Skincare is a confusing subject, even for us beauty bloggers, there is so much information out there that creating a routine that works is not an easy task. That is why I have been calling on some of my favourite experts on the subject to help demystify all these potions and lotions and help us on the course of complexion perfection. Today I have the pleasure of chatting to Antonia Burrell, a skincare expert, facialist and creator of the beautiful range Antonia Burrell Holistic skincare. Antonia kindly answered some questions about beauty sins, skincare routines and holistic skin health:
AGG: What is the number one sin that people commit when it comes to skincare?
AB: I always say that cleansing properly is the foundation to complexion perfection, so any cleansing faux pas would have to take my number one spot! Forgetting to cleanse or feeling too lazy to cleanse is often overlooked, but this is so bad for our skin! When makeup is left on the skin it won’t be able to access enough oxygen, resulting in an ashy, dry and flakey complexion. Always double cleanse… especially in the summer! The first cleanse ‘takes off the day’ including pore-clogging SPF, sweat, dirt, sand, sea water… you name it! The second cleanse can then penetrate the bare skin and clean deep into the pores. Always make sure the cleanser you use is pH balanced and non-drying – I always recommend balms or oils.
AGG: There is such a variety of brands and products out there to choose from. What skincare products do people actually need for optimum skin health?
AB: It really depends on the skin type and concerns of the individual, but always, always cleanse, tone and moisturise to keep skin clean and healthy. Investing in these core products will mean that your skin is as balanced as possible, but always seek advice from a skin expert on what your skin type is, and which ingredients are best for you to help you make a wise investment.
For any skin concerns such as acne, sensitivity or dehydration, a treatment serum would be a good investment to keep the skin in equilibrium. However concerns such as dehydration can be treated by upping your fluid intake, and using a super hydrating toner or skin conditioner such as Forest Dew, which increases the skins hydration 8 times longer and deeper than hyaluronic acid!
AGG: What’s the biggest skincare myth you hear and where should we look for credible sources of information?
AB: One of the biggest skincare myths I hear is that hormonal breakouts can’t be helped – it must fill people with such dread feeling as though their skin condition isn’t within their control! I’ve shared a few tips below, but would really advise seeking advice from a holistic therapist that can consider aspects of your lifestyle such as diet that can impact your hormone levels.
AGG: What simple things can people do to improve signs of acne on their skin?
AB: So many things! Using a pH balanced skincare regime will work wonders. The ideal pH of the skin is 5.5, but any higher and oily skin can occur, which can of course lead to breakouts and blackheads, so this is a good place to start.
A good cleansing routine is so important, ensuring clean wash cloths are used (ideally) for each cleanse as these are such a breeding ground for bacteria… as are makeup brushes – so make sure they are cleaned at least weekly too! Changing your pillowcase regularly also helps. Make sure you wash your hands before you cleanse, to avoid spreading bacteria.
If someone struggles with hormonal breakouts, my top tip is to up your cleansing and exfoliating routine two weeks before menstruation as this is when blemishes will start to form. Be really regimented during this time, using topical treatments such as serums and masks – this should help to reduce breakouts.
Exfoliating regularly will help to keep pores clear of dead skin cells, dirt, makeup and pollution that can lead to the over-production of sebum that clogs our pores. Our skin sheds millions of dead skin cells per day, so using a gentle powder exfoliant such as Luminous Light every other day works wonders! The tea tree leaf and zinc PCA are also great at banishing breakouts!
AGG: I know in your practise as a facialist you look at your clients skin in a holistic manner. What role does diet, exercise and lifestyle play in skin health in your opinion and what can we improve.
AB: Diet and lifestyle play such an important role in our beauty! I always harp on about beauty inside out, but it’s something I’m so passionate about. Plants aren’t just super powered topical treatments, but they condition our insides to make beauty radiate outwards too. If we’re feeling a little run down, we can reach for citrus fruits for a dose of vitamin C, and anti-age from the inside out with omegas found in fish such as salmon – there are so many ways to get creative with your diet, eating gorgeous, colourful foods and plenty of anti-oxidants to fight against free radicals and keep skin looking young. There’s plenty more information on my blog, and I also love the amazing Eat Pretty book by Jolene Hart too!
AGG: I know from personal experience that skin conditions such as acne and eczema although common can be really distressing, what would you recommend someone do if they have a skin condition, where should they start?
AB: Always seek guidance from a holistic skin expert and perhaps also a nutritionist. They might be able to recommend changes in the skincare regime, diet or lifestyle that could improve the symptoms. Topical treatments such as serums and masks can also help with conditions such as acne, dehydration, dark spots, pigmentation, but having a facialist or dermatologist guide you through the process certainly provides much needed moral support! Stress also plays a huge part in skin conditions as a build up of stress hormone cortisol can trigger the production of histamine, which triggers reactions, so make sure you find an outlet for your stress too! I love tai chi, which can be practised outdoors in the beautiful sunshine (when it appears)!
Thank you so much to Antonia for answering all my burning skincare questions! I especially love Antonia’s advice about hormonal acne, something I know a lot of women including myself have suffered with. Antonia see’s clients for holistic treatments in the London area, you can find out more about what she offers here. What are your skin concerns? Let me know in the comments below.