11 things dermatologists want you to start doing
If your bathroom is filled with blemish-busting acids and powerful vitamins, you might think you're on top of your skincare game. But if you're still suffering from breakouts or acne, dry patches and dull circles, chances are something isn't working.
Perhaps you're switching formulas too quickly or working against your natural skin cycle, Dr Sam Bunting, a leading cosmetic dermatologist, reveals. Here are the insider skincare rules you need to start living by:
1. Don’t deplete skin before you even get started
Tried every trick in the skincare bible but still fighting blackheads? It’s possible you’re overusing products, or combining tools with formulas that are overworking the skin. To get rid of blackheads, 'try to avoid aggressively foaming cleansers, irritant physical scrubs and don’t over-use cleansing brushes or flannels if you plan on using active ingredients like acids and retinol,' advises Dr Sam.
2. SPF daily! It's the best anti-ageing hero
'It always amazes me how many people miss this step out; or think that they can rely on a bit of SPF in their tinted moisturiser, when in fact 90% of skin ageing is UV-related,' says the cosmetic dermatologist. If you're using double-duty formulas such as primer, use them properly. '¼ teaspoon for your face is the right amount, no matter what the product.' SPF should always be applied in your daily skincare routine.
3. Give products long enough to do their thing
Your skin’s natural cycle is six weeks, and if you don’t already, it’s time to start working with it. Dr Sam says: 'When you try a new product designed to tackle common issues like pigmentation or fine lines, know that it’s probably going to take at least one, if not two skin cycles to have an impact. So be patient!'
4. Don’t skip moisturiser - even if you're prone to spots
A recent study by Dr Sam’s Skincare found that 55 per cent of the people surveyed avoided using moisturiser altogether for fear of breaking out. 'It’s a HUGE problem. Many anti-ageing products are provocative to those with a tendency to acne because they contain ingredients like essential oils, so look for the label ‘non-comedogenic’ to dodge this pitfall,' advises Dr Sam.
5. Cater to sensitive skin
'Strip out unnecessary irritants like fragrance and alcohol, add in new products one at a time and handle with great care in winter, when harsh weather is a challenge to your barrier,' advises Dr Sam. This is super-important if you have sensitive skin or experience redness.
6. Don’t assume every trend is right for you
Obsessing over the latest formulas that promise to tighten and brighten? They might not be compatible with your complexion. 'I see a lot of women in my clinic who are extremely enthusiastic about skincare. They hop on every new launch, investing so much cash and energy, changing products on an almost nightly basis and end up confused when the result is dull, bumpy, irritated skin,' reveals Dr Sam. Her advice? Be discriminating – and remember, you know your skin best.
7. Follow the right skincare influencers
It's easy to be swayed on social media, but not all recommendations will be right for you there either. 'An upside of social media is the wonderful, inclusive sharing of beauty experiences – we’ve seen that extend into real life with our Dr Sam Skincare Club events. But the downside can be that sometimes it’s easy to be influenced by another’s opinion, even though their credentials are simply that they’ve tried a product and liked it for themselves.'
8. Invest in the right products
'The formulas that make the biggest difference to your skin are leave-on products – these are the ones that are worth the investment,' reveals Dr Sam. She encourages people to spend a little more on sunscreen that glides on like a dream, so you start to apply it daily. 'A mask or a cleanser, by contrast, will have less impact and can therefore be more affordable.'
9. Be rational when solving problem skin
If you’re suffering from adult acne, turns out you’re not alone. 'We’re in the grip of an acne epidemic – as many as 50 per cent of grown up women will experience blemishes,' reveals Dr Sam. She recommends using a logical approach, by creating, 'a structured routine based on a retinoid for night and an anti-inflammatory agent, like salicylic acid, for day.'
10. Know when to seek professional help
Scarring affects a massive 20 per cent of people with acne. If it’s getting you down and you’re avoiding social events, or it’s making you tearful, see a dermatologist. Dr Sam says it can make a huge improvement to both your skin and self-esteem: '90 per cent of people who seek help see an improvement after three months.'
11. Stay consistent with your skincare
Dr Sam’s mantra once you’ve found the right products? 'Use a consistent amount, applied in a consistent way, for a consistent period of time.' Try her signature 13-dot-technique to get your skincare game back on track.
This story originally appeared on our sister site Grazia
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