Affordable skincare routine
This article explores whether it is possible to get an affordable skincare routine that will reverse the signs of aging. Premium skincare has historically been for the wealthy or bought as a rare treat maybe as a Christmas / Birthday gift. Skincare has been changing for the better in recent years. We now have access to lotions and potions that promise to turn back the hands of time and tackle stubborn issues. This article attempts to help you plan a science-based skincare routine that won’t break the bank. Products can be obtained for around the £5 – £10 mark for premium skin care without the premium price tag.
If you’re a gent and you think that this article doesn’t relate to then think again. Skin is skin. It’s just as relevant for men and you’ll thank me later in life when you look years younger than your friends of a similar age.
The first place to start is with an assessment of your skin. You have to calculate what your skin needs and where you’d like to see improvements. We are all different and our skin type can change throughout our lives. Do an assessment today, and make a list of any issues you wish to tackle. It’s a good idea to take a close up facial picture so that you can monitor any improvements over time. If you have dry cheeks with an oily T-zone, it is best to treat these areas with different products to target the issue. Putting addition oils onto an oily section will only exasperate the problem, yet most of us rarely think that different areas of the face might require different treatments. Think about it, do you use a moisturiser? Do you apply it to your nose? Do you have blackheads there? Your nose is usually oily enough!
Use this list checklist to tick-off what it is you are dealing with:
- Eye bags
- Dark circles
- Brown spots
- Uneven skin tone
- Enlarged pores
- Hooded eyes
- Crows feet
- Skin laxity
- Fine lines
- Slack skin
- Sun damage – thick/course skin
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Acne / spots / breakouts
- Red marks left from previous damage
Affordable skincare routine limitations
Now let’s manage your expectations. An affordable skincare routine won’t improve your skin overnight. Think of skincare rather like diet and exercise is for your body. You can’t go to the gym one day and expect to have the body of a god the next. Likewise, eat nothing but fast food and expect to be super healthy. You have to make a commitment to daily skincare and avoid further damage. It’s pointless spending money on skincare if you are planning to continue to use sunbeds etc. Sun damage is the biggest contributing factor to skin aging. If you want a warmer complexion then consider faking it with bronzer or fake tan.
Unfortunately, affordable skincare cannot give you an immediate face lift. If your product is promising you that then it might be a temporary tightening film but it certainly won’t be reversing the damage. Try to see through the hype of anything that sounds too-good-to-be-true. Look for independent clinical trials that prove unequivocally that the claims are supported with sufficient evidence.
So many luxury skincare brands promote that they contain all natural plant extracts and oils. Big brands for example. If it’s all natural and grown organically then it’s better for our skin right? Well, most of the time these oils make a product smell nice but rarely have any efficacy or research to back up any skin benefits other than moisturisation; they are merely oil and water emulsions. When an ingredient is natural, it is harder to know how your skin will react to it. Crops are dependent on weather conditions and one harvest can produce a completely different potency of product from one year to another.
A Scientific Approach
My preference is to look for products that contain ingredients that target a particular skin issue. Just as paracetamol is the same ingredient no matter if you buy a branded product or an un-branded product. Chemically it is identical. With science driven skincare, the ingredients listed have to be of a particular chemical compound and that ingredient, like paracetamol, is always the same, unlike the variation you can find in natural products. To stay active, some ingredients have to remain at a certain PH value, some oxidise in air or water, and some are sensitive to sunlight or temperature. It is critical to get your skincare from a trusted company that formulate their products in the correct manor.
Fragrance & Colour
Luxury brands tend to add a fragrance to their affordable skincare to mask and scent given off by the ingredients. They might also add a colour so that it looks more pleasing to the eye. Serious skincare should emit both colour and fragrance, as both are sources of irritation for sensitive skin.
Ingredients and benefits
Below I have listed some of the key ingredients that we can apply topically to skin together with their proven benefits.
