I have always had a little obsession with my skin. Ok, maybe a big obsession seeing as I spend an hour staring at myself every day. Not an hour straight but I recon an hour in total. The evening is my prime inspecting time. I have a bath or shower and then sit within an inch of my mirror in the most revealing and unforgiving light. Having cleansed my face I can now see all the open and closed pores, blackheads and whiteheads. The beauty industry frowns upon what I am about to do but let’s face it, we all do this. A hairpin is my weapon of choice and I squeeze and pop the gunk from my skin in order to achieve the perfection I am looking for (even, clean skin, no blackheads or wink at you in the mirror whiteheads). Needless to say, I normally go to bed covered in red blotches and then wake up looking much the same and so cover up with makeup and so this vicious cycle goes. I would just like to add that I am not promoting this at all but I have to be honest in what I do.
I envy the people who have that doughy skin without a single blemish. You know the people who say “I just use soap and water”. I also envy those people who can just leave their faces alone and allow the dirt to make a ‘natural exit’ and who can allow a whitehead to wink at them and not be phased. I have tried this and it doesn’t work for me. I just end up feeling self conscious and anxious. If there’s a blocked pore, I have to unblock it…..NOW. Really the only way round this is to prevent them in the first place.
I truly believe that ones skin type depends on several factors and so ones skin care routine should not only be about products. Take a look at your parents and family. The likelihood is that they have similar skin types to you so genetics play a role in skin type. Secondly the amount of water, what you eat or put into your body and the amount of exercise you do definitely play a role. Lastly what you put onto the skin e.g. products or environment. Bearing this in mind, ones skin rarely stays the same and thus I have found it is important to assess and amend ones skin routine, including products, accordingly.
Getting good skin for me is like achieving that babe body. It takes dedication! It was for my wedding in July 2014 that I finally had perfect skin. I have since lapsed in my routine and forgotten about basics hence my current skin condition (spotty). This has made me think about what I did to achieve my best skin again.
My best friend and I always have discussions about our skin. She works at a Lloyds Pharmacy and said that she had changed her skin care after having a skin analysis which revealed what her current skin condition was and what products she should be using. The skin analysis service provided in select Lloyds pharmacies is FREE and uses the Soft Plus machine developed by a manufacturer called Callegari. I believe this machine is also available in certain spas and other such beauty establishments.
Image from Google images
The Soft Plus machine has a number of probes which are in turn placed on different areas of the face or whatever part of the skin is being tested. It tests for hydration, elasticity, sebum, pH, melanin, temperature, phototype and biological skin age. For each test there is an on screen analysis and at the end you are provided with a print out (receipt size) which details your current levels of the above and what they should be. Underneath this is a very detailed treatment recommendation for your skin, not specific marketed products but the type. E.g. it may say to use something with salicylic acid at night. The person performing the analysis can then suggest products suited for you or you can do some research and make your own choice.
I am well aware that these machines are developed with marketing and profit in mind but I truly did not feel any obligation to buy anything….but I did because I wanted to improve my skin. The first time I went (April 2014) it revealed that I had an oily T zone but also dry areas. Combination skin! The worst to deal with! I came away with new products to try and have been using them ever since.
Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel
This is a great wash and makes your skin feel super clean without completely stripping it. I used it as an all in one for removing my makeup and then a second cleanse to deep clean.
Eucerin DermatoCLEAN Clarifying Toner
This gives that extra clean feel without causing any tightening. Contains acids to exfoliate the skin.
Avene Hydrance Optimale
This also comes in an SPF version. Really lightweight formula. Sinks straight into the skin with no residue.
They worked wonderfully for about a year. Recently, however, maybe the past 6 months, my skin has been congested, bumpy and taking a long time for spots to heal (when I have had a picking sesh). I went and had a micro dermabrasion treatment thinking my skin was really congested. This made a difference but before long my face was back to being yuck! I couldn’t understand as I was using the same products that had transformed my skin for my wedding.
I decided to go for another skin analysis with the Soft Plus. It revealed that my skin was dry. Not just a bit dry, I’m talking desert, old hag dry in all areas. Dry skin?! I was shocked as I thought my skin was oily with all the blackheads. Light bulb! My skin had obviously changed. The products I had been using were completely wrong for my current skin type. I was using products for oily skin and, therefore, stripping and drying out my skin. I came away with shiny new products (yay) and have now been using them for a week.
Korres 3 in 1 Cleansing Emulsion
This is a cleanser, toner and moisturiser. I am normally sceptical of products that claim to have more than one purpose. It has a soft creamy texture and pleasant smell. I rub it al lover my face and massage it in then remove with cotton pads. If I have makeup on I will do this twice and that’s it! Complete skin care! Having always used a wash with water, then toner, this product is completely alien to me. After using my skin feels refreshed and clean, not greasy but moisturised. I’m 1 week in and so far so good! Its also 97.6% natural.
Eucerin Aquaporin Active Light/ Eucerin Aquaporin Active SPF
I then follow with either one of these moisturisers for that extra thirst quench. The light for the night and the SPF for the day. Both feel really nourishing and make my skin feel bouncy, hydrated and fresh.
1 week in and I have noticed that I have less obvious blackheads and my skin has more of a glow. I am still popping stuff out at the end of the day but definitely less in fact last night after inspection I can proudly say I didn’t pick at all and I have woken up this morning with pretty good lookin’ skin! My makeup is also sitting better and blending onto the skin nicely whereas before it would be patchy and look kind of cakey especially if I used powder.
Of course a change in products is not the only factor I need to change about my skin care but from this I have learned that skin analysis is a really important aspect. There are various methods of analysis out there including the Dermalogica face mapping which I have experienced. This is also good but what I like about the Soft Plus is that as a consumer, one can pick and choose products rather than having the limitation of one brand. It also has a more scientific base to the test rather than relying on a persons visual opinion.
The products I have talked about are not an exhaustive list but are the main ones I use consistently.
Time to add skin analysis to your skin care routine guys! Happy analysing!
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See below for links.
Products available from most pharmacies and online.