Get with the program
Skincare can be divided into two camps – the essentials (the products we use daily to maintain skin: cleansers, vitamin C, moisturizers, hyaluronic acid) and the actives (the ingredients that change and improve skin: retinol, skin peels and peptides). It’s these actives that we now know deliver better results when used as a short, targeted program, rather than as part of our day-in, day-out skincare routine.
“We know the skin plateaus, usually over a three-month period – that’s why we often initially love a product but then think it’s stopped working,” explains dermo-pharmacist Dr Colette Haydon. Use these potent active ingredients all the time and after a while the skin gets overworked and burns out, just like us. “But give it a break, let it re-energize, and it starts up again,” says Dr Haydon. Apparently, it’s the same when we overload it by layering up all our products, as “the skin isn’t a natural multi-tasker – bombard it with skin peels, retinols and peptides, and it gets confused and doesn’t do any job well,” says Dr Haydon. If you want to take your skin up a grade, it’s not a case of clearing out all those creams and serums, but rather using them in a more planned and specific program. Here’s how, with Dr Haydon’s eight-week plan…
Skin needs to be prepped before moving onto potent products. “Use a light AHA peel, or BHA if you have breakouts, to remove the dead skin cells,” says Dr Haydon. “Keep it light by mixing it with your night cream to make it a little gentler, so you can build up to using it every night, or every other night. Alternatively, you can use a peeling mask three times a week. Do either of these steps for three weeks to prep skin fully, then leave one week off before moving onto the next step.”
“Retinol is amazing, but too many women give up in week one, as you see hardly any results,” says Haydon. “And in week two, it will all get worse as your skin flakes, peels, goes red and may break out. But by the end of week three, there’s that marvelous moment when you start to see your new skin appearing.” If you have ultra-sensitive skin, Haydon suggests a course of peptides to boost collagen. “Only use retinol for a month – but never during the day – followed by another week off anything active before reverting to your usually daily regime.”
Having recently finished this program myself, I can’t recommend it enough. Do expect your skin to peel quite visibly at first, but in a couple of weeks you’ll start to see a more even tone, all-over smoothness and a real glow. Plus, pigmentation will fade and some will disappear entirely. It’s an easy, fuss-free way to visibly better skin.
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