By Sigourney Cantelo
As I pointed out in my last post for Spa Society, despite its inherent annoyances, winter is the perfect time to take stock and really look after yourself – and your skin. As technology advances and the demand for plump and youthful skin grows, there are more ways than ever to do that. Here are five tricks to up your glow factor and enjoy a truly immaculate complexion.
The fastest way to take five years off is to make sure your skin is properly hydrated. “Hydrated skin looks healthy and plump and has a radiant glow as if it has been lit from within,” agrees Belinda Besant, the National Training Manager for Swiss Skincare Brand La Prairie. On the flipside, dehydrated skin looks crepey, dry and lacks luminosity. Sadly this worsens in winter when indoor heating and hot showers can seriously take their toll. The great news is that it can be quickly remedied with serums, masks and moisturisers that contain super hydrators such as Hyaluronic Acid (it can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water), ceramides and the oldies-but-goodies glycerin and urea. The aforementioned are synthetics, however – so if you prefer to go au naturel look for nourishing face oils like Jojoba, Argan, Almond and coconut oil and shea-butter-pumped creams. A twice-daily application should send any parchedness packing.
We all know how important protecting our skin from the sun is – and we’re sure you already know that you should still be applying your SPF in the winter months. But, the new baddie on the beauty block is pollution. We’re only now fully beginning to understand the links between environmental toxicity and skin ageing. “It’s only recently that a clear link has been demonstrated between the development of age spots and air pollution,” explains Besant. “Specifically the tiny atmospheric particles (particulate matter) that are irritating on the skin. These particles can ignite the melanocytes, which in turn can create too much pigment giving you unwanted dark spots or redness, creating a more reactive skin.” Thankfully beauty brands are developing antidotes to this, such as La Prairie’s White Caviar Illuminating Pearl Infusion which contains brightening vitamin C and Diglucosyl Gallic Acid (DGA), which can curb the melanin production in the skin and reduce dark spots. We also love the pearlescent particles that give an instant luminosity.
No longer exclusively the domain of the Tinseltown and The Real Housewives, non-surgical treatments are more widely available than ever. Winter is a wonderful time to dabble in laser treatments as the downtime associated with them often requires you to stay out of the sun. In winter I always do a combination of Clear + Brilliant – which is a like a mini-fraxel (fractionated laser addresses aging skin) and Permea – a pigment-zapping laser. I like to alternate between the two and usually have two or so of each. It clears away pesky pigment that builds up over summer and leaves my skin gleaming with health.
To really stop aging in its tracks, you need to be aware of the techniques you use when cleansing and applying your products. “Pat, don’t rub would be the number one rule,” says Besant. “Many of us rub too vigorously when drying off the skin and this constant friction can strip away essential oils, leading to irritation and dryness,” she says, pointing out that constant tugging and pulling can cause damage to the connective tissue underneath the skin’s surface and lead to sagging. She recommends gently pat wet skin dry and using the same delicate motion for applying eye cream. I always use my fourth finger as being a less dominant digit I’ve been told it’s less likely to drag the skin. Whether this is true or just an interesting idea, I don’t mind. It’s these little rituals and practices that are what make those moments in the bathroom – cream or lotion in hand - so rewarding and enjoyable.
While it can be tempting to skip the facial and opt for a massage instead, there’s something seriously satisfying about admiring that cheekbone-glow post-treatment. And, apart from being a downright delicious indulgence, facials are also a wonderful way to hone your beauty routine. “Facials are a great way of kick-starting a new skin care regime, and they’re also an opportunity for your therapist to identify any changes she can see in your skin,” says Besant, who adds that La Prairie treatments at Crown Spa incorporate some seriously luxurious massage – so you can enjoy the benefit of some soul-recharging relaxation as well.