Skincare can be a puzzle so we asked those in the know to share their secrets. Here's what they had to say ...
by: Evie Leatham, for The Guardian
What’s the secret to a youthful complexion?
"For me, radiance makes skin look healthier and juicier no matter what your age," says beauty journalist and skin expert Ateh Jewel. "I want my skin to look bright, glowing and glossy, and darker skin tones, in particular, can have a tendency to become grey and ashy if not properly looked after.
"Cleansing is vital to remove dulling pollution. I then use a treatment serum, always choosing one that contains plumping hyaluronic acid. The powerhouse of the beauty world, serums contain lots of active ingredients that penetrate quickly and deeply into skin. If a spot goes nuclear it can leave skin with hyperpigmentation – as can sun exposure – so I also use vitamin C to brighten my complexion."
What do people most underestimate when it comes to their skin?
“Many people are yet to learn about the skin’s microbiome and the benefits of ensuring it is well nourished,” says Annie Black, Lancôme's global scientific director. "Incredibly, our bodies are made up of roughly 50% human cells and 50% bacterial cells – collectively known as the microbiome."
“The equilibrium of the skin's microbiome is the foundation of healthy skin, playing a fundamental role in its physiology and defence mechanisms. When the microbiome is balanced, the skin barrier is able to defend itself, recover from aggressions such as the sun's UV rays and is altogether stronger. The skin microbiome is not invincible, though. It can be impacted by numerous internal and external factors such as stress, diet, pollution and exposure to the UV rays.”
What causes uneven skin tone or texture and how can this be treated effectively?
"Lack of hydration can cause dull and uneven skin texture, and pollution is also a major player," says Black. "According to the World Health Organization, more than 90% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds the limits recommended. Many different studies have shown that dryness, wrinkles, redness, pigmentation and unevenness – which are all clinical signs of premature ageing – are exacerbated by pollution."
"Today, air pollution is emerging as a leading cause of skin disorders, ahead of stress and even the damage caused by UV rays. Research shows that air pollution levels can unbalance the skin’s microbiome, impairing its ability to fully perform its functions of protecting, regulating and repairing skin, which accelerates ageing."
Why do we get fine lines and how can they be treated?
"Many factors play into the formation of fine lines, including the ageing process and exposure to pollution and harmful UV rays," says Black.
"Enhancing the skin's barrier function, and nourishing the skin's microbiome, improves its ability to defend itself against these external aggressions. A well-balanced microbiome also enhances skin's ability to repair itself, so the appearance of fine lines is diminished."
"It’s important to strengthen and protect the skin’s microbiome with a product such as Lancôme’s Advanced Génifique Serum, which has been designed to improve the look of skin’s radiance, clarity and texture while helping strengthen the skin’s natural barrier."
Are our busy lifestyles impacting our skin?
"Unlike other organs in our body, we can see that stress manifests itself in our skin’s appearance," says Black. “We may experience breakouts, notice a lack of glow, or see fine lines cropping up. It’s vital that we look after ourselves physically – even when we’re busy – with a healthy, balanced diet and sufficient sleep whenever possible.
"Sleep gives our skin an opportunity to repair itself as it’s not busy defending itself from daytime aggressors, such as UV rays and pollution. Ideally, your skincare routine should provide a nutritional boost for the skin’s microbiome so that it can fulfil its role of supporting skin as it performs its protective and healing functions."
How can you look less tired?
"A good night’s sleep is equivalent to 10 face masks in my opinion," says Jewel. "If I have slept well my skin is noticeably brighter, glowier and plumped. If I haven’t, my skin looks as flat as I feel. A serum that contains hyaluronic acid works wonders for helping to keep the skin looking juicy. Lancome’s Advanced Génifique Serum, for example, is powerful and laced with probiotics and prebiotics to help support the skin’s barrier.
"In the morning, I always take a few moments to gently massage my skin as I apply my serums to encourage blood flow and decrease puffiness, particularly around the eyes. Moisture is also key as your skin’s barrier function can be compromised with poor sleep, pollution and stress, which means it isn’t as good at holding on to moisture."
For the eye area, which shows weariness more than other parts of the face, Lancôme's Advanced Génifique Light Pearl Youth-Activating Eye and Lash Serum has a cooling massage applicator to refresh and depuff when the thought of good-quality sleep feels like a dream.
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*This article was originally published on theguardian.com as part of the Lancôme Génifique and Guardian Labs 'Skincare gets gutsy' campaign.
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