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What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
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What To Do If You Hate Those Fine Lines Around Your LipsRead More
When it comes to fighting off wrinkles and limiting the damaging effects of pollution and the sun, antioxidants are everything. But are they all they’re cracked up to be? Funnily enough, yes, they are.
If you’re reading this, you probably know a little about what your skin wants from its daily routine. First up, you have the foundation for great skin: a fabulous cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin of life, but cleanses thoroughly while caring for your skin’s super-important barrier function. Simple enough, right?
Then, you have toner which adds that little extra ‘je ne sais quoi’ to your regimen, treating dark spots, adding a little hydration, maybe even helping to exfoliate your skin – as long as you choose the right one, of course (cough, Ocean Minerals Super Toner, cough).
A great moisturizer is also vital… and don’t even get us started on SPF which is literally the most important product for protecting your skin from premature aging.
And somewhere in the middle of all this come antioxidants. You’ll have read about antioxidants countless times (especially if you’re a TruSkin fan!) and maybe you understand just a smidge about their overall benefits for your skin. But did you know they’re the absolute key to fighting off environmental damage? Not only that but they can perform any number of skin-enhancing feats, helping to transform a ‘decent’ skincare routine into a truly fabulous one.
Here’s everything you need to know about these skincare powerhouses…
First, Let’s Talk About Free Radicals
Free radicals might sound innocent enough, but don’t be fooled. They can be seriously bad news when it comes to your skin. Simply put, free radicals are unstable, highly reactive atoms or molecules that form in your skin when it’s been subjected to things like sun damage, pollution, alcohol, stress or a poor diet.
Due to their unstable nature, free radicals seek out electrons from other, unsuspecting molecules in your skin to try and stabilize themselves, thus creating more free radicals in their wake. This blatant thievery is called oxidation and, if it gets left to its own devices, it leads to what's known as oxidative stress which causes serious damage to all the good stuff within your skin – think DNA, collagen and elastin.
Got It. So, How Do Antioxidants Fit Into The Equation?
Antioxidants are Batman to free radicals’ evil The Joker. Unlike other molecules which turn into free radicals when an electron gets snatched away, antioxidants are able to donate electrons to neutralize free radicals, while simultaneously maintaining their own stability. This practically laughs in the face of free radicals’ destruction and stops the chain reaction of skin damage as a result.
Your body naturally has a pretty decent antioxidant defense system that works hard to fight damage and keep you healthy, but this weakens with age (no surprises there!). This is why you need to help it out by including not only antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies in your diet, but also by applying topical antioxidants to your skin to fight off those pesky free radicals, reduce damage and help keep your complexion strong, supple, radiant and youthful-looking.
Topical antioxidants can be found in anything from cleansers and toners through to moisturizers and face masks, but to maximize their benefits, you should always include an antioxidant serum in your routine. Why? Because serums have a small molecular structure which allows them to deliver powerful, active ingredients deep into your skin.
Here are six of our absolute faves…
The 6 Best Antioxidant Serums For Your Skin Concerns
The Skin Brightener: Vitamin C Facial Serum
With more than 93,000 ratings on Amazon, this number one bestseller is packed with antioxidants including arguably the queen of them all, vitamin C. Vitamin C not only reduces the breakdown of collagen and elastin to support your skin and reduce premature lines and wrinkles, but it also contains properties that help regulate melanin production to help fade dark spots and even out your skin tone. Hello, brighter skin days!
The Ultimate Hydrating Hero: Hyaluronic Acid Facial Serum
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is well-known for its hydrating powers due to its clever way of drawing water to the surface of your skin (up to 1,000 times its own weight, no less). But did you know that botanical HA is also a powerful antioxidant? If you’re looking to up your skin’s moisture content while neutralizing potential free radical damage at the same time, this multitasking HA Serum is right up your alley.
The Balancing Act: Tea Tree Super Serum+
Unhappy skin often leads to excess oil and, worse still, pesky breakouts, which is where our Tea Tree Super Serum+ comes in. Packed with tea tree essential oil and salicylic acid to balance your skin and improve cell turnover, it also contains vitamin C to brighten, hyaluronic acid to hydrate AND retinol to strengthen and support your skin. A veritable master-of-all-trades. Just remember, this is a potent one, so it needs to be applied just two or three times a week.
