December is a month of excess, so it’s no surprise that when we finally emerge from the fog of cheeseboards, chocolates and ‘just-one-more’ glass of wine our skin is less than impressed with us. This is our guide to pressing reset on your skin care regime.
Whether you’ve been sleeping in your make-up or just let your routine fall by the wayside at the end of a few late nights, we’ve got just what you need to reboot your complexion. And with January being a time for early nights and hopeful resolutions, what better time to evaulate your skin care routine?
Here are five things to consider and try this year:
1. Remember the same products might not work all year round
While your skin care regime might have rewarded you with gorgeously glowing skin in the summer, don’t be surprised if the same skin care cocktail doesn’t work its magic in the colder months too. A combination of plummeting temperatures outside, roasting central heating fuelled temperatures inside and let’s face it, a less than balanced diet can all cause skin to become dehydrated. Different to dry skin, dehydrated complexions are caused by a lack of water which needs to be replaced through your skin care.
Up your hydration levels by swapping light, slippy serums for rich creams and heavy-duty hydrators. Ingredients like ceramides are great for reinforcing your skin’s natural barrier, helping it to take on moisture and keep it there. Hyaluronic acid is brilliant too. With a single molecule able to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in moisture, it’s a quick-fix plumper and soother for tight, tired skin.
2. Think about stripping it back
If, like us, you’re always champing at the bit to get your hands on the next skincare launch or give the latest wonder ingredient a try, there is a chance you could be overloading your skin. Many dermatologists recommend a 3 product skin care routine. So Instead of introducing lots of active ingredients to your regime all at once, first identify which ones you need based on the skincare concerns that are most important to you. For example retinol will banish fine lines, vitamin C will brighten your complexion, a BHA like salicylic acid will banish blemishes and AHAs like glycolic acid will even out your skin tone.
Take the rest of your routine back to basics with a no-frills cleanser and moisturiser for day and night (French pharmacy brands like La Roche Posay and Avene are great for this) and slowly introduce one active ingredient at a time. That way you’ll not only be able to see which ingredient is making the biggest improvement in your complexion, but know what to cut out if you suffer a reaction.
We love: Avène Hydrance Aqua-Gel, £20
3. Invest in SPF
Prevention is always better than cure, and according to skincare Guru and MD of Ultrasun UK Abi Cleeve, applying a daily SPF is one of the best things you can do for your skin. ‘Anyone serious about their skincare will know that UVA & UVB protection is a daily core component,’ she explains. ‘No serum or moisturisers can reverse UV damage.’
Don’t be fooled into thinking the SPF in your make-up is enough – it’s applied in far smaller qualities than sun cream so won’t provide the same level of protection. Shield your skin with a lightweight broad spectrum SPF (meaning it protects from both UVA and UVB rays) applied after your moisturiser but before make-up each morning. It’ll help ward off concerns like fine lines and sun spots – saving you plenty of money on skincare in the long run.
4. Ditch the wipes and cleanse right
In December, just taking off your make-up before bed can feel like an achievement, but come January there’s no excuse for reaching for the face wipes. Not only are they bad news for your skin, transferring make-up and grime around your face, face wipes are wreaking havoc on the environment too. Most wipes on the market are made up of plastic, meaning they take hundreds of years to break down in landfill. The damage is even worse when you flush them, with a report by the Marine Conservation Society finding that the number of wipes washed up on British beaches has increased by 50% since 2013.
Instead, embrace the double cleanse. Far less complicated than it sounds, it just means cleansing twice – first with a oil or balm to melt away surface-level make-up and grime, followed by a gel, mousse or cream wash for a deeper cleanse. Especially important if you wear heavy make-up or a daily SPF (which we know we all should be!) double cleansing will combat dullness as well as reduce the risk of breakouts.
5. Exfoliate regularly
While exfoliating your skin might seem like the last thing it needs when it’s feeling dry, sore and flaky, winter is when your skin most needs a good scrub. By buffing away dead skin cells, exfoliation not only reveals the fresh, glowing new skin underneath but clears the way for the rest of your products to penetrate deeper and work harder.
Keep it classic with a satisfyingly gritty manual scrub, but look out for smaller grains and avoid anything too sharp and scratchy. Or, embrace AHAs like glycolic and lactic acid. Best applied after cleansing, these chemical exfoliants work in the same way as manual ones to dissolve the ‘glue’ that bonds dead skin cells together.
We love: Pixi Glow Tonic, £18
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