Here Are The Top 10 Skincare Products For Under £20

Being a skincare fanatic doesn’t have to break the bank. A high price tag doesn’t always mean better results either. There are an abundance of skincare formulations on the market at a reasonable price tag that offer excellent results.

We’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 skincare products for under £20 that you should have in your quest for healthy, glowing skin.

1. CeraVe Moisturising Cream £12.00

CeraVe Moisturizing cream

If you know a thing or two about skincare you will probably have heard of CeraVe by now. CeraVe products incorporate ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) into their formulations to help repair and strengthen the skin’s natural barrier function.

This is an excellent all-round facial moisturising cream for dry to very dry skin with the addition of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant which draws water from it’s surroundings to deliver excellent hydration all day long. Leaves a non-greasy finish, works well underneath makeup.

Fragrance free, non-comedogenic, and hypoallergenic. What more could you want from a moisturiser?

Find it here at Boots

2. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 £5.90

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5

The Ordinary is the definition of bang for your buck. The Ordinary’s entire range of products offer excellent results at a cheap-as-chips price point. Whether your skin concerns involve acne, blemishes or dryness, they have everything covered.

This formulation, Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 is our favourite product offered by the Deciem subsidiary. A water-based serum with varying molecular sizes of hyaluronan which seeks to penetrate deep into the skin’s layers to deliver rich, long-lasting hydration.

A must have for dry skin sufferers, those looking for anti-aging treatments, or everyone, really. With little risk of irritation and the addition of B5, this is the ultimate skin boosting serum.

Find it here at CultBeauty

3. PIXI Glow Tonic £18.00

Pixi Glow Tonic 250ml

We don’t typically agree with toners here at Obviously Skincare, but this one by PIXI is a little different.

The combination of 5% glycolic acid, aloe vera, and alcohol free-ness make this toner a winner. This is the only toner our team use, and with good reason.

Glycolic acid is an AHA (Alpha-Hydroxy Acid) which works deep into the pores to loosen debris and dirt, promote skin cell turnover, and brighten the complexion. Typically use of direct acids can cause mild skin dryness, which is where the aloe vera comes in to provide a cooling, soothing effect. Use AM or PM after cleansing for an active ingredient boost.

Get it here at PixiBeauty

4. CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser £7.12

Cerave Hydrating Cleanser

A good cleanser forms the basis for any skincare regime. The perfect cleanser should be non-comedogenic meaning it won’t clog pores, alcohol-free and fragrance-free all while providing good cleansing results.

This cleanser by CeraVe fulfils all the above criteria and more. Perfect for those with normal to dry skin as it will remove makeup, impurities, dirt and oils without overly drying the skin. Use AM and PM. Also contains ceramides to protect the skin’s natural barrier, and hyaluronic acid to restore lost moisture.

Get it here from Boots UK

5. Typology Retinol 0.3% (15 ml) £14.80

Typology Retinol 0.3% + Castor Oil

Typology is a Paris-based natural, vegan skincare brand who seek to provide excellent results whilst maintaining simplicity. This 0.3% retinol solution with castol oil does just that.

Retinol is an absolute must-have skincare ingredient which works to tackle the signs of ageing. Retinol, also known as Vitamin A, can fight free radicals, promote collagen synthesis, improve skin hydration, and reduce lines and wrinkles with continued use. It is no surprise then that the popularity of this vitamin has shot up in the past few years.

This formulation includes 0.3% retinol in a castor-oil base. Castor oil is non-comedogenic and will provide deep overnight hydration. Use at night.

Find it here at Typology

6. Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Acid Eye Cream £16.00

Mario Badescu - Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Eye creams are essential to keep those bags and wrinkles at bay. Continued use of eye cream can help diminish puffiness, dark circles, and even fine lines and wrinkles.

This eye cream by Mario Badescu has been enriched with hyaluronic acid to deliver deep hydration where it’s needed. The hyaluronic acid works to plump the eye and surrounding area, reducing the appearance of dark bags and circles. Also contains aloe vera to sooth the eye area, and leave you looking fresh in the morning. For all skin types, use AM and PM.

Find it here at BeautyBay

7. L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler Day Cream £19.99

L'Oreal Paris Revitalift Filler

L’Oreal Paris is a well established drug-store brand which has been providing us with effective formulations for decades.

This daily moisturiser is especially effective for those with aging and mature skin, as it seeks to provide deep moisturisation and slow down the aging process. Also contains hyaluronic acid which is known to minimise fine lines and wrinkles, and leave the skin feeling more plump and hydrated from first use. Use AM.

See it here at FeelUnique

8. La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. Breakout Corrector £12.50

La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I. Breakout Corrector

One of the best targeted blemish and spot treatments on the market. This treatment by La Roche-Posay includes Niacinamide which works to regulate sebum production and minimise pore appearance, as well as Salicylic Acid which is known to battle blemishes and minimise skin inflammation and redness.

We recommend having one of these in your bag at all times, just in case. Use as required.

Find it here at LookFantastic

9. Avene Hydrance Intense Serum £13.40

Avene Hydrance Intense Serum

With winter right around the corner it’s a good idea to stock up on serums that will help battle the dryness. This is a light-weight serum by Avene that is easily absorbed, and works well for all skin types. This serum sits well underneath thicker moisturisers and can really provide the additional hydration your skin needs. Use AM and PM.

