How to make your beauty regime work harder.

Friday - - Editor’s Letter -

We know the allure of shop­ping for new skin­care is strong. But be­fore you award your­self beauty points for in­vest­ing in the lat­est hi-tech face cream, ask your­self this: are you cer­tain you’re us­ing it cor­rectly so it ful­fils its po­ten­tial? And does it re­ally match your skin con­cerns, or were you swayed by the pack­ag­ing? There’s noth­ing more frus­trat­ing than in­vest­ing in your skin with­out get­ting the right re­sult. So we asked the beauty ex­perts for tips on get­ting the most out of your beauty regime by go­ing back to ba­sics.

1 Cleanse clev­erly to shrink pores

With age, pores look more pro­nounced as your skin’s col­la­gen fi­bres – which keep pore walls tight and firm – slacken. Hu­mid­ity and UV rays can in­crease the prob­lem. “When your skin is de­fend­ing it­self from the sun, it won’t shed dead cells as of­ten,” ex­plains Dr Tom Mam­mone, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Clinique re­search and de­vel­op­ment. “This leads to a build-up of oil and other de­bris in your pores, mak­ing them look big­ger.” Switch to a cleanser con­tain­ing sal­i­cylic acid, a mild ex­fo­liant de­rived from wil­low bark. “Sal­i­cylic acid cov­ers all your bases: it clears up dead skin cells inside pores, slows oil pro­duc­tion and tight­ens the look of pores”, says Dr Mam­mone. Try Clinique Anti-Blem­ish So­lu­tions Cleans­ing Foam (Dh140) and let it sit on damp skin for a cou­ple of min­utes so it ab­sorbs be­fore rins­ing.

2 Do use toner

Be­lieve it or not, 10-15 per cent of make-up re­mains on the skin after cleans­ing. This means any­thing you ap­ply af­ter­wards – in­clud­ing your pricey anti-age­ing cream – can’t pen­e­trate your skin prop­erly. “An al­co­hol-free toner is an es­sen­tial sec­ond step in your rou­tine be­cause it re­moves all traces of resid­ual make-up and cleanser,” says Fiona Brack­en­bury at De­cléor, who rec­om­mends the brand’s gen­tle Aroma Cleanse Toni­fy­ing Lo­tion (Dh115). Sweep it over your face with a cot­ton wool pad – then pat your skin with a tis­sue. “When you tone you leave a fine veil of in­gre­di­ents and wa­ter on the skin,” ex­plains Brack­en­bury. “If you don’t mop up the ex­cess liq­uid, any mois­ture left on the skin will be pulled out by the at­mos­phere, caus­ing de­hy­dra­tion.”

3 Erad­i­cate puffy eyes

While asleep your adren­a­line lev­els lower, but upon wak­ing up, they rise and pro­duce anti-in­flam­ma­tory hor­mones, caus­ing puffy eyes. What to do? “Pop a cot­ton pad in the freezer for a cou­ple of min­utes,” says Ni­chola Joss, celebrity fa­cial­ist. “Gen­tly mas­sage your eye cream around the socket and then ap­ply the cot­ton pad from the freezer to the eye area for a few min­utes. It im­me­di­ately re­duces puffi­ness and red­ness, while also push­ing the eye cream deeper into the skin to nour­ish, brighten and re­pair.”

4 Switch to pol­lu­tion-fight­ing creams

The link be­tween pol­lu­tion and wrin­kles isn’t ac­ci­den­tal. New re­search by cos­met­ics gi­ant Proc­ter & Gam­ble has re­vealed that pol­luted ur­ban air will age you 10 per cent faster than ex­po­sure to cleaner coun­try air (wor­ry­ing when you con­sider the ef­fect ex­haust fumes of over a mil­lion ve­hi­cles in Dubai alone has on air qual­ity). The cul­prits are 224 known chem­i­cals in pol­luted air that dam­age pro­teins in the skin caus­ing it to dry out faster and pro­duce less firm­ing col­la­gen. “Pol­lu­tion par­ti­cles smaller than a grain of sand carry a va­ri­ety of th­ese tox­ins and can get be­low the skin,” says Proc­ter & Gam­ble se­nior sci­en­tist Dr Frauke Neuser. “So it’s vi­tal for to­day’s skin­care to have in­gre­di­ents such as niaci­namide (a form of vi­ta­min B3) to strengthen the skin’s pro­tec­tive bar­rier and fight off pol­lu­tion.” Try Olay To­tal Ef­fects Day Mois­turiser SPF15 (Dh64).