The Age-Defying Genius: Retinol Facial Serum
Retinol, oh how we love thee. An active form of vitamin A, retinol stimulates the skin to turn over more efficiently. This helps soften, thicken and plump up the skin while offering no end of benefits for enlarged pores, acne, pigmentation and aging skin. Retinol is also an awesome antioxidant, making it one of the most important ingredients for your skincare regimen. Try this nighttime serum that’s gentle enough for almost all skin types – as long as you patch test it first, of course. But that’s a given with any new skincare formulation…
The Sensitive Skin Savior: Niacinamide Facial Serum
The newest addition to our serum line-up contains one of the gentlest, but no less effective antioxidants, niacinamide. Very well tolerated by the skin, niacinamide helps soothe and calm irritation. It also has the power to increase the natural production of ceramides in your skin to help strengthen and protect your barrier function. A real must-try for antioxidant newbies or for anyone whose skin doesn't tolerate the potency of vitamin C or retinol.
The ‘I Want It All’ Serum: Vitamin C Super Serum+
Both of our Super Serums contain a carefully curated blend of some of the most effective ingredients in skincare. But for the absolute ultimate in antioxidant prowess our Vitamin C Super Serum+ is, for sure, the one for you. It contains not two… not three… but four of the very best: vitamin C, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid AND retinol. Not to mention a whole plethora of botanical oils plus aloe vera to keep irritation to a minimum. Word is, this one’s so good, you only need to apply it two or three times a week.
Why Antioxidants And Your Skin Are The Ultimate BFFsread more
Ramp up your skincare tools by knowing exactly which skincare products to use with them… and when.
These last few years have seen a massive rise in sales of at-home skincare tools and treatments that give you all the benefits of a spa-like facial without leaving the comfort of your own home. Figures, right? For the most part of 2020 and 2021 your home became your office, your school, your gym, even your hair salon (come on, fess up if you attempted a bad trim/root touch-up last year?). All this meant that popping to your favorite dermatologist or beauty therapist for an hour-long facial simply wasn’t an option. So, you started buying stuff to use at home that could help recreate the treatments you’d become accustomed to. And it turned out, most of you quite liked being your own beauty boss. Some of you also became pretty good at using your new skin tool BFF.
However, it’s not easy to transform yourself into a whizz at professional-style home treatments. So, if you’re yet to figure out how to use your gua sha or derma roller alongside your favorite skincare products, here’s our guide to getting it right.
The At-Home Skincare Tool: Cleansing Brush
What It Does: Sonic cleansing brushes and tools use powered bristles that vibrate and pulsate over the surface of your skin. Some use circular motions while others move back and forth, but whatever the technology, this repetitive, time-controlled movement offers similar results: to deeply cleanse your skin, break down dirt and oil, and keep your pores clean and clear. The massaging action has also been shown to help promote a toned, lifted and firmer-looking complexion.
How To Use: Cleansing brushes are extremely simple to use. Moisten your face with lukewarm water and apply cleanser all over your skin – you might need a little more than normal so don’t be shy. Next, grab your brush and work it over your face for around a minute. Anything more than light pressure will prevent the bristles from moving properly, however, so go easy. Rinse, dry and you’re done. Oh, and we don’t recommend using them more than once a day. Too much, people. Way too much.
The Best Skincare To Maximize Results: Of course, a great face wash is your go-to here and we think our Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser is the absolute bomb because it’s gentle enough for most skin types and formulated with vitamin C and other potent antioxidants for bright, radiant skin. Exfoliating scrubs should be avoided as these could over-stimulate your skin and cause irritation, dryness and sensitivities.
The At-Home Skincare Tool: Derma Roller
What It Does: Derma rollers are used in microneedling treatments. Microneedling works by using tiny, high-speed needles to produce tiny puncture wounds in your skin. This creates a controlled injury which triggers collagen and elastin production, nudging your skin to renew itself. By doing this, microneedling is said to help reduce acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles and even dark spots. But remember, at-home derma rollers are generally manufactured using shorter needles than the medical-grade ones used by the pros, so be patient with results.
How To Use: Shoving needles into your skin at home might sound like a crazy notion, but derma rollers can be extremely safe to use if you’re super careful and follow the instructions to the absolute letter. The first thing to remember is to make sure both your skin and derma roller are totally clean before your treatment, then mentally divide your face into four sections and gently work the roller over small areas within that section two or three times. Rinse your skin afterwards and gently pat it dry.
