We're delighted to welcome back skincare expert Natalie Fisher, aka The Derm Nurse. We're lucky enough to have Natalie write a series of guest blogs for us, where she shares her knowledge on all things skin!
As I sit here writing this blog, just over a couple of weeks have passed since new year’s day and we are in the thick of January. This time of year can be tricky, can’t it? We had a build-up of excitement leading to Christmas, days filled with family, friends and festivities and then the reality of returning to a routine springs upon us. I try to focus on the little positives, my favourite being that the shortest, darkest day has passed and the evenings are gradually drawing out little by little. Before I digress writing a blog about new year positivity, let’s get back to why I’m really here, skin!
Have you noticed a change in your skin following the festive period? Is it looking a little dull, dry and generally not at its best? If so let’s have a look at the possible offenders. Lack of sleep, increased alcohol consumption, increased levels of stress (yes Auntie Mable is enough to drive anyone crazy!) and an altered skin care routine. Did you go to bed with your makeup left on? If you did come and sit on the naughty step next to my sister (sorry Leah!). All of the above will impact your skin's overall condition. Often new year's resolutions can feel quite punishing even if they are made with the intention to improve your wellbeing or general health. Why not instead make a resolution to take more care of you?
Skin can’t be expected to be Instagram perfect all of the time. It’s a huge living organ which is constantly working hard to protect you and most of the time, in most cases, it’s doing a pretty damn good job. As frustrating as it can feel when skin your is misbehaving, it’s important not to punish it. That sounds strange doesn’t it, punishing your skin? What I mean by that is when, for example, you have a break out of spots, don’t throw every strong skin care ingredient (or toothpaste!) at it in the hope to banish those spots. Instead nurture your skin to help repair and restore it.
Let’s back tract to what caused your skin to misbehave in the first place and try to correct that. Firstly lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation affects skin hydration, collagen growth and is also known to contribute to inflammation in the skin (this inflammation may be affecting your acne, eczema, psoriasis and rosacea). So it should be an easy thing to rectify yes, go to bed earlier? As anyone with poor sleep will tell you, it's never that simple unfortunately. Reducing caffeine intake, reducing screen time in the evenings, not eating heavy meals late at night and not exercising late in the evening should all help. Pharmacists are often underutilised in their field of expertise in my opinion. If you are suffering with lack of sleep, maybe pop down to your chemist and ask their opinion on over the counter remedies, I’m sure they’d be happy to offer their advice!
Next up, alcohol. I am taking part in dry January because put bluntly, I’m giving my liver a break. Now I’ve written it on here, I can’t go back on it! Alcohol, aside from being dehydrating, also has an inflammatory effect on skin. If you’re prone to redness or rosacea, alcohol can be particularly bothersome for you, causing blood vessels to dilate this contributes to facial redness. I’m not saying go teetotal, life is about balance after all, but it's certainly food for thought.
Stress, wowzers this throws open a huge subject doesn’t it. I am by no means an expert on giving advice on how to reduce stress or manage it. What I will say is be aware of it, the effects it may be having on your skin, seek advice when needed and above all be kind to yourself.
And finally an altered skin care regime and going to bed with your makeup on. I don’t think I need to address the latter, just don’t do it. As for your routine, we live in an incredibly busy time but I cannot stress enough how important it is to make time for you. I see my evening skincare routine as a ritual, I shut the bathroom door and for that short time I slow down and unwind.
I double cleanse to remove my sunscreen, make up and general dirt to make way for skincare ingredients. Trust me, by taking the time to do this, not only will the winding down process help prepare you for sleep, you’ll reap the reward of having happier, healthier skin too.
Wishing you all a belated happy New Year, filled with more ‘you’ time!
Natalie |The Derm Nurse