5 Don’t just dab on your mois­turiser

“Warm it be­tween your hands to ac­ti­vate the in­gre­di­ents,” says Fiona. “Mas­sage the mois­turiser over your face with lit­tle cir­cles, then use firm up­ward mo­tions from the cen­tre of the face to­wards the hair­line where your lymph nodes are lo­cated.” This not only aids ab­sorp­tion but helps lift the un­der­ly­ing fa­cial mus­cles and shift fluid re­ten­tion.

6 Tur­bocharge your sun pro­tec­tion

SPF alone won’t pro­tect against sun dam­age – even an SPF50 will only block 98 per cent of UV rays. You need an­tiox­i­dants to de­fend against rays that slip past sun­screen and the age­ing free rad­i­cals they un­leash on your skin. Un­til re­cently, sun­screens with an­tiox­i­dants could only pro­tect the skin sur­face, when most of the dam­age oc­curs in the lower lay­ers. But after five years of re­search, chemists at Mu­rad have cre­ated a sys­tem that re­leases an­tiox­i­dants such as vi­ta­min C deeper into the skin. “Here they lie in wait un­til ac­ti­vated by UV rays. The an­tiox­i­dants then neu­tralise any free rad­i­cals be­fore any dam­age is done,” says Jeff Mu­rad from Mu­rad prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, who rec­om­mends the brand’s Es­sen­tial-C Sun Balm SPF35 (Dh125).

7 And if you do get burnt…

“Avoid over­load­ing your flushed skin with too many anti-age­ing prod­ucts un­til it’s re­turned to nor­mal,” says Fiona. “Your skin may be sen­si­tive at this stage and re­act ad­versely to one of the hi-tech in­gre­di­ents.” It may seem a novel ap­proach but in­stead use a cream de­signed for rosacea – La Roche-Posay Ros­aliac AR In­tense Cream (Dh120) is good. The red­ness is the re­sult of your body cool­ing it­self off by send­ing more blood to the sur­face of the skin – a sim­i­lar phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­ac­tion as oc­curs in rosacea-prone skin. Then, when your skin starts peel­ing, switch to a mois­turiser rich in lipids (fats) known as ce­ramides. One like El­iz­a­beth Ar­den Flaw­less Fu­ture Pow­ered by Ce­ramide Caplet Serum (Dh434) will help to re­plen­ish the nat­u­ral lipids your skin loses in the process.

8 Brighten age spots in your sleep

Liv­ing in a sun­shine state means that your risk of pig­men­ta­tion is high. Sun dam­age doesn’t just man­i­fest it­self as wrin­kles on the sur­face of your skin – it can ac­tu­ally dam­age your DNA, mean­ing cells act ab­nor­mally and pro­duce more melanin (dark pig­ment). This is why you might start to see brown clover-shaped clus­ters on your cheeks, fore­head and bridge of the nose. How to tackle them? With re­li­gious ap­pli­ca­tion of sun­screen by day and a mild peel at night. “Young skin nat­u­rally sheds dead cells at night but this process slows down the older we get,” says Elis­a­beth Bouhadana, global sci­en­tific com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor at L’Oréal. “More ef­fec­tive than a face scrub, a peel ap­plied be­fore bed helps to lift away cells stained brown from age spots.” Wake up to more lu­mi­nous skin with L’Oréal Re­vi­talift Laser Re­new Peel­ing Lo­tion Night (Dh120) – it’s proven to be as ef­fec­tive as in­tense pulsed light at im­prov­ing pig­men­ta­tion, but gen­tle enough to use ev­ery night.