The Best Skincare To Maximize Results: Microneedling is a great way to help moisturizer and serum penetrate deeper into your skin. Which is good and bad news. First, the bad: microneedling can make your skin sensitive to potent, active ingredients like retinol and glycolic acid – especially if you’ve not used them before – so tread carefully with anything that could cause a reaction. The great news, however, is that microneedling will really ramp up the effects of some of your less sensitizing, more hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, MSM and vitamin C. We recommend following a derma roller sesh with Niacinamide Facial Serum.
The At-Home Skincare Tool: Ice Globes
What They Do: Ice globes are a bit like jade rollers but, as their name suggests, they’re glass or metal wands that have balls on the ends which are designed to be kept in the fridge or freezer. Kind of like rubbing ice cubes all over your skin without the watery mess, ice globes are awesome for the eye area as their globe-like shape makes them easy to negotiate around the orbital bone. However, they’re great for soothing redness, minimizing inflammation, boosting circulation and reducing puffiness all over your face. Experts also believe they may help boost collagen to tighten and firm your skin. So, there’s that.
How To Use: These are best used in the morning to really wake up your skin and help reduce tired, puffy eyes and skin. Simply grab yours from the fridge or freezer and work it over cleansed, dry skin for 10 minutes or so. Use upwards movements to lift your skin and add radiance, or downwards strokes to encourage lymphatic drainage and reduce swelling, making sure you don’t press too hard as this could drag and damage your skin.
The Best Skincare To Maximize Results: Apply your favorite serum or eye cream before massaging to really super charge all those delicious, skin-loving ingredients. Try Vitamin C Facial Serum to help protect your skin throughout the day.
The At-Home Skincare Tool: LED Facial Mask
What It Does: Loved by the likes of Julia Roberts, Victoria Beckham and Olivia Munn, LED face masks might not be cheap, but, depending on the type of light involved, they’ve been proven to work on all manner of skin woes including fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots and even acne. They work by using waves of light (usually blue or red) to penetrate your skin and kick-start it to function more efficiently. Red light, for example, promotes collagen production so is great for anti-aging the skin, whereas blue light targets excess sebum to work on reducing acne breakouts.
How To Use: Again, they’re all different, but you basically cleanse, tone and moisturize as normal, then power up your mask, select the light you prefer (if there are options), pop the mask over your face and relax. What’s more, most masks switch off automatically after 15-20 minutes. What could be easier? Two or three times a week should be about right to give you decent results in just a few weeks.
The Best Skincare To Maximize Results: LED can cause your skin to feel a little dry to begin with so make sure you look after your skin’s barrier to prevent unnecessary water loss and help your skin stay hydrated and healthy. Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream is a great shout to apply before bed as this will really enrich your skin with moisture. Perfect the night before (and after) using your mask.
The At-Home Skincare Tool: Facial Gua Sha
What It Does: Pronounced ‘gwah shah’, this East Asian therapy has been around for hundreds of years and uses a flat, smooth crystal like jade or rose quartz to scrape the skin and move energy (or chi) around the face or body. This form of massage is known to help remove a build-up of lymphatic fluids from the face and around your eyes. It also boosts circulation and relieves muscle tension.
How To Use: Unlike body gua sha therapy which is firm and can cause bruising, using it on your face requires a more gentle approach. Simply place the tool flat against your skin and use the different angles and curves of the tool to fit the contours of your face. Apply gentle pressure and use a combination of long and short strokes across the surface to stimulate lymphatic drainage and reduce puffiness. Start once a week and then build up to more frequent use as you get more into a routine.
The Best Skincare To Maximize Results: To get the most from gua sha, cleanse and tone your skin first, then apply a small amount of facial oil to reduce drag and maintain a smooth surface as you massage your skin. If you want to concentrate on puffy eyes, firstly: great idea. And secondly: apply Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream first for awesome, eye-rejuvenating benefits.
Make The Most Of Your Skincare Tools With These TruSkin Favoritesread more
Getting to grips with acne scars is not as hard as you think. You just need to know where to turn.
Whether you have scars from teenage acne or are worried your adult acne could be causing your skin long-term harm, here’s everything you need to know in order to stay ahead of the acne scarring game.
Firstly, what causes acne scars? Well, they’re the result of inflammation in the skin due to pimples and blemishes. Breakouts occur when a build-up of excess oils, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria clogs up your pores making them swell and cause damage to the follicles, tissues and skin around them. When pimples heal, your skin goes into serious repair mode, producing collagen in various quantities in an attempt to get it structurally, functionally and aesthetically back to ‘normal’. Sadly, this doesn’t always work out as well as you’d like and often your skin produces either too much or too little collagen, resulting in bumpy or pitted skin – otherwise known as acne scars.
