What makes you smile as you step into Spring? Could it be that it’s nearly time to start peeling back the layers of woollies? Or is it that the days have light for longer and the snowdrops are in full bloom? For me, it’s the peeking through of the Tete-a-Tete daffodils as it’s always my visual clock and time to get me thinking and to have that conversation with myself as to what to switch up my skincare routine with... it’s time to look forward to spring skin, even if you’re not a spring chicken!
However, fail to prepare and prepare to fail! By summer when you’re admiring the golden glow other people appear to have so effortlessly, let me tell you a little secret: it hasn’t just miraculously appeared with the first hike of heat. They’ve been prepping behind the scenes for the past couple of months, keeping their skin super protected and uber hydrated throughout the winter. Now with spring around the corner, they’re following the five cardinal rules that I’m going to outline below as your cheat sheet for keeping your skin glowing year-round.
Number 1 – Exfoliate, Scrub and Slough
It’s time to demonise the dead skin cells. The one thing which impacts the appearance of our skin, such as the way it reflects light, allowing products to penetrate and absorb more rapidly, is all linked to the volume of dead skin cells we’re carrying on our surface skin. Naturally, having a healthy cellular turnover (the rate at which our skin naturally sheds or exfoliates, often in conjunction with our skin type and age) is crucial to an illuminated, hydrated and a more youthful looking you! Yet as we age it naturally slows, and so your skin can feel drier to the touch, look lack-lustre, a little flat and grey in appearance. Dehydration occurs and for some, it can mean dry and flaky patches and an uneven skin surface, which means when one is applying make-up, especially a foundation, it can appear patchy and of different tones as it blends into the skin unevenly. Correcting your skincare routine means that you can look like a spring chicken – in the best possible sense of course! AKA, defying what your reflection looks like and not looking more mature than your true skin years. No matter what you call it – exfoliation, scrubbing or sloughing – and whether you perform it at home or via a visit to a professional, if you remove the dead skin cells on your surface skin and give mother nature’s cellular turnover a helping hand at the same time, the skin is likely to look more fresh, vibrant and youthful.
LIZ EARLE Gentle Face Exfoliator - 75ml £17.00. This gentle botanical exfoliator buffs away dead skin and impurities to reveal renewed radiance and a radiant-looking complexion by refining the skin’s surface texture to leave skin feeling soft and smooth.
Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant - 74g £55.00 Achieve brighter, smoother skin every day with this iconic exfoliating powder. Rice-based powder activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to polish skin to perfection.
MURAD Vita C Triple Exfoliating Facial - 80ml £67.00 Triple exfoliating facial is clinically proven to smooth texture as effectively as a microdermabrasion facial in just one use.
Number 2 – Invest in your eyes.
Said to be the windows to your soul (I read that somewhere once!), there’s nothing more becoming than being bright eyed and bushy tailed! Eyes that sparkle have a twinkle to them, a sense of mischievousness and fun, just like your mood as we approach spring. However, one’s lifestyle often hampers the appearance of “bright eyes,” due to lack of sleep, dark circles, puffiness and drooping upper lids -- that’s before we factor in the new longer brighter days, being sun dazzled and squinting, or wiping the perspiration from your eyes while wearing your sun glasses while simultaneously wiping the SPF off from the delicate eye area, which means it’s now being exposed to the elements, environment and pollution.
