Sunday, 9 June 2013

Skin Care Can Be For Everyone

I grew up in a household where aesthetics were not very high on the priority list, and as I have mentioned before, I have never really been into beauty or skincare. I do admit that I was rather lucky that in my adolescence I did not suffer severe acne like some people have. I got the occasional breakout, mostly on my chin and forehead, but nothing particularly memorable or traumatic.

I am convinced, to this day, that the reason my skin behaved itself rather well is because I left it alone. I never put anything on my skin. I dabbled a bit with Yardley Oatmeal 3-step routine, but it didn't stick. I also never wore any foundation and very little makeup to speak of - again, I was lucky and had nothing to hide really.

While I have no regrets on that score, it is not something I recommend, however. Taking care of your skin is as important as taking care of any other aspect of your health, and be aware of your skin's condition from an early age is important as it can be a good indicator of how your general health is going.

There are a few basic things I have already learned, even though I am still in the early stages of my journey, and I thought I would share them.

A good skincare regime is not only for the beauty obsessive, its's like eating your five-a-day or drinking enough water. You can be a "normal person" with no interest in makeup and fashion and still take care of your skin properly.

The first step in good skin health is good nutrition. Not drinking enough water (Guilty!) will make your skin dehydrated. Eating badly will show up on your skin. Sugar isn't good for you or your skin and smoking will kill you and your skin tone. Stress is as evil and sinister as smoking, so stress management is important - exercise, learn to relax and vent from time to time.

Good skincare is not only for the rich and beautiful. It is not a luxury, an indulgence or even a tool to make pretty people more pretty. it is an essential part of your personal hygiene and healthcare. I do not consider myself to be hideously ugly but I certainly do not see myself as at all beautiful or attractive, and I have found that having healthy skin makes me feel better.

Many of the higher-end, higher-priced products on the market are the ones that come highly recommended by both professionals and enthusiasts, but if these products are out of reach, it does not mean that you should give up altogether. There are affordable alternatives available, and just because something has a brand name, a high price tag or claim that it's all natural, does not make it a good product to own, so be sensible when you go shopping, and do not buy your skin care from the pound store.

No matter what anyone tells you, mineral oil is not good for you. Mineral oils are petroleum based. They do not nourish the skin in any way or form. If I learned anything from my father, a doctor who knew many things, it was that mineral oil based products made you feel like they were doing something because they basically leached the nutrients out of your skin and brought them to the surface. You read the labels on food and should try to avoid poisoning your body - treat your skin with the same respect. Read labels, it's not hard.

Use the right products for your skin. This one seems self evident, but it may be tempting to throw everything at your face simply because it's in a bad state and the product you want is fashionable, trending or popular. Overwhelming your face is a bad idea. No matter how old you are, you can start somewhere and start small - A cleanser, a toner and a moisturiser; you can then move on to more products, if your skin needs it, like eye creams, oils, serums and treatments, and you don't have to blow your budget either. I don't use top-end products, I do the best I can for my skin. I even pamper myself with a mask from time to time - it's great for stress!

The most important thing I have learned so far is the bit about the cleanser. Do not use a foam cleanser. Use a cream or a balm. It may sound corny, but I really didn't believe it would make that much difference and how clean could this milk stuff make your face anyway. We're kind of taught that to get clean, you have to scrub, so I thought I was doing the right thing, but then the Beauty God Mother (Caroline Hirons) spoke and I took her advice and tried a cream cleanser. the foam cleanser was drying out my skin and not doing me any favours. A good cream cleanser will clean your face, especially if you double cleanse, and it will leave your skin feeling moist. Not all cleansers are created equal, so if yours makes your skin feel dry, tight, dirty or greasy, don't be afraid to try a new one. Also, face cloths are not expensive (£2.50 for a three pack on nice ones from Primark) and a daily routine does not take long. It makes you feel like you are taking care of yourself and that is a good way to start the day.

Your toner should not dry out your skin either, or burn for that matter.

Stick to your routine, morning and night. This is something I struggle with, but I am getting much better and I am seeing results (and starting to enjoy it - especially since I started using a cream cleanser and face cloth - don't ask me why, it just feels girly and pampery).

Lastly, very few people have the skill to use makeup to cover skin that is in really bad condition, so before you focus on perfecting the smoky eye look, focus on getting healthy, glowing skin. (Even if you can make miracles with make up, don't ignore your skin, the longer you leave it, the older you will look and your future self will not thank you).

Be kind to yourself and love your skin.

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