Beautiful skin: A balancing act

Those who suffer from problem skin know it tends to act out when you have something important to do. The day of that first date, that dance you have been waiting for all summer, that critical job interview; it can be extra daunting if you’re batting a patch of dry flakes or a turbo-blemish which has reared its ugly head overnight. Prevention is better than cure, so be on the offensive by establishing a routine for your skin which uses effective products in the most effective way, and cut out some of the risk of a rogue rash or breakout before it starts. 

Beautiful skinThe first step in charting out your skincare plan of attack is to establish what sort of skin you have. Your local beautician can advise you on this, but they may try to sell you expensive products! If your budget won’t allow for this, you can schedule a trip to the dermatologist with your GP. For an immediate indication, take one of the many quizzes available online to get a good idea of where your skin might be on the scale between acne-prone and dry. Most problems relate to either an overproduction of sebum or a deficit, so read on for some tips on how to orchestrate the fine balance between the two that leads to beautiful skin.

Acne-prone skin

Acne can take chunks out of your self-esteem when a nasty attack flares up, and it might not even be the result of failing to care for your skin properly. This said, investing just a couple of minutes a day in a good cleansing routine can make a drastic difference to any inflammation, reinfection and potential scarring when you do have a breakout.

For mild acne, use a cleanser with antibacterial properties containing either witch hazel or tea tree oil. For more moderate cases, a product which contains an effective active ingredient like salicylic acid will be useful. Keep a tube of Benzoyl Peroxide handy, and apply sparingly to any fresh breakouts to speed recovery. For any swelling, ice is a good topical anti-inflammatory! If your acne is more severe, it may leave small red marks, which can be countered with a whitening lotion. Of course, beauty begins on the inside, and there are certain foods which can help, too. Nuts, oily fish, avocado, fennel and garlic are all easy, super skin foods to incorporate into your diet, and will help you maintain a luminous glow.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is especially vulnerable at winter time, and if flakiness, redness, tightness and raw patches sound familiar, there’s a good chance this is your skin type. The key is a good, aqua-based moisturiser and avoiding harsh, alcohol-based products.

When cleansing, use mild, free-from perfume cream with a neutral pH, applied with a cotton pad. Slick on a good, thick moisturiser immediately after cleansing to effectively seal in your skin’s goodness. Don’t spend too long scrubbing in the shower; this will strip away the valuable oils which keep your skin healthy! Always use lip balm, especially around the edges of your mouth, and a good sunscreen before venturing out, even in cold months.

If you have central heating in your house, this can dry the air, and in turn exacerbate any skin dryness, so try to keep it turned down on bad skin days! Dandruff is a common and unsightly additional problem for those who suffer from dry skin. Counter it with a good anti-dandruff shampoo with an active ingredient like coal tar or selenium sulphide, just don’t scrub too hard. Foods containing olive oil, spinach and eggs will all make skin more elastic and hydrated, but of course the wonder ingredient for beautiful skin of any type is water. Drink 2 litres a day to stay looking refreshed, bright-eyed and glowing!

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