9 Tackle the PM oil slick

A hu­mid cli­mate may not be the only thing to blame for your oily T-Zone. While you sleep, skin works twice as hard to re­new it­self than dur­ing the day. “All this hard work causes oilier skin to pro­duce three times more se­bum, which shows up the next morn­ing as a greasy fore­head, nose and chin,” says Janette Ryan, train­ing man­ager at Vichy skin­care. The bad news doesn’t stop there un­for­tu­nately. “Even though oil pro­duc­tion peaks at mid­night, it takes around 12 hours for the se­bum to be ex­creted to the skin’s sur­face,” ex­plains Ryan. “So by lunchtime your skin will look greasy again if you don’t do any­thing to curb it dur­ing the night.” Vichy Nor­ma­derm Night Detox (Dh120) is in­cred­i­bly ef­fec­tive as it con­tains per­lite, a sponge-like in­gre­di­ent that ab­sorbs five times its weight in se­bum.

10 Do more with your cleans­ing brush

The pro­fes­sional cleans­ing brush, with its pul­sat­ing head, has be­come the hero of our evening rou­tines thanks to its deep-cleans­ing and cir­cu­la­tion-boost­ing pow­ers. “I like to ap­ply a slick of face oil over my face be­fore us­ing the soft bris­tle head of my Clar­isonic Mia Sonic Fa­cial Cleans­ing Brush (Dh700) to mas­sage deeper into my skin,” says fa­cial­ist Ni­chola Joss.

11 Use a night cream with plant stem cells

After the age of 30, your skin loses 1 per cent of its col­la­gen a year, which con­trib­utes to hol­lower cheeks and sag­ging. Plant stem cells may be the an­swer for restor­ing skin’s plump­ness. Just as hu­man stem cells help skin to re­new it­self, they en­cour­age a new root, leaf or flower to grow. So it stands to rea­son that plant stem cells could work in syn­ergy with the skin to im­prove its firm­ness and mois­ture. Our best buy? Elemis Pro-In­tense Lift Ef­fect (Dh250) with tiger-grass stem cells, which help skin re­tain its hyaluronic acid lev­els to stay hy­drated and elas­tic.

12 Train your­self to sleep on your back

“I can al­ways tell which side my pa­tients sleep on,” says Nurse Jamie, a cos­metic nurse with a huge celebrity fol­low­ing at her Beauty Park Spa in Santa Mon­ica. “Your head is the weight of a bowl­ing ball, which causes ‘sleep wrin­kles’ to be etched into your skin on that side — es­pe­cially nose to mouth lines — and your fa­cial mus­cles to sag.”

13 Don’t stop your skin­care at your jaw­line

Last but by no means least, re­mem­ber the anti-age­ing ben­e­fits of sleep don’t stop at your face. While rest­ing, your skin tem­per­a­ture is higher, so the ac­tive in­gre­di­ents in your anti-cellulite body lo­tion ab­sorb more eas­ily. “Just be­fore bed, give your­self a lym­phatic body mas­sage,” says Ni­chola. “I like to warm a lit­tle lo­tion in my hands, then lift each leg and squeeze the skin be­tween my thumb and mid­dle fin­ger, start­ing at the an­kle and work­ing up to the hip. Then re­peat from wrist to shoul­der and mas­sage in a cir­cu­lar clock­wise mo­tion around the tummy area.”

Clinique Anti-Blem­ish So­lu­tions Cleans­ing Foam, Dh140

De­cléor Aroma Cleanse Toni­fy­ing Lo­tion, Dh115

Warm mois­turiser in your hands to ac­ti­vate the in­gre­di­ents

Mu­rad Es­sen­tial-C Sun Balm SPF35, Dh125

El­iz­a­beth Ar­den Flaw­less Fu­ture Pow­ered by Ce­ramide Caplet Serum, Dh434

La Roche-Posay Ros­aliac AR In­tense Cream, Dh120

Olay To­tal Ef­fects Day Mois­turiser SPF15, Dh64

Sleep­ing on your side causes ‘sleep wrin­kles’ and saggy skin

Vichy Nor­ma­derm Night Detox, Dh120 Clar­isonic Mia Sonic Fa­cial Cleans­ing Brush, Dh700

L’Oréal Re­vi­talift Laser Re­new Peel­ing Lo­tion Night, Dh120

Elemis Pro-In­tense Lift Ef­fect, Dh250

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