Let's get into what you can actually do to better support your precious skin cells:
1. Become a student of your skin
It's important that you check in with your skin daily. Think of it like how you might make slight tweaks to your diet and workouts depending on how your body feels on a given day. If your legs are sore, chances are you'll focus on another part of your body or even give yourself a recovery day. If you're bloated, you may adjust your eating habits accordingly. Take the same intuitive and thoughtful approach to your skin care routine.
Think about logging a skincare journal as get to know your skin's needs; so you can chronicle how it reacts to products and even things that happened in your day (such as stress or lack of sleep). Knowing your skin is half the battle. So once you get in better touch with yourself, you'll make better long-term decisions.
2. Find a routine and be diligent
You can visit the top spas in the world and have consultations with every celebrity dermatologist in the Rolodex, but if you're doing the work daily, it's all for naught. In health and wellness, people often talk about the 80-20 rule: That 80% of weight management is diet and 20% is exercise. Think of skin care professionals as your personal trainers. We can help with that 20%, but unless you're taking care of that 80% of daily maintenance skin care, there's only so much change that's going to happen.
3. Utilise targeted actives & formulas that support your unique needs
When crafting a routine, you should know what the overall intended outcome is and edit ingredients accordingly. But sometimes even getting to that step isn't easy.
First, write down the top changes you'd like to see in your skin, be it clear up a blemish or improve under-eye circles. And rank each on a scale of 1 to 10. Doing this can provide clarity for people so they're not tempted to tackle everything all at once. You may say your dullness is an 8 out of 10, so you can strive to get it down to 6, 4, 2. Then you can look to find another goal.
Additionally, this process helps you avoid another goal-oriented mistake: striving for something unrealistic. This keeps you from having a big, unattainable goal like 'perfect skin.' Having achievable, moving goals is actually going to help your skin," she says.
Once you've identified your top goal, then you can look for specific actives, products, and ingredients alongside your skincare therapist.
4. Protect and buffer
No matter how hard you work on your skin, it means nothing if you're not shielding it from environmental aggressors. Things like pollution, oxidative stress, internal triggers, UV rays, and irritants can unravel all the goodwill you've put into your skin. And this all comes down to free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can negatively affect your cells. Free radicals are called "unstable" because they are missing an electron. This is a problem because atoms don't like to have uneven electrons, and when they are unbalanced, they wreak havoc. One way they wreak havoc is they take electrons from healthy cells. Those healthy cells are then turned into, you guessed it, free radicals. The cycle continues.
The best way to support your skin against these are twofold: sunscreen and antioxidants. Mineral sunscreens, like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, can help buffer UV rays in addition to smart sun care practices like hats, sunglasses, and avoiding midday direct exposure. As for antioxidants, talk to your skincare therapist as there are many to choose from.
5. Remember: Everything is skin care
In terms of longevity, lifestyle habits cannot be ignored or covered up. The basis of this is nutrition, movement, mental health, and sleep. By eating the right foods, i.e. those that support hydration or collagen production, you're fuelling your skin with the right tools to do its job—such as act as a barrier, ward off free radicals, and produce things like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid.
Movement can help improve circulation (vital for glowing skin) and muscle health.
Sleep is of the utmost importance as it's your skin cells' recovery time. During the REM cycle, your skin heals the skin's structural proteins, rejuvenates itself, and balances hormones. Without it, we often see a cortisol spike in the system, which can lead to collagen breakdown.
Finally, stress does a number on the body and can lead to inflammaging and flare-ups.
The Vintage Avenue Team x