PS: What adjustments should we make to our skincare routines over the year to protect ourselves against seasonal changes?
CM: Many people suffer from dry skin during the Winter months. This is due to lower humidity in the atmosphere and increased use of heating which is quite drying on the skin. If you do suffer from dry skin, you should pre-empt this by ensuring that your skin barrier is in excellent condition year-round.
Avoid soaps and harsh skin care, opting for a gentle derm-approved cream cleanser and use regular high-quality emollients, especially in the lead up to winter.
You should try to avoid overheating and drying environments where possible and consider in clinic treatments such as anti-inflammatory LED light to calm down the skin inflammation.
PS: What ingredients should we look for when investing in good, anti-ageing products?
CM: There are many ingredients used in anti-ageing skincare but the strongest evidence exists for just a handful of proven ingredients. The first and foremost ingredient in any anti-ageing regime should be sun protection. Sun exposure is the greatest cause of premature ageing.
Many people only use full sun protection when they expect to be outdoors all day but we should be applying SPF every day if we are invested in anti-ageing. Otherwise the most effective ingredient to reverse the signs of ageing is topical Vitamin A, also known as retinol.
This ingredient will stimulate epidermal cell turnover and increase collagen production as well as reduce pigmentation. Antioxidants are also important in an anti-ageing regime to reduce oxidative stress on the skin. This will help skin repair and reduce premature ageing.
Other effective ingredients include alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) which stimulate hyaluronic acid to improve skin hydration, and Vitamin B3, known as niacinamide, which has numerous benefits in the skin including anti-inflammatory effects, improved skin barrier and photo-protection.
PS: If our face becomes irritated from certain products or ingredients, what tips do you have for calming and soothing the skin?
CM: When the skin begins to appear irritated by certain products we need to differentiate whether or not there is an allergic or irritant reaction. If there is a rash or the skin is itchy its best see your doctor to exclude allergy.
However, many active skincare ingredients can cause irritation, especially when trialling a new product. This is an expected side-effect and generally suggests that you have sensitive skin, or that you have been a little bit too enthusiastic with your application quantity or frequency.
In most cases it is best to have a break from active skin care for a couple of days using a gentle, minimalist moisturiser, specifically formulated for sensitive skin, until it settles. You can then restart the product using just small amounts, and I would normally suggest using it every second day for 2-4 weeks before returning to daily application.
If you do have sensitive skin, it is best to choose products without fragrance or other irritants where possible. If in doubt, see a dermatologist or specialist dermal clinician for a full evaluation and advice.
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