It’s important, however, to know that not all acne scars are created equal…
What Are The Different Types Of Acne Scars?
Many pimples come and go without leaving you scars to prove they’ve ever been there. But this is not always the case. Even if you’ve left well alone and not so much as touched a pimple, let alone squeezed, picked or prodded it, it can still cause long-term scarring. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) whether or not your acne leaves a scar is down to a number of things. Inflammatory acne, for example, which is deep, red and painful is way more likely to scar than a less serious-looking pimple – especially if left untreated. And then there are your genes. Say no more…
Acne scars also come in two different guises.
1. Atrophic Acne Scars
Atrophic scars include any kind of acne scar that’s depressed below the surface of your skin. They occur when the healing process produces too little collagen, causing a pit, dent or ‘hole’ in your skin. Atrophic scars come in all different shapes in sizes but usually fall into one of three categories: ice pick scars (narrow, almost pin-like looking scars); boxcar scars (slightly wider and rounded); or rolling scars (which create wave-like depressions across the surface of your skin).
2. Hypertrophic Acne Scars
While less common than atropic acne scars, hypertrophic acne scars are thickened areas of skin that are raised and often itchy. They occur when too much collagen is produced during the healing process and scar tissue consequently builds up above the surface. This type of acne scar is more likely to appear on your chest, back or shoulders than on your face. Which is something, at least.
Then there’s post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) which isn’t actually scarring at all, but a whole other business. PIH is a type of discoloration that appears when some kind of trauma – in this case, acne – causes your skin to overproduce melanin and leaves you with a dark or uneven patch of skin. Unlike acne scars, PIH isn’t pitted or raised and often heals with good sun protection and the use of topical antioxidant treatments like Vitamin C Facial Serum. Let’s put a pin in PIH for now…
Why Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure
The sad news is that acne scars are notoriously hard to get rid of. Which is why avoiding acne in the first place with a gentle cleansing, balancing and moisturizing routine is super important. Our Charcoal Clarifying Cleanser is a great choice for keeping your skin clean and clear of pore-clogging debris, and try Retinol Moisturizer to improve cell turnover and keep your skin healthy and moisturized.
Of course, you can never tell if a pimple will scar or not, but if you do get one, avoid picking at it because this really won’t help. Instead, stop it from getting worse by spot treating with Tea Tree Super Serum+. This smart treatment contains salicylic acid and tea tree oil to keep your pores clean, plus healing aloe and hydrating hyaluronic acid to stop your skin from drying out. Also, look out for anti-inflammatory ingredients across your whole regime – think ceramides, green tea, chamomile and niacinamide (oh, hi there Niacinamide Serum).
How To Help Treat Acne Scars
Too late to employ the ‘prevention is better than cure’ rule? Don’t sweat it, there are still plenty of options for helping to treat, fade or smooth out existing acne scars.
Unfortunately, skincare alone can’t totally heal acne scars. However, some things will certainly help fade discoloration and give your skin a smoother appearance. Gentle exfoliation, for one, is a great way to improve your skin’s texture by sloughing away dead skin cells and improving cellular turnover. Facial scrubs are the obvious choice, but chemical exfoliation is also very effective. Again, our salicylic acid-enriched Tea Tree Super Serum+ is a great shout, but if you’re applying it all over, use it just two or three times a week – it’s potent stuff.
Make sure your routine also contains retinol in some form. As well as helping to speed up collagen production and cell regeneration for healthier, smoother skin, retinol is fabulous for fading uneven skin tone. Try our Retinol Facial Serum in the evenings when you’re not using your tea tree serum.
At The Derm’s Office
Serious acne scars are going to need more than great skincare, so if yours are getting you down and won’t go away, pay a visit to your dermatologist for advice on how best to treat your particular concerns. Dermabrasion, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are awesome for resurfacing your skin and encouraging fresh, new skin cells to grow, whereas dermal fillers can significantly help reduce the appearance of pitted, atrophic scars. You could also try laser resurfacing, microneedling or even surgery.
The options as they say, are endless.
