I was supposed to have this post up last week but a last minute procedure forced me to put it on hold. But here it is…my morning skin routine. WARNING: This is likely to be long.
My skincare routine has evolved over time and involved a lot of testing to try to find the right products that suit me. The following routine is one that I have been following for the past year and has been extremely successful for me. I don’t doubt that as time goes on, some products will be switched out because our bodies and skin is always changing; but for now its quite steady.
Before I start I just want to say that of course, what works for me might not work for you. It’s taken a year for me to get to a point where I am happy with my skin; I had to really identify what was lacking in my skin and therefore what was needed in order for me to tackle these areas. But if you can relate to some of the issues I had then maybe you’ll be interested in some of these products.
I’m very thankful to my parents for having exceptional skin and passing that onto my sister and myself; however, 2015 was a really weird year for my skin. For the most part of the year I had clusters of tiny spots on my cheeks and forehead. I couldn’t think of any reason why this was happening as I hadn’t changed anything in my diet or skincare – at that time my skincare wasn’t anything special; I didn’t have a specific face wash or moisturiser that I always used, it was just what was on hand at the time. It was really frustrating and by the end of the year I’d given up. I hated my skin, and it didn’t look or feel great when I applied makeup either because I could always see these tiny bumps which created so much texture when applying any foundation or concealer on top. Christmas came around and my dad gave me a gift card for Boots with quite a bit of money on it. I decided that enough was enough and I would use the gift card to invest in some really good skincare, which I did.
My first instinct when I see that I have spots is that there is dirt in my skin that my face wash is not adequately removing. So I looked for a deep cleansing face wash and I came across the Vichy Normaderm range. This collection includes everything from faces washes to various creams. The range is specifically designed for blemish-prone skin of any type (dry, oily, combination, etc.) and claims to tackle the six signs of blemish prone skin: blemishes, pores, shine, oily skin, marks & uneven complexion; all of which I was trying to tackle. I chose two products from this range; the Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel (left) and the 3-in-1 Cleanser (right), a light exfoliant.
I have never been so impressed with a product before. After just a month of using these I saw such a huge difference in my skin and it just kept getting better and better. My spots completely disappeared and I noticed my pores were no where near as visible. I use the Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel every morning and the 3-in-1 Cleanser three times a week. The 3-in-1 cleanser is a light exfoliator which is suitable for everyday use. It can be used as a cleanser, mask or scrub; I like to use this as a scrub with my Sonicleanse Pure 60 Second Cleansing Brush, which was a Christmas present from my mum in 2015, so this adds to the exfoliation and really helps to lift the dead skin and leave the skin feeling smooth. Because exfoliation aims to strip away the dead skin I only use this three times a week to avoid ripping off all the skin on my face. My skin is now super smooth and the exfoliation really helps to remove the texture I was struggling with before.
I am so in love with these face washes. I would say that in all of 2016 I had maybe 4 random pimples and the spot clusters never once came back!
These both retail for £11.00 each at Boots which may seem like a bit much for a face wash, but I only go through two bottles a year so I think it’s definitely worth the money. If you also do choose to buy these from Boots, they always have a 3 for 2 offer so you can potentially get one for free.
I personally love using toner because it makes my skin feel refreshed. I had used toners before but not regularly. The ones that I’d used before were generally aimed at reducing the size of pores and tightening the skin. I didn’t particularly like the feel of these as they made my skin feel uncomfortably tight.
I’d read a few articles on the benefits of glycolic acid. I had used products with glycolic acid in before but I had no idea of the wonders it can do for your skin. Glycolic acid is part of a groups called AHA’s which are derived from sugar cane. Without going into too much detail, I’m just going to list the benefits below.
- Penetrates deep into the skin easily
- Reduces fine lines
- Helps with acne prone skin
- Treats blackheads
- Treats oily skin
Products containing glycolic acid can differ based on the percentage and therefore strength. This should be taken into account when deciding how you want to incorporate this into your skincare. It is advised that people with sensitive skin should avoid glycolic acid as it can cause irritation.
