Understanding your skincare
A good skincare routine is essential to achieve your desired result.
So what is classed as good skincare? Well, where your products are concerned quality is important but more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better. That being said, you do have to pay a bit extra for premium, results driven cosmetics.
With so many skincare options to choose from, it isn’t easy knowing which way to invest your money. If you’ve had acne for a while now, you will already know that just because a product works for your friend or the 75% of women who trialled it; doesn’t mean it’s the right product for you. Why is that? Well, as frustrating as it is, it’s because we are all unique! And if you are sitting in your bedroom reading this thinking “I don’t want to be unique! I just want clear skin!” I hear you. But there is still a lot to be said about the credibility of some skincare recommendations.
How much can we really trust them?
First of all, if the recommendation is coming from any kind of advertisement or paid celebrity endorsement it’s neither advice tailored to you or authentic. They are, after all; just trying to sell their product. In most cases, skincare brands spend more money on advertising than they actually spend on making the product in the first place!
Some brands back up their skincare claims with men and women who have trialled the brand. Have you ever read the small print on a television commercial? The results aren’t all that impressive. And why don’t they specify is how the result is measured?
“Before I started using this product two weeks ago I had 52 spots and now I have 51.”
So one spot less equals a result… right? Not really. How do you know that after two weeks her/his skin wouldn’t have had one less spot with or without the product?
Sorry, I lost my head there for a minute; this is a television commercial that I am imitating, so it should be more like this:
“Before I started using this product two weeks ago I had really bad acne [camera zooms in on one small pimple on the models chin] and now I have zero!” [camera zooms out to the airbrushed model smiling in the mirror].
Insulted much? I know I am. But hey, people buy it.
Ok, so have I convinced you that the skincare you see in commercials can’t be trusted? Good. So who can we trust?
Well despite your friend having perfect skin from only using £1 facial wipes and living off fast food, we can’t follow suit in hope that works for us too. We are all built differently remember?!
So the way I see it, that leaves us with two options left:
- Seeking advice from a professional
- Doing your research and choosing a product based on it’s ingredients not on the effectiveness of it’s advertisement
You might think that this option is another way for your acne to make other people money. Well, in some ways you are right. Buying skincare from anyone, is making someone money. So your job is to choose on who you would rather benefit from your acne.
I personally prefer to build some kind of rapport with a salon, clinic or medi spa as they won’t be thinking about a one off purchase. They want to see you reach your desired result because selling one product doesn’t make them much money. You being a happy client, telling all of your friends about how much they’ve helped you will bring them lots of money. So your good results and happiness is what they will be striving for – and that won’t come from them giving you a one off product recommendation. They are as much invested in you as you are in them.
Finding somewhere like I have described above isn’t an easy task, as some places are more reputable than others. So don’t be afraid to walk into a few places and ask lots of questions about their skincare. You don’t have to buy anything! But your gut will tell you which place is thinking of your best interests and not just a quick sale. If you have no idea what to look out for, establishments that offer free consultations or ask you lots of questions about your skin will have a lot more to offer. Anyone that is more interested in discrediting your current skincare and uses the phrase ‘you must buy this’; only cares about their commission.
Buying cosmetics at drugstores, department stores or online is definitely the biggest way that people make money off you having acne. Their business depends on one off sales because their customer base is so much larger. The skincare stocked is usually mass-market brands of poorer quality and sold at a lower price due to the volume they buy. There is also no one to ask advice on what product would work best for you, so you usually buy more than what you need and often have to return because it didn’t perform as you hoped. Buying online is ok, as long as you have done your research and you know you are buying from a reputable source. Some brands have a lot of trouble with brand imitation.
Where skincare is concerned bigger isn’t always better! There is one ingredient used in the mass-market brands called mineral oil. This is added to cream based products to bulk it out and make it appear like it’s better value, giving you more millilitres for your money. In addition, mineral oil does not penetrate our skin, instead it blocks the performance of the other ingredients and clogs our pores.
When seeking advice from an expert, I would always prefer to invest in a facial first before committing to buying anything. That way the therapist has had a good look at my skin and knows exactly what I need. You can also talk in depth about routines and how your lifestyle can also impact the results of your skincare.
Unfortunately I don’t mean hours of mindlessly watching YouTube videos! Before you can research products to suit your skin; you need to understand it. If you’ve decided to go solo you’ve got a bit of work to do but you can do it! There is no one more dedicated to getting results than someone with acne!
There will always be an element of trial and error, we have discussed that this is inevitable because of how gloriously unique we all are!
Before you start, you need to decide how you are going to measure your progress. This can be in the form of a skin journal and/or photographs of your skin which you can do as often as daily or as little as weekly. Whichever one you choose, try to set aside ten minutes each day to do this, preferably at the same time of day which the same amount of daylight. A good light changes everything! Photos are great for showing a contrast but writing down how it feels will also help you measure your results. (Setting up a private Instagram account is perfect for this!)
Once you’ve established the condition of your skin you need to ask yourself a few questions to better understand what products you need to invest in.
What is your main concern?
You may have several things that you would like to change. But for now, concentrate on the one that zaps the most of your confidence.
What could have caused your concern?
There are many factors to consider when trying to pin point the cause of your problem skin. Lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, diet, water intake, environment and exposure are a few to look at before changing your whole skincare routine.
Does your current skincare target this problem?
How long have you been using your current skincare? Have you been using it morning and evening as directed or have you been applying it every now and then? To get the results advertised you must use the product as recommended by the manufacturer.
Have your current cosmetics expired?
All cosmetics have an expiry date or use before six, twelve or eighteen months after opening. Check the labels. If they smell bad, they have probably expired and it will be very unlikely you will get the promised result.
Are you storing your skincare properly?
Most skincare needs to be stored away from direct sunlight to prolong the life of the product. In hotter climates you may want to store any natural skincare with less preservatives in the refrigerator.
After answering those questions, you may have some ideas of how to adapt your current skincare routine to get the most out of your future skincare investments.
When should you start seeing results?
When I started using a new brand recently, I saw results within the same week but guess what?! We are all unique!
You should definitely start seeing a result after 4 weeks of using the product as it takes your skin 27 days to regenerate from the bottom to the top layer of cells.
Glowing skin requires commitment not a miracle.