All About Skin

It’s Elizabeth as guest blogger again, this time writing about skin.

Someone once said that youth was wasted on the young. With each new wrinkle that forms, I am starting to see the truth in that saying and often imagine how great it would be if I knew then what I know now.

As a teen girl, I often neglected to pay my skin any attention and, while there is no magic fountain of youth or a fool proof solution for perfect skin (what a shame!), I have learned along the way that there are certain things that can help to put your best face forward.

Firstly, let’s talk about skin care. Since our skin is unique to us and our life-styles, I like to think of caring for my skin in terms of feeding it with both inner and outer nutrition.

Inner nutrition is having a healthy diet with plenty of water and consuming less of the things that are bad for my skin, such as sugar and alcohol (okay, I’m not a saint and do indulge every now and then!) As a girl, however, I didn’t really understand the connection between sugar and break-outs, for example. You live and learn, a good segue to outer nutrition.

This is why I nourish my face with a good moisturiser and full body with body cream to hydrate from the outside. Long gone are the days when I use just a face-wipe before bed, but that’s something I’ve only realised in my 40s! Experts say that a good skin care routine should start in your teens, ideally from the age of 14 years. However, as Jenny Hawkins points out in Episode 3: Your Skin Inside Out, it is important to use age appropriate products. The products in your mother’s cupboard, for example, are likely to be too mature for your skin.

Next, let’s talk about skin and the sun. In my late teens and early 20s, it used to be a case of applying sun cream and then forgetting about it for the rest of the day, the lower the SPF the better. Now, and with the benefit of hindsight, a tonne of research and hot tips from our podcast, it is clear that the reverse is true. That is, the higher the SPF the better and it is important to re-apply regularly. My kids, however, don’t agree and you might not either. But take it from someone who has been there and done that, protecting your skin from the sun is non-negotiable.

And finally about the topic of make-up, less is most definitely more. When I was a teen, I wasn’t allowed to wear heavy make-up and no doubt protested at the time. In hindsight, I’m thankful for my parents’ guidance as I only ever got the occasional spot.  Don’t get me wrong though, I love to wear make-up. It makes me feel more confident and ready to face (sometimes literally!) the day. The key is age-appropriate make-up and products that are right for our individual skin type. A heavily made up face all the time, particularly for young skin, could cause blemishes and other damage, too.

No wonder I love the clean feeling of taking off make-up at night and lately I find myself trying to have days where I take a break from wearing it altogether. In my 20s and 30s, I wouldn’t have dreamed of venturing outside without a full face of make-up on, but ironically as I’m getting older and probably need it more with bags, dark circles and wrinkles, I find it strangely empowering to go without.

I love this quote from actress Drew Barrymore, ‘I like to take a break from vanity…when a woman is laughing, fresh from a workout or just enjoying her life…that is when she at her most beautiful.”  Personally, I couldn’t agree with her more and feel the key to a happy life is ultimately to be happy in your own…you guessed it…skin.

For more tips on skin and how to care for it, tune into our podcast with skin expert Jenny Hawkins – Episode 3: Your Skin Inside Out. Jenny offers some amazing tips and inspirational advice, too.

Expert Advice On What Lifestyle Has To Do With Skincare

What’s sugar got to do with it? Apparently a whole lot when it comes to skincare. According to Jenny Hawkins, owner of The Skin Retreat, Fulham, London, having too much sugar can increase hormones that stimulate sebum (oil) production.

Something to note for all of us, especially teenage girls whose hormones don’t need help stimulating anything, okay.

For more on what eating and drinking sugar and other lifestyle choices have to do with skincare, check out episode 3, UIO: Your Skin Inside out right here via Soundcloud or listen on your preferred device via iTunes, Stitcher or Tunein. UIO can also be found on social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

In the meantime, we’ve got our first Q&A with Jenny Hawkins, guest on episode three. How very exciting. Answering the questions from two mom’s of 13-year-old daughters, Jenny clears up much common confusion about blackheads and eczema. Here is what she had to say:


M: My daughter has stubborn black heads on her nose, including the crease.

J: This is very common especially at this age. 

M: She has tried Biore strips to no avail. And she seems to watch a lot of youtube videos on skincare, so now she has a face mask in hope this will help out (because it advertises that it “removes impurities”). 

J: Skin masks that are clay based or for oily skin are used to remove impurities; please make sure they are only used on the area of concern for example the ‘T ZONE’ forehead, nose and chin, most common oily areas. 

M: I just tell her to wash her face twice a day and put on lotion so it doesn’t dry out too much and get more black heads. 

J: This is great advice, make sure the products used are for her skin type/concern and are organic and will balance the skin.

M: To squeeze or not to squeeze, that is the question!  I think the answer is no, but what about those things that have been around forever.

J:  Squeezing…I would recommend adding into her routine a gentle exfoliator (once a week, after cleansing before mask) just for the nose/blackhead area. This will help to ease away dead skin cells over the blackheads allowing them to be ‘gently’ squeezed (used hot mitt/towel beforehand to open pores). If no luck or need to be forced too much then go to a skin clinic or beauty salon for a 25min booster facial. This should not cost too much. They will be able to prepare the skin properly for extraction (removal of blackheads). 

M: Also, my mom gave her one of those little exfoliating face brushes (like a Sonicare).  I think she tried it on her face once.  She has a gentle brush.  Should she use it? How often? 

J: These can be great way of deep cleaning the skin. These types of implements tend to also act as an exfoliator in replacement for an actual exfoliating product so I would only recommend they are used 2-3 times a week max.


M: My daughter has had great skin until about four months ago; she has eczema on her face in patches. Her auntie recommended an organic product, which she has been washing with but only consistently at night. 

J: Great advice for eczema as products that are not organic have nasty chemicals in them that can aggravate and dry the skin out more. Use a creamy cleanser that will hydrate the skin NOT foamy as this is used for oily skins. Evening is fine to cleanse at the moment but if any congestion appears then also cleanse in the morning as this removes sweat and dirt from sleeping. 

M: We haven’t really moisturised afterwards though.

J: Moisturising is essential for dry skin or eczema so please use an organic one that is light for her young skin, not too thick and heavy. Your nearest skin clinic or beauty salon may help recommend one for you. 

M: She is an athlete and we live in a hot climate, she sweats a lot, too. 

J: Heat will also dry the skin out so again make sure she is using a moisturiser and SPF sun factor to protect her skin from sun damage. Cleanse the skin after exercise to remove sweat and dirt build up then moisturise again. 

M: Also, I tell her not to eat too many sugary things or drink soft drinks but I know she eats more than she is supposed to. What can we do to clear up the eczema? 

J: I cannot say anything will definitely clear up her eczema as I cannot see the severity of it or even if it has been diagnosed as eczema. But I hope these simple steps will help to hydrate and nourish her skin. Just ensure you have spoken to a dermatologist first or skin expert in a salon for advice on products and clarification that she has eczema, as it could just be hormonal dry skin patches.

UIO: Your Body Image Inside Out coming up in two weeks. Send your questions for Laura Miles, who talks to me from both personal and professional experience on the topic. Watch this space!