Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness… And bad skin. Like clockwork, come the beginning of October the virtually blemish-free and happy skin I sport during summer months starts to redden and become angry without provocation. There really is scant reason for my skin to behave like this: there’s been no wild change in my skincare routine, no experimental make-up and no dietary changes. I can therefore only attribute the unhappy turn of events to the change of season. As I’ve quashed many such uprisings previously, I’ve put my trust in the following tried-and-well-tested steps (and if you’re looking for skin-calming products, scroll to the bottom for my VLOG):
PAR BACK PRODUCTS //
Oh the hardest of rules for a product junkie such as I but one that is completely and utterly necessary to calm the storms that rage upon the skin. When skin is inflamed, be it through eczema, spots or random allergies, it is already fighting a battle – adding a pile of skincare to the mix will simply overload it. I tend to strip mine back to three steps morning and evening*, which leads me to…
DOUBLE CLEANSE //
Worried about stripping your skin when it’s already upset? It is an understandable concern, but a good cleanser used with warm water and a muslin cloth will remove grime or make-up with the first cleanse and gently clean the skin with the second cleanse. This is vital – I know two things about skin to be absolutely true: that it doesn’t like sitting under layers of make-up overnight, and that is doesn’t like its barrier function to be disrupted. Good cleansing practices will ensure neither can worsen skin that is already stressed.
Not when things are truly volatile, you understand. At its most violent, I treat my skin much as a nurse might a convalescent – I ensure it’s clean and hydrated and let it get on with the business of healing. During the recovery, however, I want to quicken its turnover and encourage an even surface. Key in this is how exfoliation is conducted – no granular scrubs, please. In fact, I almost exclusively use chemical exfoliants (click here to read my guide). N.B. If exfoliating, ensure you follow with an SPF to avoid courting sun damage.
CLEAN UP DIET //
As much as I’d love the answer to addled skin to be simple the addition or subtraction of products, most the work is internal. For me, the root cause of most my woes is hormonal – there is little I can do to influence these (though I have tweaked my diet to support the proper function of my endocrine system). I’ve found, however, that abstaining from drinking, eating unadulterated foods rich in nutrients and taking supplements to boost cellular health helps matters immensely.
HONEY / COCONUT OIL
Failing all the above, one of these generally sorts my skin out. Honey is naturally antibacterial, acts as an anti-inflammatory and moisturises the skin – I use it as a face mask and leave it on for at least 20 minutes, removing with warm water (not a muslin cloth – I feel this drags the skin). Finally: coconut oil. When nothing but the gentlest of the gentle will do, I cleanse with this and then add a small dollop to moisturise with it.
* My three steps: AM: cleanse, serum, SPF. PM: cleanse, serum, oil.
Here’s my VLOG on products I like to use when my skin is flaring up…