage that sun causes.
Anti-oxidants in your skincare not only repair sun damage, but they reduce the appearance of fine lines, help the appearance of scars, are anti-inflammatory and firm the skin, so there’s very good reason to have them in your daily regime.
Look for products with anti-oxidants, such as
Vitamin C - but beware, you need active Vitamin C in your products and many products claiming to contain Vitamin C do not actually have the active ingredient. It is also known as ascorbic acid
Vitamin E - also known as Tocopherol
Vitamin A - also known as retinol
Green tea - from the plant Camellia sinensis
Resservatrol - the anti-oxidant found in the skins of grapes
And, here’s a tip for you - choose products that have more than one anti-oxidant. They love working together
I hope this has been of help. Stay tuned for how you deal with specific issues.
For recommendations on products that fulfill all these basic criteria, see the person who sent you to this page or contact me