You know I do rather like to think of myself as the Ray Mears of skincare, providing you with all all the skills and knowledge you need to look fabulous whatever the world throws at you and winter can be very, very testing! So before you don your snow shoes and head for the bitter outdoors just take a moment to read through my top tips for fabulous winter skin.
Winter takes its toll on your skin and you really need to make that extra bit of effort to protect your skin. But just follow my simple winter skincare rules and your skin reap the benefits from that little bit of extra care.
Rule No 1 - WEAR YOUR SUNSCREEN
I know it’s the middle of a glum English winter but you still need to protect your skin and a decent SPF is the very best skincare purchase you can make. Exposure to the sun (even in the middle of winter) seriously speeds up the ageing process of your skin and makes you prone to developing dry skin, age spots, wrinkles and those horrid spider veins. For daily wear just try a simple SPF 15.
Rule No 2 - MOISTURIZE TO THE MAX!
Its bad enough that not only does your skin have to combat the brutal weather outside but as soon as you step inside any teeny bit of moisture in the air is sucked out by central heating. Dry air can wreak havoc on your skin making it flake and crack (it even makes those pesky fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable). To combat this its absolutely essential that you cosset your skin throughout the day. In the morning apply a lovely rich balm (like Rose Otto Healing Balm) and throughout the day spray your skin with Neroli & Melissa Super Skin Hydrator, rich in glycerin (vegetable of course) which draws water into the skin and keeps it there. It also helps add a gorgeous finish to make up (especially mineral bases) and keeps your skin refreshed, soft and glowing throughout the day.
RULE NO 3 - BE KIND TO YOUR SKIN
Products that contain active anti-ageing ingredients such as Retinoid's and AHA‘s can really irritate skin making it even drier, itchier and prone to flaking. If you must use them; why not try applying a every alternate evening so your skin is not overwhelmed by those nasty
RULE NO 4 - PUCKER UP!
Don’t forget those delectable lips. Keep your Irresistible Kiss Balm with you at all times and apply frequently. Frequent application ensures that your lips are soft, supple and totally irresistible!
RULE NO 5 - BATHE IN THE MOISTURE!
Keep your baths and showers short & sweet. A quick dip of about 15 minutes maximum will add moisture to your skin but any longer any your skin will dry out! For extra skin soothing try Nourish Bath Oil. Keep the water warm, not HOT! Hot water strips your skin of its natural protective oils and damages skin cells causing dry, itchy skin. After your bath or shower pat skin dry, this action helps the skin retain moisture and is a far more gentle action to use on sensitive skin. Apply your Nourish Lotion or Heavenly Bliss Balm as soon as you can to trap any remaining moisture into the skin. By following these simple steps you will see & feel a difference in your skin.
Does touching your face cause spots?
Oh God, does this bring back terrible memories? Throughout my teenage years my Mom (who has the most gorgeous skin) would always scream at me "keep your fingers off your face!". Oh I hated that, I wanted to be fidgety in peace but it was never allowed! Now with the benefit of age I know how right (and how irritating) she was! Touching your face during the day can cause breakouts. The culprits are bacteria, viruses, pollutants, chemicals and ink (who said reading the newspaper was good!). Really anything that your hands come into contact with during the day; from keyboards to telephones and door handles. Repeatedly touching your face with unwashed hands can cause microscopic abrasions in the skin that can absorb all these little nasties and cause infections leading to a breakout. To protect your skin keep a little bottle of antibacterial hand gel close by and use throughout the day. Its also a good idea to dollop a bit of the gel onto a tissue and clean the telephone. Telephones can really harbour a wealth of horrid bacteria and can cause breakouts around the jaw area. While you are possessed of the cleaning bug, have a cleansing swipe of your keyboard. The only downside of these antibacterial gels is that they are chock full of alcohol and though powerful bug busters they are incredibly drying so always remember to use a nice and gentle hand balm. My Hops & Myrrh Hand Balm combines the antibacterial action of Lavender essential oil with the gentle skin healing action of Myrrh.
Train yourself to keep your hands off your face. I know its easier said than done, but it is worth it and you will see a difference. You have two ways to tackle this; you could borrow my Mom and she could scream at you every time you touched your face, which though highly effective can be somewhat disruptive in the workplace! Or you could simply dab a drop or two of Lavender essential oil on both wrists. Then when you raise your hands to your face the scent will make you aware of what you are doing and stop. Lavender is also a good choice as if the desire to touch your face is stress/anxiety related as the relaxing scent will calm you and hopefully remove that desire to fidget!
How do I get rid of the red veins that are appearing all around my nose?
Fear not my dear for you are not alone, broken capillaries happen to us all! So you know how to treat them, its best to know what they are and what causes them. Broken capillaries are permanently dilated blood vessels. They are caused by sun exposure, extremes in temperature, overzealous exfoliation, heavy handed facial treatments, even blowing your nose can cause them! Alcohol and spicy foods can also play they're part; as they can cause the face to flush and if indulged in a little too often that flush remains!
