Acid toner anyone?

I can’t deny it I use acid toners of differing strengths and types every day.  Apart from cleansing it is the one step that I think can make the most dramatic difference to your skin’s appearance and texture plus you will not end up with a salami face - promise!

 

Acid toners or pre-soaked acid pads will do more for your skin than any manual exfoliant can do.  So which type is best for you and AHA or a BHA and what is the difference?

AHA’s
Alpha-hydroxy acids are in the most basic of terms exfoliants.  They slough off the dead skin cells that allow and promote the growth and visibility of new skills.  

With the smallest molecular size these work deep under the skin and help improve fine lines and dullness.  The two most common are

•    Glycolic – good for resurfacing and boosts collagen production
•    Lactic – Good for resurfacing and dehydrated/dry skin

BHA’s
If you have oily or blemish prone skin then AHA’s are going to get you the best results.  It’s larger molecular size limits its penetration into the skin which allows the acid to get to work unclogging pores and regulating the production of sebum on the surface of the skin.    

The most common BHA is salicylic acid which is not only great at dealing with acne prone skin but is surprisingly gentle and good for calming stressed skin.

If you want to find out more about acid toners, how to use them or to find ou which one is right for you then please get in touch.

Bow at the feet of retinol.

So unless you have been living under a rock you will have by now fully embraced the use of retinol products or at least will have hear murmurings about this skincare heavy weight.  If you want to avoid dull, dusty, Miss Havisham territory you need to get on it.

What is Retinol?
Retinol is a derivative of vitmain A and has been used in skincare products since the 1970’s.  However, it hasn’t been until recently that more “user-friendly” products that are sold over the counter have become widely available. 

What does it actually do?
Retinol acts directly on the DNA in skin cells and boost cell function that tend so slow down once we hit 30.  They increase cell turnover which enhances radiance as well as thickening the second layer of the epidermis which makes the skin look firmer.

But the good stuff doesn’t stop there…..!  Retinol also boosts the production of collagen and prevent it’s breakdown, help skin hold hydration and help balance oil production.  

It is basically the holy grail of skincare.

How do I apply a retinol product?
Different brands will give you different instructions but a few key things to remember are:

•    Retinols go onto the skin after cleansing and toning
•    You can use other products but these should go on afterwards
•    Don’t apply a lot – a little goes a long way.  Save your pennies.
•    Don’t expect overnight results – there is scientific evidence to suggest it can take up to 12 weeks to see a difference
•    Don’t use them every night – take it easy!  I would suggest twice a week to start.

So in summary if you are over 30 and are not yet using a retinol product I suggest you get your paws on one ASAP!  If you have any questions about retinol, what it does, how to use it, what to expect then please get in touch.

Repeat after me..... I will not pick (in the wrong way)

So my official line on spots is DO NOT PICK at them.  However, I know that I don’t get listened to and to be fair sometimes I ignore that annoying voice in my own head when armed with a spare 10mins and my magnifying mirror.

Lets imagine shall we that you notice a red lump on your skin that is painful.  You think, "I’ll be able to pop this and it will be sooooo satisfying".  You then attack with dirty nails usually in your bathroom at work with no result apart from blood and perhaps some “skin juice”.  These spots will never result in that satisfying pop you get from a white head that is ready.  Instead you damage the skin all around and spread infection through both your fingers and also under the skin.  Lovely.

With a little patience that lump will disappear or come to the surface where you can deal with it (without the crying and wailing).  So lets imagine a different scenario…..you have a spot that is ready to go!  It is no longer painful and has a head on it.  What should you do? At this point i turn my attention to Caroline Hirons and "her" way to pop a spot.  So here is my summary of thoughts......

Firstly clean everything!  Make sure your skin has been thoroughly cleaned and so have your hands.  Get your hands on some clean tissues, acid, and a good quality natural facial oil. 

1.    take the tissue, rip it in half and wrap around the forefinger of each hand.  This means you can’t use your nails and you are extra clean.

2.    Put your fingers either side of the spot gently push downwards and then at a 90 degree angle towards the bottom the spot, start to push upwards. If it's ready, it will come up and out. Gently repeat. When the white stops, you should stop. If nothing is happening then stop.  If there is blood and your eyes have started to water.  STOP.

