‘Skin Snacking’ Could Be The Key To A Clearer Complexion (& It’s Nothing To Do With Food)

Photographed by Myesha Evon Gardner.
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Whether you're big into skincare or consider yourself a moisturise-and-go kind of person, it's impossible to avoid buzzy new trends, products and ingredients — even more so if you are as addicted to TikTok as we are.
The start of 2021 brought us skinimalism, which prompted us to shelve the complicated (and often very expensive) multi-step skincare routines popularised on Instagram in favour of streamlined versions using minimal products. According to the pros, this approach is a lot better for your face (overloading it could harm your skin barrier) not to mention the environment. Then there was our obsession with medical-grade skincare — favoured by dermatologists and TikTokers alike — as well as game-changing ingredients like lactobionic acid (a must for dry skin in summer).
Ahead of 2022, a whole host of new skincare trends are making headlines but the most intriguing is 'beauty snacking'. Coined by trend forecasting agency WGSN, the 'beauty snack' consists of micro-beauty treatments, which can help break up the monotony of working from home and create moments of pleasure. Think flash treatments you can do at your desk and easy, no-mess formulas. While it's pretty obvious that you might top up your lip balm throughout the day or reach for the dry shampoo ahead of a Zoom call, the trend is arguably most beneficial when it comes to skincare. Skincare snacking, if you will.
With temperatures plummeting, the central heating on full blast and masks once again mandatory in many public spaces, it might be a good idea to step up your skincare game, especially if you have dry, dehydrated skin and notice that it gets a little flaky throughout the day. One new skincare innovation is the spray-on moisturiser, which can be used at any point during the day — even over makeup. Supplement your skincare routine with Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream Mist, a popular choice among skincare enthusiasts (especially on TikTok) thanks to a dream team of highly moisturising and hydrating ingredients. First up, ceramides, which are a bunch of fats that hold the skin barrier together. When your ceramide reserves run low, you can expect dry, red and itchy skin (often inevitable with the dry heat of summer). Then there's glycerin, which attracts moisture to the skin, keeping it plump and soft. The mist is fine enough that there's no need to rub it in with your fingers so you can refresh your face as and when you need it.
If your skin is very sensitive, you might also like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra 8 Face Mist, which features glycerin alongside allantoin — a highly moisturising ingredient. The product is non-comedogenic (less likely to clog pores) and even works for combination skin that might become dry and oily throughout the day. A cult favourite mist-on moisturiser is Laneige's Cream Skin Mist, also packed with glycerin. It's a lot richer than the others and makes for a great replenishing product if your skin tends to feel tight in cold weather or heated environments.
Besides topical products, facial tools are gaining traction among dermatologists and skin experts. Dr Ewoma Ukeleghe, skin expert, facialist and founder of SKNDOCTOR, rates gua sha stones. She says that the technique (known to help de-puff and contour skin) simply feels nice above everything else. While she uses the tool to massage in face masks, there's nothing stopping you from working your cheeks and jaw at intervals throughout the day — especially if you're looking to shed some stress. If you want to take things to the next level, consultant dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto recently recommended the NuFACE Mini Facial Toning Device. A 20-minute massage daily helps lift and sculpt temporarily, and as the tool is portable and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, you can do it around the house and in short bursts.
Incorporating these smart products and tools into your everyday rituals is one thing but in a world where lots of us are prone to overdoing it when it comes to certain potent skincare ingredients (retinol, exfoliating acids and vitamin C, we're looking at you), skin snacking takes on another meaning. It can be just as effective to use smaller doses of these powerful ingredients, rather than bombarding your skin with larger concentrations and causing inevitable irritation. This might present as sore, red, flaky skin — and no one wants to contend with that in the cold weather.
As a rule of thumb, it pays to start quite low. If you're a retinol beginner, try a concentration at 0.3%, such as Paula's Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment. Go ahead and use a retinol serum two to three times a week in the evening at first (and always use sunscreen in the daytime).
If you use exfoliating acids, it can be tempting to reach for the highest concentration, often 10% or even 30%. But gentle, regular exfoliation is your best bet for achieving smooth, glowing skin. If you're keen to use popular glycolic acid (which exfoliates and brightens skin over time), it might be a better idea to opt for 5% maximum at first. R29 rates The Ordinary's Lactic Acid 5% + HA, if your skin is on the more sensitive side.
Lastly, if you like to use vitamin C in the daytime (a great ingredient to shield skin against dulling pollution) but you have reactive skin that's prone to redness, it might be best to decrease the concentration. Shelve potent 20% serums for one that contains 10% vitamin C, like La Roche-Posay's Pure Vitamin C10 Serum For Sensitive Skin, gentle enough to be used every morning. Or SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic if you have a bigger budget. According to London-based facialist Jasmina Vico, this is the ultimate concentration for glowing skin.

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