Feel like you’re at war with your skin? One minute you’re dealing with crow’s feet and the next you’re fighting a volcano-size pimple on your chin. Arm yourself with our guide to banishing blemishes and fine lines for your most flawless face ever.
CURB PRODUCT OVERLOAD
You graduated high school years ago, so why is there a trail of pimples along your chin, jaw line and neck? “Adult acne is usually caused by a combination of factors, including stress and hormone fluctuations,” says Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist at DLK on Avenue in Toronto. But the most common reason that her patients come in with nagging breakouts? A change in skincare products – the culprit often being wrinkle cream. “While anti-aging products are effective at reducing fine lines and firming up sagging skin, the rich consistency of these creams can clog pores and cause blemishes for some people,” she says. If you notice a breakout after introducing a new product to your regime, put it on hold until you’re sure that it’s not to blame. Kellett also advises booking a visit with your dermatologist a breakout persists beyond a month – a full skin analysis will get root of the problem.
PREP YOUR SKIN
Keeping your skin on track starts with an anti-acne targeting morning routine. Start by cleansing your face with a hydrating – not drying – oil-free acne wash. While harsh cleansers might seem like the best solution for acne prone skin, Kellett says that these products can strip your skin of its natural oils. “This can cause glands to overproduce oil, making the original problem even worse,” she cautions. Follow up your cleanser with a thin gel-like moisturizer that contains salicylic acid, which helps keeps pores clear of dead skin cells. And don’t skip the sunscreen: “Most women with this skin type avoid SPF because they think it will add more oil to their face,” she says. Finding the right formula that won’t aggravate your skin is essential: Look for a clear spray or lightweight facial lotion with SPF and apply before leaving the house to prevent skin damage and premature aging.
The key to keeping your complexion looking young and fresh is to go easy on the makeup, even if you have problem skin that needs covering up. “The most modern look is flawless skin without a heavy dose of foundation,” says Sheri Stroh, a makeup artist in Toronto whose celebrity clients have included Cate Blanchette and Penelope Cruz. Her secret for the perfect canvas? Primer. A thin layer will help even out skin tone and texture, while prepping for smooth makeup application (extra points if the portion contains a serum to combat lines throughout the day). To cover blemishes without drawing attention to aging skin, your best bet is a lightweight moisturizing foundation. Stroh uses both a foundation brush and sponge to slowly build coverage and seamlessly blend along the edges. “We see the blemishes on our own faces more than others do,” she says, “but people will notice a face caked with foundation.” This step will do the job for most imperfections, but for less prominent blemishes, Stroh likes using a sheer, light-diffusing concealer for a natural look. If your T-zone produces a ton of oil throughout the day, swap wrinkle enhancing face blotting powder for a mattifying gel – applied in the morning and throughout the day – to control shine without messing up your makeup.
THE NIGHT SHIFT
Round out your routine with night time treatments to take advantage of your skins natural restoration period. A glycolic acid toner and resurfacing lotion both specifically designed for oily skin are go-to products before bed. The glycolic acid will zero in on fine lines and blemishes by promoting cell renewal, making your complexion look smoother. For skin that’s starting to lose firmness, look for a moisturizing treatment with hyaluronic acid or retinol, both of which help plump up fine lines. Use a patting motion to apply, and pay special attention to eye area, mouth and forehead, where fine lines tend to congregate. But don’t limit your treatment to problem area, says Kellett. Instead she recommends applying a thin layer of treatment over your entire face and neck to target existing issues while helping to prevent new ones.
— From “Battle Royale” by Jillian Vieira, Glow Magazine, February/March 2012