Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it is exposed to more environmental damage than any other. To protect and nourish your skin we need to feed it with a skin care regime, just as you feed the rest of your body with a diet rich in healthy foods and nutrients.
Before choosing individual products, it is important to speak with a skin therapist to establish which brands are suitable for you skin. Only products prescribed or recommended by a skin therapist contain active ingredients at high enough percentages to adequately nourish your skin and create noticeable changes.
In a basic skin care regime there are five steps that should be covered:
1. Cleanser (daily - AM/PM)
2. Exfoliant (2-3 times a week)
3. Vitamin serum (ideally AM/PM)
4. Moisturiser (daily - AM/PM)
5. Protection (sunscreen - in the morning and during the day)
Cleansing is an integral part and the first step in your skin care regime in which excess oils (sebum), dirt and makeup are removed and cell turn over/ the desquamation of dead skin cells begin. Cleanser can come in many forms such as oils, creams, gels and foams to suit specific skin types.
Dry-sensitive skins should stick with gentle cleansers that are oil based, creamy or low-foaming gels. Combination-oily skins can use most types of cleansers and can benefit from those contain low levels of AHAs similarly to problematic skins although a specific recommendation from your therapist is best.
If your skin feels uncomfortably tight post cleansing or you experience irritation, your cleanser is more than likely too harsh for your skin and is removing too much natural sebum. Use a more gentle cleanser or consult a skin therapist.
Exfoliation should occur after cleansing to further aid in cell turn over and desquamation. A younger, healthy skin has a cell turn over of approximately 28 days, where keratinocytes travel from the lower layers of the epidermis and eventually flake off at surface layer of the epidermis - the Stratum cornuem. Many factors can slow cell turn over including ageing, sun damage, poor cell function, vitamin deficiencies, genetics, hormones and other external factors or free radicals. What we then end up with is a thickened Stratum cornuem with an excess of dead skin cells creating blocked pores, congestion, problem skin, dull skin, visible pigmentation and reduced penetration of your active products.
Dry-sensitive skins should only use gentle exfoliants, ideally in the form of a low level fruit enzyme or AHA/BHA (acid based) mask that will only desquamate what is needed.
Typically mechanical exfoliants (without the direction of a professional) can over-desquamate, removing too many cells and damaging or exposing cells that are not yet ready to be on the surface.
AVOID using a chunky granular scrub on your face at all costs.
A Vitamin serum containing a combination of Vitamins A, B and C is ideal to ensure all the different cells within your skin can function optimally. Think of this as the fruit and vegetables that you would eat in your meals to nourish the rest of your body…
These ingredients are incredibly important to normalise all functions of the skin and create a healthier skin. A combination of these ingredients will normalise sebum production, cell turnover, improve problematic skin conditions, nurture stressed skin, improve water-loss, increase elastin and collagen production (improve the appearance and size of pores and textures) and act as antioxidants to protect from free radicals and environmental damage.
Moisturiser should be used morning and night to retain the required levels of moisture within the skin. They can boost and maintain hydration levels or prevent the loss of hydration/epidermal water-loss.
Sensitive-dry skins may enjoy a thicker oil-based and antioxidant packed moisturiser to really nourish and soothe. While combination-oily skins may prefer a lighter or oil free moisturiser that utilises ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. This is found naturally in our skin, is typically very lightweight but can hold up to 1000x it’s weight in moisture.
All skins need moisture, even if it is oily or breakout prone. The lack of moisture could cause irritation and an imbalance in the skins natural barriers which will worsen the condition.
Lastly sun protection should be used EVERY DAY. Unfortunately for New Zealanders we have very harsh UVA, UVB and UVC sun rays. The heat and burn of UVB is felt in summer, however, UVA is not seen or felt and emits damaging rays year-round (including cloudy or winters months). UVA causes damage in the deeper layers of the dermis effecting fibroblast cells, capillaries, and destroying vitamins. Sometimes this damage can be irreversible or incredibly hard to correct as you age. All skin types should apply sunscreen every morning, whether you are inside or not - your skin can still be damaged from these rays through windows at home, work or in vehicles.
The best option when looking to find a suitable skin care regime, would be to book a skin consultation with your skin therapist.
The consultation would include:
• How you feel about your skin
• What your concerns are
• How your life style, genetics and medical history may impact your skin
• What you’re currently using
• A physical analysis of your skin
• Skin barrier function test
• Recommendation of any life style changes
• Prescription of a personalised treatment plan including a home skin care regime and professional treatments