When someone asks me about their skin, they frequently look surprised when I fire off questions that are outside the normal spectrum of 'How do you wash it? What moisturiser do you use?' etc etc - so I've been keeping track of the most reoccurring issues and list them for you below (in no particular order):
- Are you sleeping well?
Lack of sleep is killer. It shows in your system., it shows on your face. There's a reason sleep deprivation is classed as a war crime. Do whatever you can to get better sleep.
- How much sugar do you eat?
This is nearly always greeted with an eyebrow and 'I'm trying to give it up.' I love a Crunchie as next as the next person but if you're caning all forms of sugar outside of the odd period-craving chocolate bar, maybe have a rethink for the sake of your face.
- Do you like a take-out/eating out?
Junk food - for the purpose of this think of junk food as anything out of a packet or with more than 5 ingredients (with obvious exceptions like salads), or both. If you have to pierce the film to cook it, you aren't getting the best out of your food. Rethink.
- How much water do you drink?
Dehydration is the pits for your skin, but more importantly, for your brain. It gives your headaches and makes it impossible to think clearly. Don't drown yourself, I'm not suggesting you near hyponatremia levels, but do stay hydrated.
- How much alcohol do you drink?
Booze does nothing for your skin. Alcohol and sugar. Literally liquid sugar. If that's your bag, carry on. Your skin will show it though, even if you sit there on your pedestal with a good red. It's still booze.
- Have you been ill?
Your skin is a direct reflection of your general health, if you've had the flu, your skin won't be great. If you have any illnesses, long-term diseases, problems with your immune system etc, it will show on your skin. Also true of problems with your gut or reproductive system. There's very little you can do about it except ride it through and enjoy your skin when it's behaving.
- How's the weather?
If you're in and out of the cold, if the weather has changed suddenly from warm to wet, from cold to hot, all of that will affect your skin. Easiest things to remember re weather fluctuations: Change your coat? Change your moisturiser. Change the season? Change your cleanser.
- Are you a salt addict?
Why yes, thank you, I am. Salt is my crack. On a crisp. On a chip. I've slowly weaned myself away from it as I've gotten older but when I was a teen the running joke was 'Are you having any dinner with your salt?' NOW I recognise craving salt as my anaemia playing up, as it can be for a lot of people. There is a difference between preferring salty foods, and craving them. If salt is also your bag, do some research, it could be an underlying hint that something else is amiss. It might just be that you like a bit of salt. Either way, skin-wise, it can make you puffy. Puffy face, puffy eyes, puffster. If you get puffy, think about your salt intake.
- Office/airplane/travel environments
Have you been on an airplane? Do you work in an air-conditioned/heated office? Recycled air is the pits for your skin. You need oxygenated air. Get out of the office. Go for a walk. When you're on the flight, take your makeup off and spritz often. Stay hydrated.
- Poor product choices.
This is probably the biggest one. Cleansers that are too harsh, toners that are full of alcohol, moisturisers that are too thick or oil-free when you might need oil, choose wisely. Do your research, be led by your skin, not ads or people on counter who are trying to make a target by selling you the entire range. Please note: the majority of my friends on counter absolutely do not do this, but every industry has its bad apples.
If your skin is not up to scratch, if you're not happy with it for any reason, ask yourself all of the above. do your research, proceed!