Find it here at LookFantastic

10. Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser £17.00

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser

A favourite across the nation, this is an excellent two-in-one cleansing/exfoliating treatment which instantly brightens and smoothens the complexion. This formulation includes cocoa butter to soften and smoothen the skin.

Once the product has been applied to the face, using the pure cotton cloth provides gentle exfoliation to rid the skin of any dead skin cells, pollutants, grime and makeup.

Get it here from LizEarle

The Ordinary Regimen For Dry Skin

With the winter months approaching it’s a good idea to develop a skincare routine to tackle your dry skin concerns. We’ve developed a skincare regimen/routine for dry skin using only products by The Ordinary .

What causes dry, flaking skin?

Dry skin has several causes, below are just a few:

  • Hot Showers: Hot showers are an excellent way to de-stress and help your muscles relax, but this water can wreak havoc on your skin. Hot water strips the skin of natural oils and moisture it needs to function properly. This can cause dry, red, and flaking skin.
  • Aging: Skin dryness becomes a bigger problem as we age. Aging skin produces less oily secretions, coupled with reduced collagen synthesis which contributes to drier, wrinklier skin.
  • Over-cleansing: Cleansing your face too often or using harsh soaps can cause dry skin. It’s best practise to wash your face twice a day using a gentle cleanser. Always follow up with a moisturiser.
  • Genetics: Dry skin can potentially be inherited, something you have little control over. The best thing you can do in this case is develop good skincare habits to deal with your dry skin to keep it looking at it’s best.

Of course there are many other causes of dry skin, including medical conditions and allergies but the above are some of the most common. Now, let’s get onto the dry skin routine:

The Ordinary Regimen For Dry Skin

We have assembled two routines, one for the AM and the other for the PM. Both of these routines include the most effective products by The Ordinary which seek to minimise skin dryness and hydrate the skin.

Daytime routine

  • Squalane Cleanser: Dry skin or not, cleansing is an essential step in any skincare routine. This Squalane cleanser by The Ordinary is effective at achieving a thorough cleanse without overly drying the skin. Squalane is an excellent non-comedogenic oil with several benefits for the skin, including anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties.
The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser Supersize Exclusive 150ml | Free Shipping |  LOOKFANTASTIC
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: When it comes to restoring skin moisture, Hyaluronic Acid is the holy grail of all ingredients. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1000x it’s weight in water, this means it’s a fantastic hydrator working to keep your skin supple and soft. Regular use of hyaluronic acid can help combat dry skin and also reverse signs of aging.
The Ordinary: Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
  • Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA: Moisturising is critical step of any skincare regime. NMF’s work to provide a protective barrier on the outer layer of the skin. Not only will these protect the skin from pollutants and free radical damage, but it also means the skin’s moisture is locked in.
Deciem The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA
Mineral UV Filters SPF 30 with Antioxidants - 50ml

Night time routine

  • Squalane Cleanser: Cleansing twice a day is crucial, this squalane cleanser is effective for both night time and daytime use.
The Ordinary | Squalane Cleanser | Cult Beauty
  • Lactic Acid 10% + HA: Chemical exfoliation is essential to even out the skin tone and minimise any skin flakiness. Conventional acid treatments such as glycolic acid can often be harsh to dry and sensitive skin. This Lactic Acid 10% Solution by The Ordinary is a mild exfoliant which is excellent for dry and flaky skin, and the addition of Hyaluronic Acid helps to restore lost moisture. Tasmanian pepperberry also works to reduce skin redness and irritation.
Deciem The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%
  • Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5: Hyaluronic acid immediately boosts skin moisture and plumps the skin. Not only will this reduce signs of aging, but it will also combat dryness.
The Ordinary | Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5
  • Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA: Every skincare routine should be followed up with a moisturiser. As described earlier, NMF’s work to provide a protective barrier on the outer layer of the skin, preventing damage and locking in moisture.
Deciem The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors
  • “B” Oil: This blend of non-comedogenic skin oils works to provide extreme skin hydration, enhance radiance and to fight harmful skin radicals. This blend includes squalane, marula, argan and brazil nut oils to promote skin health.
The Ordinary "B" Oil - 30ml

Things to look out for

All of the above products carry low risk of irritation, but as with any new products it’s good practise to carry out a patch test. We’ve written an effective patch testing guide here.

Any questions or comments? Leave them down below 🙂

Is Baby Oil Good For Facial And Body Skin?

You may be wondering whether or not you should apply Baby Oil to your face and body, and whether it’s any good for your skin. Baby Oil’s easy accessibility make it a common choice for parents and skincare enthusiasts alike. What many aren’t aware of is what Baby Oil actually is, and what effects it can potentially have on your skin.

What is Baby Oil?

Baby Oil is a mineral oil which is a byproduct from the distillation of gasoline. You did just read that right, it’s derived from the same thing you fill your car up with. Being completely synthetic, you might begin to question whether or not application of baby oil is doing your skin any wonders.

The composition of Baby Oil is typically 98% mineral oil and 2% fragrance, commonly used as a selling point. We’re all pretty familiar of ‘that’ baby oil smell. Who doesn’t love a good smell when applying skincare products?

Is Baby Oil good for facial and body skin?

Firstly, we’d like to clear up a common misconception about Baby Oil or mineral oil; it doesn’t clog pores. Mineral oil scores a 0 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it has close to no effect on your pores. Therefore the likelihood of exacerbating skin conditions such as acne is very low. This is why mineral oil is suitable for most if not all skin types.

