Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Best Skincare Tips I've Ever Learned - The Practical

I think about skincare a lot. I read about it, watch videos about it and, when I'm indulged, talk about it ad nauseam. In fact, I recently went into a store to restock on toner and sunscreen and ended up chatting to one of the women working there about skincare for over an hour and a half. I'm not even exaggerating.

As a result of all this thought and research, I've come across some skincare tips and tricks that have really helped me and that I stand by. I thought it would only be fair to share in the knowledge. Here are the best skincare tips I've ever learned.

1. Commit to Sunscreen.

No matter how often I say this, most Irish women laugh me off, even women who are reasonable, even women who wear sunscreen on holidays and rarely let themselves get burned: sunscreen must be worn every single day. Every. Single. Day. 

Your skin may look fine now but, I promise you, it will remember how you treat it. Damage is happening whenever sun touches unprotected skin. Even through glass. Even if it is cloudy outside. Start protecting it now because I wear factor 50 every day and scans I had done at an event showed I had damage. You can only imagine how unprotected skin is faring. Plus, this isn't just a cosmetic thing, it is a health issue as well. Aging isn't fun but skin cancer is far worse.

2. No towels.

Another thing I get looked at like I'm crazy for: I do ever not use towels on my face any more. Ever. First of all, if you have to use them, make sure to pat not rub. The fibres are coarse in a towel and rubbing against the skin can cause damage, even if you can't see it. The skin on your face is delicate and needs to be treated as such. But I forgo using towels at all and, instead, carefully pat my face dry with cotton pads, avoiding any germy little camps that might develop even on supposedly clean towels.

3. Toner.

"What is toner? Why do I even need it? It's just another step."

These are things I often read and hear people saying and I used to be confused about it myself. Toner is basically used to rebalance the Ph of the skin after it has been cleansed and, often, is the first step in ensuring the skin is rehydrated. Avoid any toner with alcohol as this dries out the skin and is too harsh and be sure to apply as soon as possible after cleansing so that the skin isn't left thirsty for too long (it doesn't like that). Some people say that there's a 3-5 second window to do this but introducing any uber-stressful limitations on your skincare routine is likely to be more of a hindrance than a help.

4. The power of Massage.

Just slapping on products is a waste. A big tenet of Asian skincare is massaging products in, in order to increase bloodflow and relieve tension. I can say, personally, as possibly the tensest person in existence; massaging my skincare across my forehead helps ease the expression lines that crop up after a long day. Just remember to make sure your hands aren't completely dry when doing this, as you will drag the skin. Only massage when your hands are amply coated in a serum, cream or oil.

5. Don't forget to Exfoliate.

Exfoliating 2-3 times a week is a necessity for keeping the skin clear and smooth. However, do bear in mind that exfoliating should not be a daily thing (daily exfoliating face washes are the devil incarnate), should be done with a gentle chemical exfoliant rather than a super-gritty physical exfoliator and should never be done with washes with microbeads (also the devil incarnate - in this case, bent on ruining the planet).

These are the practical tips I've gleaned over the years but I've also gained a sort of philosophy and outlook on skincare and the idea of "perfection" that has been just as helpful in creating an effective and healthy routine for myself and my skin. This, I think, deserves its own post and the space necessary to properly elaborate on my thoughts. Look out for my second post in this series to read all about, perhaps, the greatest skincare tip of all that I have to offer.




(Some of my all-time favourite products)


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