Keep It Cool (but not too cool!)
Skin does not like extremes of temperature, so alway ensure when cleansing skin do keep the temperature nice and tepid. Never, ever, ever steam your face or let anyone else steam it for you. I cannot believe that therapists still offer this treatment! A client came to me through her friends' recommendation to help her solve her ongoing battle with facial redness and dry skin. I was shocked to discover that her previous therapist regularly treat her skin with brutal facial steams "to encourage the skins natural oils to flow". During the steam treatment she would also slather the client with petroleum jelly to protect the skin. So an intensive heat treatment combined with skin clogging petroleum; not really the recipe for a dewy glow! I am also angry when clients are given heat treatment facial masks. Heat is NOT GOOD for skin, it might feel good but it really irritates the skin. Treat your skin with lovely tepid temperatures and your skin will thank you.
Can Creams Cure It?
I cannot believe how many creams get away with saying that they remove broken capillaries. Wouldn't you be wary of putting something on your skin that would penetrate deep down into your veins and dissolve them, wouldn't that be kind of dangerous!! No fear, they don't do that, in fact they don't do anything but smell nice and feel good. The only way to get rid of broken capillaries is by a laser treatment. The laser basically zaps the broken capillary and dissolves it,removing it forever. It is very simple and very effective. It should just take one treatment to get rid of the broken capillaries around the nose area, but it isn't unusual to need a second treatment. This procedure must ONLY be undertaken by a qualified medical professional, it is not (I REPEAT, NOT) a salon treatment!
Dealing With The Problem
You can easily disguise the broken capillaries with a yellow tinted concealer. I find that mineral make up is a wonderful tool to camouflage any areas of redness. Please always use a sunblock and always treat your skin with care. Treat your skin with lovely tepid temperatures and your skin will thank you. If you enjoy outdoor pursuits such as sailing and skiing, where you really are facing the elements, it is advisable to use a soothing skin balm under your spf just to add a little bit more protection. I created my Rose Otto Skin Balm to protect my skin from a brutal Calgary winter. Rose Otto essential oil is wonderfully soothing and has a great healing action on even the most sensitive of skin. I combine Rose Otto with my infused Rose Petal Oil , to create the perfect protective balm.
Due to my job I have to fly a lot! The trouble is it really is taking its toll on my skin. How do I care for my skin in the air?
To arrive at your destination fresh faced and fabulous the work begins long before you check in! Its best to make a few small changes to your diet a few days before you fly by avoiding alcohol and cutting back on caffeine and salt. All of these dehydrate your body and will make your skin look dull and exacerbate puffy eyes. Switch your moisturizer to a richer balm, like my Borage & Calendula Skin Healing Balm. Chock full of goodies like soothing Calendula and anti-inflammatory Borage, it really makes the perfect base. It contains absolutely no essential oils so is perfect for skin that may be extra dry and sensitive due to horrid recycled airplane air!
Up, Up and Away!
On the morning of the flight just moisturize and put on the barest amount of make up (concealer, mascara, lip gloss). Full make up will just make your skin look dingy and tired by the time you reach your destination. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and overly salty airline food (if you can!). Stick to plain, flat water. Spritz face during the flight. My Neroli & Melissa Super Skin Hydrator is perfect for this as it contains soothing Lavender Flower Water, gorgeous Glycerin and freshening Melissa. Its delightful scent also gets rid of that icky airplane smell! After you have spritzed, pat on some more Borage & Calendula Balm to really lock in that moisture. Just before you land, splash your face with cool water (but avoid looking in the airplane bathroom mirror, that has to be the cruelest lighting known to man!) Then moisturize and apply your make up, a quick sweep of blush will really liven up your skin. Also to combat that nasty dry eyed feeling take some lubricating eye drops (not the anti-redness drops as they will just make your eyes feel a whole lot drier!) to soothe that feeling. Before you know it your at the gate and looking gorgeous!
I hear so much about make up primers, are they worth buying?
A make up primer is designed to temporarily smooth your skin. It usually contains silicones & polymers which create a smooth surface and waxes which bind with your make up to give it longevity. Not everyone needs a primer. Make up primer is really suited to those who have uneven skin texture (perhaps due to old scars) since they level out the skin. Its also helpful for those whose lip colour feathers due to fine lines or who find that their eye shadow creases easily. From my own experience I have found that after I have used a make up primer it does make application of foundation particularly easy. It just seems to prep the surface of the skin but as for adding longevity to your make up, I'm not convinced!
I'm plagued by nasty, puffy skin below my eyes. How do I get rid of them?
