Part two of your winter skin tutorial
Last Sunday we looked at a skin complaint common in the chilly days of January — that dry, dull skin that is partly caused by the weather and perhaps also from the festive season’s excesses. We learnt how hydrating products can pump much needed moisture back into the skin to get it looking healthier, and how they work for every age and skin type. This week, we go a step further: we are going to smooth and regenerate the skin to make it glow... and much of the work can happen at night while we’re asleep!
First things first: to get the best from any treatment, dry, parched skin must be eliminated. It might sound counterintuitive to exfoliate skin that is dry and flaky, but gentle removal of this skin allows for better absorption of your moisturiser by day and treatment product by night. The removal method is your choice, but steer clear of scrubs with small abrasive particles — women’s skin is delicate, so why risk broken capillaries just to get it smoother?
Top of the exfoliators is the Clarisonic (€149, Brown Thomas) or Olay’s Super Cleansing System (€49.99, Boots). These high-speed brush devices keep the skin swept clean of all dead skin and certainly benefit oily complexions and mature skin needing a glow. Failing that, choose a fruit acid, glycolic acid or AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) peel over a face scrub. These acids are the agents that ‘unglue’ dead cells to give you smoother skin in minutes.
If you prefer to exfoliate as part of your daytime routine, try Origins’ Modern Friction (€32, Boots), a zesty wash that uses rice starch and lemon oil to get rid of that dull, dry skin. But if you’d rather smooth and regenerate skin before bed, now is a good time to do it. January days are short on sunlight, and any skin-boosting treatments must be followed during the day with quality UV protection to avoid damaging the newer skin, so the less sunlight, the better. Also when you treat the skin at night, the active acid has a chance to work and not be impeded by makeup or daily grime. A good example of a fast-acting glycolic acid is Nip & Fab’s Glycolic Pad (€11.50/60 pads, Sam McCauley). For an AHA, try Neostrata (see below right), and if you want skin regeneration in comfort while you sleep, No7’s Protect & Perfect Intense Night Cream encourages cell turnover while moisturising (€ 32, Boots). When you opt for these gentle acids, not only are you smoothing rough texture and fine lines instantly; in time the skin sheds dead cells more efficiently and fresher skin appears!