Our Best Advice For Dealing With Acne Scarsread more
Not that we’re dissing retinol. It’s just that it’s not the ONLY skincare ingredient out there worth a place in your daily regime…
Don’t get us wrong, retinol gives us all the feels and we’re mad about its cunning ability to improve everything from wrinkles and dark spots to acne and sagging skin. But it’s pretty potent stuff, so not everyone’s skin can get away with using it on the reg. Also, it’s not the be-all and end-all. In fact there are plenty of other trusted skincare ingredients that offer awesome anti-aging benefits for no-so-youthful-looking skin.
Of course, any brand promising you miracles like a ‘face lift in a bottle’ is lying to you – no matter what kind of clinically-proven wonder-potions are packed inside. But if you keep at it, and give skincare time to work, certain ingredients are guaranteed to offer real, skin-changing results.
Here are our top five…
1. Exfoliating Acids
According to the Mayo Clinic, exfoliating acids like AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), BHAs (beta hydroxy acids) and PHAs (poly hydroxy acids) are among the most effective ingredients for reducing the visible signs of aging. Unlike manual exfoliators like scrubs, loofahs and face cloths that require some kind of physical movement to work, exfoliating acids dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells to encourage them to get a move on and fall away from the surface of your skin. This process accelerates cellular turnover and works to brighten, smooth and even out your entire complexion. It also helps prepare your skin to better absorb and reap the benefits of the rest of your skincare routine.
You’ll find exfoliating acids in various forms across anything from cleansers to serums, the most common of which are glycolic, lactic, gluconic and salicylic acids. We formulate salicylic acid into our Vitamin C Super Serum+ which is a great choice for aging skin. Always patch test first, then apply it to clean, dry skin before moisturizing.
A form of vitamin B3, niacinamide is a very effective antioxidant that’s been gaining popularity as a skincare ingredient in recent years. And it’s about time, too.
Not a blog post goes by in which we don’t talk about antioxidants, yet here we go again –sorry, not sorry. Antioxidants are up there as some of the most important things to include in your skincare regime. Granted, cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen are THE most important products for maintaining healthy skin, but if you care about defying lines, wrinkles and so on, antioxidants are everything. How so? Because they protect your skin from free radicals which are unstable oxygen molecules that wreak havoc on your skin when it’s exposed to things like UV radiation and environmental pollution.
Niacinamide is very well tolerated by the skin which makes it a great choice for sensitive skin. Research also shows that it increases the production of ceramides in the top layers of your skin which improves your barrier function, increases moisturization and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also reduces inflammation, diminishes discoloration, fights breakouts and balances sebum. Is there anything niacinamide can’t do? For sure, but who needs a facial serum to walk the dog?
Try our awesome Niacinamide Facial Serum which blends this potent but skin-friendly antioxidant with healing vitamin E and hydrating hyaluronic acid.
Often overshadowed by the big guns, MSM is 100 percent worth a place in your skincare routine. And here’s why. Otherwise known as methylsulfonylmethane (agreed, a real mouthful), MSM is a sulfur compound which primarily contains sulfur, as well as small amounts of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Sulfur is extremely plentiful in the human body and found mainly in your skin and bones. It’s often known as the ‘healing mineral’ due to its ability to support healthy collagen synthesis, boost circulation, reduce inflammation and detoxify. Impressive stuff, right?
As a topical ingredient, MSM has been proven to not only increase collagen production, but to also reduce environmental damage by increasing your levels of glutathione. Glutathione is one of your body’s most important, naturally-occurring antioxidants, helping to fight oxidative stress caused by those devils called free radicals. We hate free radicals. You should hate free radicals, too.
You’ll find MSM in a bunch of your favorite TruSkin products including our Hyaluronic Eye Cream.
Peptides can be tricky to get your head around, but simply put they’re chemical compounds made up of amino acids. Now, if you paid attention in 7th grade biology you’ll remember that amino acids combine to form proteins and are pretty much the building blocks of the human body, aiding in important functions like growth and repair. Well, while proteins are made up of long chains of amino acids, peptides are the little guys, made up of shorter chains.
In skincare, certain peptides act like little messengers to encourage your cells to produce more proteins – namely collagen, elastin and keratin – and simultaneously improve your skin’s texture and tone. They can work on fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, even breakouts. But only if you choose the right ones…
One of the most effective peptides to look out for is Matrixyl 3000 which is thought to be able to almost double the amount of collagen your cells produce. Impressed? Much? Then you have to try our Peptide Eye Gel and Ocean Minerals Super Toner which both contain the mighty Matrixyl 3000 as well as plenty of other skin-loving and anti-aging ingredients.
