Top Skin Care Tips For The New Year!
Yet another lockdown is a bit of a disappointing way to start the new year. If you do have a bit more time on your hands then it might be the ideal opportunity to give your skincare routine an overhaul. After the year we’ve all had, self-care should be a resolution you should not forget! Looking after your skin health is an important part of this. I wanted to share a few of my top tips for good skin health for the new year - getting into good habits now will set your skin up for the rest of the year ahead.
Dr. Jack’s top skincare tips for 2021:
1: Be aware of the weather!
The winter can be a difficult time for the skin, with much colder and drier air, combined with the effects of central heating, wreaking havoc on the natural barrier of the skin (particularly if we are in our homes for longer periods than normal at the moment). It’s important to bear this in mind with product choices, particularly the use of active ingredients and harsh acids, so selecting products that can help with barrier repair, protection and nourishment of the skin is key.
Look for ingredients including ceramides, which are fatty acids that can help with barrier repair, together with vitamin B5 (also known as Panthenol/Pantothenic acid), a nourishing and hydrating vitamin that has anti-inflammatory and anti-redness properties. Hyaluronic acid and other humectants are ideal and can be used as often as you like to hydrate the skin, and anti-inflammatory molecules such as azelaic acid are ideal for reducing inflammation and redness, as well as reducing issues like acne, rosacea and pigmentation.
Product recommendation: Blue FacePaint Peel
2: Simplify your routine but don’t forget the essentials
Let’s face it, who really has time for a 10 step skincare routine? Firstly it really isn’t necessary and secondly, arduous skincare routines often do more to confuse the skin than benefit it, beside the points they can be difficult to maintain and stick to and timely to complete. I always recommend being as simple as possible with a skincare routine to ensure you keep going with it and it fit’s into your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or eating your breakfast! The essentials for every skincare routine include: a good cleanser, an antioxidant preparation (to help repair and protect the skin against oxidative stress and inflammation) and an SPF to protect against the biggest cause of skin damage UV light (yes, even at this time of year!). Working with your skin’s natural physiology, not against it is key.
When it comes to antioxidants, the best known are vitamin C and the retinoids (the vitamin A family of molecules) but there are so many on the market, some of which will be more suited to your skin than others. I always recommend speaking to your skin expert to tailor your routine to your individual skin type.
I’ve kept this principle in mind with my own skincare products, which include the daily essentials: an antioxidant serum, an SPF moisturiser and a retinoid night cream, plus some easy to use weekly peels.
Product recommendation: Daily Skin System
3: Exfoliate once per week to help your daily products work better but don’t over exfoliate!
Exfoliation is the process of reducing the top layer of dead skin cells on the skin. This might sound counterintuitive when we want to maintain the natural barrier of the skin but in a controlled way it can actually help with the repair process and improve penetration of the active ingredients (i.e. the things that actually do the work) in your daily skincare products, such as vitamin C.
I recommend doing a gentle exfoliation once per week. Over exfoliating can strip the natural barrier back too much - I often see this in patients who come to my clinic with irritated and sensitive skin. A once-weekly exfoliation should be enough. Exfoliation with ‘chemical exfoliants’ such as alpha-hydroxy acids is the most straightforward way to do this.
My own FacePaint peels are designed for exactly this purpose, with specific active ingredients for individual skin concerns. My Red FacePaint is designed for oily skin and acne, with a blend of retinol, lactic acid and salicylic acid. Blue is more for dry, compromised skin and rosacea, featuring hyaluronic acid, vitamin B5 and ceramides, together with the anti-inflammatory star ingredient, azelaic acid. My Yellow FacePaint is a pigmentation powerhouse treatment, blending vitamin C with retinol, alpha arbutin and the triple pigmentation complex of mandelic, glycolic and kojic acid. The ingredients are at levels which should not irritate but work in synergy at optimal levels.
Product recommendation: Red face paint peel
4: Nourish your skin from inside out
As the largest organ of our bodies in terms of surface area, our skin actually relies on it’s blood supply for most of it’s nutrition. Topical skincare can really be thought of as the icing on the cake. The collagen rich layers (the dermis) are almost entirely nourished by what we take into our bodies, rather than what we put on the skin. It is thought that poor nutrition and poor skin health go hand in hand, so looking after the health of our skin should focus on what we eat and our general health, not just topical skincare products.
Avoiding processed foods, excessive sugars and maximising the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diets is a start but as we advance into the 21st century, a plethora of fantastic supplements are becoming available to help us ensure we get all of the beneficial nutrients our skin needs to be as healthy as possible.
Product recommendation: SkinShake
5: Aim to reduce your stress levels!
Stress can come in a number of forms, both physical and mental. As we are all under an increasing amount of stress, given the current circumstances, controlling this is important for our health in many ways. There is a very clear link between stress and skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and eczema, and even certain cellular ageing processes in the skin (and other organs) are thought to be accelerated with high levels of stress.
Meditation, reflection and relaxation techniques can help and supplements such as adaptogens and nootropics are thought to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and reduce some of the secondary effects of stress. I recommend if you are feeling stressed, maybe try an adaptogenic supplement such as my own relax powder for a month or so.
Product recommendation: Relax