If you’re generally a happy soul, that can take its toll on your eye area too. Happy people laugh, with delicate skin crinkling day in and out without an additional layer of protection, creating crow’s feet and fine lines in the late twenties to early thirties, which is when the collagen proteins start to naturally deplete in our skin. The bounce, hydration and elasticity has started to diminish, and the fine lines turn to wrinkles as we traverse the decades. Eyes are in need of more support, as we are blinking on average more than 28,000 times per day, which brings its own negativity to the abused eye area. So, time to invest! Whether it be an efficacious eye cream, a cooling gel or water loving eye hydration repair treatment, find your texture that fits. Tired and droopy lids often prefer a gel like texture as it feels slightly cooler on application. For a real morning wake-up call, pop it in the fridge. For lines and wrinkle prone eyes, something creamier and more velvet like in texture that glides onto the surface skin is frequently preferred. If you hit the alarm button to snooze every day, then you may like a gel in the morning and a cream in the evening. Find your preferred combination and leave it by your toothbrush, think twice a day every day for applying it! When you apply your eye product, remember only ever to apply to the orbital bone area – where you can feel bone – through your brows, to the side and beneath the eyes. You don’t need to apply your eye cream to the mobile part of your lid (where it tends to lose elasticity and droop first) as the surrounding area is enough. Whatever you do, don’t take your daily moisturisers this close to the eye area as moisturisers tend to be thicker in consistency, which when applied to close to the eye area, it can cause the skin to puff. Remember the skin surrounding your eye area is more delicate than the rest of your face, so a one pot fits all mantra won’t cut it for the bright eye appearance you’re searching for.
CLARINS Double Serum Eyes - 20ml £56 A multi-benefit double formula that visibly acts on all signs of ageing around the eye area. In just 7 days, the eye area is intensely nourished, smoother, firmer and brighter.
L’OREAL REVITALIFT LASER RENEW – 15ml £24.49 Anti-ageing care for younger-looking skin. The triple action eye cream works to re-plump with moisture wrinkles and crow’s feet and to reduce the appearance of eye bags and firm eye contours. Formulated with Pro-xylane, Caffeine and Hyaluronic Acid for proven effectiveness.
Doctors Formula Marine Collagen Instant Eye Hydration Repair Treatment - 15ml £99.00 Dramatically define eye vitality with this lightweight and nourishing eye cream which helps to replenish intense hydration whilst restoring the natural skin barrier and maintaining a healthy moisture balance. www.doctorsformula.co.uk
Number 3 - Switch up your Serum
Not using a serum daily is a little like going commando every day! Serums are your base layers, your skin’s daily support and application of seriously great skin saving active ingredients, with which you can make a positive difference to your skin. There’s so many to choose from that sometimes it can feel like an uphill struggle to find the precise one for your skin type and concern. But here’s a tip: look in the mirror and think if there is just one thing, I could change about my skin it would be…
Once you identify your skin goal, look for a serum which supports that skin behavioural change and use that full bottle of serum. Then look in the mirror again, ask the same question, and buy your serum that’s a solution to your answer. On average, most 30ml bottles of serum will last approximately 10-12 weeks, so if you’re using it just once a day, that nearly a whole season with the same serum. Alternatively, you don’t need to use the same serum both day and night, you can work on two skin issues at the same time, one in your morning routine, and the other in your night-time routine, the double-pronged approach.
Let’s say my one thing to change would be the fine lines and wrinkles I can see when I take that look in the mirror. So, where do I start? Retinol? Vitamin C? Hyaluronic Acid? Do a little investigatory research. Are you a more mature skin type and need all the support a serum can offer you, or on you on the pathway of prevention rather than cure? Either way, active ingredients and often a combination of ingredients will be the answer.
Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and is universally renowned for its ability to help in the brightening and smoothing and improving the appearance of skin texture or resurfacing of skin. In the skin world, it’s a major player in the anti-ageing category as retinoids (the family name) encourage the production of collagen and rejuvenation of skin cells. They also have potent antioxidant properties and can both calm irritated skin as well as fight acne.
While retinol within skincare is considered safe for majority of users, some find that when used in high levels it can be irritating, causing dryness, itchiness, and red patches within the skin. But just like any skincare ingredient, if you overload your skin hoping for an immediate result, that won’t happen. Your skin will just reject the product and react – that’s natural. Ideally with retinol, always start with a lower concentration formula and build up your usage, many product houses will advise that retinol only be used of an evening due to its photosensitivity qualities, meaning it can make your skin more reactive to sunlight. So, it’s advisable always to use an SPF when you’re embarking on your journey into Retinol use. Look for formulations which have additional ingredients to counteract any negative effects from Retinol usage such as skin peeling or redness. If you’re unsure talk to your dermatologist, Skin expert or therapist as to which type of retinol is right for you. It could be that you introduce retinol into your routine a couple of times per week initially so your skin can acclimatise to its usage. Others will likely recommend finding a retinol product which is less than 0.5% retinol to get started. For more sensitive, fragile and reactive skins types, this is a definite way forward with Retinol or if you want more prevention than cure or want to use Retinol for the long term.