5. Vitamin C
Another, dare we say it, powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is so good, we like to tout its abilities on an almost weekly basis! But it’s so much more than a free radical-fighting powerhouse. It’s literally ‘the’ ingredient for boosting radiance and diminishing dark spots.
So, how does that work? Well, studies have shown that it reduces the amount of melanin your skin produces by inhibiting tyrosinase (a catalyst for melanin production). By hampering melanin, vitamin C works hard to fade existing dark spots, help stop new ones from forming and give you a more glowy complexion. Oh, vitamin C also promotes cellular turnover and collagen production as a couple of extra bonuses.
Topical vitamin C takes on many forms, most commonly l-ascorbic acid and sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP). L-ascorbic acid is the pure form but it’s notoriously unstable meaning it breaks down easily, therefore becoming less effective. It can also be a little potent for sensitive skin so, instead, we use SAP across all of our C-products because it’s way gentler on the skin, still super effective and maintains its stability for much longer. SAP is the salt version of pure vitamin C which is why our infamous Vitamin C Facial Serum looks a little cloudy.
So, now you know!
Why Retinol Isn’t The Only Answer To Aging Skinread more
Glowing skin is a sure sign your complexion is happy. But what about when things don’t look or feel as good as you’d like? Chances are your routine could be the very reason your skin is having a mini meltdown…
Happy skin is something everybody strives for. And if only we were all blessed with the type of complexion that permanently behaved itself and looked downright perfect. But life’s not like that – no matter how famous you are or how much money you throw at your skin. Call it Murphy’s law if you like, but as soon as you accept that flawless skin is rarely achieved, the happy we know you (and your skin) will be.
That being said, while you can’t change your genes or suddenly transform your skin type from oily to normal overnight, what you can do is give your skin its best shot at happiness by ensuring your skincare routine is on the right path.
As you know, a great routine consists of gentle cleansing, an antioxidant treatment, regular moisturization and broad-spectrum sun protection. Then there are all the added extras like toner, exfoliation, extra hydration and eye treatments. Reckon you’ve got these down to a tee? Well, we hope that’s true. However, your skin might think otherwise and if it’s showing signs of grief – redness, itching, dry patches, breakouts etc. – chances are, you’re somehow upsetting your skin’s important barrier function. Let’s have a look into that a bit more…
Skin Barrier 101
Your skin has three main layers. The lowest is the hypodermis, followed by the dermis and on the very top, the epidermis. Each of these layers is split into even more layers which are super complex and all play a very important part in the health of your skin and body.
Right at the top of your epidermis is the uppermost layer, the stratum corneum, otherwise known as your skin's barrier. The stratum corneum is kind of like a brick wall of around 20 layers of cells, held together by essential lipids such as ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. This brick wall is your body’s first line of defense against the outside world and works hard to protect you from the slings and arrows of everyday life like pollution, toxins and chemicals. It also stops TEWL (transepidermal water loss) to retain the right balance of moisture in your skin and help keep it soft, supple and healthy.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Yes, in theory. it is. However, your skin’s barrier naturally weakens with age, a cruddy skincare routine and poor lifestyle choices. And if your barrier is not functioning to the best of its abilities, moisture can escape from the surface of your skin far too easily – bad news for things like lines, wrinkles, dehydration, sensitivities and irritation. It also means your skin becomes more sensitive to things like active skincare ingredients and other environmental irritants.
So, how can you ensure your skincare is barrier-friendly and your complexion is in a much happier place?
5 Simple Ways To Avoid Upsetting Your Skin
1. Always Perform A Skincare Patch Test
One of the most vital, and often overlooked ways to ensure everything you put on your skin is a-okay is to patch test it first. We can see you rolling your eyes, but hold on there because your skin is a very delicate organ and there’s always the possibility of it not liking a certain ingredient in your skincare.
The worrying truth is that other than color additives, cosmetic ingredients don’t have to be tested or approved by the FDA to be allowed into a beauty product. Scary huh? Of course, most reputable manufacturers (us included) ensure that everything is safe when used correctly, but still, that’s a worrying thought…
Your only option, therefore, is to test a product on a discreet area of skin and leave it for at least 48 hours before using it properly for the first time. Not sure how to patch test? We can help with that right here.