Also, while Baby Oil is indeed derived from gasoline, it is subject to stringent quality control standards. This means a pure, mineral oil approved and regulated by local authorities. Studies have displayed no adverse health effects from topical Baby Oil use.

A study conducted by Eugene R. Jolly et al. [1] aimed to determine the effectiveness of Baby Oil as a dermal moisturiser. A sample of 106 females was used, with dry, cracked and inflamed skin. The findings displayed a marked improvement in the skin around elbows, shins, knees and heels after 4 weeks of application.

The verdict: Baby Oil is good for all skin types, and perfectly safe to use anywhere on the face and body. We don’t recommend using it on the face however, as it can leave a slight shine and interfere with the absorption of certain products or make your makeup routine a little more difficult. Having said that, using it won’t do you any harm.

If you’re looking to purchase a Baby Oil, there’s none more iconic than Johnson’s Baby Oil. A pure, gentle formula free from parabens, dyes & phthalates.

References

[1] EUGENE R. JOLLY, M.D., Ph.D. and CHARLES A. SLOUGHFY, “Clinical Evaluation of Baby Oil as a Dermal Moisturizer”, J. Soc. Cosmet. Chem., 26, 227-234 (May 1975): http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.585.6732&rep=rep1&type=pdf

What Is Skincare And Why Is It So Important?

It is without a doubt that most of us have heard or used the terms ‘skin care’ or ‘skincare’ in the past. Skincare is a term which covers a large range of practises to enhance and protect the skin. But what exactly is skincare, and why is it so important these days?

This article is split into several sections, covering: 1. What Is Skincare, 2. A Brief History, 3. Why Skincare Is So Important, 4. The Different Forms And Methods Of Skincare and 5. The Different Skin Types. Each section aims to give an insight into the world of skincare, whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

1. What Is Skincare?

As the name suggests, skincare is a method through which skin is treated and cared for. This can be through the use of products (creams, emollients, etc), nutrition and diet to supplement skin health, as well as lifestyle practises (avoiding direct sunlight, not smoking).

There are many different categories of skincare; things you can do at home as well as treatments that can be carried out by qualified dermatologists.

Ultimately the goal with skincare is to preserve and enhance the condition of the skin, as well as to achieve individual needs. Examples of common individual needs include anti-aging, reduction of acne, fading of scars and evening skin tone.

While skincare may seem like a modern practise (especially with all the nifty electronics you can now purchase for at-home use) evidence of it’s use spans across several centuries.

2. Skincare: A Brief History

Ancient Egypt

Skincare is a practise that has been around for many millennia. The first documented use of skincare is somewhere around 3000 BC with the Ancient Egyptians.

Ancient Egyptian Beauty (~2000-3000 BC)

The first use of cosmetics and therefore skincare can be traced back to Ancient Egypt (2000-3000 BC). One thing to take note of is that this is the first documented use of skincare, it has likely been around for longer than this.

The Ancient Egyptians used natural ingredients and remedies to treat and enhance their skin. Examples of ingredients used include oils, berries, milk, honey, yogurt and plant extracts [1].

Ancient Chinese Skincare (1600-1900 BC)

Skincare products and remedies have been seen in ancient China, as early as 1650 – 1950 BC (Qin dynasty).

Ancient Chinese women used things like rice water to wash their face and brighten their complexion. You’ll find that this is still used today as a natural skin cleanser, and is a very common homemade skincare solution[2].

Skincare In Ancient Greece

The word cosmetics is derived from the Greek term ‘Kosmetikos’ meaning skilled in decorating or beautifying [3]. It’s no surprise that the Greek’s were pioneers in beauty treatments, some of which have even shaped the way we use beauty treatments in today’s time.

The Ancient Greeks used natural produce to make body oils and lotions. Olive oil was a core ingredient, you’ll find that Greek culture still incorporates olive in cooking, pharmaceuticals and of course, cosmetic and skincare use[4].

Beauty In Ancient Rome

The ancient Romans used cosmetics to tackle aging, sun spots, and flaky/dry skin. Common ingredients used include honey, oils, vinegar, ashes, as well as various plant extracts[5].

Use Of Cosmetics In The Medieval Era

The use of cosmetics has been documented in Medieval Europe, around the 12th century. Fair skin was a desirable trait, and many used treatments in order to brighten and even their complexion. Examples of ingredients used include aloe vera, cucumbers, honey and vinegar[6].

The 1800’s

Many lifestyle changes were being made in the 1800’s especially with modern advancements in society. Skincare was therefore a bigger concern than seen before. Cleansers were made from egg yolk and oatmeal, these were said to cleanse the skin and reduce blemishes.

The obsession with fair skin was very much a thing and lemon juice was used as a bleaching agent. With the 1800’s also comes the invention of some of the most iconic skincare products to date, including Vaseline and baby powder[6].

The 1900’s

Most of the brands we love today were founded in the 1900’s, Estee Lauder, La Mer, Clinique and The Body Shop to name a few. Skincare became a lot more accessible in the 1900’s. Advertising campaigns as well as more people becoming informed on the topic led to a boom in the industry.

3. Why Skincare Is So Important

skincare product on bath

Looking after your skin is a critical procedure in maintaining skin youthfulness and clarity. The skin does indeed look after itself, though only to a certain extent. Some external effort is needed to supplement this.