3.    Take your acid toner and apply using a cotton pad.  Hold it on for a few seconds..  Even if it stings.  Apply pressure don’t be too wimpy about it.

4.    Now this is the point when I know I’m going to lose some of you.  I am about to tell you to massage facial oil all over the spot.  Yes, oil.  Skin that is nourished is harder to scar.  Also with the pressure of squeezing there is a chance you will have caused damage to the surrounding area.  Drying out products should only be used in an emergency.  I only ever use drying out products if there is no other option – for a bride the day before her wedding for example!

So there you have it!  If you have to pop then make sure it is something worthwhile – as we all know there is nothing more satisfying.  If you can leave it then all the better plus you are clearly a more disciplined human than most.

 

 

How often should I get a facial?

How often you get a facial depends on lots of different factors.  What condition is your skin in?  Are you trying to solve a particular issue or problem?  Do you have a special occasion coming up?  And lest we forget how much money you have to spend on self care.

Life cycle of a facial.jpg

For most people who are trying to maintain healthy skin then a safe bet is somewhere between every 4-6 weeks.  This is because your skin cells regenerate and shed (gross) in this time frame. Making sure you receive professional facials every 28-48 days means that any build up will be removed and your skin will be in the best condition possible.  

If you have a special event or a particular problem then you might want to think about coming more frequently.  

If you would like to find out more or would like to book your next appointment then please get in touch.

What products go where? Simple skincare routine.

So you think it doesn’t matter what order you put on your products … right?

Wrong. Oh, so wrong. 

Believe it or not there is actually science backing up the proper order in which to use your skincare products and how to make them more effective.  In simple terms this means that products should be applied based on their consistency.  Thin products first, and then heavier or thicker ones on top.  

Doing it this way means that you allow the active ingredients in each product to full absorb into the skin rather than just sitting on top.

A simple routine would look like this….

Step one - Cleanse
Start with a good cleansing oil or balm.  
Once in the morning and twice/double cleanse in the evening.  Thoroughly cleansing the skin prepares your skin to receive and makes your products much more efficient.

Step two - Toner/Acid
Gone are the days of alcohol based toners (put them down!!!!).  I am a huge fan of the new wave of toners that include acids (but not a terrifying kind).  These help lift skin cells off, brightening the skin.  They are also fantastic for those with breakouts, helping regulate oil production etc.  I'll post something soon on the benefits of each type of acid.  

Step three - Serum
Serums are usually usually the lightest/thinnest formulation and so should be the first thing you put on your face.  Serums are amazing.  I love them a bit too much to be honest. Serums generally need to be placed onto the skin rather than massaged in and as they are water based they work quickly – so should you to get them applied across your face and neck in quick time.

Step four – Oil
Oils are heavenly, fact.  Do not fall for the old wives tale about oily skin needing oil-free products.  If your skin is oily and you deprive (or worse remove) the oil from your face/routine your skin will over compensate and produce more.  There are lots of oils out there, ther will be one to treat your specific skincare requirements.  Always look for something natural base.  

Step five - Moisturiser (if you need it)
This is the stage when you should be feeling your skin to see if your product as been absorbed.  If it feels like it needs a little more then apply your moisturizer.  I have very dehydrated and dry skin, so I tend use moisturizer on top of oil at night, so that my skin doesn’t feel tight in the morning.  

Now as I said this is a simple routine and doesn’t include other things like retinols, treatments, eye creams etc.  If you have any questions then feel free to get in touch.

 

Here comes the bride.

So you have had all the excitement of the proposal and drank champagne like you are Marie Antoinette.

You may have already have purchased your wedding organiser or you may be taking a slightly more relaxed approach to planning your big day.

You might be having a country church wedding, outside or registry office but one thing is for sure.  You want to make sure that on the big day that you are glowing.  Not just so you look all glow-y and bridal to your guests but because you are going to have a photographer getting up close and personal at your face.  There is no space here for dry patches, dullness, spots, wrinkles. No room AT ALL.

So what do you do about it?  

My advice would be to start early on getting a skincare routine organised and see a professional about what your main concerns and aims are.  

