Posted by Johanna Schoeffert

Start early with skin care

Your skin is the largest organ of your body and it works hard to protect you from a lifetime of potential harm. Skin is your first layer of defence against the elements, environmental toxins and daily wear and tear, so it’s in your own interest to return the favour. You’re never too young or too old for skin care. Skin ageing starts in your mid-20’s, although it may not be visible. Genetics, lifestyle and everyday habits, all combine to age skin, so take action and find out how to love and care for the skin you’re in.

Cleanse gently

Washing skin is crucial to remove daily sweat, grime and reduce the risk of infection. Over-washing with harsh soaps can strip away natural protective oils, so, to keep skin healthy, choose mild, creamy soap. If your skin is greasy, an oil-free, water based, foaming formula may work best – try Elave Oil Free Skin Balancing Cleansing Gel. If you have sensitive or easily inflamed skin, talk to your GP or pharmacist who may recommend special creams or ointments. Washing with warm or cool water is best - as hot water can also strip away natural oils. Finally, avoid rubbing and always pat skin dry.

Moisturise the face

Moisturising products prevent drying and protect skin from the elements. You don’t have to pay the earth, as most moisturisers do the same job. Don’t avoid moisturising if you have spots or oily skin though. Just choose a lightweight, oil free formula, such as the award winning Elave Oil Free Moisturiser. You may need to moisturise more than once a day if your skin is dry or if you used anti-ageing creams. Patting the cream/lotion on the skin that is still damp helps seal in the moisture.

Use sunscreen everyday

Even in Ireland where it’s often dull and overcast, your skin still needs daily sun protection from harmful rays during daylight hours. Ultraviolet light can permeate clouds and car windows, leaving your skin exposed – even indoors. You may want to opt for a moisturiser with sunscreen or choose a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen of a least 15 for skin and lips, check out our Grazia recommended Elave Daily Skin Defence SPF45 and Elave Lip Defence SPF20 which are a broad spectrum sunscreen.

Exfoliate

Getting rid of the layer of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin will help reveal a healthy glow – but go easy! Gently buff the skin with a soft flannel or spinning brush designed for this purpose. Skin scrubs with synthetic beads also work for this. If you have dry skin, keep exfoliation to once a week. Once or twice a week is fine for oily skin. Talk to your GP or pharmacist before exfoliating if you have spots or sensitive skin, as it may make breakouts worse.

Uncover new skin

There are products that contain ingredients designed to slough away dead cells and reveal a layer of fresh new skin beneath. Acne medicines or anti-ageing creams are an example, often containing salicylic acid or retinoids. Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic procedure also designed to remove the skin’s top layer of dead cells. Chemical peels can achieve this too and can be done by using a cosmetic acid cream solution or by a dermatologist. For home use try Elave Age Delay Cleanser (12% glycolic acid) and Elave Age Delay Night Treatment (8% glycolic acid) which can be used alone or in conjunction daily to help reveal fresher, plumper skin.

Dark skin Care

If you are Black or Asian you may face unique skin care concerns. Although you have more natural protection against ultraviolet light, your genetic makeup may make you more prone to certain skin conditions, such as acne or dark spots. Follow a simple, gentle skin care routine and even if you rarely burn don’t avoid sunscreen, in order to stave off skin cancer, wrinkles and dark spots.

Skin nutrition

Skin needs good nutrition, the same way the rest of your body does. Some research suggests that vitamins C and E, as well as selenium, may help protect the skin against sun damage and consequently against skin cancer but more research is needed. These antioxidants may also reverse some discolouration and wrinkles linked to ageing and sun exposure, but again more research is needed. Bear in mind, the best way to get vitamins is by eating a healthy, balanced diet and the best way to protect the skin from UV damage is by using a sun protection cream, covering up and seeking shade.

Organic may not be best

Organic or natural products may make the claim to be safer for your skin but there is no clinical evidence to support this. Just because a product is “natural” does not mean it won’t irritate your skin. Just like any skin formula, “natural” ingredients, such as plant extracts, may cause rashes and allergies in certain people. So, proceed with caution and use a skin test on a small area first to check for a reaction.

Do facials work?

Treating yourself to a facial isn’t a bad idea but you don’t need to fork out for good skin care. A salon facial that includes cleansing and exfoliating will certainly leave you more relaxed – and your skin may be smoother for a while too. However, you can achieve the same skin results with good home care. Also, some people have allergic reactions or irritated skin after a facial, so give it a miss if you tend to develop redness or a rash afterwards. 

Too old for spots?

Spots and blackheads are for teenagers, aren’t they? So why do you still have them when you are all grown up? Stress, hormones and hair products are just a few reasons why you may still have skin issues when you are in your prime. If you are really concerned, see your GP or a dermatologist to help tackle the problem. Some anti-ageing products are designed to help acne as well.