Free ways to improve your skin
November is a funny month. In between the “back-to-school-and-normal-life” feeling of September, and just before the festive season kicks of properly, it tends to be one of the quieter months of the year and one for saving or getting started on Christmas shopping (those of you who are so organised, I wish I could say I was one of you, I salute you). Whichever way you look at it, it’s never really a “treat yo’self” or yolo month – so I’ve put together a list of ways you can get your glow back in time for the festive season, without spending a penny.
1. Take your make up off, properly
Yes, I know, it’s a broken record at this this stage – but for a very good reason, the amount of skin complaints that will clear up when you start cleansing your face properly is crazy. Double cleansing, in all it’s glory, is described here and it won’t take long to see the difference. You can use those make up wipes to clean the kitchen floor.
2. Stop using hot water on your face
Breaking down the pH barrier and sensitising your skin are just some of the downsides to using hot water (to the horror of every dermatologist, everywhere), and lukewarm water will do the job just as well.
3. Use a smaller towel or an old t-shirt to dry your hair
An old t-shirt supposedly reduces hair breakage and frizz as it is more gentle on your hair than a towel, but something else that it is useful for is reducing the pull on your skin while your hair is wrapped up in it – just think about the weight that is pulling on your forehead etc if you use a large towel, especially if you leave your hair in it while putting on your make up and getting dressed etc. You can also use one of those “turbie twist” towels, I stole one from my mum so this was actually free (thanks mum!).
4. Change your pillowcase regularly
All that face washing isn’t going to help prevent breakouts if you’re then going to sleep on a 3 week old pillowcase (and it’s manky). Changing it every other day is essential if you are suffering from acne, and twice a week if your lucky enough to be clear skinned.
5. Clean your make up brushes
The bacteria build up in make up palettes and on brushes can be shudder-inducing if you think about it long enough. Eye shadow goes on much smoother on clean brushes, but at a minimum you need to be washing your foundation brushes daily.
6. Ditto your phone
My phone gets dropped on the floor, covered in coffee and generally neglected…and then held next to my face for however long…so I have started using alcohol wipes to clean it. If you tend to break out on your cheeks, this could be one of the culprits.
7. And your hands
The ageing effects of shellac manicures can be found here, but sometimes those long talons can also contribute to skin infections and spots, as properly cleaning under them can be a bit tricky. If you would rather give up coffee than your long nails, at least try to be conscious of touching your face and try and keep your hands off.
8. Stop eating sh*te
Yes I know, another familiar refrain, but what you put in your body is what will show up on your skin – in the form of dry patches, breakouts, puffiness and dark under eye circles. I’ve even noticed medication can impact my skin – after a general anaesthetic and heaps of anti-inflammatories and painkillers, my skin was as dull as dishwater for weeks.
I don’t know if there’s any single thing that contributes more to glowing skin than sweating, and it doesn’t solely have to be achieved by exercising, but the endorphin release is a nice bonus if you do.
10. Drink more water
Replacing all the water you have sweated out above, hydrating your skin from within is essential. Dehydrated skin = dry, tired skin, with more noticeable fine lines and wrinkles.
11. Give you skin water on the outside
Air conditioning and central heating wreak havoc with your skin, and opening the window instead of turning down the air con dial is definitely a better option. And placing a bowl of water next to the radiator in winter can help reduce the drying effect on your skin.
Possibly not the first thing you think of when it comes to glowing skin, but stress and all of the hormones etc released in your body can negatively impact digestion, have been linked to acne, and even uneven skin tone and hyper-pigmentation (the molecules involved in causing these dark patches can increase when your body is in stress mode – yup, I couldn’t believe that one either, I thought it was just the sun I had to worry about). Meditation is something I’ve been trying to make part of my daily routine, and these are ways I’ve found to make it easier.
13. Sleep, and on your back
Sleep is a wonder cure for inflammation, dark under eye circles and general healing. There are almost endless benefits to it, but try not to face plant at the same time – it’s like ironing wrinkles onto your face, hours at a time. Almost every patient I see for anti-ageing treatments clearly has a side they sleep on – more lines and wrinkles, skin that is more dehydrated and more obvious volume loss (the loss of volume from your face is one of the reasons skin begins to “hang” downwards). It can be challenging(!), but you can train yourself to sleep on your back, and the younger you start, the better. A silk eye mask is really what change the game for me.