Puffiness around your eyes is caused by many factors; allergies, sleep deprivation, alcohol, too much salt in your diet and even a blubbery bout of tears! Different though they are, all these things have one thing in common, they are all irritants which will cause any excess fluid to settle temporarily under the skin. Unfortunately as we grow older our skin does thin causing this problem to be even more apparent. Skin around your eye area shows any fluid retention far more than any other bit! If you have partied a little to hard and overindulged in way too many dirty martinis (salty olives + vodka equals mucho puffiness!!) you can do your bit to combat the inevitable. When you get home drink, drink, drink; water that is! Drinking water will help your skin flush out your system. If allergies or a broken heart are the cause, pop an antihistamine before bed. Whatever the cause it is always good to plump up the pillows before you get into bed. Sleeping with your head slightly raised will help prevent excess fluid from pooling around your eyes.
To Soothe Away Puffiness
Take two chamomile tea bags (chamomile has a wonderful anti-inflammatory action and it is oh so soothing!) Dunk them in cool water, pop in a plastic bag and put in the freezer for about 15 minutes or so. Then remove the tea bags, retreat to your bed ensuring that your head is elevated, close eyes and place each tea bag so it rests on the eyelid and under eye area. Now comes the tough part; relax for a good 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and then gently rinse skin with tepid water.
When eyes are puffy they are irritated. Avoid any product containing AHA's, BHA's or Retinols. They're goal is to kick start exfoliation, which irritates skin and increases the swelling. I formulated my Argan Eye Balm specifically to soothe the delicate skin around the eye and combat puffiness. Argan oil is a rich, nutrient packed oil that helps moisturize and rejuvenate delicate skin, while a dash of Roman Chamomile essential oil with its gentle anti-inflammatory action and power to calm even the most sensitive skin ensures that delicate skin is soothed and restored.
Depuffing Facial Massage
Use the flat part of your finger, just below your fingertips. Place finger on either side of nose (around sinus area). Gently (and I mean gently, this is your lovely face we're dealing with!!) massage skin in a circular motion, pushing skin slightly upward as you go. Working upwards and outwards (use your cheekbones as a guide; work slightly above them directly on the fleshy parts) along the cheeks and then ending at the outer eye area. Gently sweep back to nose and begin again. Repeat 5 times. This gentle kneading action will help to push built up fluid out of the skin tissue so it will drain (depuff!) faster.
I'm not entirely convinced a tinted moisturizer will give the coverage I need, what do I do?
Summer is on its way and the last thing you need is that horrid, heavy foundation feeling. Tinted moisturizer will give you a lovely sheer finish that will look flawless if you follow my foolproof action plan for a not so natural, natural look!
Step One - Tools of the Trade
Any base product will look so much better if you apply with a foundation brush. But the secret to a great foundation brush is price, cheap ones work great! Oh dear, I've shocked you. There is a reason behind my cheapness (trust me I speak from experience), pricey, natural bristle brushes really soak up the base whereas with the not so natural bristle foundation brush, the product just sits on it and transfers easily to your skin and provide great coverage.
Step Two - Application
Dot the tinted moisturizer on forehead, nose, cheekbones and jawline. With foundation brush start at centre of face, and use short, downward strokes to ensure smooth coverage. Remember to blend in well around hairline and jawline, this is no time for telltale lines.
Step Three - Conceal, Conceal, Conceal!
Eye Area: Dot concealer under eyes with ring finger.Spots/Areas of discolouration: With a small pointed concealer brush, dab a thicker formulation concealer on the redness/discolouration only. Then set with a light dusting of a translucent powder.
Step Four - Get the Glow
Embrace the fresh new you by using a sheer cream blush to give just that flash of gorgeous glow! Finally, just a quick spray of Miracle Spritz will ensure your make up stays put and will also leave you with a delectable glow.
How do I treat a breakout?
We all suffer breakouts at some point. The causes are widespread; stress, hormonal fluctuations, incorrect product usage. I know its tempting (and oh so satisfying!) to pop a pimple but HANDS OFF! A spot has a natural lifespan of three days, when you touch it, pick at it or squeeze it you create a longer lasting inflammation. Over time excess picking and squeezing can result in pigment changes (creating areas of darker skin) and scarring. Squeezing a spot causes the ickyness to move deeper down into the pimple and that can develop into a very painful and exceedingly ugly cyst.
To understand the best way to treat a breakout, its imperative to understand exactly what a pimple is, then you can treat the breakout effectively. When a pore gets clogged with dirt and sebum (the skin's own natural moisturizer), the oil and bacteria are trapped inside and the resulting infection shows itself in the form of a pimple. Over zealous scrubbing and squeezing will only worsen the problem, even extending the lifespan of the spot for up to two weeks. The right way to treat acne is to use products that are gentle, won't irritate your skin and allow your skin to find its own natural balance. Its also a good idea to give your skin a break for just a few days a week by skipping your usual nighttime moisturizer. This will enable your skin to really breathe, get back its natural balance and kick start its own natural healing process.