Medik8 Retinol 3TR ™ - 15ml £29 Retinol 3TR helps to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, while promoting a visibly brighter complexion.
The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalene - 30ml £6.90 Fight visible signs of ageing with The Ordinary Retinol 1% in Squalane, a water- and silicone-free skincare treatment enriched with vitamin A to help revitalise the complexion.
Doctors Formula Power Actives Retinol Serum - 30ml £34.90 A retinol serum which combines the active ingredient of Vitamin A with gentle AHA's from the extract of fruit. Additional plant extracts result in a formulation which targets uneven skin tone and restores elasticity, whilst smoothing wrinkles. Helping to normalise the skins cellular renewal process whilst being gentle enough on your skin to be used twice a day. www.doctorsformula.co.uk
Vitamin C our favourite, fresh smelling, skin-improving, enhancing and skin calibrating acid. Known as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid, this truly anti-ageing super active acid is a delight to most skin types experiencing the visible signs of ageing and environmental damage. If you love the sun, then you’re likely aware of what a lack of sun protection or over exposure to the sun can do to your skin. Texture wise, it may feel leathery to the touch, make you look older than you are, and can be stained with hyperpigmentation with patches that appear out of the blue, both on our faces, bodies and more commonly on the back of your hands. Some call them age-spots, others liver spots. They don’t always occur due to environmental skin damage, as these changes in pigmentation can also occur during pregnancy, or there could be genetic imbalances or maybe a hormonal imbalance within your body. Injury and inflammation can also cause a change in pigmentation within the skin -- think of pigmentation as being red as well as brown in colour - as can reactions to medication and exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin C is such a potent antioxidant, it manages to neutralize the free radicals causing skin damage via sun exposure, while it also maintains skin health and replenishes vitamin E content in the skin too. In short, it works on the visibility of pigment in your surface skin, and by inhibiting the irregular production of melanin, it makes the appearance of skin brighter, more even and illuminated. With its tunnel vision effect on oxidative stress, the depletion of collagen as we age and our skin clarity, Vitamin C is a gold standard active acid to combat ageing and its effects, and it makes the perfect partner to Retinol too!
Doctors Formula Power Actives Vitamin C Serum - 30ml £34.90 This skin-restoring Vitamin C serum is a powerhouse of vitamins to brighten & revive skin, whilst improving the signs of environmental ageing. Targets the visible signs of ageing, including hyper-pigmentation, uneven skin tone and age-spots. www.doctorsformula.co.uk
Olay Regenerist Vitamin C + AHA 24 face serum – 40ml £34.99 Delivers clearly brighter skin in just 1 day & visibly more even skin tone and texture in 14 days. And we didn’t stop there - the Vitamin C serum also hydrates skin instantly for 24 hours!
La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C10 Serum - 30ml £38.00 Prevents and helps correct the appearance of aging, even for sensitive skin. Instantly skin feels softer, more hydrated, and glowing. Wrinkles and fine lines appear reduced, skin texture and tone look more uniform and even.
Hyaluronic acid is arguably the most renowned acid ingredient on the market. We know it in serum form, we find it in our eye care products, moisturisers, body washes -- you name it and we can likely find Hyaluronic acid in it! This world contender is naturally found in your skin, eyes, and connective tissue in the body. Naturally, its purpose is to bind to water. By doing this, hyaluronic acid keeps the moisture levels plentiful, skin super hydrated, soft, and supple and ultimately plumping the wrinkles for a minimised depth. It’s no wonder we love it in everything!
