Tuesday, 27 August 2013

The Starting Off Project: Week one - Skincare

Your skin is your largest organ. It protects your from disease, damage and dehydration, yet a lot of people do not take care of their skin, possibly due to a lack of knowledge. Here I will outline some of the basics of skincare; although, I cannot tell you what is the best product for you, I can tell you what you need to do to have healthy skin.

Before I go into any details, you need to identify your skin type. This is a great guide to finding your skin type, if you don't already know. Your skin type will determine which products you use. Please note that you can be an intermediate skin type ie. I have normal to combination skin, which leans towards the oily side in summer, and leans towards the dry side in winter. I know this sounds complicated, but you don't need to worry about it right now, just keep an eye on it when the seasons change and adjust your skin care regime accordingly.


This is a pretty obvious one. We all (hopefully) are experienced in showering and bathing to wash away the dirt from our skin. However, when we hit puberty and/ or start to wear make up, things become a bit more complicated. This is a great explanation of why your skin changes when you become an adolescent. Not everyone gets raging acne, I didn't, but you might get a few more spots than when you were a child!

As your skin is producing more oil, and you're also slapping more and more make up on your face to cover up your dreaded zits, you need to make sure you clean your skin at the end of the day. This means taking your make up off (with a wipe, a cream cleanser, an oil cleanser), and then cleansing again to get deeper into the skin and get rid of any dirt that has found its way into your pores (I use a foaming cleanser and then rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water. If you miss this step, then you may get blackheads or spots. Because your body doesn't like it when foreign bodies get inside, it will fight back, which is where the redness and swellings come from. 

I like to use Simple Kind To Skin Facial Wipes and then Clean and Clear Deep Action Oil Free Cream Wash, which leaves skin feeling squeaky clean and pores looking clean, without drying out the skin.

You can use toner after this step, but there is some debate as to whether it is a necessary, or a detrimental step. Read about it here.


Exfoliating is important, because dead skin cells can obstruct the pore opening, when we exfoliate, it helps clogged pores become unclogged. The removal of dead skin cells also exposes the new ones, and so the skin looks brighter. Exfoliating is very important for males, because dead skin cells can obstruct the hair follicle, causing ingrown hairs. There are a number of exfoliators, physical and chemical. Physical ones use plastic balls, or natural ingredients, such as salt or sugar to crushed almond shells to buff away the dead cells. Chemical exfoliators use acids or enzymes to achieve the same result. 

You should probably exfoliate once or twice a week if you are using a harsh exfoliator, such as The Body Shop Microdermabrasion (which I use). There are also some exfoliating cleansers that can be used everyday such as ... but these are much less harsh. As exfoliating dries out your skin, people with dry skin should exfoliate less than those with oily skin.


Cleansing your skin, washing it with water and exfoliating are quite drying, so you must moisturise afterwards. Again, the type of moisturiser that you use depends on your skin type. I have found a fantastic guide to choosing which moisturisers are good for you here.

Another thing to consider, is whether you want to use a day and a night cream, or one all purpose product. As everyone's skin has different needs, so the best thing is to experiment to find the best thing for you. Day creams are designed to be worn under make up, so they have a light, non greasy formulas. They are also designed to protect the skin from UV and free radical damage, and some contain caffeine to keep the skin looking firm. At night, the body repairs itself from damage. This is when the skin really works hard, so night creams are focused on restoring and moisturising the skin. They are usually thicker, and are absorbed slower, so we wake up with moisturised skin. I like to use the Day Cream and the Night Cream from the Body Shop's Aloe range.


This links to the discussion about day cream earlier. You must apply some kind of protection from UV rays to your skins if you want to avoid premature ageing and skin cancer. Lots of foundations, BB creams and tinted moisturisers contain SPF, but it isn't enough to provide adequate protection for the skin. Apparently, the best thing to do is to apply a sunscreen separately either under or over your moisturiser. To be honest, this is something that I am still working on getting right. If you want to read more about SPF here is a really interesting article about SPF and moisturiser.

So here is a very brief guide to the ins and outs of skin care. I don't want to scare anyone away from skincare, and I realise it can seem quite daunting, but I'd recommend that a beginner should consider each stage at a time.  It's really up to you to experiment with products to find out which work the best. The purpose of this post was to introduce the principles, so when you go to the skin care aisle of Boots, you know which kinds of products to go for, and then take it from there.


  1. OMG I can't believe I forgot all about SPF. Shame on me. And you're absolutely right about experimenting to find out which products work best :)


    1. I find SPF so confusing though, I kind of want to have a Q&A with a dermatologist about it!

  2. Ooh! Exfoliating is super important!
    Looking forward to reading your other posts!
    I too forgot about SPF, haha!
    Estelle x

    1. I love exfoliating. I'd do it every day, but that would be too much. Tut tut you guys! Never mind, I'm rubbish at SPF haha!

  3. I use a daily exfoliating cleanser from Clarins that I've been using for years. It's such a great product, I can imagine not using it.
    Adela x


    1. I've never tried anything from Clarins, but I'm always tempted when I walk past. I'll keep an eye out for this :)


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