As an adult I still struggle with pimples. All kinds too. The little white heads that are so satisfying to pop (even though I know you shouldn’t), the deep embedded cysts (that add another feature to your face for days) or the black heads that seem to keep coming back.
My skin produces a lot of oil, yet if I don’t moisturise well I very easily develop fine lines and dry patches.
My skin has felt like an ever changing puzzle that keeps on moving the answer whenever I’m close. These are the things I’m so glad I’ve figured out.
Eliminate Any Ingredients That Actively Damage Your Skin
There are an endless amount of ingredients that we’re told we should avoid. Not only are we told by dermatologists, we’re told by family and we’re also told by companies selling their own products. Regardless of who told you, if you’re paying money to keep your skin youthful, blemish free and radiant then why pay for ingredients that will do the opposite?
If you break out directly after using a product, don’t think you used it wrong. Don’t think it’s not possible for the product to be the culprit, because it’s been ‘dermatologistically’ tested and formulated to be ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘won’t clog pores.’ Did you know that there are no approved or regulated standards for those claims anywhere in the world?
Everyone is different and so are their tolerances for ingredients or different formulas. This includes any ingredient, even ones that are touted as natural. Thicker, creamier products also have the potential to block your pores. Some peoples’ skin can’t tolerate coconut oil. Some find that cinnamon burns their skin similar to a chemical burn. I find that using any type of thick sunscreen on my face breaks me out, so I’m still hunting for that perfect one.
Experiment with your skin and don’t feel ashamed that something didn’t work for you, even if it seems to work for everyone else.
Here is a short list of ingredients I never put on my face to lessen the risk of breakouts:
- Bismuth Oxychloride
- SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate)
- Coconut Oil
- Shea Butter
- Hydrogenated vegetable oils
- Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate
Use Active Ingredients
Water is often the first ingredient listed. This means that the product has a high concentration of … WATER! It has no benefits for your skin, especially filtered water (which it has to be, to ensure there is no bacterica present). This also means that some of the other ingredients included are there to create the illusion of a creamy, nutrient rich formula. They also don’t have true anti-aging benefits and if they are synthetic and harsh, they can damage it instead.
There are plenty of potent, ingredients that actively nourish your skin. If you find an oil that works for your skin, then guess what? You can use it for not only moisturizing, but cleansing as well. Diluted apple cider vinegar can be used as a toner. Some fruits and vegetables can be used as face masks. The possibilities are endless.
For products that are already formulated for you, there are hundreds if not thousands of companies that are formulating potent, active and clean skincare. I just recently found Claribel Skincare. Their products include active ingredients such as: Aloe, hyaluronic acid, rosehip oil and botanical extracts.
Don’t Use One product For All Concerns
Of course you don’t want to end up with hundreds of different products that force your routine to take all night, but don’t always expect one product to do all. At the moment, I alternate each night with using a lightening lotion and then I use an extremely moisturizing balm the next night.
Don’t Forget Your Neck!
Who never moisturizes their neck? Me! Up until this year, I never paid any attention to my neck. People say your eyes are the big give away to age, but really the neck should be. It often misses out on sunscreen and anti-aging care, because we’re focused on our faces. I just massage any excess product left on my fingers, all the way down my neck.
Don’t Apply Your Skincare Just Before Going To Bed
In the morning you’re supposed to let your moisturizer sink in before you apply your foundation. Why wouldn’t you let your moisturizer sink in before you lay down to sleep? Your face rubs against the pillow and if it hasn’t had time to absorb, then it can be rubbed off, wasting product and effort.
Keep Makeup Ingredients as Clean as Your Skincare
So if you’ve tweaked your skincare, then why wouldn’t you do the same for your makeup? Makeup sits on your face for most of the day. Your skin needs to breathe and sweat through it, so make sure it can. I made my own mineral makeup because it suits my oily skin and it has minimal ingredients. There are hundreds of mineral makeup companies that can cater to your own needs.
Cleaning Your face Shouldn’t be a Lazy Afterthought.
Not only have you been wearing makeup all day, but your face is exposed to wind, pollution, pollen, dirt and sun. You don’t put makeup on dirty skin, so why would you put skincare on dirty skin?
Putting makeup on in the morning is more than a habit now. I had to change the notion that taking it off was a chore. Now at night, I spend more time taking it off and making sure it is all off. I also do exfoliation and peels at night time too.
Instead of waiting until just before I go to bed, I try to do it as soon as I know I don’t have to do anything else that night. This also gives my skincare more time for it to sink in before I lie down to sleep.
Don’t underestimate what foods you eat and their ability to affect your entire body. When I cleaned up my diet, my skin also cleared up. Personally I have found that sugar and hydrogenated oils wreck havoc on not only my digestion but also my skin.
Hormones influence pretty much all your body functions. This includes sebum production and an excess in sebum creates havoc for your skin.
Ideally, you would gain all the nutrients you need from your diet. This isn’t always the case, so I balance my hormones by using herbs and natural supplements. I would recommend seeing an expert you trust, as hormones are difficult to balance. If you address one, you actually need to address them all.
Also, remember that stress dramatically increases cortisol in your system, which also leads to hormone imbalance. Chronic stress, which has become a norm for many people can lead to sleep problems, a depressed immune response, blood sugar abnormalities and weight gain.
Exercise to Encourage Blood and Oxygen Flow
We’re always told the health benefits of exercising, so we should all know this one. Did you know though, that increased blood flow can speed up wound healing? This is especially useful for skin that has been damaged (such as acne scars). If you can’t exercise, or want to target a specific area, then heat compresses can help.
Sunscreen and Sun Protection
If the sun doesn’t have the chance to damage your skin, then you’ll have less concerns to address. Using a sunscreen is always advised, but I find covering up more effective. You only need sun exposure for 10 minutes a day and I avoid the sun when I can during peak hours (10am – 2pm)
Start an Anti-Aging Skincare Regime Before You Think Need It
You might think that your skin doesn’t need care when it’s young and supple, but wrinkles and sun damage always starts small and before you know it, you’re scrambling to reverse it. Keep the damage to a minimum with your favourite, daily skincare regime.
Even though I have oily skin, it still drys out extremely easily. This is one of the reasons I use such a heavy balm at night time, when my skin can repair and I don’t need to sweat through it.
I really like the Tighten and Lighten Concentrate for my under eye area.
I’m also developing a slight sun spot on my forehead from incidental sun exposure, so before it’s too dark I’ve started using the Arbutin and Lemon Peel Lightening Serum.
Share your skincare secrets in the comments section. What’s something you wish you figured out earlier? Do you have favourite products or tools that you can’t live without?