For perimenopausal skin: Kathleen Baird-Murray, contributing beauty editor
Changes in our hormone levels can wreak havoc, but when it comes to my skin, I’m ready. If I told you that, aged 52 and knocking on the door of menopause, I’m getting more compliments on my skin, would that surprise you? I put it down to HRT, and a prescription from Dr Galy at 23MD – with a plan to switch to the NHS as my menopause progresses (Meg’s Menopause website is excellent for guiding you through this process). I also supplement my diet with Ancient & Brave’s Collagyn and MCT oil, which help to keep my skin firm, and throw magnesium into every smoothie I make (via flaxseeds), and bath I take.
As for skincare, I opt for mild but effective. I use AHA/BHA products or Radical Skincare’s Age-Defying Exfoliating Pads two to three times a week, and balance them with soothing but effective moisturisers such as those from Therapi, or Perricone MD Advanced Serum Concentrate with CBD. I haven’t tried injectables, relying on The Light Salon’s light therapy masks, but that’s not to say I won’t. I did text a surgeon the other day after seeing how squinty I was looking on camera – “A little Botox would fix that… you wouldn’t even know,” she said. To be able to see without feeling like I have to roll up my eyelids like Venetian blinds? Watch this space.
For beating rosacea: Rose Vogel-Eades, fashion bookings director
I’ve always been quick to blush – I was a terrible liar as a child because my cheeks gave me away, and an awkward teenager who went puce at the sight of a crush. But now I’m in my thirties and still prone to redness, a dermatologist recently diagnosed me with rosacea. Mine, thankfully, is mild, but until recently I didn’t realise I could exert any control over it. I do still blush when I’m nervous, and look like a beetroot for at least an hour after exercise, but I’ve found some products and treatments that are helping me keep things under control. I generally don’t like to use a lot of products, and I find keeping it simple is the best. I use a soothing and gentle cleanser from La Roche-Posay, a brand I absolutely love as a lot of its products are fragrance– and paraben-free.
I follow it with SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic as my antioxidant, which is effective but not inflammatory. Morning and evening, I also use Neostrata Restore Redness Neutralizing Serum – perhaps my key redness battling tool – then follow that with SkinCeuticals Brightening UV Defense SPF30, which I find works for my pores, since they’re prone to clogging. As often as I can I visit The Light Salon – its quick treatments have a really calming effect on my skin, and my general mood! I’ve also recently started a course of IPL light therapy at the Cranley Clinic under the advice of Dr Ophelia Veraitch, and have high hopes for a further reduction in redness and an overall boost to my skin tone.
For managing hyperpigmentation: Twiggy Jalloh, beauty and lifestyle assistant
Since the first spot emerged on my previously blemish-free teenage skin, I have dealt with hyperpigmentation. These seemingly harmless darker patches have affected my self-esteem in ways I wouldn’t have expected. I remember staying up talking into the night with friends at university. As we settled in, the host would usually pass around face cleansing wipes. In those moments, panic would engulf me and I would make a swift getaway back to my halls, where I could remove my make-up without fear of judgement or unsolicited advice from well-meaning friends.
Like many (often Black and brown) people who have suffered from hyperpigmentation, I have frequently reached a point of impatience with my blemished skin, and I’ve debated using quick-fix bleaching and lightening creams. I would try to convince myself that their lists of questionable ingredients, known to potentially thin and damage skin, were worth a try. But instead I’ve taken the safer and longer-lasting road. I’ve whittled down my arsenal of products so I’m left with ingredients that are proven to be effective. Since I’ve nailed my routine, my skin has thanked me for it. I wear less and less make-up for my weekend picnics in the park and morning Zoom meetings as the weeks go by. As the marks fade and I learn to love my bare skin again, it has kept its life and luminosity. This skin freedom feels good.
I take two capsules of zinc rich CBII Full Spectrum CBD Immune Capsules every morning. I use the amazing Bea Skin Care Brightening Cleanser every morning and evening, and follow with Glamglow Flashmud Brightening Treatment which I use twice a week. I alternate between The Glowcery Clean Greens Superfood Facial Oil and Bea Skin Care Brightening Serum when my skin is in need of an extra boost. I never skip Zelens Daily Defence Sunscreen SPF30. If my skin feels a little parched during the day, I immediately reach for the Odacité Rose & Neroli Hydra-Vitalizing Treatment Mist. Every night, I slather Medik8 R-Retinoate Intense – my skin drinks this transformative cream in.
For overcoming acne: Ellie Pithers, digital director
My first constellation of pimples appeared on my chin when I was 11. I remember it clearly because it was sports day, and a girl in my class asked if I had chicken pox – even though I won at long jump, I cried in the locker rooms. Thus began a decades-long struggle with acne, and a lifelong habit of never leaving the house without Benefit Boi-ing Concealer. My skin became my obsession. Every week, my mum and I would trudge to Boots for something one of us had seen in a magazine. We tried everything from tea tree oil to Clearasil pads, retinoids to lymecycline, the contraceptive pill, a funky sulphuric mask and a series of steam facials. I cut out dairy and seafood, sweets and chocolate. I cancelled parties and swimming lessons. I bought lots of roll-neck sweaters. Nothing worked. At 18, in desperation, I embarked on a course of Isotretinoin (also known as Roaccutane), a powerful drug, akin to napalm for the sebaceous glands, with many horrible side effects.
I wouldn’t recommend it if you can possibly avoid it. It did, however – after turning my skin and lips drier than the desert (Bobbi Brown Lip Balm. It’s magic) – work wonders on my acne. Now, I use seriously hydrating products for sensitive skin that don’t strip out oils. There are still breakouts, and SkinCeuticals is my friend here. My advice would be: slow down. Stop throwing products at your face. Keep hydrated. Ask for samples. Everyone’s skin is different, and there will be a “miracle” product out there for you – you just have to find it.
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