Discover science-based skincare tips on how to fight off hyperpigmentation to achieve and maintain a year-round healthy glowing skin.
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As we firmly lean into 2021, with minimalist skincare routines being the “new normal” for many of us, it’s time to revisit our beauty and self-care regimes to ensure we maintain simple, yet most effective self-care rituals to keep a year-round healthy glowing skin.
In the interest of maintaining skin health and glow with the least amount of products, let’s explore together some basic beauty and self-care principles you can implement or upgrade at your own pace as you ease into this new season.
Build a flexible skincare routine
Whether you have a stripped down quarantine skincare routine, a 12-step K-Beauty skincare regime, or something in-between, the secret to a healthy glowing skin starts with your ability to pay attention to your skin’s changing needs.
Rather than sticking to a rigidly designed regime, be willing and flexible enough to adapt your skincare routine to internal and external factors that have an impact on your overall skin health and body.
Your hormonal cycle, sudden changes in temperature from the weather or your radiators, underlying health conditions, your age, together with your diet and lifestyle all have an impact on how well your skincare products perform to endow you with healthy glowing skin.
The aforementioned factors are amongst the main reasons why some people may find out that a product that used to work very well for their skin a few months ago or years ago is no longer delivering the same positive results. In many cases, the problem does not necessarily lie with the product efficacy itself, it may be down to the fact that your body and skin health have evolved; consequently, your skincare routine should adapt to reflect such changes.
For example in my particular case, when the weather transitions from a humid spring to a drier summer, I always experience mild to medium atopic dermatitis (eczema) flare-ups showing up as dry patches on my right cheek and right arm and on my legs.
As a person with acne-prone sensitive skin, the way I tackle eczema dryness to reclaim a healthy glowing skin is by swapping my CeraVe facial lotion for organic shea butter that I apply twice a day after a few drops of highly regenerative Pai Skincare Rosehip Biodegradable face oil or organic jojoba oil.
Read More: 6 Best Tips To Treat Acne in Skin of Colour
Due to its great skin repair barrier benefits, shea butter has been clinically proven to help soothe eczema by restoring lipids and rapidly creating and holding moisture whilst promoting cell regeneration. Pai Skincare multi-tasking Biodegradable face oil is renowned for tackling blemishes, dryness, dullness, pigmentation, redness and fine-lines, helping you achieve glowing skin.
Jojoba oil mimics the natural lipids produced in our skin, it helps regulate sebum production, soothe sunburns, eczema and other dry skin conditions due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties combined with its high content of Vitamin E and other antioxidants.
Moisturise and hydrate every night before bed time
Give your skin cells permission to repair and rejuvenate at night time by moisturising and hydrating consistently before bed time to allow your skin to trap and lock in the moisture and water your body needs to build your skin’s natural protective barrier for healthy glowing skin.
Night time is the optimal time of the day when the skin is free from daily activity and external environmental aggressors for a prolonged period of time, so potent skincare ingredients can more effectively absorb into skin without interruption.
According to scientific research skin permeability, which contributes to transepidermal water loss, and the rate of blood flow in the skin, are higher in the evening than in the morning. Thus, moisturisers particularly those containing DNA repair enzymes and hydrators like hyaluronic acid and squalane which bring water to the skin using humectants, offer increased benefits when used in the evening hours.
If your skin is dehydrated, Institut Esthederm Intensive Hyaluronic Acid, PAULA’S CHOICE Hyaluronic Acid Booster, Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Serum, and Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex with squalane are some options to explore. For a night cream with DNA repair enzymes, check out PRIORI® DNA Intense Recovery Creme. Origins High-Potency Night-a-Mins Resurfacing Cream with Fruit-Derived AHAs is another well formulated night cream worth looking into, particularly for people of colour with sensitive skin who want to maintain a healthy glowing skin.
Wear a sunscreen every day
Beyond protecting you from harmful UV rays, a sunscreen promotes a more even skin tone, prevents premature ageing, and it reduces the risk of skin cancer, ultimately helping you achieve a healthy glowing skin.
I believe it’s time for some people of colour to let go of the myth that darker skins do not burn, because guess what?! My medium dark skin burns in the summer if I am neglectful of applying my broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 50+ all over my body after my moisturiser.
I am very much aware that scientifically, because of our higher ratio of black to brown eumelanin to pheomelanin, people with dark skin tones fare better against the effects of harmful UV rays and generally age more gracefully. However, this is no excuse to avoid protecting your beautiful melanin.
A 2015 clinical study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that sun exposure continued to damage skin DNA for up to three hours following exposure via a chemical process called the “dark pathway.” These investigators found that direct exposure to UV light caused DNA damage in all skin cells, but only the melanocytes accumulated DNA damage in the absence of light.
Whether you go for a mineral or a chemical sunscreen, experts recommend applying sunscreen 30 minutes before venturing outside to allow the sunscreen to bind to your skin. Reapply every two hours of exposure or more often if you’re swimming or sweating.
Thinkbaby Sunscreen Baby SPF 50+ with Zinc Oxide, Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Spf30 Sunblock Lotion 8-Fluid Ounce, and EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 50 are a few options for you to consider when you go shopping for a no-white-cast sunscreen.