A series of bespoke facials are key here.  I know I would say that, but really this will make a huge difference to your skin.  I suggest that you look at starting to address any skincare issues at least 4 months in advance, 6 months if you can afford it.

Try to fit in 1 facial every 4-6 weeks so that you are working with the skins natural renewal process.  Then have a luxury facial 5 days before the wedding itself.  Something that includes plenty of massage, masks, serums and moisturiser to get your skin plump, bouncy and radiant.  Avoid too much steam or extractions, this is not the time to pick!

Please please please do not try anything new on your face or involve machinery close to your wedding.  Skin really can by huffy and doesn’t like change.  You don’t want to be walking down the aisle with a big red face.

If you are getting married and what to discuss how to get your skin in the most optimum condition or want to find out more about the bridal packages I offer, then please get in touch

Let's talk about hormonal skin baby (Salt'N'Pepa style)!

We all have them surging through our bodies doing a number of important jobs.  However, one thing they can do is mess with our skin.  For some people this is more significant than others, but it does happen to us all in one way or another.  There are reasons why some of us suffer more, usually due to an intolerance, but I will focus mainly on how it manifests itself in the skin and what you can do to limit its impact.

At certain stages of our lives hormones are more present than others, namely adolescence, pregnancy and during the menopause.  However, every month us woman go through huge hormone fluctuations which impact our skin and how it looks and feels.

So I’ll address each one in turn over the next few days.  First up – monthly breakouts.  

So the main reason for these breakouts is due to the impact hormones have on our sebaceous glands (oil producing glands).  About half-way through your cycle more progesterone is produced.  This means your normal sebum production is interfered with and you produce a lot more.  The other delightful thing that happens is that after the boost of progesterone decreases you can have dry patches.  Great.  

So what can you do to deal with all this hormonal turmoil?  The best way to deal with this is to tailor your skincare routine to what your hormones are doing.  Intense I know, but it can work.  More cleansing and lighter products for ½ of the month and more nutritious products in the other half.  

One other way to deal with these changes is to add certain foods to your diet, evidence on how effective this can be can be patchy, however there are certain types of food I try to include.  I'll write another post about the impact nutrition can have on your skin soon.

If you do suffer from these monthly breakouts try not to stress about it – easier said that done I know but, stress actually makes it worse.  Fact.  If you want more info (or a shoulder to cry one) then get in touch.

Check back for blog posts on teenage skin/acne, pregnancy skin and menopausal skin.  What you can expect and how to minimise it's impact.

What a moisturised pillow.

I love Stylist as much as the next girl – I really do!  However, an article about how much product you should use popped up on my Facebook feed yesterday which sort of made me cringe (sorry Stylist!). 

It is important to know how much product to use for two reasons.  One, so your product is as effective as you need it to be. Two, so you don’t wash it all down the plug hole or have a super moisturised and radiant pillow!

So I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a list of what I recommend and use myself.  So here goes…..

Cleanser
This depends on what type of cleanser you are using but, since I only recommend my clients use oil based balms that is what I’m going with!

First cleanse – 2 macadamia nut blobs
Second Cleanse – 1 macadamia nut blob

Exfoliator
If you are going for a manual exfoliator (the scrubby type) then I would suggest no more than blueberry sized blob.

If you are using an acid exfoliator/toner then get that cotton pad soaked by about ¾ and use both sides of it.  One side for your up strokes and the other to work your way back down the face and neck.  I tend to use this on my décolletage as well.  Anything to avoid the crepe chest!

Facial mist
Ok so I have to confess that I am a bit of a mist junkie.  I use them ALL the time.  My skin can dehydrate if you look at it the wrong way.  If you are new to this I would suggest a good couple of pumps/spritz.  However, you can use these throughout the day, sitting at your desk, anytime you feel you need a little boost of moisture.  Mists are particularly useful when you are flying and want to avoid leather face when you land!

Eye Cream
There is a lot chat at the moment in beauty circles about the effectiveness of eye creams.  I have to confess it is certainly not something I use religiously but I do understand for those with concerns about this are it is an essential piece of kit.  Take it easy though, 1 pine nut for both eyes is more than enough.  I’ll pull together another post on eye cream and the alternatives you can use btw. 

