One of my strongest memory as a little kid is of standing at the beach on a mildly windy day. My big brother and some of our friends were frolicking in the shallows, chasing and running from the foamy-topped waves. But me? I was screaming in agony as the wind whipped grains of sand into the microscopic cracks all over the skin on my legs.
Since I was born, I have had extremely dry skin. My poor mother tried all sorts of prescription and over the counter lotions and potions, some of which were painful, and some of which were completely ineffective (they always seemed to be mutually exclusive groups).
Somewhere over time, nature and science met as my condition became less severe, and the creams available became much more effective. Now I suffer no pain, but I do moisturise every single day after I shower. I used to resent it but I’ve learned in my old age to go with the flow.
I’ve also learned that having great skin is much more than what you slather on your wet bod, and your entire lifestyle can affect that gorgeous gigantic organ of yours. In fact, I’ve learned a lot by trial and error over the years, so I thought I’d share it with you.
So, whether you have dry, oily, combination or boring normal skin (lucky you!), you have the power to look gorgeous and fresh(ish – let’s not forget that age and children have probably left their mark, sorry).
Before we start, let’s all pause to look at Gillian for a moment. Check out that skin. If I didn’t love her I’d hate her.
We can’t all be blessed with a baby’s bum all over our bodies though, so here are some tips to ensure it looks the best it possible can.
- Face: if you’ve ever picked up a women’s mag in your life, you know it’s crucial to establish a good routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Plus you need to be exfoliating once a week. The older you get, the more important this is. Those dead skin cells could have been there for DECADES. I’m very much a supermarket brand fan for cleansers and toners – I use a Garnier cleanser at the moment but it could just as easily be one of another five brands, and good old witch hazel as a toner. I always go for a few drops of rosehip oil on a warm face before moisturising, which has made the biggest difference to my face – fantastic! My new favourite day cream is from Sense, and I don’t mind Nivea night cream, or Clarins if I’m feeling flush and fancy. If you are after an exfoliator that will rock your world, I can’t go past Mirenesse Power Lift Super Line Peel. Leave it on overnight and follow it up with a cheapie gentle scrub (I use St Ives apricot scrub) and you will be glowing like a luminous wood nymph.
- Body: dry brush for five minutes every day before you shower, and moisturise afterwards if your skin needs it. Honestly, it takes five minutes but it makes a huge difference to the tone and condition of your skin. Not only does it slough away dead skin, but it also increases blood flow to your skin and can help minimise cellulite.
- Exercise: You know I love to bang on about how you should be exercising every day anyway, but here’s another reason: cardio makes your skin glow because it stimulates blood flow too. So you will be fitter, stronger, AND have great skin. Where’s the problem here?
- Hit the spa for a pamper: body scrubs, facials, wraps…they can all help and will vary depending on the treatment you have done, and the skill level of the person doing it. But if it makes you feel good and you see a difference, you want to be repeating that shit, right?
- Use sunscreen. Always. Every day. Even in winter. Even if you’re in the shade. You will never regret applying sunscreen, but I can promise you will regret skipping it. Whether you’re more scared of cancer or just looking like a hag, there is something in this one for everyone. Buy a great quality sunscreen for your face that is light but has a great SPF (about 30 is great – anything over that is increasing your coverage by a negligible amount).
- Watch your diet and lifestyle. Smoking restricts oxygen getting through to your skin, as well as giving you those hideous pucker wrinkles around your mouth. Ew. Drinking too much alcohol can leave you dehydrated inside and out. Drink loads of water, eat plenty of healthy fats (omega 3 fatty acids – think fish and walnuts rather than KFC), citrus fruits, leafy greens and bone broth. If you don’t think you are hitting the mark with your diet, a multivitamin or specific skin formula can help.
How is your skin? Do you look after it or does it fall into the ‘when I have time’ category?