You shed thousands of dead skin cells every day and your skin self-moisturises by producing sebum, it is indeed a very effective system. Sebum is a waxy secretion that your pores secrete to keep the skin hydrated and protected.

But what happens if your skin is naturally dry, or if you suffer from hormonal acne? This is exactly where skincare becomes a critical procedure.

Sometimes your skin cannot take care of itself as effectively as you’d want it to. This can be due to a medical condition, environmental effects, genetics, and lifestyle choices. This is where you can step in.

By practising good skincare you can drastically improve the condition of your skin; for most this improves self-image; most people agree that the condition of their skin is a factor influencing self-worth and mental health.

Not only is skincare important for mental health, but also from a medical standpoint. By practising good lifestyle habits such as avoiding direct sunlight and applying SPF, you’re reducing the probability of skin cancer caused by UV rays.

In addition to preventing cancer, medical breakthroughs have improved the quality of life for many suffering from skin conditions. Examples of such conditions include cystic acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Various emollients and ointments have been developed to help this demographic with their skin concerns.

4. Different Forms And Methods Of Skincare

woman receiving skincare treatment

Skincare presents itself in various forms, creams, ointments, needles, lasers, to name a few. Below is a small list of common types of skincare treatments available today, both at-home and in the hands of a medical professional.

4.1. Creams

A cream by definition is simply a formulation or preparation made for application to the skin (topical use) [7]. These creams are made to tackle a range of skin concerns and conditions.

4.1.1. Moisturisers

A moisturiser is an example of a cream used to hydrate and moisturise the skin. These are also commonly referred to as emollients. Moisturising is a crucial step in any skincare regime to protect the skin from environmental effects, and to help regulate sebum production.

A moisturiser reduces and prevents transepidermal water loss from the skin. Throughout the day the skin loses moisture through evaporation, this regulates the water content in the skin for optimal function. This is known as transepidermal water loss. In certain temperaments this can be accelerated which can cause skin dryness and fragility.

By forming a thin layer on the skin, this water loss is reduced which can help in preventing dry skin and flaking. Moisturisers have been used for many centuries to tackle skin concerns such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema.

4.1.2. Sunscreen

Sunscreen is another type of cream/lotion which we should all be using to prevent skin damage from UV rays.

Sunscreen or sunblock helps to absorb or reflect some of the UVA and UVB radiation from the sun that would otherwise cause skin damage through burning or alteration of DNA. It is through this mechanism that skin cancer is formed. Sunscreen is often presented in spray, gel, or lotion formats.

Effective use of sunscreen can also prevent skin aging. Sun damage is a significant contributory factor towards premature skin aging, and applying SPF can help to mitigate this. Ensure you use a minimum of SPF 30+ with broad spectrum UVA & UVB protection.

4.1.3. Cleansing Cream

There are now many different types of cleansing creams available for those with sensitive skin. These creams are a gentler solution to facial cleansing, and get rid of dirt, oils and makeup while simultaneously moisturising the skin.

4.2. Cleansers

A cleanser is simply a product which removes unwanted dirt, make-up, dead skin cells, oils and other pollutants from the skin [8]. Cleansing the face and body is essential to prevent clogged pores and acne as a result.

4.2.1. Bar Soap

Perhaps the most iconic cleanser, a bar soap gets rid of dirt and oils by binding it to the soap and carrying it away when washed off. Bar soaps aren’t typically recommended for facial use as they’re overly drying, but are usually fine if used on the body.

4.2.2. Facial Cleanser

Facial cleansers are cleansers which are specifically formulated for use on the face. These are often more gentle than other forms of cleansers, namely bar soap, and are often infused with fragrances to improve the experience, or as a selling point. Facial cleansers commonly come in the form of a foam, soap, milk, cream and gel.

4.3. Exfoliants

Exfoliants are products which help to exfoliate the skin. Exfoliation is the procedure through which dead skin cells and other pollutants are removed from the outermost layer of skin, revealing a brighter, healthier complexion underneath. Exfoliating often can help to unclog pores and prevent breakouts. There are two types of exfoliant, chemical and physical.

4.3.1. Physical Exfoliants

These are exfoliants which use mechanical action to slough off dead skin cells. Examples of physical exfoliants include facial scrubs, brushes, face cloths, and sponges.

4.3.2. Chemical Exfoliants

Chemical exfoliants are products which include ‘chemicals’ that work to actively exfoliate the skin. Often these chemicals and acids help to promote cell turnover, and break up debris in the pores to clear the complexion.

Common examples of chemical exfoliants include; salicylic acid, glycolic acid and lactic acid. These are examples of AHA’s (Alpha-Hydroxy Acids) and BHA’s (Beta-Hydroxy Acids). Chemical exfoliants are often presented in serum, toner or lotion form.

4.4. Anti-Aging Treatments

There are many anti-aging treatments that you can carry out at home, though improved efficacy is often achieved from dermatologist visits. Anti-Aging treatments seek to prevent aging, as well as minimise signs of aging such as age spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

4.4.1. Retinol

Retinol is perhaps the most common form of anti-aging treatment that is used at home. A stronger prescription version of retinol is available known as retinoic acid which is more effective, but also more harsh. Retinol is a form of Vitamin-A which can boost collagen production with continued use.

4.4.2. Microneedling

Microneedling is a procedure where a dermaroller is run across the face causing hundreds of small punctures in the skin. This is seen to promote collagen synthesis, therefore minimising fine lines, wrinkles, and enlarged pores.

