With spring (and therefore summer) right around the corner, it’s time to get serious about preparing your skin for the warmer months so you can step out from under all the layers into your fresh summer wardrobe with confidence.
Winter, even here in Durban, can be a harsh time for your skin. My skin tends to be a little on the dry side so I need to pay attention to moisture during the winter months however, keeping one’s skin in great shape is more than just applying moisturiser. Exfoliation plays an important role in maintaining skin health and in achieving the maximum benefit from the moisture we apply (or should be applying) on a regular basis.
If you are putting a plan together for your wedding day, you can use these tips and products to ensure that you look and feel like a princess on your special day.
Let’s Start With Exfoliation
Starting with a good exfoliation to slough off dead skin cells is one of the quickest ways to see tangible results quickly and it’s not about using the most expensive products either. I have a a couple of products that I have on rotation, one of which is homemade, to ensure that I cover all my bases.
For my face and certain parts of my body I use Lamelle’s Cathepzyme. The enzymatic action of Cathepzyme is key to ensuring that any hyper-keratinazation doesn’t cause any blockages in the hair follicles. I also use a Lamelle enzymatic alpha hydroxy peel on my face regularly for a deeper exfoliation and to ensure that skin texture remains in tip top shape.
Even though I use an enzymatic exfoliator, I will never be able to say no to a good old salt scrub and on days when I feel like I need a little extra skin smoothing, I have in the past turned to Ocean Salt Scrub from Lush which contains limes steeped in vodka, grapefruit and lashings of salt.
This scrub is great for the body and smells really good too. I recommend jumping into the shower, wetting the skin and then turning the water off, before gently scrubbing small handfuls of salt scrub onto the skin and always in the direction of the heart, which helps with lymph and blood flow. If you have a problem area like the back of the arms, elbows or knees, then you can use the scrub on dry skin. Remember that gently does it!
My only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint, is that Lush is not a cheap product–it is hand crafted after all–so to use this scrub regularly is not particularly cost effective.
If you’re after a more natural type of scrub, you can make your own with coconut oil, kosher salt and a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Coconut oil is a moisturiser which makes a great base for a salt scrub.The benefits of coconut oil are well documented. You can do heaps of research online or strike up a conversation with an informed health store owner.
Another great product I came across is Elim Exfoliating Body Polish, a soap free nutrient-rich exfoliating polish infused with sparkle dust. The sparkle dust is a novelty, yes but it imparts a very subtle shimmer to the skin which is quite stunning, especially in summer. After the very first use the difference on my skin was significant, baby soft and incredibly smooth and hydrated. I was wowed right from the beginning.
My only criticism of this product is that one of the ingredients are poly-propylene wax beads, great for minimising damage to the epidermis because there are no sharp edges but, if you don’t already know, are causing significant and alarming damage to our marine ecology at plankton level.
I spoke to Elim’s CEO, Shantelle Booysen about these concerns and received a refreshingly honest and open email in return, where she stated that they are currently looking into a replacement for the plastic due to all micro plastics being banned in California–with more states in the U.S. sure to follow suit–and they would like to get back into that market and provide an eco-friendly solution that is marine conscious. I applaud this and would love to check out their new products when they become available.
Some facial scrub advice: I strongly recommend that one does not use an abrasive scrub of any kind on the delicate skin of the face. Arms legs and the skin of the knees and elbows can take a good scrubbing but in general, people scrub too vigorously to use an abrasive on the face and risk micro-lesions in the epidermis which can open up channels for bacteria. This was one of the principle reasons micro plastics were introduced into face washes and exfoliators, which has become a marine pollution nightmare. I would recommend using an enzymatic exfoliator instead.
Moving On To Moisture
After a good exfoliation, it is vital to ensure you moisturise well. Here are some of my absolute favourites.
Dermalogica’s Body Hydrating cream has Lactic Acids and natural hydroxy acid extracts from sugar cane (glycolic acid) and apples (mandelic acid) to relieve skin dryness and smooth the skin, bolstering the effects of your recent exfoliation treatment. Lavender, Patchouli and Orange essential oils combine with Green Tea to soften and soothe, it smells great–in a non-perfumed kind of way–and is non-greasy which I really appreciate.
One of my all time favourite body lotions has to be Lush’s Sympathy for the Skin. With banana, vanilla, lemon and sandalwood this lotion is spectacular for hydrating and nourishing the skin, plus it’s vegan. This body lotion is not heavily scented so won’t clash violently with your perfume but does impart the most delicious scent and leave the skin feeling pampered.
If you are looking for an oil, Palmer’s Moisturising Body Oil is light, very easily absorbed into the skin and does not feel greasy. This oil seals moisture into the skin and I use this directly after I step out of the shower, after drying excess water from the skin surface.
If you have skin preparations that you absolutely love, let me know in the comments section so I can give them a try!