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Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Skincare Guide: Dehydrated Skin

Before I delve in with this post, I want to make something clear very quickly. Dehydrated skin is not a skin type. There are 4 skin types: dry, normal, combination, and oily. Every single one of these skin types (aka everyone) can have dehydrated skin, it is simply a skin phase/current state, not type. For example, I have combination/oily skin, but my skin craves moisture like no other and is constantly on the verge of being dehydrated.

The best way to combat dehydrated skin, as well as treat those with dry skin types, is layering. Layering products will become your new best friend. And there are several ways of doing it.

#1) Hydrating Serum: these serums are designed with only 1 goal - to add a boost of hydration. They usually contain the following ingredients: glycerin and hyaluronic acid (usually listed as Sodium Hyaluronate). Glycerin works by attracting water and helps maintain the outer barrier of the skin. Hyaluronic acid works similarly to glycerin but it has a bit more oomph because it's capable of absorbing up to 1000 times its weight in water. By using these ingredients you're essentially making the most out of your moisturizer, it acts like a magnet or glue and attracts all the moisture from your cream.


#2) Hydrating Toner: similar to serum, but different consistency. I'm currently using the Benton BHA toner, which lists Sodium Hyaluronate as the second ingredient! Incredibly hydrating and calming on the skin.

#3) Facial Oils: probably one of the best and quickest cures to dehydrated skin, works with all skin types, including funny enough those with combination/oily skin types. I know those with that particular skin type will be shocked to hear this, but the best way to fight oil is with oil! Think about it. Your skin is producing oil, usually excess oil, because it thinks it's dehydrated and thus needs to supply the skin with oil to prevent further loss of moisture. But if your skin already has oil on it, specifically the good nourishing kind, then it won't feel inclined to produce oil of its own. And in the long run, your skin will become more balanced. Facial oils are especially great during winter time.

There are some really nice facial oils out there, and yes some are better quality than others, so paying more does make a difference in what you receive. Some nice essential oils to seek out for include: rosehip, jojoba, pomegranate, flax seed oil, etc. There are too many to count ingredients out there, so you can go ahead and try out to see, which one you like best.


This is my go-to facial oil. I always wake up with good, supple skin with this one. 

Sunday Riley facial oils are the creme de la creme of skincare. They're ridiculously expensive, and luxurious, but also give amazing results and have to-die-for ingredients. Obviously, don't buy these if you don't have the budget or the will. They'd make wonderful birthday or anniversary presents. If you're a skincare fanatic, then obviously this will be on your wish list (it's certainly on mine).

#4) Moisturizers: an obvious answer, but nonetheless important. A good moisturizer will impart moisture as well as seal off all the moisture that you've been layering with the previously mentioned products. My personal favourites tend to include Shea Butter, an incredibly rich moisturizing ingredient. However, I do avoid it in my nose area because it's too heavy for areas with big pores and can possibly lead to blackheads for some. But it's great for areas prone to dryness, like your cheeks. Here are a couple of recommendations for those with really dry skin, so probably not ideal for those looking for a light moisturizer:

#5) Sleeping Packs: if you really want to sandwich as much moisture as possible before going to bed, then a sleeping pack is right up your ally. It essentially works as a sleep-in mask that you put on top of your moisturizer and seals in all moisture, leaving you with soft baby skin in the morning. If you're not a fan of facial oils, then this would be a good alternative. It's another good addition to your skincare routine in the winter time. They tend to be silicone heavy, something to keep in mind.


Next time on The Skincare Guide: Night Time Routine

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The Skincare Guide: Bad Lifestyle Habits for your Skin

Nobody will be innocent in this post, myself included, but nonetheless I will persevere (though likely with my head low). Most of these points will be total no-brainers, but some might not be so obvious or well known among your average person.

1) Smoking: probably one of the worst there is. Horrible for your health, and thus your skin as well. And you can always tell if someone's a smoker just by looking at their face - it usually has a slight grey tinge to it and looks as dry as the sahara desert. I'm a huge anti-smoker campaigner, so if you are a smoker, here's my advice: quit NOW (stress is no excuse, there are millions of healthy alternative stress-relievers), and if you're not a smoker - GO YOU! *fist pump*

2) Sugar: the number one evil in our diets, sadly. Obviously, it's virtually impossible to completely to cut it out of your life, and if you did it'd be a very a sad life, so just try and keep your intake low. The current recommended daily amount by the World Health Organization is 7 teaspoons (more info here). Of course, you can still have your cheat days, just don't expect your skin to greet you in the morning looking air-brushed with zero whiteheads. Same goes with all junk food (e.g. greasy pizza, burgers, etc). You are what you eat. 