I have been using the Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner for just under a year now; I use other products from this brand so hoped this would perform well too…obviously it did. For me, using glycolic acid in the form of a daily toner was the easiest way to incorporate this into my routine and, although I don’t have sensitive skin, as this is a low percentage it reduces the risk of being too harsh on my skin and causing irritation. This can therefore be used for those of you with dry or sensitive skin.
For the last year I’ve been using the Farsáli Rose Gold Elixir and I think its amazing. It is a lightweight oil with claims of anti-aging benefits whilst keeping the skin hydrated. This is a gold infused oil which helps to regenerate tissue and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This oil absorbs quickly into the skin which I love because means it doesn’t sit on my skin and emphasise the oily areas of my face as I have combination skin. This moisturiser makes my skin feel so smooth and moisturised and just gives me a nice glow. (Please don’t mind my dirty bottle in the picture)
According to the information on the Farsáli website, the base of the oil is Rosehip seed oil which is high in fatty acids and contains vitamins A and C; both necessary for skin health. Although it is a bit pricey, two to three drops are really all you need; and it is considered as a day moisturiser, so it is only required once a day. One bottle lasts me around 3 months.
Using SPF is something that should be incorporated into everyone’s skincare routine. There is tonnes of research out there which conclude that the sun can cause ageing, wrinkles and skin cancer; therefore protection is key. Additionally, if you use glycolic acid in any form then it is essential to use an SPF as the use of AHA’s can increase the risk of UV damage to the skin.
For this reason I use the Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30. This is a broad spectrum SPF meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB damage. It is important to use an SPF that protects against UVA particularly as these are the rays that penetrate deeper into the skin which can lead to skin cancer. This product boasts a patented Cellular BIOprotection® complex which provides optimum protection and “the sebo-regulating Fluidactiv® complex*, a BIODERMA innovation, improves sebum quality and helps to keep the skin clear and healthy”. This is a chemical sunscreen meaning that when the sun hits your skin, the product absorbs the harmful UVA and UVB rays.
I used to hate applying sun screen because it was always so thick and heavy and felt extremely greasy on my skin, making it look oily as hell and clogging my pores. This particular product is my dream come true. It claims to be mattifying fluid and whilst I don’t think its mattifies my skin completely, it definitely doesn’t add an oily look or feel to my skin. Another thing I love about this is that it doesn’t clog my pores whatsoever or leave a white cast on my face.
Any lip balm that keeps my lips moisturised all day is good enough for me. At the moment I use the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra Nourishing lip balm. I love the smell of this, it smells like lemon buttercream. It also has a very slight gritty texture that exfoliates my lips at the same time, removing any dead skin. If i’m applying this before any lipstick then I’ll just wipe my lips to remove any texture.
There are a lot of people who are against taking supplements and would rather get all their nutrition from the foods they eat; however this can be difficult for some people and I don’t feel it is enough for me.
Another reason why I choose to take supplements is that if my skin is showing signs of a lack of Vitamin C or B12 or any other vitamin and mineral it is likely due to my whole body not receiving enough of them through my diet. Therefore I don’t just want to treat this on my face. I’d much prefer to resolve the issue from the inside and provide the nutrients to all my organs to keep them and my immune system healthy. Its only logical that over time this will show in my skin. I take five different supplement pills each morning; Vitamin C, B-Complex, Multi Minerals and Vitamin D.
Before I go any further I have to stress that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet. I simply use them as a top up. A healthy and balanced diet is crucial for healthy body function and skin
There are a lot of topical Vitamin C creams out there which can be applied along with other creams or oils as part of your skincare routine. I have an issue with these for two reasons:
- The top layer of your skin contains dead blood cells. The majority of Vitamin C creams out there are not strong enough to penetrate deep into the skin to the blood cells that require it. To get your hands on a product that can achieve that you will likely have to pay quite a bit of money, which I personally am not willing to pay.
- The more layers of different skincare products you apply, the less likely they will be able to perform to its maximum capability. this is because as you apply more to your skin, it becomes more difficult to absorb into your skin properly. Whilst you can get moisturisers that claim multiple benefits including vitamins, as mentioned above, that are not likely to absorb properly into the skin.
