Whether your complexion is dry or sensitive, there are natural ways to glow
Natural ways to bring harmony to your complexion
It’s easy for very dry and eczema-prone skin to get into a vicious circle of sensitivity – the dryness means its natural protective barrier is weakened, so some products can aggravate it more than they would healthy skin. Keeping it calm and de-stressed is key to soothing your problem. Avoid products with synthetic fragrances, which can irritate. “Cleansing balms can be better for dry skin as they don’t strip its acid mantle,” says Kirstie Sherriff of Pinks Boutique. “An organic cleansing balm is great for your face, but also amazing as a body wash.” Skin saviour: Pinks Boutique Rose Face and Body Balm (£31, pinksboutique.com).
As we get older, the body produces less collagen in the skin, which gives it its firmness, and less elastin, which provides elasticity, but the ageing process can be exacerbated by external factors. “We all have an ageing clock defined by our genes, but we can influence it by what we do in life,” says
herbalist Tipper Lewis. “Long-term stress, sun, pollution and a high-sugar diet all contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin.” Tipper recommends using frankincense essential oil. “It tackles so many age-related problems, fighting inflammation, speeding cellular recovery, plus it is a potent antioxidant and tones the skin.”
Try making your own facial oil with 30ml of a carrier oil. “Jojoba or argan oil are my favourites, as they’re rich in antioxidant vitamin E and essential fatty acids,” Tipper says. Add four drops of frankincense essential oil, plus two drops of neroli to speed regeneration. “Facial oil is wonderful used for drier skin, while someone with oily skin will love it as a night treatment. It helps balance oil production and actually improves this.” Skin saviour: Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense Cream (£55, nealsyardremedies.com).
We tend to think of troublesome skin as a teenage problem, but it’s estimated that around a third of women suffer from blemishes well into their thirties and beyond. Hormones are often to blame and it’s not uncommon for acne to reappear around the menopause when female hormones dip and testosterone increases, creating an excess of natural oils that block pores, encouraging spots. Fortunately, there are now products that recognise maturer skin needs a treatment to tackle breakouts without drying. Don’t be afraid of using an oil on spot-prone skin. “It seems strange, but not all oils block pores. Jojoba is so similar to
the skin’s sebum that it tricks it into thinking it has made enough itself and so balances oil production,” explains aromatherapy expert Deri Wilson (deriwilson.com). Add an essential oil, such as rose geranium, which has hormone-balancing qualities, for extra benefit. Skin saviour: Omorovicza Miracle Facial Oil (£80, omorovicza.com).
Whether it’s taut and dry, flaky and sore, or itchy and red, sensitive skin comes in many forms. Experts agree it’s a growing problem, with the products we use as much to blame as the lifestyles we lead. “Stress can often be the trigger,” says Sarah Brown, creator of Pai Skincare. “Food intolerances, hormones and cosmetic ingredients also play their part and most often take effect when your immune system is impaired.”
Look for products that are gentle on your skin, and make sure you keep to a simple routine. “Cleansing is the top priority to get right. A poor regime with harsh products can be the biggest source of problems,” Sarah says. “Camomile extract (rather than essential oil) is my number one ingredient due to its antiinflammatory effect – look for it on a label.” In the evening, take off your make-up by massaging cleanser into skin and removing with a damp muslin cloth. Follow with a few drops of facial oil patted into slightly damp skin. “Ingredients with high essential fatty acids, like rosehip oil and sea buckthorn, help to regenerate skin, making it less susceptible to flare-ups,” Sarah says. Skin saviour: Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil (£22, paiskincare.com).