Book Review: The Skincare Bible by Dr Anjali Mahto- Chapter 2
Hi Everyone, Tina here (+1 662 830 8246, email@example.com)
I am back with our review of the Skincare Bible by Dr. Anjali Mahto. Last time we discussed cleansing as the key element in the skincare routine. Today we come with the rest of the second chapter and will talk about all the steps that come after your face shows up fresh and clean, whatever your preferred cleansing method is. Let’s dive into this chapter on routine!
Have you ever asked yourself how your regular skincare routine came into being? Some of us learnt it from our parents, some were inspired by their friends, beauty magazines or social media influencers. In fact, what suits one person does not necessarily have to be good for another one. And, in addition to that, your routine can (and should!) change over time, as your skin is very likely to have different needs now and in 20 years’ time.
As I said in the very beginning, the first step should always be cleansing. We discussed it in detail in the last blog. Although Dr. Mahto does not mention it as a must, using a toner after cleansing has a lot of advantages, as I mentioned last time – balancing out the pH of your skin and neutralizing chemicals in the tap water. Just make sure that you pick a toner that suits your skin type and does not dry out. If you want to take a course on How to Identify your Skin Type, I'd strongly suggest this course.
The next step is to apply a serum. Serums are usually water-based and packed with active ingredients, which penetrate the deeper layers of your skin. Pick your serum based on an issue you would like to tackle: hyaluronic acid for extra hydration, antioxidants (such as resveratrol, vitamin C or ferulic acid) for anti-ageing or niacinamide or vitamin C for oily skin. Since serums are highly concentrated, it is enough to use a few drops and press it with your fingertips into your skin. Wait for a few minutes and you are ready for the next step – moisturizing.
Moisturizers take care of the upper layer of your skin, hydrate and protect it. How to choose the right one? Know your skin type and read the ingredients label, so that you know what kind of stuff is inside. Do you see glycerine, hexanediol, butylene glycol, sorbitol, or hyaluronic acid at the beginning of the list? Then the moisturizer is high in so called humectants – agents that maintain skin hydration. Products high in humectants are good for oily and acne-prone skin.
Is there dimethicone, squalene, propylene glycol, lecithin, cocoa butter, shea butter, lanolin, beeswax, paraffin or petrolatum? These kinds of moisturizers are good for dry skin, as they create a barrier on the surface, which protects the skin from losing water. On the other hand, they have a rather greasy finish and are not suited for oily or acne-prone skin at all.
How about eye creams? Are they worth their price or is it just another trick of the beauty industry? It is true that the skin around the eyes is delicate and thinner than the rest of your face, so it deserves our attention and care. But in general, a good moisturizer can be used on the eye area as well. An exception are moisturizers for acne-prone skin – the active ingredients that should fight acne can be irritating for the sensitive area around the eyes. Be especially gentle when applying and never stretch your skin! Also do not apply too much of the product – a small pea-sized amount for each eye is enough. What is far more important is to protect the area from the UV rays.
Most of us do not exfoliate every day, but on those days you do, exfoliation should come before you apply your serum. Exfoliation makes your skin shine. It removes the top layer of dead skin cells and prepares your skin to better absorb the products you apply afterwards. It evens out the skin tone and even can improve age spots! There are mechanical ways to exfoliate, by using scrubs, sponges, or electronic devices, and there are chemical exfoliators. If you go for the latter, look for product with AHAs (alpha-hydroxy-acids) and BHAs (beta-hydroxy-acids) – just be careful, if you have an allergy to aspirin. BHAs often contain extracts from a willow bark, which has the same chemical in aspirin. Also, very importantly, BHAs should not be used during pregnancy!
How often should we exfoliate? This largely depends on your skin type and sensitivity. More is not always better. Dryness or burning sensation is a sign that your skin needs more time between the exfoliations. Some people can exfoliate on a daily basis, some skin tolerates it only once a week. Just do not forget the sunscreen – your skin is quite sensitive to sun after exfoliation!
How about treating yourself with a facial mask? For me, this is a weekend ritual I do not want to skip no matter what. Surprisingly, Dr. Mahto says that there is little scientific evidence about the long-term effects of masks. On the other hand, the immediate effects are beyond dispute – we all know the great feeling of having a rosy, plump, soft complexion after using a mask. Pampering yourself can also reduce stress, which is a cause for many skin concerns. A little self-care goes a long way, so let’s combat stress in a clever way and get pretty as a side effect!
When choosing your mask, pay attention to the ingredients to achieve the maximum benefits for your specific skin type. Oily skin? Try masks with charcoal, witch hazel, salicylic or glycolic acid, niacinamide or tea tree oil. Dehydrated skin? Sheet masks with hyaluronic acid can help. Dull skin lacking glow? Vitamin C make your skin happy again. How often? As often as you like, just pay attention to any signs of irritation, redness or sensitivity.
I feel like we have said that hundred times already, but practice makes perfect, so let’s say it again: do not forget to apply sunscreen after your moisturizer and before you put your make-up on! Yes, even on a cloudy day. And yes, even if you spent most of your day inside. The reason is the UVA, that causes ageing of our skin (we talked about the difference between the UVA and UVB here), can go through clouds and even window panes. It can be ok to use a moisturizer or a foundation with SPF on days with little exposure to sun, but the problem is that we usually do not use enough of the product for sufficient protection.
How to choose the right sunscreen? Take into consideration where you live and how much sun exposure you usually have. If you have dark complexion, starting with SPF 15 could be enough. For most of the people SPF 30 is a good choice, those with very pale skin can go for SPF 50. What do those numbers stand for? They indicate how long the sunscreen protects us against burning (so against UVB rays). The higher the number, the longer they protect. But we said that UVA is our concern as well, right? Yes, we did, because UVA is one of the culprits for ageing. So do check if your sunscreen protects from both UVA and UVB. Pay attention to the texture and ingredients in the sunscreen as well – choose light, fluid textures for oily skin, dry skin will be happy with richer creams and balms. Apply half a teaspoon to your face and neck and wait a few minutes until it fully absorbs before applying your make up.
And do not forget, whatever the front label says, always check against the ingredients list. Most of the labels, such as “hypoallergenic”, “clinically proven”, “natural” are just marketing and usually lack proper scientific or legally binding definitions. There has been a hype about natural, organic ingredients – but this does not mean they do not have to cause allergies or clog pores! Not all things natural are better or safer.
These were the key take-aways from the chapter on skincare routines for me. Next time, we will have a look at skincare regimes for different skin types. Soft and glowing skin for everyone, please!