Gorgeous skin doesn’t have to be restricted to your Instagram feed. Switch to the right skincare and you can go filter- (and make-up-) free.
If You Reach For Highlighter To Boost Dull Skin
What’s happening? Changes in your sleep pattern and an increase in hormones can stress your skin, leaving you to reach for make-up to fake it.
Try this skincare switch: Cleanse properly and use glycolic acid and anti-oxidants. Clinique’s Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush (£79, clinique.co.uk) purges pores, while Alpha-H Instant Facial (£35.50, alpha-h.com) brightens and plumps. Enzymes are great for brightening – try The Organic Pharmacy Enzyme Peel Mask with Vitamin C and Papaya (£49.96, theorganicpharmacy.com). To add instant radiance while protecting skin, try Caudalie SPF15 Radiance Day Fluid (£39, uk.caudalie.com) or Simple Illuminating Radiance Cream SPF15 (£7.99, boots.com).
If You Reach For Heavy Concealer To Hide Sun Spots
What’s happening? Brown patches of pigmentation or melasma appear after prolonged sun exposure (are you sure you were SPF-diligent during your summer maternity leave?) and hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or using the contraceptive pill.
Try this skincare switch: A tinted SPF cream. ‘While you’re still breastfeeding, your options are limited for dramatically tackling pigmentation,’ says skincare expert Debbie Thomas. ‘But a tinted, high SPF and limited sunlight on the face will help even out skintone and prevent darker patches from developing.’
Try La Roche Posay Anthelios XL SPF50 Ultra Light Tinted Fluid (£12.64, boots.com) or Ultrasun Face SPF30 Tinted (£26, ultrasun.co.uk). Also, try layering a good antioxidant – try vitamin-C rich 2 Medik8 CE Thione (£64.99, dermashop.co.uk) as a two-pronged attack on photo-ageing. Once you’ve finished breastfeeding, try 3 Avene D-Pigment (£35, avene.co.uk), which contains cell-renewing vitamin A and a powerful antioxidant to clear brown patches.
Time to visit a skincare expert? After you’ve finished breastfeeding, you can wait three to six months to see if your skin corrects itself, otherwise laser treatments are an option – Dual Yellow Laser Therapy (from £200, debbiethomas.co.uk) tackles melasma and pigmentation and is practically painless.
If You Reach For Corrective Make-Up To Disguise Redness
What’s happening? ‘Redness suggests an underlying inflammatory process and commonly occurs because of rosacea,’ says cosmetic dermatologist Dr Rachael Eckel. ‘It can also be the result of sun damage and pollution.’ Initially, the skin may have a rosy hue or flush occasionally, but with time, a fixed, red face appears.
Try this skincare switch: Oil-minimising skincare and SPF. ‘You must address oil and inflammation in the skin, but if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your obstetrician first,’ says Dr Rachael, who suggests washing your face with a salicylic acid-based wash — try ZO Skin Health Oilacleanse (£20, zoskinhealth.com) twice daily to remove oil. An exfoliating scrub once a day will lift dead cells, and a targeted product such as Redness Neutralizer (£70, skincentricals.co.uk), protects from environmental aggressors, which stimulate flushing. Make sure to apply an SPF on top, such as Zelens Daily Defence SPF30 (£55, zelens.com). ‘For 88% of rosacea patients, they see a decrease in flare-ups when using sunscreen,’ says Dr Rachael. Sun breaks down collagen and weakens the skin, making it more likely to flush.
Time to visit a skincare expert? ‘Rosacea starts around 30 and gets worse with age, but laser, such as Pulsed Dye Laser can help,’ she says.
Lifestyle tip: Anything that makes your skin flush red – from sun exposure, hot baths, alcohol and even emotional stress – should be avoided where possible.
If You Reach For Foundation To Hide Acne And Breakouts
What’s happening? ‘Acne is a symptom of hormonal sensitivity, so can flare up during pregnancy. It may calm down on its own a few months after breastfeeding stops,’ says Debbie.
Try this skincare switch: Products containing glycolic acid and oil-free hydrators instead of full coverage foundation. ‘Glycolic acid is a pregnancy-safe alpha hydroxy acid, which lightly exfoliates, clears pore-blocking dead skin and helps regulate oil production,’ says Debbie. Dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting’s advice is to simplify your routine and ditch double cleansing, muslin cloths and over-use of cleansing brushes. Try a glycolic-based face wash, such as 1 Nip+Fab Glysolic Fix Cleanser (£7.95, nipandfab.com) once or twice daily. Hydrating skin is also crucial, but choose a non-pore clogging formula. ‘If you let acne-prone skin dry out, it will breakout,’ says Dr Sam, who swears by Cetaphil The Moisturising Lotion (£8.35, feelunique.com) or La Roche Posay Effaclar H Soothing Moisturiser (£9.50, feelunique.com). Or try a serum containing hyaluronic acid or glycerin, such as SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective (£37.95, zestbeauty.com).
Check your make-up: If you do have to cover breakouts with foundation or concealer, make sure it’s non-pore clogging – try skin breathable Estée Lauder Clear Difference BB Cream SPF35 (£34, esteelauder.co.uk).
If You Reach For Concealer To Hide Dark Circles
What’s happening? Dark circles can be caused by disturbed nights, but genetics, the ageing process and sun exposure can also be culprits. ‘Those with pigmented skin are more likely to have darkness under the eyes, and leaky capillaries are one of the principle causes,’ says Dr Sam.
Try this skincare switch: A hydrating eye serum with nourishing and circulation-boosting benefits. ‘While lightening dark circles around the eye can be tricky, ingredients like Vitamin K or resveratrol boost circulation and hydrate to give a brighter appearance,’ says Debbie. Try vitamin K-rich Neo Strata Bionic Eye Cream (£32, effortlessskin.com), Peter Thomas Roth Power K Eye Rescue (£57.16, beautybay.com), which contains brighteners such as kojic acid, or Caudalie Premier Cru The Eye Cream (£49, uk.caudalie.com).
Lifestyle tip: Drink more water to help flush toxins out of the body and look at possible food allergies, because this can cause dark circles due to the histamine released.
Sometimes you don’t have 28 days to wait for an anti-ageing cream to work its magic, or even 28 minutes for that matter. For days when you want line, wrinkle and pore free (every day please), these instant skin smoothers work like the beauty equivalent of Polyfilla to fill in skin imperfections at the stroke of a finger. Here are 10 of the best.
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