Are you suffering from social media-fuelled skin envy? We asked skincare experts how to sort out our pores and more.
In addition to adding bunny ears, a puppy’s nose and a flower crown, social media sites give you the capability to perfect your skin using filters.
This could be by adding a suntan, minimising pores, deleting imperfections or creating a makeup-worthy glow.
It’s a fun addition that sounds harmless enough but, in reality, it is blurring the lines of what your skin should really look like — and leading to what something doctors are calling ‘filter dysmorphia’.
‘When someone comes to my clinic and shows me a filtered photograph of themselves as their “ideal” it really saddens me,’ says Dr Sophie Shotter, Medical Director at Illuminate Skin Clinic.
‘These images are not real. While the very basic foundation is your face, the changes the filters make are often quite dramatic and unachievable.
Some in-clinic treatments can make a huge difference to achieving a polished, radiant complexion, but a great at-home skincare regime is where everyone should start.’
Our skin is the largest organ in the body so we need to nourish it both inside (with a healthy diet) and on the outside (with topical products).
However, a recent Holland & Barrett survey revealed only 37% of women felt confident when it came to knowing what ingredients to use on their skin.
‘Skin is amazing and has the ability to heal itself,’ says Abigail James, international facialist and skincare expert.
‘Without our skin we would not survive, and yet I am amazed at how badly we treat it and how much we take it for granted.
‘Over-tanning, exposing it to pollution and the elements, using harsh products, choosing products containing skin irritants such as perfumes and synthetic colours and even not applying anything at all contributes to neglect where this incredible organ is concerned.’
While you might have a good skincare routine, Abigail says how you apply your products also plays an important role in getting the right results.
‘You not only need to look at ingredients but check how a product is formulated, its delivery system, how it absorbs and how it feels as all will impact on how effective it will be,’ she says.
‘Always cleanse the skin first, then apply your serum as these usually have a gel or water texture and the actives are best applied onto dry or just slightly damp skin.
‘Next up, apply your oil then moisturiser — this provides a better base for makeup.
‘These three products can be used morning and night, but only use a retinol serums at night because they take a few hours to absorb and speed up cell turnover so you don’t want this to impact on sun exposure.’
Skin needs lots of TLC but if you’re looking for a quick revamp of your routine, here are Abigail’s easy MOT tips.
‘We naturally produce this oil in our sebaceous glands.
‘It’s a powerful antioxidant that’s great for fighting the ageing process, exposure to pollution and stress.
‘Squalene naturally decreases over time so use a topical product to lock in moisture.’
Cleanse morning and night
‘The evening cleanse removes sweat and makeup from the skin’s surface.
‘Use a cleansing balm to melt any oil away.
‘The morning cleanse is just as important because the body does all its regeneration at night and skin is one of the detox organs.
‘Wash off the night and start with a fresh palette for daytime skincare.’
Always apply SPF
‘You should see applying SPF as an essential part of your skincare routine.
‘UVA rays are around all year and these do the ageing, while UVB rays do the burning.
‘But both can cause skin cancer, so you should protect yourself daily.’
Take Vitamin C
‘This mega antioxidant is a key skin ingredient that can brighten, protect against free-radical damage (stress, pollution, ageing process), support pigmentation issues and reduce the appearance of fine lines.’
10 things you didn’t know about your skin
Emma Coleman, dermatology and aesthetic registered general nurse, reveals ten facts about your skin.
Eat these wonder vitamins for great skin
Nutritionist James Collier (head of nutrition at Huel, above) tells you what you should be eating to naturally boost your skin.
Vitamin C: Helps with collagen formation and protects the skin cell from oxidative stress.
Eat: Oranges and red peppers.
Zinc: Reduces sebum production and aids cell turnover so decreases oil production that leads to clogged pores (which can be the cause of acne).
Eat: Tofu and wholegrains.
Copper: Required to produce melanin which contributes to consistent colouring of skin and hair. Like with Vitamin C and zinc, it helps protect the skin against oxidative stress.
Eat: Nuts and mushrooms.
Vitamin E: A powerful antioxidant which helps hydrate the skin. If you consume lots of Vitamin C, it will help recycle Vitamin E so it can be used again and again.
Eat: Nuts and seeds.
Vitamin A: Helps the production of collagen, reduces inflammation, and helps control oil production and acne.
Eat: Yellow or orange vegetables such as carrots, plus dark, leafy greens.
Know the danger signs for skin cancer:
Dr Susan Mayou, a consultant dermatologist at the Cadogan Clinic, shares her simple ABCDE rule to monitor moles at home.
A — Asymmetry Where one half of the mole does not match the other.
B — Border Check the outline of your mole — a melanoma may have edges that are ragged, notched, blurred or irregular, plus the pigment may have spread into surrounding skin.
C — Colour Is the colour uneven? You might see shades of black, brown and tan, or areas of white grey, red, pink or blue.
D — Diameter Do you see a change in the size of your mole? Has it increased? Typically, melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter — the same size as the end of a pencil.
E — Evolving Does the mole look different from the others and/or is it changing in size, colour or shape?
‘Remember, melanoma does not always fit the ABCDE rule, so if you notice anything different and are worried, seek medical help,’ she adds.
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