As the body’s largest organ, it is vital to care for your skin properly in order to maintain both good health and a vibrant appearance. Moisturising is an essential part of any skincare regime, something everyone should be doing daily. There’s more to it than simply slapping on some cream, though; we’ve put together some top tips and valuable advice to help you achieve glowing skin.
1. Getting to know your skin
Our first tip revolves around understanding your skin. This initial step is hugely important, enabling you to discover which moisturiser will work best and not cause any harm.
The skin type test
Getting to know your skin type is crucial to perfecting your skincare routine. Try out this quick and easy exercise to figure out what type you are:
- Wash your face as normal and make sure it is completely make-up free
- Leave your skin for 30 minutes to one hour, don’t be tempted to moisturise yet
- Have a look in the mirror and if you need to, dab away any oil with a tissue.
Pay attention to:
- The size of your pores: Are they large or small?
- Oil: Are there patches of grease anywhere, particularly around the T-zone (forehead and nose)?
- Redness: Do you feel itchy or do you see any patches of skin that are redder than the rest?
- Does your skin feel excessively tight?
What are the different skin types?
After taking those questions into consideration, look at our descriptions below; thinking about how your skin feels and how it reacts in certain conditions. You should be able to easily identify which skin type may have.
- Normal: Skin will maintain a balance of moisture and needs little maintenance. This type of skin will not have changed much at all after washing your face.
- Oily: Prone to breakouts. Greasy skin is characterised by patches of oil, typically found around the T-zone. This is your skin type if you need to dab to get rid of shine, have large pores and potential breakouts areas.
- Dry: Easily dehydrates, dry skin tends to result in chapped lips and even cracks. Dry skin also struggles in certain environments, such as with air-conditioning and the winter months. If your skin feels tight after washing, you have dry skin to some degree. Mature skin also tends to be drier as glands produce less oil.
- Combination: Your skin can be oily in certain areas and dry in others. Examples include a greasy T-zone but dry cheeks.
Those are the main types of skin, but you can also have the following two types additionally, which can cause problems but also need extra consideration when choosing products.
- Sensitive: Easily irritated, sensitive skin reacts to certain products or environments, and can result in redness, inflammation, itchiness and rashes.
- Acne-prone: Commonly associated with oily skin types, acne-prone skin can leave scars from the damage. This type of skin needs to be very carefully looked after for.
2. Choosing the right moisturiser
Once you know your skin type, you have the perfect excuse to go and find a nice, new moisturiser and start caring for your skin the right way. To help you choose the right one, it’s worth knowing a few rules, for as you know, no two moisturisers are alike!
- Creams with a heavy fragrance will irritate sensitive skin. Look specifically for ‘suitable for sensitive skin’ labels, and read the ingredients thoroughly to check whether it’s formulated with anything you know has irritated your skin in the past.
- If you have dry skin then opt for a hydrator rather than a thick moisturiser that will sit on top of the skin.
- Any products containing alcohol will dry the skin out so always avoid them – that’s what toners are for.
- If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, look out for labels that read ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘hypoallergenic’. These are less likely to cause breakouts or nasty reactions.
- Certain environments and weather conditions affect skin types. The colder months will dry skin out even more than usual, so invest in a winter moisturiser. Remember, too, that skin may suffer in the summer – air-conditioning dries out the pores, while the heat can see a greater production of moisture and grease, so oily skin will need a little more maintenance. Finally, pollution clogs pores, so think about a skin protectant and look for labels with ‘defence, ‘anti-oxidant’ and ‘anti-pollutant’ on them.
- Protect your skin, especially sensitive types, with an SPF during the day. It’ll help stop sun exposure and is known to reduce the skin ageing. Many moisturisers contain SPFs as standard.
Now you know your skin inside and out, and have the right moisturiser, here’s how to apply it for the best results possible.
For the face and neck
- Start by washing your face with a cleanser, then dry gently – be especially careful round the eyes. Just pat with the towel, don’t rub. You want the skin to remain slightly damp, so there’s something for the cream to ‘lock in’.
- Scoop a small amount of moisturiser onto your fingers and dab on the face and neck. Thinner moisturisers dry faster, and thicker ones require more work to be absorbed by the skin, so amounts will need to be adjusted accordingly.
- Starting with the neck, apply using both hands in an upward sweeping motion – always in the same direction. This is to prevent a saggy neck.
- Next, the face: begin from the chin, taking swirling motions that end at your earlobes, again, using both hands. Repeat that swirling action starting from the corners of your mouth and across your cheeks, taking in the sides of your nose. Sweep your hands over your forehead in upward motions.
- The skin around the eyes: did you know that the skin under the eye is 10-15 times thinner than the rest of the face? This means it needs to be treated with a separate eye cream which has been specially formulated for this delicate area. Pat tiny blobs under and around the eyes, as gently as possible, not straying too close to the eye itself.
- Once applied, leave your face for a few minutes to soak in all that goodness. Then you can apply make-up, if you wish.
For the body
- A good and regular exfoliation will help clear dead skin away, leaving new and fresh skin ready. Use exfoliation gloves and a quality shower cream, a body brush or exfoliating products.
- The best time to apply moisturiser to the body is just after a shower. However, really hot baths dry the skin out and for sensitive skin, the redness may take time to go down. If you’ve just shaved your legs, use a sensitive cream to avoid stinging.
- Rub the moisturiser in circular and swiping motions. It is up to you which way, some prefer starting from the chest down, while others work up from the feet.
- Feet, hands, elbows and knees dry out quicker because of the gland make-up in those areas, so give these parts a little extra moisturiser.
4. Common mistakes and things to remember
Despite all of the advice around, it is possible to make mistakes when using and buying moisturiser. Here are a few things to watch out for:
- Don’t forget your neck! It’s one of THE biggest signs of ageing.
- Leave your moisturiser enough time to dry before applying foundation. If you don’t, you’ll end up with a patchy, blotchy effect and poor coverage.
- Moisturiser goes out of date, did you know that? Check for the symbol of an open jar on the back of the bottle; it’ll specify the product’s shelf life in months. Adhere to this, as older creams lose their effectiveness.
- Your hands are washed multiple times during the day, so at night just as you got to bed, rub in a decent hand moisturiser to replenish the skin.
- Remember to use a lip balm to stop chapped lips, especially in the winter.
- Don’t forget your neck, did we mention that?
Hopefully this has answered some of your moisturiser questions and helped you understand your skin a little better. If you’d like to get the advice of a professional, book a consultation with one of our experts today, to see how we can help you hydrate and correct your skin.