Hyaluronic Acid can be used as a single active ingredient yet is often combined with other actives in skincare. Not only does it score in the anti-ageing category, but also with the sensitive, fragile, and reactive skin types. It’s the hero-hydrator for every skin type, known for its compatibility and stability within skincare due to its skin replenishing, skin-restoring, and moisture-boosting properties. It’s said to hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water, and you can see what how it plumps up the volume when it comes to wrinkle depth.
CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum - 30ml £17 This hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum is a lightweight serum that provides 24-hour hydration and moisture to the skin. Formulated with 3 Essential Ceramides and Hyaluronic Acid, the formula helps to protect the natural skin barrier and retain moisture on the skin.
Doctors Formula Power Actives Hyaluronic Acid Serum - 30ml £34.90 Targets moisture lacking skin and the associated effects of dehydration such as fine lines and wrinkles. Brightens dull and tired skin through gentle AHA’s. Reveals a hydrated, fresh, and soothed skin making it feel strong and supple. www.doctorsformula.co.uk
La Roche-Posay HyaluB5 Hyaluronic Acid Serum - 30ml £38 Specifically formulated for de-hydrated skin that is showing signs of aging such as loss of volume and skin elasticity with fine lines or wrinkles.
Number 4 – Lighten the Layers
You’ve finally hung up the heavy winter coat, but the brolly may still be close at hand! The multi-layers which have been keeping you cosy throughout the winter months are staring to deplete one-by-one, and you’re starting to reconnect your feet with something smaller than a full leather boot…
The layers of clothes are starting to lighten, but have you considered the changes which need to be made in your skincare routine? I mentioned that the skin recognises the change in temperature and that can bring a whole host of nuances to your everyday routine. As humidity levels begin to rise, the skin frequently responds by producing more oil from your sebaceous glands. The natural rise in temperature, increased moisture in the air and depending how warm a spring we encounter, (fingers crossed!) we have a slight rise in perspiration production too. Suddenly, your skin which has felt parched all winter, now seems to have a change of behaviour in its very ecosystem, becoming damp, warm, and moist. So, when it’s enveloped in those more dense, heavier creams with a richer texture which we’ve been applying all winter, we’ve created an ideal environment for bacteria to breed.
Some signs if your skin is starting to notice the change in weather and it’s in need of a switch of skincare could be that you suddenly notice a few breakouts, on the nose, on the chin, and your skin is usually squeaky clear. Blackheads, blocked pores, and enlarged pores make an appearance in your reflection and you’re not prone to them. It can all be attributed to the combination of the newly forming excess oil, sweat and increase in heat – even if it is gentle. Your skin is like a thermometer, so although the central heating has been turned and the logs are sat nicely drying until next winter, your skin has started to react to the humidity levels and increase in degrees in the great outdoors.
This may all sound a little doomsday-like as you read this. We’re headed into spring, so we should be feeling buoyant, not weighted. There’s always an upside and that’s as the humidity increases and temperatures start to accelerate, your skin is less likely to dehydrate. The dry, flaky patches and skin sensations of tightness start to dissipate as this combination change of as the natural water reservoirs in the skin increase and the oil production increases.
So, what does it mean for our daily skincare routine? Well, never throw to the curb a hero hydrator. It may just mean that you need to off load the rich and super creamy textures. Find a moisturiser which is readily absorbed, feel weightless after it’s been applied to your skin, and take a look into different lotion options. Or, even better, consider Probiotic skincare variations which help to rebalance your microbiome (your skins natural protective barrier and its functions), restore hydration levels, and repair the skin.
Probiotics ADVANCED Collection by Doctors Formula www.doctorsformula.co.uk
Number 5 - Take time to Smile
Spring brings with it a new sense of adventure and a lightness in your step. Time to come out of our winter hibernation and look forward to brighter days. There’s something happy about a change in the season to a hopefully warmer few months ahead. We know that our skin recognises the change in temperature too, so it’s time to smile and switch up your skincare routine. There’s no better combination than some feel good hormones and a great skincare routine to deliver a little happiness each and every day!