Last edited by Happymum2; 21-01-2016 at 20:22.
It's 50+, so perfect for actual beach/outdoor days. I don't put suncream on my face every morning as a regular rule, just put a hat on unless I know I'm going to be out in the sun for more than a few minutes here and there.
My advice is to get to know ingredients, because every single product ever will say, "I am amazing and will show you the meaning of life!" but I always want to know HOW they think they're going to do that... and the answer is in the ingredients.
I'm a qualified and experienced beauty therapist who primarily worked in advanced skincare and brows (lol)... and I'm a total ingredients nerd. I spend my spare time learning about ingredients because I am that nerdy. So I'll give a few tips...
The way ingredients work is the highest concentration is the top with the lowest down the bottom. So if something says it's got an amazing ingredient but you check the listing and it's halfway down the list... meh. It's basically going to be useless (unless there's other amazing ingredients ahead of it and that's why it's bumped down so far!).
So some ingredients that you want to see...
AHA - Alpha Hydroxy Acid. This is a water-soluble exfoliating acid which focuses on exfoliating the surface of the skin while also delivering additional benefits depending on which AHA ingredient it is. There are many different AHAs including...
* Lactic Acid - deals with the smoothing of the surface of the skin, helps to fade pigmentation by breaking it up, encourages skin hydration and therefore plumps up wrinkles, is great for drier skin types but oilier skins will still love it (I'm a lactic junkie and I have oily skin). The molecule is larger than some other common AHAs and thus it takes longer to penetrate the skin's surface. This means it's less irritating on the skin than those with smaller molecules. It can come from milk, like the name suggests, but often comes from fermented fruit and vegetables instead when used in skincare.
*glycolic acid - comes from sugar cane, helps refine the skin's texture and is fabulous for scarring and wrinkling, can help with breakouts too. Can be quite bitey as the molecule is quite small and penetrates quickly - I liken it to someone busting in your front door and startling you. It's like that on the skin. Because of this, oilier skin types are best off with glycolic acid.
*Mandelic Acid - from almonds, this one exfoliates but is also soothing, so is a great exfoliating acid for more sensitive skins. It helps inflammation, wrinkling and pigmentation, but in a gentler way.
There's also plenty of other AHAs but these seem to be the most common you'll see. Keep in mind that AHAs will increase your susceptibility to sun damage though, so definitely keep your sunscreen levels up when using them. This is because they'll exfoliate the dead skin cells from your skin, while will of course help protect against UV damage a little.
BHAs - Beta Hydroxy Acids are lipid/oil/fat soluble and exfoliate INSIDE the pore as the pore is lined with oil. If you've got oily skin, acneic skin, blackheads etc... this is the girl for you. 2% or more concentrates are great for spot-treatments on breakouts, but it can also be a useful ingredient in lower doses in your skincare if you're oilier or breakout-prone, as they can be a little drying. SALICYLIC ACID is about the only one you'll see in skincare. It comes from willowbark.
Other amazing ingredients:
Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronate - basically a water-binding molecule. Hydration is KEY in anti-aging skincare, especially in Australia. We're basically all dehydrated (dehydration and dryness are two different things - dryness is a lack of oil, dehydration a lack of water within your skin) here, because of our climate. Our bodies need the water and will use it up well before it reaches the skin - so even those who drink lots will have dehydrated skin. Oily and Dry and everything in between. This molecule binds water to itself to hold within the skin and is something our bodies naturally produce a well. It's NOT an irritating or exfoliating acid - it's just something plump up your skin and make it BE healthy and FEEL healthy. Often oily skins will become less oily with hydration too - skin cannot produce its own water but CAN produce oil, so it'll compensate the lack of water with oil. You can't undo oiliness though, just lessen it. If you are oily, at least know you're likely to age slower than if you weren't so there is a plus side!
*Vit A - will be called "Vitamin A," or have something that sounds like "retinol/retinal/retinyl/retinoid," etc etc in the ingredients listing. All different forms of vitamin A. It's a POWERFUL anti-ageing ingredient. Put simply, it has a great way with words, and can tell many skin cells to look and act as if they were much younger cells. It's an antioxidant that can fight free-radical damage, fades pigmentation deep in the skin, encourages the skin to build its own collagen and elastic (therefore less wrinkling) and resurfaces the skin. IT IS EXFOLIATING AND OFTEN A BIT BITEY FOR SENSITIVE SKINS. WEAR ONLY AT NIGHT DUE TO THE RISK OF SUN DAMAGE. AVOID IF PREGNANT!
*Vit C - Ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, or something very similar will show its presence in the ingredients listing. It brightens the skin (fades pigmentation), is an antioxidant (fights free-radical damage), helps with skin hydration levels and helps with collagen synthesis. Also assists with the absorption of retinol so using this during hte morning and vit a at night (in terms of serums etc). It's also quite antibacterial so great for breakouts.
*Vitamin E - Tocopherol or something similar may be used to describe it. Most powerful antioxidant in skincare. It assists with skin healing and therefore can be good for someone with skin concerns like dermatitis/eczema/etc or scarring and scabby breakouts etc. It can also be calming on sensitive skins or skins prone to redness.
Other ingredients of note:
KOJIC ACID - is amazing at breaking up and fading pigmentation deep within the skin. It'll fade pigmentation before it even reaches the skin's surface (so can help you avoid having big sun spots pop up in old age).
ROSE OIL - You know how everyone went on a Rosehip kick a while back? Well Rosehip if the two were celebrities, Rosehip is that extra in the Woolies ad, and Rose has just won her 4th Oscar. Rose oil comes from the petals and is a super high antioxidant, very hydrating and very calming. Fab for redness, for sensitivity, for nourishment (therefore less wrinkles popping up prematurely), less environmental damage and is also antibacterial and thus fab for breakouts. (Rosehip is basically made from the bit that the petals come out of... it's probably popular because it's much cheaper to make, but it's potency is lacking).
NIACINAMIDE - helps with pigmentation, skin texture and prevents the skin from losing water (SO important in Australia) so it can stay hydrated.
Essential fatty acids (so like, fish oils, avocado oils, nut oils, etc) - these can help your body (if you have keratosis pilaris - those weird red dots people get on the backs of their arms), and they FEED your skin so it's healthy. They're also nice and nourishing and amazing for dry skins especially. They kept to protect the skin too.
Tea Extracts - while everyone sings the virtues of green tea being a fab antioxidant, white tea is actually the best in terms of potency.
There's just a FEW ingredients to look out for. THey're quite common in active skincare ranges.
There's also lots of natural ingredients that will offer benefits (eg pineapple and papaya are great for enzymatic exfoliation and skin brightening/avocado is full of essential fatty acids so nourishes and feed the skin/seaweed is calming and potent antioxidant/charcoal and clay are great at drawing out imperfections etc).
But most important - Double cleanse - once to remove debris (incl. makeup) and once to cleanse your skin, eye cream (the first place you age - don't pop it on your eye lid though unless it specifically says you can), exfoliation 1-2 x per week, moisturise ALWAYS even if you're oily (or your skin will just make its own excess oil anyway). Serums will ADD to your skincare routine, and boost results. If you basic skincare routine is your dinner, the serum is your sauce - on its own it's useless, but added to the dinner it makes something magical!
And SUNSCREEN. Seriously. Sunscreen girl. Slather yourself in it, even if you're not planning on actively being in the sun.
I hope this helps at least a little - it'll arm you with info so you can buy your own skincare products rather than me just offering you a suggestion and then you having to re-ask it again next time.
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