Serum
Serums are the most treasured part of my own personal routine.  I LOVE them.  Without them I genuinely feel sad (I know….. first world problems.  I am aware.)  I tend to use 1 pump in the morning and 2 at night.

Oil
Most oil products come with a handy pipette.  I would suggest 4 drops.  This obviously depends on whether you have a big face… (which I do btw).  What you are looking for is good coverage with a little slip (certainly no drag) but not super slick!

Moisturiser
I read the best ever analogy about moisturiser from the greatest beauty blogger I know (bow down to the legend that is Caroline Hirons!).  Oils and serums are like medicine when you are sick, moisturiser is like the duvet you wrap around yourself after you’ve taken the medicine!  I would suggest trying a 20p sized blob and see if that will cover your neck as well.  DON’T FORGET THE NECK LADIES.  If itsenough not add a 5p blob to cover your neck as well.

 

Facial massage is just face schmooshing right? WRONG.

Facial massage is one of the greatest favours you can give your skin.  Professional facial massage will have phenomenal results on your skin, no matter who you are.

Here are just a few of the reasons why after a professional facial massage you will be left with glowing skin and a sculpted face.

Relieves tension
If you are tense or stressed I can guarantee you are carrying this in your face (as well as your shoulders probably!).  This can result in wrinkles and shorter stubbier muscles in the long term.  These need to be smoothed out, stretched and relaxed.  This will give your face a smoother appearance and will minimising any fine lines or wrinkles.

Increases circulation of blood, oxygen….. and the holy grail collagen!
Massage techniques increase blood and oxygen flow which is a natural form of anti-aging skin care in itself.  Your system will carry important elements to your face that may have been sluggish before. Collagen is crucial to supple and plump skin.  It is a protein that naturally occurs in our bodies and prevents wrinkles.  It’s responsible for smoothing fine lines and makes your skin more elastic and resilient.

It’s a natural facelift
Stimulating facial muslces and stretching them encourages a more contoured facial appearance – think Kate moss cheekbones.  It helps strengthen and improve muscle memory.  With regular treatments your muscles can be lifted and toned which gives a fresher youthful appearance to your skin.

Improves the efficacy of your facial
With a higher level of blood flow and a relaxed face your products will be absorbed and worked into the facial layers more effectively.  Basically, a facial without facial massage is like .... well.... gin without tonic.  Wrong and to be honest quite unpleasant.

Improves drainage – no more dark puffy eyes
With over 300 pressure points on your face and around your eyes facial massage and lymphatic drainage can have a monumental effect on how your face looks.  Fluid will be drained away and the skin around your eyes will be lighter. The increase in blood flow helps reduce dark circles.  

What causes skin to age?

The first signs of ageing tend to appear in our mid 20s, with lines appearing around our eyes and mouth.  However, for me the biggest thing to age skin is a change in texture – that youthful glow and plumpness starts to fade……

There are many different factors that increase and can cause aging in your skin.  However, the root cause of skin aging is actually caused by cellular inflammation. We all naturally get this inflammation, particularly as we age.

You are probably going to hate me saying/typing this but lifestyle plays a huge part.  If you love sunbathing while glugging on a glass of wine your skin will age faster as they cause significant cellular inflammation. However, other factors including lack of sleep, bad weather, hormones and stress all play their part.

Try not to worry too much (it causes wrinkles don’t you know!) there are things that you can do to help prevent and reverse this inflammation.

  • Use good quality skincare that contains high levels of low molecular weight ingredients is a good place to start.  These teeny tiny molecules can pass through the layers of your skin and replace lost moisture in cells.  
  •  Clean your skin… and I mean clean.  With a hot flannel and good quality balm. I will write about this further soon.
  • Exfoliate regularly to remove the dull surface of your skin – this also increases blood flow!
  • Use products with high levels of bio-organic and anti-inflammatory ingredients will help repair damage.  Natural and essential oils are still the best way to achieve this.  Even though it sounds a bit “hand knitted”.
  • Have regular treatments that include extensive facial massage – this will have the biggest impact on your skin.  I swear you will notice a difference.

It’s really important to treat your skin with the respect it deserves.  You only get one face and spending money to maintain your skin health is a worthy investment. Good skin health can have a huge impact on how we feel about ourselves and having a glowing healthy complexion is a great place to start.