The Vitamin C supplements I take are from Holland and Barrett. They are 1000mg in strength with 20mg of Rose Hips, which I discussed the benefits of earlier. I take one of these every morning with my breakfast. These are time release tablets meaning that I can benefit from these right throughout the day.
B-Complex vitamins are full of benefits for not only your skin but your body as well. As this is a post on my skincare routine, I’ll focus only on these benefits as this post is already a short story. The B-Complex tablets I take also have 300mg of Vitamin C and include the following:
- 18mg B1
- 10mg B2
- 50mg Niacin (B3)
- 10mg Pantothenic Acid (B5)
- 5mg B6
- 10µg B12
- 400µg Folic Acid
- 50µg Biotin
- 10mg Rose Hips
Now to the skin benefits. I’m just going to list these as they’re pretty self explanatory.
- Help prevent ageing
- B3 proven to improve the ability of the upper layer of the skin retain moisture and reduce dryness and flaky skin resulting in soft, smooth skin.
- Reduces fine lines
- Offset the damage caused by free-radicals that contribute to ageing and disease
- Brighten the skin
- Regulates pigment production and location, preventing hyperpigmentation
- Minimises acne by aiding in the breakdown of oils
- Speedy healing of skin wounds
Need I say much more?
Minerals are just as important as Vitamins. I take multi mineral supplements to benefit from the wide range of minerals contained in each capsule. Regarding skin care, there are a few that can help provide healthy skin.
Helps in the development of elastin, which supports structure of the skin to keep it from showing signs of ageing.
Acne may be a symptom of zinc deficiency. Therefore it can help with providing clear skin and control the production of oil.
Reduces the risk of burning and reduces the risk of skin cancer.
There are of course many other minerals that can help provide healthy skin, but I think you get the idea.
This is a big one for me. I want to share my own experience with you to emphasise the importance of ensuring you are getting all the nutrients your body requires in order to stay healthy, which will also show in your skin.
Early last year there was a period of time where I would randomly trip over my feet whilst I was walking. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, I just thought it was me being clumsy but as time went on this was happening more and more frequently and my legs felt very weak and shaky all the time. Then one day at work my legs gave way on me long enough for me to collapse to the floor. I felt extremely week and ended up having to stay on the floor for about an hour until I felt I could stand. My manager took me straight to the doctor where I explained exactly what had happened and mentioned that my legs felt shaky and weak the majority of the time. He tested the reflexes in my feet and legs and told me they were quite slow. So I had a blood test done and it confirmed what the doctor had thought, just not to the extent he imagined. His exacts words were “you have practically zero vitamin D in your body”. It was explained that the lack of vitamin D had caused my bones to soften due to the lack of calcium and thats why my legs were weak and shaky when I walked. I was prescribed a very high dose of vitamin D over a course of 6 weeks, after which I was tested again and the told I had an acceptable level in my system but that I should continue taking over the counter supplements to make sure the level does not drop back down. As a consequence of collapsing I have been off work for the last 8 months due to collapsing onto my coccyx causing it to bend outwards, which has been extremely painful. The pain was initially misdiagnosed which led to an unnecessary surgery that did nothing for the pain. It was only recently that I was given the correct diagnosis, hence the recent procedure I had which delayed this being posted.
So the lack of vitamin D caused a lot more trouble than me just collapsing. Vitamin D is so so so important for your health but it is likely that if you don’t live in a place where the sun shines all the time or you don’t spend time in the sun, you will likely have a vitamin D deficiency to some extent. So it is really important that you make sure it is at a healthy level through your diet and supplements (if you wish).
Beyond the extensive list of benefits to your body, vitamin D can help your skin in the following ways:
- Repairs skin damage and rejuvenate
- Prevents skin damage and ageing due to the anti-oxidants present
- Helps treat eczema and rosacea
And that is all I have to say. If you got to this point, thank you so much for reading. Its a lot to take in but I really wanted to explain why I use what I use. I wanted to share with you the benefits of each of these products, all of which have worked unbelievably well for me. I hope you enjoyed reading this. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.