21 Jul Dr Toro’s Top Skin Care Tips: Lessons From Isolation
As a cosmetic doctor, I am asked about all kinds of aesthetic treatments. Interestingly though, throughout the recent isolation periods, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients asking about their skin care because their skin wasn’t behaving as it usually did and also for some they saw this as a chance to formulate good habits.
I think it is because we were all unprepared for the effect isolation would have on our lives. It has left us with a new appreciation for the things we can control and improve. Namely, reintroducing the basics and forming new routines to enhance our natural beauty.
During isolation, some of us may have realised we lacked a proper home skin care routine; or maybe we let our usually-good routine slip. But, it is never too late to start afresh or to foster better habits. I see this life-changing event as a good opportunity to remind ourselves that embracing simple principles are what keep us looking and feeling our best.
So, here are my answers and tips to your isolation skin care questions
1. Why has isolation had such a profound effect on my skin?
First of all, be kind to yourself. It is not surprising that your skin is looking a little dull. Being stuck indoors has undoubtedly affected everyone’s overall wellbeing. It has meant less fresh air, a reduction in exercise and an increased temptation to snack on processed and sugary foods. Plus, if you have experienced any periods of stress, it can cause the release of the stress-related hormones that increase oil production leading to skin breakouts.
2. Do I need to change my skin care routine?
I think we intrinsically know when something isn’t working for us anymore. But, when it comes to skin care, as creatures of habit, we tend to keep using the same product. We often forget that our skin changes, and ages and goes through seasons, just as we do. As such, I find the best approach is to keep an open mind about what skin care is right for you and when. Also, recognise that a bright complexion is not only a reflection of the skin care we use, but also a mirror of our lifestyle choices; namely, what we eat and drink, stress exposure and sleep habits. If you feel that your skin care approach needs a refresh, you can book in for a virtual skin care consultation. We can have a chat about any concerns you may have, I can assess your skin, and we can come up with a treatment plan just for you.
3. What does a good home skin care routine consist of?
Simple is best. So, here’s my simple recommended home care routine:
The role of your cleanser is to remove the build-up of daily surface pollution, traces of makeup and any excess oil. It is important not to strip the skin of its natural oils or upset the pH of your skin, so take care not to cleanse too often. I typically recommend only cleansing once at the end of your day.
Introduce cosmeceutical-grade actives into your skin care regime. They can truly transform your skin’s quality and strength. Actives, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C are a great defence against ageing and environmental damage. The important thing about actives is understanding which actives are right for your skin and when is the right time to use them.
Top 3 actives to consider using at home:
1. Vitamin A – Retinoid
An active which regulates oil glands and increases cell turnover to strengthen the skin, improving fine lines and pigmentation. The evening is the best time, and really the only time you should use it. I would recommend gradually increasing the frequency of its use. Ensure that you apply your daily sunscreen, during the daytime, as retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
2. Vitamin B – Niacinamide
The great multi-purpose cosmeceutical. A good choice if you want to enhance skin clarity, luminosity, hydration and rejuvenate the skin. I would recommend applying both day and night but not to be mixed with vitamin C.
3. Vitamin C – L-Ascorbic Acid
Great if you feel your skin is a little dull and dry. It works to help increase your skin’s hydration level, brighten uneven skin tone, addresses pigmentation and is loaded with antioxidants to protect against free radical damage. I would recommend applying under your daily sunscreen.
It is not necessary to slather your face in moisturiser; as an advocate of quality over quantity, my best advice is to invest in a good quality moisturiser. When applying your moisturiser, try not to forget your neck and to use a gentle dabbing action around your eyes.
Not everyone needs to use a moisturiser as part of their routine. In some instances, if you have oily, acne-prone skin, it may be best to avoid using a moisturiser at all.
If you are trying a new moisturiser or have adjusted your routine, give it time to take effect – at least six to eight weeks. Finally, take notice of what your skin is telling you. If you don’t feel your skin care is meeting your current needs, find out why and be prepared to try something new or different.
Sun protection is essential for all skin types, all year round. Winter may be cloudier and colder, but harmful UV rays can still penetrate even the densest of clouds. I recommend using one that contains zinc oxide, offering a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB solar protection. Why? Simply put, UVA ages you, UVB burns you. And, be sure to apply sunblock to easily forgotten areas such as the back of your hands, your neck, décolletage, your eyelids and your ears.
4. What is the best skin care brand to use?
While I stock several different ranges and products, I don’t believe in restricting oneself to any particular brand. I do, however, advise that you opt for cosmeceutical-grade skin care instead of over-the-counter alternatives. They contain a higher quality and the right doses of active ingredients, like retinoids and niacinamide, that can help transform the skin and improve various skin concerns from the inside out. And, don’t be afraid to mix and match brands. For instance, the Vitamin A brand from one brand might suit you, yet the Vitamin B from another brand may suit your skin better. Basically, loyalty to a brand is not essential; what is essential is if the product is right for you.
5. Are chemical skin peels worth it and do I need to come in-clinic to get one?
Chemical peels are a great addition to a good skin care routine, but must be used with caution as they come in many strengths and formulations. I highly recommend you seek advice from a skin professional before deciding if they are right for you. That said yes, they are one of the quickest and most effective ways to rejuvenate your skin. Skin peels can boost your skin, its condition and offer lasting benefits depending on the frequency of treatments.
Patients of all ages can benefit from chemical peel treatments. Because they encourage new cell growth and collagen, they can be especially useful in helping to treat acne, pignmentation, sun damage and improving skin’s hydration levels.
In order to discover the skin peel regime that suits your specific needs, it’s worthwhile coming in for a clinic assessment. During our consult, we can discuss which formulation can help address your skin concerns and the number of peels you need to achieve your desired results. No anaesthesia is required and treatments take 30 minutes. Results and downtime can vary depending on the strength of the peel used.
So, if you want to improve the overall appearance of your skin, a chemical peel treatment can be a great treatment for you.
How it works:
Chemical peels usually consist of different kinds of exfoliating acids, for example alpha hydroxy acids (like lactic acid), beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid) or TCA (trichloroacetic acid).
Alpha hydroxy acids remove dead skin cells and restore the skin’s natural hydration levels while beta hydroxy acids help to unclog pores and soothe inflammation.
TCA encourages the top layers of cells to dry up and peel away over a few days and for up to a week. When the old skin peels away, it reveals a new layer of undamaged skin, which has a smoother texture and more even colour.
Enzymes, usually derived from natural ingredients like rice, papaya, pineapple and pumpkin – activate the chemical reactions within the skin and promote the growth of new skin cells. The regeneration of the tissue assists in achieving firmer, smoother and glowing skin.
While it seems that isolation measures are here to stay, I hope this post inspires you to continue to take good care of yourself. We may not be able to predict and control lockdowns, but we can commit to taking proper care of our skin at home. Embracing simple skin care principles and practices to keep us looking and feeling our best will see us through these unprecedented times.
I would love to hear from you, especially which tips you found most useful, or if you have any to share with us. Let’s start your skin care journey together.
Dr Toro and the Lumea Aesthetics team