4.4.3. Botox

Botox is a procedure through which the botulinum neurotoxin is injected into the skin to paralyse the muscle group. This helps prevent movement in these muscles, which can prevent wrinkle formation and development. Common areas for botox include the forehead, cheeks and neck.

4.4.4. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels use different acids (typically AHA’s) in high concentrations to promote shedding of the skin. It’s this shedding that promotes cellular regeneration and can therefore minimise signs of aging.

High-strength peels are more effective than those you might be able to purchase at-home, but these are only available under the supervision of a qualified medical professional.

4.4.5. Laser Resurfacing

The thought of using lasers on the facial skin can be a little daunting but it is a safe, approved method in the quest to minimise aging effects. Laser resurfacing or light therapy uses concentrated bursts of laser light to remove dead and damaged skin cells. This also promotes cell turnover, which can tackle aging concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles and age spots.

5. The Different Skin Types

Identifying your skin type can help you identify and use the right procedures and products. There are 4 main types of skin which we have covered in depth in our article on Building The Perfect Skincare Routine.

  1. Normal Skin: There is no true example of normal skin, but rather skin that is well-balanced. Those with normal skin do not have excessively oily or dry skin, with few imperfections.
  2. Dry Skin: Dry skin is often characterised by a dull, dry looking complexion. Dry skin sufferers often have peeling or cracking skin which can lead to inflammation, redness and infection. Those with dry skin are also more susceptible to signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
  3. Oily Skin: Oily skin refers to skin that is excessively oily or shiny, this also makes breakouts more common. Skin oiliness occurs as a result of overactive sebaceous glands which produce sebum. Many acne sufferers have this skin-type.
  4. Combination Skin: Combination skin is simply a combination of any one of the types of skin listed above. As an example, you may have an oily T-Zone, but normal or dry skin elsewhere on the face.

Once you have identified your skin type, it is time to build the perfect skincare regime that is tailored to you. This will improve skin clarity and health, and give you that glowing complexion we all strive to achieve.

Have any thoughts or suggestions? Make sure you leave them in the comments down below!

References

[1] – https://www.skincaretotal.co.uk/the-history-of-skin-care.html

[2] – http://english.visitbeijing.com.cn/a1/a-XCC8FK46BBB61EA22F5A79

[3] – https://www.etymonline.com/word/cosmetic

[4] – https://www.skinstation.co.uk/blog/the-history-of-skin-care-amp;-beauty-ancient-greek-secrets

[5] – https://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/beauty-history-cosmetics-secrets-of-the-ancient-romans/#:~:text=The%20Ancient%20Romans%20also%20made,grease%2C%20basil%20juice%20and%20hawthorn.

[6] – https://www.inbmedical.com/the-evolving-role-of-skincare

[7] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cream_(pharmacy)

[8] – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleanser

Infused Water: Skincare Miracle Or Myth?

You might have heard of infused waters, infusions or detox water in the past. Many celebrities and influencers alike swear by their skin and health improving qualities; but are these waters actually beneficial for your skin and overall health? Read on to find out

Firstly, what is infused water?

Simply put, infused/detox water is water that has had fruits, herbs, vegetables or a combination of the three ‘infused’ or immersed into it. Doing this gives the water a slight flavorful taste and aroma, and some of the natural anti-oxidants present in these fruits and vegetables may end up infusing into the water.

These waters are very easy to make at home and many claim they have a range of benefits for the health and skin, below are just a few:

Infused water health benefits

Infused water supposedly has various health benefits, below are just a few of the claims made:

  • ‘Detoxifies’ the body
  • Improves skin clarity and health
  • Aids with weight loss
  • Improves digestive system
  • Minimises brain ‘fog’, improved mental clarity
  • Increased energy levels

So, infused water: miracle or myth?

The health benefits that come with drinking this infused water are less likely due to the infusions and instead to do with just the water. Keeping hydrated is absolutely critical for all bodily functions to perform at their best and by drinking more water you may be supplementing this.

The anecdotal evidence that has been provided again has less to do with the ingredients in the water and more with the additional water intake instead. As an example, if prior to starting an infused water program you only used to drink 5 glasses of water a day, and now, having strictly followed a regime you drink 8 glasses of water, it’s this additional intake that is providing benefits to your skin and health.

Drinking enough water means that your skin is better hydrated, more plump and better able to remove toxins that are responsible for acne and other skin conditions. This has little to no correlation with what you’re putting in the water, and just with the water instead.

The bottom line

Infusing your water with vegetables, herbs or fruits provides little additional benefit than drinking the water alone. That is not to say you shouldn’t drink infused water; infused waters often taste better than water alone and they can help you to achieve the recommended daily-water intake (roughly 8 glasses). Just don’t expect any drastic changes by throwing a lemon into your jug.

What Are LED Face Masks And Can They Benefit Your Skin?

Tech and skincare, by no means a new concept but certainly one that has been gaining traction over the years. There are an increasing number of gadgets you can purchase for your skin, anywhere from facial steamers to LED face masks. But what are these LED face masks, and how can they benefit your skin?

What are LED Face Masks?

While they look like they’ve come out of the set of Phantom of the Opera, they’re nothing to be scared of. As the name suggests, LED face masks are face masks using LED (light-emitting diode) technology to tackle a range of skin concerns. In the past such treatments were only available under the hands of a qualified dermatologist but these days you can purchase an LED face mask for use at home. Note that these at-home masks are significantly less powerful than those available through a dermatologist or any other qualified professional.