Vitamin A – Retinoids
Retinol, Tretinoin & Granactive Retinoids are all types of Vitamin A that have the ability to increase cell turnover to kick-start the skin to act in a younger manor. Retinoids can improve the texture and clarity of the skin and be one of the best ingredients in our arsenal to fight the appearance of aging. Retinoids improve the skins ability to produce collagen, which makes your skin seem firmer, plump and renewed. The increased turnover will also increase the fading of any brown pigmentation marks or red marks left by pimples and improve fine lines and deeper wrinkles. This the best skincare ingredient to dramatically improve the overall appearance and luminosity of your skin. However, there is a small caveat to consider; these products may cause skin irritation and skin peeling for some people. Retinol also makes your skin more sensitive to UV light so you will burn more easily so use sun protection during the day.
If you find you are sensitive to retinoids you can increase their use gradually to build tolerance. Start with twice a week at night-time and build from there. Over-use of retinoids can leave your skin red and sore, feeling rather like chapped skin. If this occurs, wait for the skin to return to normal before continuing. When the redness subsides, you should however see an improved complexion.
Vitamin B – Niacinamide
Niacinamide, otherwise known as Vitamin B3, is another one of those ingredients that will deliver multiple benefits to the skin. Not only is it renowned for reducing the appearance of pores (ideal for those suffering with oily skin), countless other benefits include improvements in fine lines, uneven skin tone and dullness.
Vitamin C – L-Ascorbic Acid / Ascorbyl Glucoside
Vitamin C is the second biggest hitter when it comes to seeing vast improvements in the skins appearance. It tackles multiple signs of aging and brightens the skin to give you a youthful glow. Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant so it therefore has the power to protect the skin from damage. The secret to seeing a vast improvement in skin is to get a product with a great formulation. Vitamin C is not very stable and sunlight and air will reduce efficacy. It is best to get your Vitamin C from a reputable source that knows how to harness its power.
Chemical exfoliators (acids)
Gone are the days when you’d want to damage your face using harsh scrubs that can cause micro tears in your skin. Chemical exfoliators like Alpha Hydroxy Axids (AHAs) and Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) can be an effective way to slough off the top layers of skin to reveal younger looking. Regular use of an acid (at least one a week) will prevent dead skin cell build-up revealing a vast improvement in the appearance of wrinkles.
Hydrators and Oils
Hydrators draw moisture to the surface of the skin to temporarily plump the surface of the skin to improve it’s appearance. Whereas oils and oil emulsions, prevent moisture escaping from the skin. Use hydrators on your oily areas and oils on any dry areas to balance the moisture in your face.
Some of the more famous peptides you may have heard of are Matrixyl, Syn-ake, Argirelox. Although the benefits to the skin won’t be as great as the ingredients above, they will make subtle improvements over time.
Build your own affordable skincare routine
The skincare lines such as ‘The Ordinary’ have turned the skincare market on its head. These companies offer science-based skincare at much lower prices. The range of alternative products keeps growing and these cheaper products have won awards.
Aim to give your skin a cocktail of the ingredients listed to see significant improvement in the appearance of your skin. Although one ingredient will help, getting a multi-pronged attack on your skin will deliver faster improvements.
You can either do a little research of your own or follow my personal program below. I am not a skin expert but I have tried these products and they worked for me. If you wish to hear more information or reviews than a great place to start is YouTube. Simply search for the products full description in YouTube and you will see countless bloggers singing nothing but praise.
To give you a place to start, I have listed my current skincare routine below. Please note that there are many affordable skincare brands available.
- Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion 30ml £8 VITAMIN A
- Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% 30ml £5 VITAMIN B
- Vitamin C Suspension 30% in Silicone 30ml £5.80 VITAMIN C
- Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% 30ml £5.50 CHEMICAL EXFOLIATOR
- Matrixyl 10% + HA 30ml £9.60 PEPTIDE
- Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA 30ml £6.80 HYDRATOR
Add an oil if you have dry skin
- 100% Organic Cold-Pressed Moroccan Argan Oil £5.90 OIL
Products generally come in 30ml sizes with a pipette dropper to dispense the product. Two to three drops per day is usually all you need.
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