For Marie Claire beauty and style director Lisa Oxenham, a perfect complexion is the holy grail. She shares her eight easy tips and tricks to help get your skin glowing in no time.
1. Get your beauty sleep
You need a solid eight or nine hours’ sleep a night to allow your body to repair itself. Make sure it’s good quality sleep by keeping technology out of the bedroom. Most of us sleep with our smartphones next to us and use them as an alarm clock but we're not aware of the vibrations from the texting, which disturb our sleep. Get an alarm clock that will gradually wake you up.
2. Stay active
Making sure you get enough exercise is very basic advice, but it’s an essential step in the quest for glowing skin. I’m not talking a 5k run before work, just a little movement every day like stretching first thing in the morning. I also recommend giving yourself 10 minutes when you wake up to focus on your breathing to help relaxation. High stress levels cause inflammation in the body and can also impair the immune function causing auto-immune conditions like psoriasis, eczema and urticaria to manifest or flare up.
3. Eat the right food
If you’re suffering from minor breakouts it can definitely be influenced by diet. The best things to add to your diet are EFAs (essentials fatty acids), ideally in the form of Omega-rich oils like fish, hemp or flaxseed oil.
4. Stop the oil slick
Social media mavens, listen up! Filtering out imperfections in order to look your best in photos is now an everyday task. To make this easier look out for anything that contains the mattifying ingredient Airlicium. It absorbs a whopping three times its weight in oil, making it a top-ranking ingredient for those of us slick by midday. I love La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar BB Blur - it’s an airy mousse that will put the life back into tired skin and the finish isn’t too matte or too dewy, just airbrushed.
5. Perfect your pores
Faking your way to the skin you’ve always wanted? Now there’s no need. Look out for the ingredient zinc sulphate in products. It’s a mild anti-bacterial that freshens oily areas of the skin where you would normally get congestion and tiny bacterial spots (middle of the forehead and nose; you T-zone). Mist La Roche-Posay Serozinc all over your face at night for a great mini fixer, and come morning your pores will look fresh and clear. In terms of convenience and efficiency it gets a massive thumbs up from me.
6. Banish breakouts
If spots are your main concern, examine the ingredient list on the back of your beauty products. Salicylic acid is an antibacterial agent and LHA is a micro-exfoliant that reduces inflammation and evens out skin texture. These are my skin saviours. Both work by softening the top layer of skin, penetrating into the clogged follicles and removing the dead skin cells that can cause inflammation. Low doses aren’t harsh on the skin.
7. Use the supercharged solution
I love retinol - whenever I use products containing the vitamin A-derived ingredient, I see a noticeable difference after just a few days. It’s a pretty powerful solution so those with sensitive skin might prefer to use a gentler product. Retinol can be used to nix wrinkles but it can also be used to help clear up acne-prone skin. Result!
8. Find a soft and gentle cleansing solution
There is one skincare rule you will always have to abide by and that is washing your face. But if you suffer from redness keep it simple - don’t exfoliate with sonic brushes or AHA-loaded products. Instead, the fewer products you use the better off your skin will be; and use a detergent-free cleansing water or cream with cotton wool. Try looking for skincare made with green tea, an anti-inflammatory for redness.