Wearing a bra, pants, or even a T-shirt without holes in it are all optional when working from home, but sunscreen should be non-negotiable.
I know what you’re probably thinking: “Why do I need SPF if I’m inside?” Well, if you have windows in your house, then it’s possible for UVA rays to penetrate through the glass and onto your skin.
My skincare routine since the beginning of COVID-19 in March 2020 has fluctuated: from being neglected to super intense. I’ve stripped the products I use every day down to the essentials (including SPF!), but I jump at an easy way out. That’s where hybrid products like Supergoop!’s Daily Dose Vitamin C + SPF enter the conversation.
Daily Dose is the first serum to combine vitamin C with SPF. Here’s how it works: the formula contains a stable form of vitamin C (10% 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid) to tackle dark spots, plus additional radiance-boosting ingredients such as niacinamide, and kakadu plum extract. Because mineral sunscreen operates at a different pH level than vitamin C, Supergoop! has included an oxybenzone-free chemical SPF 40 in the serum. There’s also marine extract to protect skin against blue light, another cause of hyperpigmentation.
Skin cancer and sun damage are the two most important reasons for wearing sunscreen despite spending most of your time social distancing at home. But if the focus of your skincare routine is hyperpigmentation, acne, uneven texture, or all of the above, you’re wasting your money buying expensive products with active ingredients if you’re not topping off your routine with sunscreen to prevent further damage.
That’s why, as someone who has become somewhat lazy with their skincare, replacing my vitamin C serum and SPF with Daily Dose was a no-brainer.
If you’re using the serum in lieu of a traditional SPF, Daily Dose should be the last step in your morning skincare routine. However, you can add another SPF over top for an extra layer of protection, or you can finish things off with your favorite moisturizer, which won’t disrupt SPF filter.
While serum comes out of the bottle with a thin gel-like texture, it gets thicker like a traditional SPF when you apply it. However, the white cast goes away with a bit of massaging and it doesn’t feel heavy under any moisturizer or make it pill.
The verdict is still out whether the vitamin C is doing anything to get rid of dark spots. But reviews are being patient. And in the meantime, its glow-boosting ingredients gives an instantly dewy look.
Plus, I like the convenience of having two important skincare steps in one product!
Ah yes, it’s winter again. Forget your bones, you can probably feel it on your face, now home to dry, flaky skin. Seeking solace in a favourite face oil or moisturiser might seem like the only answer (and they can help, more on this later), but there are a number of other things to be aware of when it comes to your winter skincare regime. If you refuse to let your skin suffer as a result of plummeting temperatures this year, read British Vogue’s seven rules of winter skincare – they’re simpler than you might think.
Keep your skin barrier strong
“As we move into winter, our skin is exposed to variations in temperature and humidity, as well as wind and rain, which can place stress on our delicate skin barrier. It’s the perfect time to rethink your skincare routine to battle environmental stresses,” explains consultant dermatologist Dr Thivi Maruthappu. The key indicators of skin barrier disruption are tight, irritated, itchy, and dehydrated skin.
Even in the months when the weather is less temperamental, our skin barrier is subject to disruption – excess use of stripping skincare products and external aggressors like pollution can all affect it – but it’s especially important it’s looked after in winter. Look for skincare that contains ingredients like niacinamide (try Paula’s Choice Clinical 20% Niacinamide Treatment), which “increases ceramide production in the skin, is anti-inflammatory and fights uneven pigmentation”, explains Maruthappu, as well as ceramides themselves (check out CeraVe), lipids, and richer creams that lock moisture in.
Medik8’s new H.E.O. Mask is exactly the tonic for winter skin, as it contains humectants, emollients and occlusives in optimal ratios, to first deeply hydrate, and then lock in moisture. Use it once or twice a week to tackle dehydration and dryness. Maruthappu is also keen to point out that upping your intake of healthy fats helps moisturise the skin from within – look to her Instagram page for sources of barrier-boosting fatty acids. “Look after your skin barrier and it looks after you,” she says simply.
Nail your nighttime regime
It’s at night that our skin goes into repair and restore mode, so it’s key to get your evening skincare routine in check. Facialist Debbie Thomas recommends cleansing with a non-drying acid cleanser – “look for polyhydroxy acids (PHAs), as they are the kinder cousins of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)” – like Exuviance’s Gentle Cream Cleanser, and then following up with an active product. “I alternate retinol with peptides, which are the second most proven ingredient when it comes to skin health and regeneration after retinol, and then apply a ceramide-rich hydrator to seal in the actives and protect the skin,” she explains.
Thomas is quick to warn about retinol, however, and says that though you might assume winter is the best time to start using it, the skin is already prone to becoming irritated and dry in the cooler months, so it’s important to tread carefully. “It can take several weeks for the skin to acclimatise to retinol use – it’s common to experience some dryness and redness – so if your skin already goes this way in winter, the combination of both could be unbearable and difficult to deal with. My main advice is not to overdo it.” Those already using retinol can continue as normal.
Dial down the exfoliation
When flakes strike, sometimes it feels like the only route is to exfoliate them away. Actually, this can further impair the skin barrier, leading to more skin issues. “I tend to advise reducing the frequency of exfoliation to once or twice a week,” says Maruthappu, “And avoid combining physical exfoliants, like grainy scrubs, with chemical exfoliants, like alpha or beta hydroxy acids, as this can lead to redness and irritation – particularly if you are also using a retinoid product.” The secret? Don’t overdo it with your skincare – less (and gentle) is more.
Load up on antioxidants
One of the biggest challenges for our skin in winter is the constant changes in temperature – moving from the heat to the cold outside wreaks havoc on our skin. Spending time inside with less fresh air also has its issues: “Recycled air has more toxins in it and central heating removes water from the atmosphere, which in turn removes water from the skin,” explains Thomas, who is a big fan of keeping an air purifier in the room you spend the most time in to promote healthy skin.
Antioxidant-rich skincare is also important, as it helps defend the skin against micro-toxins caused by recycled air, as well as those from pollution, UV and blue light damage, all of which are very much real, even in the depths of winter. Look for ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol and niacinamide.
Avoid oils if you’re oily
Don’t assume that the cold months mean you have to switch your favourite moisturisers for face oils. While drier skin types can benefit, oilier ones should steer clear. “I generally recommend face oils for those with dry skin, as oils tend to sit on the skin surface and prevent further moisture loss,” says Maruthappu. “But the added benefit of a separate moisturiser can help to moisturise deeper layers of the skin. I tend to advise against oils in oily or acne-prone skin, as this can trigger breakouts by causing further congestion.” Those with oily skins should instead stick to non-comedogenic formulas that contain ingredients like dimethicone, ceramides or hyaluronic acid.
Heavier isn’t necessarily better
Just as with oils, thick and heavy formulas aren’t always best for the skin – although they do have their place in some skincare regimes. Thick, nourishing balm cleansers are a wonderful way to treat skin to some pamper time – try Chantecaille Rose De Mai Cleansing Balm – but they won’t necessarily hydrate skin. “If you apply a lot of heavy products to the surface, your skin’s sensors read this as not requiring true hydration, so they won’t absorb the required water into the deeper layers of skin,” explains Thomas. “After a time, the deeper layers become lazy and unhealthy, which eventually means more dryness and more irritation on the upper layers.” To remedy this, look to lots of hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid (a popular one is Oskia’s Isotonic Hydra Serum), and squalane, and simply seal them in with good hydrators, as mentioned earlier. “The best way to hydrate your skin is from within, so drink lots of water too,” advises Thomas.
Vitamin D supplements are a must
If you’re already an avid British Vogue reader, you’ll know the importance of taking a vitamin D supplement in winter; most in the UK aren’t getting enough year-round, let alone in the colder months when the days are shorter and darker. It’s important for our skin, too. “Vitamin D is key for the skin’s defences,” says Thomas. “Inflammatory conditions, like acne, rosacea, and eczema often flare up when we are deficient in it.” On top of that, a lack of it can negatively affect our mood, causing further hormonal imbalances, and meaning our skin is infinitely more likely to misbehave.
One of the building blocks of healthy skin (and a number of other parts of our body, like hair, nails and bones), collagen plays a key role in healthy, smooth and supple skin. Disappointingly for us, however, optimum levels don’t last, and our body’s ability to produce it begins to drop from our mid twenties on – prompting a loss of elasticity, firmness, radiance, and that plumpness that we’re all so keen to cling onto as we get older. “We can’t prevent it, but we can slow it down,” says cosmetic surgeon Dr Benji Dhillon. Yes, applying vitamin C and SPF is important, but experts now agree that taking a collagen supplement could help, too.
“A collagen supplement delivers various types of collagen protein when taken daily, in either a powder, gel, drink, capsule or tablet format,” explains Kay Ali, official nutritionist at Beauty Pie. “While 28 different types have been identified, type one collagen is most commonly found in skin, bone, teeth, tendons, ligaments, vascular ligature and organs. It’s typically extracted from marine, porcine or bovine sources.”
Taken daily, clinical trials have shown a collagen supplement has the ability to slow down the body’s breaking down of its own collagen. In fact, the marine collagen in Beauty Pie’s soon-to-launch Collagen Super Powder reduced it by a huge 31 per cent. “With daily ingestion at an effective dose, you can expect to see plumper and more dewy-looking skin,” says Ali. It can also promote hyaluronic acid production thanks to an “ability to stimulate HAS2 receptors in the dermis”, which means skin will also look more hydrated. The older we get, the greater our collagen depletion, which suggests supplements are an excellent idea after 40.
For a long time though, the jury was out, and some skin experts remain unconvinced by their efficacy. But it seems that in the last couple of years, as more innovative formulations have become available, many agree that they are worth taking, and not just for skin, but for hair and nails too. That said, not all are made equal: “I am a big believer in the drink options out there, like Skinade,” says Dr. Dhillon. “The brand has a fair amount of clinical research demonstrating great results, which is why I believe in it. In a lot of cases with other products, consuming collagen just means the collagen gets broken down by the body’s digestive processes.”
Meanwhile, Ali is keen to point out that many of the collagen supplements on the market don’t provide anywhere near the amount of collagen required to slow down its breakdown in the body: “Ten grams is the average amount required,” she says, pointing out that it’s important to purchase hydrolysed collagen formulas, as these can be absorbed effectively by our digestive systems and can get to where they need to be. So, what are the best collagen supplements to try now?
The Beauty Chef Collagen Inner Beauty Boost
“Antioxidant-rich ingredients are vital in helping to fight collagen-damaging free radicals, and to protect our skin from premature ageing,” says Carla Oates, founder of the brand. “The Collagen Inner Beauty Boost is rich in antioxidants like acai, papaya, goji berry and blueberry, alongside zinc and vitamin C to help collagen synthesis.”
With consumer trials reflecting increased hydration and radiance, reduced fine lines and wrinkles, plus healthier looking hair and nails, take Skinade’s (150ml) bottle daily in half a glass of cold water.
There are 134 search results for “beauty supplements” on Sephora.com alone, I can’t even imagine what the growing number is these days besides just Sephora. Many of these companies take advantage of the fact that many peoples’ insecurities are based on thoughts that they don’t have clear skin, strong hair and nails, enough collagen, etc.
The descriptions are usually pretty similar across the board, the promise is:
“Formulated by doctors, these supplements help nourish, firm, brighten the skin, while combatting visible signs of aging like fine lines and pigmentation…” you get the drift.
In reality though, mostly all of them are NOT made by doctors (in fact doctors recommend against them), and the high price tag (leading you to believe that you’re getting wonderful ingredients that’ll work right away) is simply a rip-off! For example, Algenist is advertising their Chlorella and Spirulina lines at $65 for a small amount, when you can get these ingredients in a grocery store. And sure, they might mention that their is “ethically sourced” or some big claim that there is no way for you to verify.
Sure, some people claim to notice a difference, but more often than not, the difference is very minimal, like softer skin, brighter complexion, and thicker eyebrows, which can be achieved through a proper diet and a skincare routine anyway!
A huge factor to note is the Placebo Effect – when you believe you’re in fact getting those benefits, you’ll convince yourself that the supplement is working, and in turn keep repurchasing it. It only adds to the problem when the shape of the vitamins is a cute gummy bear, or an extremely-sugary pill.
Collagen supplements are one of the most popular ones: collagen is in everything nowadays, even topically applied collagen has made its way into the market. However, there’s still no research the supports the fact that ingesting or applying collagen to your face or body does anything. The only studied support for external collagen applies to any treatments you might be getting (laser, etc) and engaging collagen with it while the skin is repairing, but that’s it.
Not to mention that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t regulate supplements the way it does drugs. So you never really know what you’re getting when you buy one of these products.
Granted, actual pharmacy vitamins, such as Calcium, Vitamin D, B, etc. can be helpful for individuals who lack the proper amounts of these in their systems and have been recommended by a doctor.
Beauty supplements are only a fraction of the supergiant supplement industry that also includes detox teas and dietary supplements, join pain relief, inflammation, redness, etc. Be on the lookout and be smarter than the constant promotional messages telling you “it’s the best thing for (your problem)”. Sometimes you don’t even think that you have that problem, until you’re being advertsised to and convinced of it!