2. Go Slow With Your Active Ingredients
Piling on vitamin C, retinol, glycolic acid and anything else you can put your hands on is a recipe for skin barrier disaster. So, go steady. Check all of your skincare labels and write down any active ingredients you come across. Actives include any ingredient that has been proven to change the skin in some way – whether it be to improve acne, discolorations, dryness, fine lines or wrinkles. Think AHAs, BHAs, antioxidants, retinol, urea, hyaluronic acid and so on.
Once you’ve made your list, have a look at it and make a note of any major repetitions and how your skin is feeling right now. If your skin feels red and dry, for example, and you notice every single product in your regime contains some kind of exfoliating acid, think about ditching one or two of these products for more calming, moisturizing options.
Similarly, you shouldn't need to apply more than one serum, so if you're doubling up, well, stop that. All of our serums have been formulated with at least one active ingredient, but they’ve been carefully blended to cause as little irritation to your skin barrier as possible. Niacinamide Facial Serum, for example, contains vitamin E and hyaluronic acid as well as strengthening niacinamide, so it’s the perfect choice for a healthy barrier function.
3. Don’t Double Cleanse
Double cleansing is fine if you wear tons of makeup or have oily skin that rarely feels clean after a single cleanse, but for most of you, we think it’s kind of pointless. Worse than that, it can strip away all of your essential oils and fatty acids which disrupts your barrier function and can cause long-term dryness, dehydration and irritation.
Instead, gently cleanse your skin morning and night with Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser to wash away impurities without sucking your skin dry. Massage it gently over moist skin and rinse with lukewarm, but never hot water.
4. Be Mindful Of How Much You Exfoliate
Hands down, one of the most common skincare sins is to over exfoliate. And this is a big mistake for your skin’s moisture barrier. Sure, exfoliation is great for boosting cell turnover and ensuring a radiant glow, but too much strips your protective barrier and is a one-way ticket to red, inflamed, excessively dry skin. Which is probably not what you were hoping for when you embarked on your kick-ass exfoliation regime, right?
If your skin is particularly unhappy right now, pare back on any kind of exfoliation – and yes, that means everything from scrubs and cleansing brushes to glycolic and lactic acid treatments. Stay away from these for at least 10 days then slowly introduce one form of exfoliation into your routine just once or twice a week. Cleansing using a soft facecloth is a great way to reintroduce light exfoliation into your life. We’re also big fans of glycolic acid so try our Ocean Minerals Super Toner which contains peptides and MSM to strengthen and rebuild your skin.
5. Moisturize Every Morning & Night
Never, we repeat, NEVER forget to moisturize your skin twice a day. Hydration is the absolute key for rebuilding and strengthening your skin’s barrier, so, even if your skin is oily, you need to apply a hydrating moisturizer after cleansing, toning and treating your skin to lock in moisture and stop water from evaporating from the surface.
When choosing a great moisturizer to support your barrier function it’s all about the right ingredients, and a truly balanced and effective moisturizer has to include at least two of three types of ingredient. 1. A humectant. 2. An emollient. And 3. An occlusive.
Humectants such as glycerin, aloe and hyaluronic acid draw water into the skin like a sponge; emollients like jojoba oil and squalane soften the skin and smooth over cracks, while occlusives like shea and cocoa butters form a physical barrier on the surface of your skin. Our awesome trio of moisturizers (Vitamin C Brightening Moisturizer, Deep Hydration Night Cream and Retinol Moisturizer) all contain a fabulous combination of humectants, emollients and occlusives. Win. Win. Win.
Finally, Don’t Expect Your Skin To Cheer Up Overnight
Healing your skin barrier isn’t something that can be achieved with the click of your fingers. Far from it. It’ll more likely take somewhere between two and four weeks to truly see stronger, happier skin.
Patience is a virtue, people.
Is Your Skin In Its Happy Place?read more
Summer’s officially over, folks. So, there’s no better time to add a hard-working face serum into your skincare routine. Frankly, it would be rude not to.
Face serums are mysterious little characters. Often moisturizing, but not really moisturizers; sometimes oily, but definitely not face oils. Mind. Officially. Blown.
But the thing is, a face serum is probably the most important and hard-working product you could have in your skincare arsenal. Sure, it’s not 100 percent vital in terms of keeping your skin clean, moisturized and protected from the sun (they’re the absolute basics for healthy skin, btw). However, if you want to do more than just the bare minimum for your skin and want to keep it looking its best for as long as possible, you simply must include at least one serum in your daily regime.
