Stressed skin, maskne and dull complexions: your beauty questions answered by an expert
Clarins presents a winter skin clinic full of useful, actionable advice for those who are finding their skin needs a little extra TLC this autumn and winter
The neck is very vulnerable to ageing and combined with sun, pollution, gravity and muscle movement can result in loose, ageing skin. Tech neck is also now a real culprit for accelerating the ageing process, says skincare expert Bronwyn Conroy. Photograph: Clarins
2020 has seen many daily routines go to the wall including our beauty rituals. Make-up bags are barely seeing the light of day, skincare regimes have become rather unhinged and you would think that avoiding stuffy offices, early nights and lots of long walks would translate to glowing skin. Yet paradoxically, many have found their complexions are acting up with acne flare ups and dull, dry skin taking centre stage instead. And now with winter creeping in, there are also the standard seasonal skin woes and ageing concerns to contend with too.
To help, Clarins Training Manager and Irish beauty veteran, