Something I remember thinking what as load of you-know-what that others always told me was the old, “wait until you hit 30 and your skin changes”, line. I mean, my skin had pretty much been the same my entire life – dry and relatively unscathed by blemishes (even in my teen years… I know, I got lucky!). Then I hit 30 and low and behold my skin went nuts. I started to really pay attention to my skins needs and realized there were alot of things I was a late bloomer on that probably could have helped me earlier.
The first and foremost thing I wish I had just listened to advice on was wearing sunscreen. The idea of wearing anything over an SPF of 15 when I was younger was absolutely preposterous, and I took every and any opportunity to get a tan – in the sun or in a tanning bed. Cringe.
About half a year into turning 30 I really started to notice sun spots and discolouration where I knew I had sunburned in my past. I also started getting the dreaded hormonal chin breakouts, and they would scar like a mo-fo. When I started reading more about acid toners, fine lines and just general skin ageing I realized that sunscreen is no longer a ‘just when I go to the beach’ product (never was, honestly I should have known better) but needs to be an everyday product. I’ve been using the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face SPF 45.
Speaking of acid toners, it was another step in my routine I just never did. Acid or not, toning just seemed like a faff that didn’t make any sense to me. Being a teen in the days of toners actually being alcohol laced astringents (remember Seabreeze anyone?) I always associated it those who had oily skin, or acne prone skin. Total dunce, I realize now. Toners actually balance the PH in your skin after cleansing, prepping it for your serum/oil/moisturizer. Of course acid toners, like my beloved Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner help exfoliate the skin minus gritty scrubs and keep pesky blackheads at bay. They also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and dark spots and keep skin looking youthful and plump. A total must have for me now in my skincare arsenal.
When it comes to cleansing I learned two major things that I should have known long ago – one being the mighty wash cloth. I was never more than a splash with water to remove cleanser kind of girl. It’s a miracle I didn’t have horrible skin earlier in life. When I started to deal with hormonal cystic breakouts, I took to actually removing my cleansers with warm wash cloth (thanks to the amazing Caroline Hirons’ blog which is an utter wealth of info and knowledge) and noticed a massive difference in the clarity of my skin.
This plus point number two, which is double cleansing, not only gets all my makeup and sunscreen off (now that I’m a good girl and wear my SPF) but actually treats my skin as well. Double cleansing basically means you use one product to remove your makeup/daily grime, and another to actually cleanse and treat your skin. So I use an oily cleanser like The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter to remove my makeup, then go in with a gentle soothing skin cleanse, like my favourite : Clinique Redness Solutions Soothing Cleanser which has completely made a difference to how reactive and red my skin gets.
Finally one thing that I really couldn’t believe it took me so long to figure out was that foaming cleansers are so incredibly stripping on my dry/dehydrated skin. I feel like it’s almost burned into our brains that suds = clean, and that just isn’t the case. My poor skin used to get so flaky and dry, and it wasn’t until I removed harsh cleansers that I noticed it simmered down a bit. Even oily skinned folks will find these harsh skin products can actually exacerbate oily production because of how stripping they are.