These masks use different intensities and colours of light (namely red and blue) to penetrate the skin and manage skin concerns such as acne, inflammation, and even aging.

What are the benefits of using an LED face mask?

LED face masks come with several benefits, and can often be a godsend for those with extremely sensitive skin that won’t agree with most products. Below are just a few benefits of these masks;

  • Reduces inflammation. LED therapy can help reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne and other skin conditions.
  • Can help acne sufferers. The high-intensity blue light used can help to kill the P.Acnes bacteria responsible for acne formation.
  • Anti-Aging. The high intensity red light used in an LED face mask treatment can penetrate deep into the skin layers to boost collagen production. Boosting collagen production can improve skin elasticity and reduce signs of aging.
  • Promotes blood circulation. The light emitted by an LED face mask can help boost blood circulation to facial skin, which will plump the skin and help to transport toxins away.

Are LED Face Masks Safe To Use?

While they look and sound a little intimidating, LED face masks available for at-home use are perfectly safe and effective provided the proper procedures are followed. Eye protection is critical as the light is often high-intensity and can cause ocular damage if not worn during the treatment.

Sounds good, which mask should I purchase?

If you’re looking to have a go yourself, below are a few products we recommend at different price points.

LUX SKIN™ LED Facial Mask

LUX SKIN™ LED Facial Mask

The LUX SKIN™ LED Facial Mask is designed to give you an easy LED Light Facial treatment in the comfort of your own home!

£19.00, get it here

DermaLight™ - The Original #1 LED Mask - Salon & Spa Deal

DERMALIGHT™ LED Mask

“LED Mask with neck piece. Luminate your nighttime routine with seven different color LED lights built into the mask. “

£88.00, get it here

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro

Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare DRx SpectraLite Faceware Pro

“A next-generation, universal-fit full-face model, this innovative device sits comfortably over the entire face while still actively targeting the entire area, using a total of 100 red LED lights (to stimulate the natural production of collagen and elastin to reduce wrinkles, sun spots, sun damage and redness”

£430.00, get it here

To sum it up

LED face masks use different intensities of red and blue lights to tackle skin concerns ranging from acne to skin aging. These masks are perfectly safe for use at home provided the proper procedures are followed which includes adequate eye-protection.

Vitamins And Minerals Required For Healthy Skin Function: A Complete Guide

Vitamins And Minerals: A Summary

Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that our bodies require in order to function properly. Vitamins are complex organic molecules often made by plants or animals, whereas minerals are simple inorganic elements which cannot be made by plants or animals; commonly found in soil and water. 

Adequate vitamin and mineral levels can be achieved through the consumption of a balanced, healthy diet and can also be supplemented (dietary supplements or multivitamins) in the case of mineral deficiency from a restricted diet or from having certain health conditions. 

Vitamins: Their Benefits And Where To Find Them

There are 13 essential vitamins, governments around the world have mandated the addition of vitamins to staple foods e.g. milk and flour in order to prevent vitamin deficiencies in the population; this process is known as food fortification. 

Vitamin A 

Vitamin A is the nutrient which maintains: skin and eye health, the immune system, as well as reproductive function. Vitamin A consists of two types:

  1. Retinoids also known as preformed Vitamin A
  2. Carotenoids also known as proformed Vitamin A. Carrots consist of beta-carotene, a carotenoid which is broken down into Vitamin A by the body.

Both retinoids and carotenoids are broken down by the liver into retinol. Retinol is known to promote skin cell production, often used in anti-aging serums. This promotes collagen creation resulting in the prevention and reversal of fine lines and wrinkles 

Vitamin A can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Mangos 
  • Apricots
  • Plums
  • Tomatoes
  • Leafy greens
  • Dairy products (milk, cheese and butters)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shrimp
  • Cod liver oil
Carrots including Vitamin A
Photo by Oriol Portell on Unsplash

Vitamin B1

Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine, was the first of the B vitamins to be discovered. Thiamine’s main functions include: 

  • Aid in the conversion of glucose to energy 
  • Crucial for the function of nerves
  • Aids in the healing of wounds
  • Ability to reduce stress.

Thiamine’s immune system boosting ability coupled with it’s stress-relieving properties can promote mindfulness and reduce stress-related breakouts; leading to clearer, healthier skin. Reducing stress also minimises hormone fluctuation and improves sleep quality. 

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) can be found in common animal and plant products such as:

  • Wholemeal grains
  • Legumes
  • Brown Rice
  • Vegetables (e.g. potatoes)
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pork
  • Liver
  • Eggs
grains with Vitamin B1
Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Vitamin B2, also known as Riboflavin, is an important vitamin for maintaining healthy skin. Riboflavin promotes cell turnover (the process where dead skin cells are shed and replaced with new skin cells) and also the maintenance of collagen (the key protein responsible for the skin’s form and elasticity). Riboflavin protects the skin; reducing inflammation, managing the production of sebum which can prevent skin dryness and reduce breakouts. It has also been known to improve the absorption of zinc, an essential mineral which promotes healthy skin. 

