Overloaded skin can present differently but it usually looks like breakouts (most often whiteheads and deeper set spots), tight, dry skin, and sensitivity, such as redness and tenderness. Add pandemic-induced stress and anxiety to the mix and these skin bugbears are likely to stick around for longer. The solution? Give your skincare routine a tweak, starting with the latest trend to take the internet by storm.
What is skinimalism?
Coined by the beauty experts at Pinterest, skinimalism encourages us to ditch the often complicated and expensive multi-step skincare routine in favour of a stripped back version with minimal products. Not only is this a lot better for the environment (reducing waste and carbon footprints) but experts say it's a lot better for your skin, too.
"Great skin isn't complicated – it's about doing less," says Dr Malvina Cunningham, consultant dermatologist behind dermatologist-on-demand skincare brand, SKIN+ME. The brand's second consultant dermatologist, Dr Ben Esdaile, agrees: "We are seeing more and more patients suffering from skin issues as the direct result of the products they have put onto their skin during lockdown. A particular concern is single active products, which are being used in high concentrations and combined with other ingredients that either do not work together or cause inflammation and irritation. In this case, the skin issue isn't solved and, worryingly, often made worse."
Right now, 'glowing skin' is one of the most searched phrases on Pinterest, and taking things back to basics is the answer. Ahead, we break down the ultimate simple skincare routine and exactly how it can work for your skin type.
Dry and sensitive skin types will do well with a creamy, hydrating cleanser that washes away dirt and oil without stripping skin of the good stuff. R29 loves Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser, £26, and The Inkey List Oat Balm Cleanser, £9.99, both of which cleanse skin deeply sans the squeaky feel.
If you have oily skin which is prone to breakouts and blackheads or combination skin (oily in some areas such as the T-zone and forehead, and drier in other places), a foaming cleanser that contains exfoliating acids (AHAs and BHAs) is your best bet. If spots are your main concern, try Murad Hydration AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, £37.90. A little gentler, and so perfect for combination skin, try CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser With Salicylic Acid, £12.
'Normal' skin will love CeraVe's Hydrating Cream To Foam Cleanser, £12.50, which is kind to skin but lifts away dirt particles, oil and makeup well. Find a cleanser you love and you shouldn't have to use a different version in the morning and evening, according to Paula Begoun, skin expert and founder of Paula's Choice. That one product should serve you well throughout your routine.
Truly glowing skin starts with one ingredient: vitamin C. It's an antioxidant, which protects skin against dulling pollution, helping to fade dark spots and hyperpigmentation in the process. Vitamin C serums can be hit and miss, though. Very high percentages can cause skin tingling or stinging and if the formula isn't stable, it can lose potency or 'go off' when exposed to air. When this happens, the formula often turns brown in colour.
If you're a vitamin C beginner, try La Roche-Posay Pure Vitamin C 10 Serum, £38. It's super kind on skin and when used regularly, lends skin a brilliant glow. If you regularly use vitamin C and are looking to switch things up, try Farmacy Very Cherry Bright 15% Clean Vitamin C Serum, £60, or Allies of Skin 20% Vitamin C Brighten and Firm Serum, £28, both of which make an impressive visible difference in skin tone over time.
While vitamin C isn't necessarily a must (unless you're set on a selfie-worthy glow), SPF is important if you're interested in anti-ageing skincare and want to prevent fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. A high factor, broad spectrum sunscreen (which protects against the sun's UVA and UVB rays) is your best bet.
SPF is typically suspended in a moisturising base so depending on your preference, there's no need to apply moisturiser beforehand. R29 loves Tropic Sun Day Facial UV Defence, £24, or Polaar Very High Protection SPF50+ Sunscreen Lotion, £22, both of which provide high protection and make skin feel soft.
The Night Treatment
If you haven't got your nighttime skincare routine nailed and you're in your mid 20s and upwards, consider a gentle retinoid night serum or cream. "Retinoids cause the skin's outer layer to grow more quickly, stimulate collagen production and exfoliate the top layers of skin cells," says consultant dermatologist, Dr Anjali Mahto. "This all helps to reduce the formation of comedones (such as blackheads and whiteheads) and other acne lesions." It's also great at minimising fine lines and wrinkles.
The Olay Regenerist Retinol24 Night Face Moisturiser With Retinol & Vitamin B3, £34.99, is currently popular among skincare lovers, while Facetheory Regenacalm 2% Retinol and Vitamin C Serum, £18.99, combines retinol with hydrating hyaluronic acid and vitamin C for the ultimate glow. If your skin is on the drier side, follow with moisturiser. But remember: "Retinoids can cause sensitivity and irritation and use should gradually be built up," advises Dr Mahto. Try using your chosen retinol product twice a week at nighttime at first, and always apply SPF in the daytime to protect skin against the sun.
If you're after advice for more specific skin issues such as acne, eczema or rosacea, it may be best to book a virtual consultation with a qualified skin specialist. A handful of brilliant personalised skincare services are available online too, with dermatologists and experts at the helm. SKIN+ME is currently making waves among skin obsessives, with the website offering targeted skincare prescribed by industry professionals. Similarly, Dermatica is a custom-made prescription skincare service which gets the R29 seal of approval. Both services champion skinimalism as the next big thing in skincare.
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