Struggling with problem skin? It’s time for a skincare overall, with a little help from brilliant facialist Mariam Abbas. Here, Mariam reveals the skincare sins to avoid, from touching our face too frequently and not cleaning our makeup brushes to over-exfoliating. Ready to revamp your routine? Read on!
There are many forbidden fruits in the world of skincare, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first is introducing unwanted bacteria to your skin. While we might not be consciously aware, we add to the bacterial population of our skin every day, all the time! Do you know we touch our faces 15-25 times an hour? imagine the number of germs we transfer to our skin from our fingertips, how much oil and debris we swish around our faces causing clogged pores and messing up our barrier function. We casually reach out for gym towels sitting around on filthy gym equipment while we finish our workouts and then use them to wipe our faces with.
Most of us don’t clean our make-up brushes regularly (guilty?) and our face masks sit in pockets, handbags, and on random surfaces. On the same note, using tools as part of the daily skincare routine seems to have become the new norm. Everyone has crystal rollers, derma rollers and home use devices.
Even young teenagers have Gua Sha tools sitting on their shelves waiting to sculpt their youthful jaw lines. Sadly, these tools aren’t kept clean. They are the most likely culprits when it comes to infected pores and odd spots – so stop using dirty tools. Your skin already has a native bacterial community let’s not overwhelm it by introducing more!
Another common skin sin is overkill with drying, astringent products and exfoliating toners. We have all heard about over-exfoliating way too often but here’s the thing, people with drier skin types tend to get away without make-up because their skin doesn’t look greasy, and they seldom have visible, congested pores but they can have slow skin renewal and sometimes dull skin. Oily skins tend to suffer with shiny t-zones, black heads and possibly spots or scars from previously popped pimples. Using drying toners and acid exfoliators temporarily gives oily skin relief because it dries up the natural oil, takes away the shine and makes the skin appear smoother. Dry skins love these because they also brighten dull skin that might not be shedding naturally. These visible improvements are short lived because the actives are messing with skin function. They upset the skin barrier, dry up the natural oils in the skin and cause long term concerns. You don’t need these in your everyday routine morning and evening – if you really must – 3 times / week will do just fine.
Taking a step back from exfoliating, cleansing with the right type of cleanser (and not wipes) is essential. Most people fear they will dry their skin out by over cleansing so they either start their day without cleansing at all, washing with water or worse still – using face wipes which damage both the skin and the environment. They leave a residue on the skin, clog pores and they are also non-biodegradable, so they clog oceans. Ditch the wipes and bad cleansing habits, cleansing is the corner stone of any skin care regime so get it right!
Good skincare isn’t a privilege, it’s a priority. Of course, it goes without saying priorities are personal and should always be based on individual circumstance but if you view your skin as an important part of your selfcare and your wellbeing, stop spending on trial-and-error products. They will line shelves and get pushed to the back of drawers without ever being used. Ditch the hybrid 2 in 1’s and penny saving discounted actives that promise miracles. If these products were so effective no one would part with them at discounted prices. Sellers don’t love your skin more than you do yourself. Using the wrong products can cause long term damage and over sensitise skin. Also, stop using google, friends and chemists for skincare advice. If google had all the answers we wouldn’t need any professionals in this world.
Less is more is a great principle to apply to a skincare regime. There are only so many layers of serum that a skin can absorb. All glorified actives that are promoted as being essential, anti-aging and great for the skin – may not be aimed at the same skin – your skin! Skin is individual and different actives benefit different skins. In fact, some actives may not even work well together if applied at the same time. For example, Vit A can make a Vit C formulation unstable, so while both are great ingredients, they shouldn’t be used at the same time. It is important not to get carried away with the skin care regime – we aren’t trying to eat the rainbow here. The formula is very simple, a PH balanced cleanser, antioxidants, hydration, and sun protection for your skin type. Stop these few habits and watch your skin transform into a healthy and radiant skin, no promises for porcelain perfection here – remember you are only human and so is your skin.
The chances are that at least one or two of the skincare products in your go-to beauty arsenal contain glycolic acid. It’s a popular chemical exfoliating ingredient and is part of the alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) family, but, as is often the case with skincare, more is not always more. Its resurfacing powers include exfoliating, brightening, and pigment-fading but incorrect or overzealous use of glycolic acid can compromise your skin barrier, which protects the skin. Although most home use products like resurfacing pads, glycolic cleansers and toners will have a very low percentage of the acid it is still an acid that affects the skin’s PH. The immediate brightening results from these products cause people to overuse them and continuous daily use causes sensitised skin (to the environment and the sun), strips the skin of natural oils and upsets the barrier function.
I have combination skin, prone to oiliness and congestion. I experimented with glycolic acid when my skin was younger and more robust– a complete disaster – I was left with my first episode of adult acne, so it isn’t a favourite of mine even in controlled clinic environments. Lactic Acid and Mandelic acid are much gentler alternatives. Acid resurfacing products can be great but my advice is to use them in moderation. Resurfacing pads (depending on the AHA’s) 3-4 times/week, some cleansers with gentler acids can be used daily depending on your skin’s tolerance.
Thanks for these great tips, Mariam! To book in for a facial with Mariam Abbas, or to learn more, visit mariamabbas.co.uk
Photo by Viva Luna Studios