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese and butters)
  • Mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Green beans
  • Seaweed
  • Almonds
  • Bananas
  • Beef liver

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3, also known as Niacin, is considered to be the most powerful vitamin in terms of skin care. Niacin has the ability to treat a large variety of skin conditions such as:

  • Acne
  • Rosacea
  • Eczema
  • Dry skin
  • Sun damaged skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Irritated skin

Niacin is an excellent anti-aging ingredient due to its ability to target fine lines and deep wrinkles. Niacin (Niacinamide) is a popular ingredient being increasingly used in skincare products.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese and butters)
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Liver
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Mushrooms
  • Peas
  • Tree nuts

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5, also known as Pantothenic acid, is a natural humectant (a substance which preserves moisture). These qualities mean it can draw water from its surroundings to deliver excellent hydration. Hydrated skin can improve elasticity, minimise or reverse aging, and help to regulate sebum production which, in turn, can minimise acne. 

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), unlike most vitamins, can actually be found in almost all foods. To name a few:

  • Meats
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Sweet potato 
  • Legumes
broccoli with vitamin B5
Photo by Reinaldo Kevin on Unsplash

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also known as Pyridoxine, much like vitamin B1 (Thiamine) is a stress alleviator. Pyridoxine aids the body to produce:

  •  Serotonin – often called the happy chemical due to its contribution to wellbeing and happiness
  • Norepinephrine – both a stress hormone and neurotransmitter
  • Melatonin – a hormone made by the pineal gland, which regulates the sleep/wake cycle.

Both stress and poor sleep quality can: increase inflammation in the body, skin dryness and reduce cell turnover. This can lead to breakouts and premature aging.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Beef
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Tuna
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Bananas
  • Tree nuts
yellow bananas with vitamin b6
Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Vitamin B7

Vitamin B7, also known as Biotin, plays an important role to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Biotin aids in metabolising fatty acids whilst also protecting cells from getting damaged. Deficiencies in biotin can lead to brittle hair/nails as well as dry, flaky skin. Biotin has been known to protect against fungal infections, acne and rashes. 

Vitamin B7 (Biotin) can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Sardines
  • Eggs
  • Whole grains
  • Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Leafy greens
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potato
  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
egg with vitamin b7
Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash

Vitamin B9

Vitamin B9, also known as Folic Acid, possesses antioxidant properties which combats free radical damage and promotes cell turnover. Applying folic acid topically can fight sun damage and aging, tendencies resulting in younger and firmer-looking skin.

Vitamin B9 (Folic acid) can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Leafy greens
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Okra
  • Citrus fruits e.g. oranges
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Pasta 
  • Breads
green leafy vegetables with vitamin b9
Photo by FOODISM360 on Unsplash

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12, also known as Cobalamin, aids with cell reproduction which in turn reduces skin dryness and inflammation. Cobalamin has also been applied topically to treat skin conditions namely eczema and psoriasis. 

Vitamin B12  can only be found in animal products such as:

  • Dairy products (milk, cheese and butters)
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Vegetarians can either supplement or consume fortified foods

Vitamin C

Human skin consists of high concentrations of vitamin C, studies have shown that vitamin C plays an important role in maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin C is known to stimulate collagen production and aid in removing free radical damage, in some cases topical application of vitamin C to the skin has even assisted in healing wounds and minimised scar formation. 

Vitamin C can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Liver
  • Citrus fruits
  • Vegetables
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Vitamin D

Without supplementing, obtaining a sufficient amount of vitamin D through diet is an arduous process. Most of the vitamin D you require can be obtained through direct sunlight exposure however, but this can be difficult during the winter months or if you reside in colder climates. Vitamin D supports the creation of healthy cells, and therefore plays an important role in managing skin tone and maintaining cell turnover.

Vitamin D can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Sardines
  • Certain mushrooms e.g. shiitake
vitamin d
Photo by James Day on Unsplash

Vitamin E

Vitamin E consists of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties helping to support the body’s cell function, immune system and skin health. Antioxidants aid in the fight against free radical damage. Vitamin E is often found in a variety of cosmetic products including:

  •  Sunscreen – mainly due to its ability to reduce UV damage to the skin.
  •  Makeup
  •  Anti aging creams
  • Eye lotions/serums

Vitamin E can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Salmon
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli 
  • Leafy greens
  • Nuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Vegetable oils e.g. sunflower oil and safflower oil
nuts with vitamin E
Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is essential for the body to recover from bruises, wounds, scars and damage to the body through blood clotting. It can be particularly useful in the treatment of certain skin conditions: 

  • Scars 
  • Stretch marks
  • Spider veins
  • Pigmentation

Vitamin K can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Spinach
  • Kale 
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Egg yolk
  • Liver
cabbage with vitamin K
Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

Minerals: Their Benefits And Where To Find Them

Unlike vitamins not all minerals are essential for proper health function. The following minerals are deemed necessary for good skin health;

Zinc

Zinc is very important for skin health mainly due to its healing properties; especially useful for acne sufferers. Zinc possesses the ability to: balance sebum production and control hormones that can trigger acne. Whilst useful for treating acne, zinc is also useful for protecting the skin against aging due to its antioxidant properties. 

Zinc is required when the body breaks down alcohol, hence why, after a night of drinking, zinc levels are lower and your face can appear dull and tired.