Not sure where to start? Then allow us to fill you in on all the essential deets. Because summer’s gone, fall’s here and now’s the perfect time to up your skincare game.
What Are Face Serums?
A face serum is a light, water- or gel-based skincare product that’s been formulated to help treat specific concerns or skin conditions like dullness, dehydration or aging. Due to their small, molecular makeup, serums are extremely fast-absorbing and can penetrate deep into your skin. This is why they’re such a great tool for delivering active ingredients exactly where your skin needs them.
How Do Serums Differ To Moisturizers?
Unlike serum, a moisturizer’s main job is to, well, moisturize. Sure, it might contain antioxidants, exfoliating acids and all manner of other skin-loving ingredients as added extras but at the end of the day, a moisturizer’s ability to moisturize your skin is everything. A moisturizer, therefore, is richer than serum and usually contains some kind of emollient or occlusive ingredient (think shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil etc.) to create a barrier and stop moisture from escaping from the surface of your skin.
Serums, on the other hand, are lighter and contain much smaller molecules than their moisturizing cousins. Of course, serums can contain hydrating ingredients to help your skin retain moisture, but they don’t often contain occlusive or emollient ingredients (think shea butter, coconut oil etc) which form a seal on the surface of your skin. If they did, they wouldn’t retain such a lightweight composition and they wouldn’t absorb into your skin in such a timely, effective manner.
Is A Face Serum Right For Me?
Probably… but who knows? There are so many different formulations around, there’s bound to be one to suit your needs. However, the most important thing is to always patch test any new serum before applying it all over your face and neck for the first time.
To perform a patch test, apply a small amount to a discreet area of clean skin either behind your ears, inside your elbow, on your wrist or on the side of your neck. Then leave it for a good 48 hours to check for any negative reactions. If everything’s a-okay after this time, you’re good to go. Even mild reactions such as redness or a little tingling that settles down after an hour is fine – this is just those awesome ingredients getting to work. However, anything that’s continually uncomfortable or painful is a major red flag. If you experience a bad reaction like this, immediately cleanse your skin and don’t use it again. And if symptoms continue to get worse, always seek advice from a skincare expert.
How Do I Choose A Serum To Suit My Skin Concerns?
Most formulations will feel similarly lightweight and watery or gel-like, so that’s not really a factor. Instead, it’s all about those active ingredients inside.
Here are five awesome ingredients to look out for in a face serum, depending on your skin’s concerns:
1. Hyaluronic Acid
Great For: All skin types.
Hyaluronic acid is one of the best ingredients for hydrating your skin. It’s known as a humectant which means it works like a sponge to draw water to the surface of your skin.
Great For: Aging or acne-prone skin.
Retinol is seen as the best of the best when it comes to boosting cell turnover and therefore working on everything from fine lines and wrinkles through to dark spots and pimples.
3. Vitamin C
Great For: Dull skin.
One of the most studied antioxidant in skincare, vitamin C protects your skin from free radical damage and inhibits melanin production to boost your skin’s glow factor and improve hyperpigmentation.4. Niacinamide
Great For: All skin types, particularly sensitive.
Otherwise known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a gentle, but effective antioxidant. It works really well with the natural substances in your skin to improve tone, texture and the visible signs of aging.
5. Salicylic Acid
Great For: Oily or combination skin.
Salicylic acid is an oil-soluble chemical exfoliator that gets deep into your pores to reduce excess sebum, reduce acne breakouts and boost cell turnover.
How & When Should I Apply My Face Serum?
The general rule with skincare is that lighter products should always be applied first so they don’t have to fight with the heavies to reach the surface of your skin. This means, therefore, that serum should always be applied before moisturizer, to cleansed, toned skin. Then you can follow with a face oil and finally, that all-important, never-to-be-forgotten sunscreen (in the morning, of course!).
When it comes to your application technique, NEVER place the serum dropper directly onto your face as this can transfer oil and bacteria from your skin straight back into the bottle. Instead, apply one or two drops of serum onto clean hands, then apply it over your face and neck. Pat it gently all over cleansed skin and don’t worry about massaging it in. This is totally unnecessary. Serums are light enough to absorb into your skin without your help.
All serums are different, but most can be applied every day. Oftentimes, however, two or three times a week is enough – especially with the super potent serums that really pack a potent punch. Just make sure you read your labels for full instructions so you don’t overload your skin and end up causing irritation.
Up Your Fall Skincare Game With An Awesome New Face Serumread more