3) Alcohol: again, bad for your health, makes your liver work harder to get it out of your system, incredibly dehydrating and thus results in dehydrated skin. If you don't drink - great, if you do - keep your intake low (e.g. 1 glass of wine). Some alcoholic drinks tend to also contain a ton of sugar as well, especially cocktails.

4) Stress: an unpleasant sensation for all of us no doubt, but also wreaks havoc on your skin. Stress causes hormonal imbalances, which can lead to break outs. I know it's hard to avoid stress, so just keep it mind if you're wondering what could be the cause of recent breakouts.

5) Lack of Sleep: I would go as far as to say this is the biggest cause of breakouts. Sleep is when your body restores itself and balances hormones. Thus, if you had to sacrifice some sleep and only got 7 hours of sleep or less, it will immediately show. It throws your body completely off balance, especially with hormones. I personally break out every time I get a bad night's of sleep and my boyfriend does too. Luckily, the solution is simple: get some sleep! Ideal would be 8-10 hours. 

6) Dairy: When I say dairy, I am mainly referring to milk. Milk tends to promote inflammation within the body, and inflammation is exactly what tends to bring about acne. The red puffiness around a spot? Yeah, that's inflammation. If you can avoid milk all together, or substitute it with something like almond milk, brilliant! If not, then try lowering your intake.

7) Sunbathing: refer to this post for further information. But to sum it up, there's no such thing as a safe tan, if your skin browns then that's your DNA being damaged. The UVA rays from the sun age you, so if you don't want to look like a shrivelled prune when you're only 30, then stay in the shade and wear sunscreen!

Next time on The Skincare Guide: Dehydrated Skin

Monday, 10 August 2015

The Skincare Guide: Tips You Probably Don't Follow, But Should

This post will be a bit on the random side, but nonetheless very valuable. After all, it's the little things that will make a difference in the long term. So here are my random tips that you most likely aren't aware of when it comes your skincare routine:

1) Always use a fresh towel/flannel with every cleanse: this one isn't obvious to most people but my god, is it important. Anything that has been damp is a bacteria magnet and you really don't want to be rubbing old bacteria and leftover dead skin cells onto your freshly washed face. It's the same thing as wearing the same pair of underwear for several days, aka naaasty. Just keep a stack of face towels near your sink and throw used ones into the laundry basket once you're done. Finito!

2) Wash your hands before ever touching your face/applying products: this one should be a no-brainer. Picture all the bacteria infested things you've touched today and then imagine putting those things onto your face. Yuck.  And if any of your products are in jars/tubs, like a moisturizer, then you're also reducing the amount of bacteria you're putting into the product when scooping it out.
This tip will surely reduce the number of breakouts you get. Especially if you also avoid resting your face on your hands when tired. 

3) Avoid getting shampoo on your face while showering: the sulphates in your shampoo will do your face no good, just strip it of all its natural oils that are there to help protect the moisture barrier. This tip should help cut-down break outs, as well as skin irritation. 

4) Don't cleanse while showering: 90% of the time, us ladies like to have our water quite hot. Usually way too hot for our delicate faces. So rather than putting your face under hot water and giving yourself broken capillaries, just cleanse once you're done showering. Or if you're still going to do it in the shower, briefly turn down the water temperature to lukewarm.

5) Wait 20 minutes indoors after applying a chemical sunscreen before going outside: chemical sunscreens need a minimum of 20 minutes to absorb in order to be effective and if you go outside too soon after applying, the sun will break it down and render it completely useless. More info on chemical sunscreens here.

6) Remove your makeup/double cleanse as soon as you get home: for some reason, a lot of us ladies tend to leave this chore till right before going to bed, rather than getting it over with as soon as we walk through the door. Why prolong the amount of time you have makeup, sunscreen, sebum, dirt, and sweat on your face? Think about it, instead of having all that on your face for an additional few hours, you can use those 4 or 5 hours to have skincare treatment on your face. So when you get home, put everything down, go double cleanse, and boom, you have one less thing to do before going to bed and your skin will thank you for it. This tip can easily give you a reduction in whiteheads and blackheads. 

These aren't life changing tips but rather just something to keep in mind while doing your routine :).

Next time on The Skincare Guide: Bad Lifestyle Habits For Your Skin