Zinc can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Meats 
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Leafy greens
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Legumes
  • Vegetables
meat with zinc
Photo by Victoria Shes on Unsplash

Calcium

Calcium consumption has been highly encouraged for numerous years and has been said to maintain healthy teeth and bones, it is also beneficial for the skin. Calcium concentration in the human body is relatively high compared to most other minerals and plays a major role in giving the skin its elasticity and firmness. The properties within calcium allow the skin to appear younger whilst also aiding in the treatment of acne-prone skin. It is known that calcium deficiency can lead to:

  • Fragile skin
  • Hair loss
  • Brittle nails
  • Weak bones

Calcium can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Milk
  • Sardines
  • Leafy greens
  • Sesame seeds
  • Kale
  • Watercress
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts
chickpeas with calcium
Photo by Deryn Macey on Unsplash

Copper

Copper provides great benefits to skin with its production of elastin and collagen, the two proteins that give skin its elasticity and firmness. Copper also aids in the conversion of amino acids which protect hair and the pigment within skin. Copper has also been known to assist antioxidants in their function of protecting skin from oxidative damage. 

Copper can be found mainly in plant products such as:

  • Mushrooms
  • Soybeans (and other soy produce)
  • Sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Nuts
  • Coconut

Magnesium

Magnesium is often found in skincare products due to its ability to retain and replenish skin elasticity. It is considered an essential mineral for strong bones, teeth, hair and skin. It can be relatively easy to deplete the body of magnesium, deficiencies have been strongly linked with the aging of the skin. 

Magnesium can be found mainly in plant products such as:

  • Leafy greens
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Coconut
  • Wheat produce
  • Beetroot
  • Lentils
  • Dates

Selenium

Selenium consists of similar properties to that of copper, a strong antioxidant that is pivotal in the maintenance of skin elasticity and firmness. It has been suggested that selenium can protect against skin cancers by reducing sun damage to the skin.

Selenium can be found in animal and plant products such as:

  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

Potassium

Potassium helps to regulate the water that is present in your cells whilst also required for the normal function of cells. By regulating the amount of water in your cells it can ensure skin remains hydrated. Potassium deficiencies have been often linked to skin dryness. 

Potassium can be found mainly in plant products such as:

  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Dairy produce
  • Fruits 
  • Legumes
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
oranges with potassium
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash

Silica

Silica is vital in the maintenance of healthy:

  • Skin
  • Bones
  • Nails
  • Hair
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles

Silica is known for maintaining skin elasticity which slows down the natural aging process and speeds up the healing of scar tissue and wounds, it is a key mineral for sufferers of acne.

Silica can be found mainly in plant products such as:

  • Whole grains
  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Beer
mangoes with silica
Photo by Lei Ramirez on Unsplash

To Sum It Up

Both vitamins and minerals play a key part in our general health along with maintaining healthy skin function. The intake of these key players can be achieved with a varied healthy diet along with supplementation when required. Note that while these vitamins and minerals will help promote good skin health, a skin care regime is still recommended.

Why You Should Stop Touching Your Face

Touching your face is a bad habit that has negative consequences for your skin, it also promotes the spread of viruses (including COVID-19). It can be hard to kick the habit, especially at a desk job where it’s really easy to rest your face on your hand after a long day’s work. Here’s why you should stop touching your face regularly;

Touching your face can lead to breakouts and acne

When you touch your face, what you’re effectively doing is transferring the dirt and bacteria on your hands to your face. Regardless of how often you wash your hands, they will be more contaminated than your facial skin. Think of all the surfaces you touch in an hour, mobile phone screens, door handles, keyboards, mice, the list goes on.

Acne and breakouts are caused by the P.acnes bacteria, dirt and oil build-ups on the face which clog pores and trigger the body’s inflammatory response. By touching your face you’re increasing the probability of this happening.

Touching your face can damage the skin

This especially holds true for those with irritated skin. Rubbing your hand against the skin can cause further irritation and bacteria can infect these sites. If you rub your eyes as a result of allergies, bacteria can be transferred into the eye causing ocular infections. Not only is the risk of infection increased, but you could be increasing eye itchiness, or even increasing the prominence of dark circles.

By rubbing the area around the eyes you may be damaging the underlying blood vessels, this can worsen dark circles and damage your skin. This skin damage can also lead to fine lines and wrinkles, as you will reducing skin elasticity through abrasive action.

Touching your face spreads viruses

Touching your face drastically increases the probability of infection from common viruses, including the flu, common cold and coronavirus. If there is broken skin on your face from acne or other skin conditions, bacteria can also enter these sites and cause infection or aggravate any preexisting skin conditions.

Touching and picking your skin can cause scarring

Picking is another habit that’s hard to kick. Whether this be picking at acne, blemishes, ingrown hairs, blackheads or something else. You might think picking is helping, whether this be to extract a pimple or blackhead but often this can have terrible consequences. Picking and touching acne can cause it to spread, as well as cause scarring and irreversible skin damage.

How to stop touching your face?

1. Touching your face might be a fidget, try and replace this behaviour with something else that keeps your hands occupied. This could be touching your arm, other hand, or using a fidget spinner/stress ball.

2. Try and wash your hands frequently, carry hand sanitiser also. Washing your hands properly ensures all the bacteria and germs are killed, so, in case you do end up touching your face you’re doing less harm. Hand sanitiser can also help when you’re out and about.

3. Use mobile reminders or post-it notes around the house to help you kick the habit. Constantly being reminded to not do something is negative reinforcement, this can help you kick the habit.

4. If all else fails, try wearing gloves. Wearing gloves will be constant reminder that you shouldn’t be touching your face, especially if you’re wearing them indoors or at work.