The Fine Art of Disguise
Before applying your make up, dab a little of my Breakout Calm Balm on the spot. With a blend of anti-inflammatory essential oils and balancing hazelnut oil, this gentle balm will ensure your pimple will heal naturally. Applying the balm will soften the area and take away that horrid crusty carbuncle look. Apply concealer (a thicker, stick concealer seems to cover better and last longer) with a concealer brush. Using a brush enables you to put the concealer exactly where you need it and also keeps your fingers off the spot! When you have applied the concealer, set it with just a tiny amount of powder so that the concealed area blends in well with the skin. Its also a good idea to use just a bit of extra blush, thereby attracting all and sundry to your healthy glow and not the spot!
WHAT IS ACNE?
Besides being annoying, frustrating and seemingly never-ending, Acne is technically an inflammatory disorder of the sebaceous glands (wow bet you feel better now!). Its incredibly common and can strike at any age. Though it tends to rear its ugly head around puberty, it can strike in your twenties, thirties and beyond. Breakouts tend to occur where sebaceous glands are most prominent - face, back & chest. Its characterised by this wonderful group of delightful carbuncles:
Also known as blackheads and whiteheads. Blackheads appear when the opening of the hair follicle becomes blocked with dead skin cells, oil and bacteria. A blackhead is not dirt, the contents of the follicle become dark when exposed to air. Whiteheads (not to be confused with Milia, more of that later!). These are very similar to blackheads accept that the opening is covered so the contents are not exposed to the air. They take on a slightly raised appearance (you can feel them if you run your fingers over your skin) and are filled with an icky white pus.
A small raised angry red bump that is created when a pore ruptures due to the release of oil, skin cells and other debris. Bacteria infects the pore and voila a startlingly horrid zit appears. If the inflammation really takes hold an absolutely horrendous pustule is created (in other words a whacking great pus filled spot) that not only fills the pimple with pus but extends well below skin surface to spread its horrid wrath!
The nasty big brother of the papule. Again they are very red, very tender and usually filled with white pus in the centre.
Horrible, horrible, horrible! These dreadful lumps are located just under the skin surface, they feel incredibly solid and incredibly painful when you touch them.
These are the nastiest of all breakouts. Very painful, pus filled lumps that are just beneath the surface of the skin. You must see your Doctor if a breakout of this type occurs as incorrect treatment (such as picking and squeezing) will worsen infection and cause serious scarring.
HOW IS ACNE CAUSED?
There are three main factors that are to blame for breakouts.
Can Acne Be Cured?
It can’t be cured but you can keep it under control with some simple changes.
Kate’s Golden Rules for Acne Prevention
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (also known as AHA’s) are chemicals that occur naturally in fruits, milk and sugar, but don’t be fooled by the natural description as 99% of AHA’s used in cosmetics are synthetic. AHA’s are used in cosmetics & skincare products for a variety of purposes; from smoothing fine lines and surface wrinkles, improving skin texture and tone, unblocking and cleansing pores and to adjust the PH level in skin. But it really all depends on the concentration that the AHA’s are used at. At a low concentration they work as a water binding agent, at a higher concentration they are used to exfoliate skin cells. AHA’s exfoliate by causing the surface of the skin to shed (they break down the substance the glues skin cells together). Beware as AHA’s are notorious skin irritants, as they slough off skin they make it more susceptible to irritation and UV damage. A US study found that users of AHA’s had an increased sensitivity to UV and that on average UV induced cellular damage doubled. The worrying thing is that the effect lasted up to a week after AHA usage had stopped.
Kate’s Golden Rules For Safe AHA Use
Rule Number One
If you must use an AHA choose either Glycolic (for exfoliation) or Lactic (for skin moisturizing as it acts as a humectant). Avoid Malic or Citric acids as they are less stable, less researched and will also irritate your skin.
Rule Number Two
If you do experience any irritation, even if it is just a mild itching or redness stop using the product immediately. Whatever the manufacturer would have you believe; skincare shouldn’t sting or cause any pain. Irritation and redness is your skin telling you the product is harmful.
Rule Number Three
If you are using an AHA, don’t use it every single day, give your skin a break as it doesn’t need to be constantly bombarded with chemicals. Your skin has the natural ability to heal itself, give your skin a vacation and allow it to do what it was designed to do!
Rule Number Four
Avoid high concentration AHA products and salon treatments. Unfortunately I have encountered too many clients who have come to me with highly irritated, painful and peeling skin after attempting to perform an AHA peel at home or undergoing a salon Glycolic peel. If you do feel that your skin needs this treatment please see a dermatologist. AHA’s are not harmless little ingredients, they are pretty serious acids. A dermatologist will be able to advise and treat your skin with the level of AHA that is right for your skin and advise you on the correct aftercare.