1. Skincare routines are often unique to everybody and everyone does something different to keep their skin healthy. What are the three most important things that we need to consider when establishing a skincare routine?
I think the most important thing will be to:
First establish what is your skin type.
Now you may ask how do I know what my skin type is?
There are different skin types, all with their own challenges and they are as follows:
Oily skins- skin tends to be shiny quickly after washing with enlarged visible pores, most people with oily skins are also prone to getting acne
Combination skins-skin dry on the cheeks and oily in the T-zone
Dry skins-skin often feels tight and dry after washing if moisturizers not applied, dryness is worse during winter, might develop flacky and itchy patches. The facial pores are small to invisible
Sensitive skins- skin easily irritated and prone to redness and rashes, often gets allergic rashes from skin care products. They maybe sensitive to the sun or heat exposure amongst many other stimulants. Sensitive skins can be oily, combination or dry.
Normal skin- is balanced (neither oily nor dry), not prone to redness or breakouts, and not sensitive
How can one determine at home which skin type they have when its not so obvious?
There are few ways to one can try see what type of skin they have. One of the ways is to wash your face at night and sleep without applying any form of a moisturizer. If when you wake up in the morning your whole face looks and feels oily then you have an oily type skin.
If its only oily on the centre put of your face and the outer parts are dry then you have a combination skin.
If your whole face is dry, feels tight and maybe itchy you like have a dry skin type.
If you face is slightly red, feels sensitive on touch or its burning or feels stingy when washing it then you likely have a sensitive skin.
Secondly you must choose a cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen suitable for your skin type.
For oily skins foaming gel or clay cleansers may be preferable, they must cleanse and exfoliate the skin without irritating it or making it dry. Often this cleansers and moisturizers must have either salicylic acid, alpha hydroxyacids(AHAs), tea tree oil or benzoyl peroxide. Lotion rather than creams, oil free and non comedogenic moisturizers are to be used. In terms of sunscreens they must be non comedogenic, oil free or mattifying( these also apply to make up for patients using make up).
My favourite cleansers: bioderma sebuium gel moussant, Avene Cleanance gel, La Roche-Posay foaming gel, Cetaphil oil control foam wash, when looking for an anti aging cleanser for acne skin-Clarifying cleanser by Neostrata
My favourite moisturizers -with the convenience of sunscreen: oil control moisturizer Cetaphil, Effaclar duo with spf 30 by Laroche-Posay and Sheer hydration SPF 35 by Neostrata
Other moisturizers- Dermopurifyer mattifying fluid Eucerin, Cleanance expert/mat by Avene, Sebium mat control/global by Bioderma and Metacell Renewal B3 by Skinceuticals
Sunscreens: Ultra light fluid spf 50 La-Roche posay, Oil control gel spf 50 Eucerin, Fusion water spf 50 by isdin and of course heliocare dry touch spf 50. Bioderma also has wonderful sunscreens. Most of these sunscreens are also suitable for darkers skin, they are light textured, gets absorbed and dont leave the skin grey after application.
Dry skins-face wash should be a gentle cleanser which are cream or oil based, hypoallergenic and fragrance free. Avoid exfolliants and soap based cleansers. Moisturizers should me thick cream based with emollient properties and use moisturizing sunscreens.
Cleansers -gentle skin cleanser Cetaphil,Ultra-rich cleansing gel Avene, Pure skin cleanser, Hydrabio H20 Bioderma and most skin cleansers suitable for eczema skins.
Moisturizers-Avene cold cream,replenishing face5%urea Eucerin, Bionic face cream Neostrata(a favourite amongst my patients) and also all moisturisers suitable for acne skins
Sunscreens -Cream sunscreems like Avene cream spf 50, Comfort cream ultra spf 50 by La-Roche posay
Combinations skins -might have to use both an exfoliative cleanser and a cream based cleanser. An exfoliant in the morning and creamy cleanser in the evening. There might be a need to use a more moisturizing cream for the dry areas and a light lotion for the oily areas
Sunscreen -Avene emulsion spf 50
Sensitive skins-ultra gentle cleansers, also fragrance free and hypoallergenic, paraben and sulfate free. Micellar waters work better
Cleansers-Toleriane dermo cleanser La-Roche posay, Sensibio gel moussant Bioderma
Moisturizers-Sensibio rich Bioderma, Toleriane ultra La-Roche posay, Tolerance extreme crème Avene
Sunscreens- mainly mineral based without chemicals eg Avene mineral cream, Heliocare mineral sunscreen
Normal skin- it is still important to follow a healthy skincare routine. Use a gentle cleanser to wash, moisturize daily, and use a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Thirdly you must establish what you want to achieve with your routine or your specific skin concerns. For example some people want to clear their skins of acne or pimples, others hyperpigmentation or blemishes while others want to address signs of aging. The best thing to do will be to see your dermatologist so you can be put on the right treatment for your skin problem.
2. Is there a way to find the right products and routines unique to different skin types?
The routine applicable to all skin types is to wash your skin twice a day, using luke warm water, immediately apply a suitable moisturizer for your skin type as mentioned above and always follow up with a broad spectrum sunscreen. Whenever possible reapply your sunscreen during the course of the day.
USE GENTLE CLEANSING CREAMS OR OILS FOR DRY AND SENSITIVE SKINS/ FOLLOW WITH A HYDRATING MOISTURIZER AND AVOID ALCOHOL BASED TONERS.
USE OIL REMOVING CLEANSERS FOR OILY SKINS BUT THEY SHOULD NOT BE DRYING AND APPLY LIGHT TEXTURED, NON COMEDOGENIC/MATTIFYING LOTIONS AND SUNSCREENS.
SENSITIVE SKINNED PEOPLE MUST USE PRODUCTS SPECIFICALLY FORMULATED FOR SENSITIVE SKINS.
People with sensitive skins can replace a cleanser with cleansing their skin with micellar water. Although everybody can use micellar water especially when too tired to wash your face at might. apply a few drops on a cotton wool pad and gentle wipe your skin. I LOVE MICELLAR WATERS, TOTALLY CONVINIENT, A MUST HAVE FOR EVERYONE.
What are the most basic things we need in a good skincare routine?
Again, this will be skin type dependent but basically a gentle skin cleanser, a good moisturizer with or without a sunscreen and a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
For more mature skins a good antioxidant serum(CE FERULIC AND PHLORETIN CF SKIN CEUTICAL), eye creams( BIONIC EYE CREAM PLUS) and antiaging creams( NEOSTRATA SKIN ACTIVE RANGE).
Some people might need to exfoliate using a physical scrub or use exfoliative cleanser( Foaming glycolic cleanser Neostrata), lotions or creams that contain chemical exfoliators like glycolic acids.
What should we be doing and what essentials do we need?
Essentials are as mentioned above.
We should be making sure ours skins are clean
-wash twice a day, always following with a moisturizer and sunscreen
-moisturizing applies also to people with oily skins, not moisturizing the skins makes your skin feel dry and it will therefore produce more oil making matters worse
-keep your hands off your face during the day
-keep your hair out of your face
-regularly clean your phone with an antiseptic to limit the number of bacterials reaching our skins
-regularly clean or change your pillow cases
Sleep enough hours to be well rested
Drink the recommended amount of water daily-will improve your general health. In most cases a healthy you means a healthy skin
Eat a balance diet-limiting food with a high glycaemic index or consuming a lot of fatty foods and dairy products especially milk when prone to having acne
What should we be avoiding?
Avoid self- medicating especially when you not sure what your problem is-always seek the help of a professional. JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING HAS WORKRD FOR YOUR FRIEND OR RELATIVE IT DOES NOT MEAN IT WILL WORK FOR YOU
Avoid washing your face more than twice a day- will lead to skin irritations and worsening of skin condition
Avoid prolonged sun exposure especially between 10:00am and 16:00 pm
Avoid tanning beds- they can increase your cancer risk
Stop smoking-it leads to premature aging and can worsen your acne
Stop picking and squeezing your acne- can worsen the acne and increase the chance of scarring
Avoid greasy hair products-especially when you have acne, it might get worse
Avoid alcohol- based toners especially when you have a sensitive skin
Avoid sleeping with your make up on
3. When trying a new product to incorporate into a skincare routine, what are the signs we need to look out for to know that it’s not good for our skin?
FIRST TRY A PRODUCT ON A SMALL AREA ON THE INNER ASPECT OF THE UPPER ARM OVERNIGHT, WATCH OUT FOR ANY RASHES/IRRITATIONS/BLISTERS OR ITCHNG/BURNING
3. How long after experiencing side effects or after not seeing the desired effects of a product should we wait before we try a new product? A GOOD PRODUCT HOULD BE GIVEN ATLEAST 6 WEEKS TO 3 MONTHS TO SEE IF IT WORKS OR NOT. WHEN EXPERIENCING SIDE EFFECTS, YOU STOP THE PRODUCT IMMEDIATELY, SEE A DOCTOR TO GET TREATMENT FOR THE REACTION AND GET ADVICE ON WHAT PRODUCTS TO TRY IN THE FUTURE AND WHEN TO START. IDEALLY A NEW PRODUCT SHOULD BE TRIED WHEN THE SKIN IS BACK TO ITS NORMAL STATE.