Consume and use Vitamin C in your morning skincare routine
Consuming antioxidant vitamin C, commonly found in skincare as L-ascorbic acid or magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, as part of a balanced diet rich in healthy fats, anti-inflammatory and collagen building foods, is essential to a healthy glowing skin.
As an antioxidant mainly found in fruits and vegetables, Vitamin C, supports collagen production and iron absorption, boosts the immune system, enhances wound healing, and it works to protect your skin cells from air pollution, sun damage, and other premature agers. Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, lemon, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.
As a skincare super-ingredient, vitamin C at the right concentration and pH level is safe and highly effective in protecting the skin against UV light, reducing dullness, uneven skin tone, texture and acne scarring, all while offsetting environmental aggressors.
To build topical Vitamin C, ideally in a serum form, into your skincare routine, it is advisable to use it every other morning; this will help protect your skin from pollutants and UV light which you are more exposed to throughout the day.
Depending on skin type,needs and sensitivity apply Vitamin C serum once or twice a week at a low concencentration (10%) to first assess how your skin responds to the antioxidant.
To boost your skincare routine for a healthier glow, you may decide to switch to a serum containing a higher concentration of Vitamin C not exceeding 20% with PH levels between 3.5 to 6 depending on skin type. To broaden your search options, have a look at Paula’s Choice C15 Super Booster, REN CLEAN SKINCARE Radiance Perfection Serum, DRUNK ELEPHANT C-Firma Day Serum, and OBAGI MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL-C SERUM 20%.
Add a retinoid or a bakuchiol serum to your night skincare routine
If you’re interested in treating or taking preventive measures for wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation, scarring, and more, start incorporating an over-the-counter retinol in your evening skincare routine once or twice a week in your mid or late 30s.
This is around the timeline when the body starts to produce less collagen, less rapidly than in our earlier years. Of course it also depends on your diet and lifestyle and how much sun damage you have accumulated over the years.
Retinol and Retinoic Acid are both derivatives of Vitamin A. When used on your skin correctly, they can speed up skin cell turnover, boost collagen production, and unblock pores. Retinol has great anti-inflammatory properties. However, if misused, or overused, retinol can trigger skin redness and pigmentation issues.
For beginners, it is suggested to start with a serum that has a low percentage of retinol, around 0.3% to ensure your skin can build up a tolerance to it. Amongst available options, Paula’s Choice Clinical 0.3% Retinol + 2% Bakuchiol Treatment and SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3% Cream are worth checking out.
For people with sensitive skin, particularly those with darker skin tones, who are mindful of retinol potential stinginess and associated pigmentation issues, Medik8 Bakuchiol Peptides serum or Herbivore Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum might be gentler alternatives to go for.
Bakuchiol is a vegan skincare ingredient found in the leaves and seeds of the Psoralea corylifolia plant. Although bakuchiol has a distinct chemical structure from retinol, in skincare it works as a retinoid analogue, meaning it mimics the effect of a retinol such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles and the presence of UV-induced skin damage such as hyperpigmentation, helping you achieve a glowing skin.
A 2018 clinical study published in the British Journal of Dermatology revealed that topical bakuchiol is similar to topical retinol in improving common signs of cutaneous facial ageing. “Researchers found that retinol and bakuchiol affected wrinkles and pigmentation similarly, but bakuchiol resulted in less scaling, stinging, burning and itching.”
You might be tempted to become sluggish about your exercise routine during quarantine, but remember the healthy glowing skin you are after and what a fantastic stress-buster exercise is.
Exercise is a fantastic way to enhance the appearance of your skin, because it helps all of the other bodily functions and systems run at their best. It also helps to keep your cortisol level down, which for some of us tends to wreak havoc on our skin.
Whether you prefer to exercise outdoors or indoor, what matters is that you find a physical activity that keeps you moving and brings joy into your life. From outdoor walking, jogging, cycling to indoor pilates, yoga, or weight training, do your best to be active for at least 30 minutes each day or every other day to reap the benefits of healthy living.
Have a good beauty sleep routine
Adequate sleep is necessary for optimal DNA repair activity in the skin. During the early morning hours, the body best performs DNA repair and that optimal DNA repair occurs with optimal sleep.
It is therefore paramount that you develop a good night’s sleep routine to allow your evening skincare products to perform at their best and for you to wake up fresh faced and fully rested with a gorgeous glowing skin.
To get quality night sleep, switch off early, at least one hour before bed. This will also allow your mind to start relaxing, so you don’t go to bed with an overactive brain. Prepare your bedroom for a good night’s sleep by ensuring it is cool, quiet, dark and well ventilated with fresh and clean air. Leaving the windows slightly open in the colder months and using an air purifier in the summer are great ways to clean the air.
I hope these few tips will help you in some way to enhance your healthy glowing skincare and self-care routine. Remember that less is more and that you alone know what works best for your skin health.
This blog post is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment, or medical advice in any form or shape. Content provided on this platform is strictly for informational purposes only. This is based on my own research and reading of clinical studies in the beauty industry, keeping updated about new changes in the cosmetics market, and my personal journey of battling for over 25 years with pigmentation and other skincare disorders. Please consult with a physician or other healthcare professional regarding any medical or health-related diagnosis or treatment options you might have. Information on this platform should not be considered as a substitute for advice from a healthcare professional. The statements made about specific products throughout this video are not to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.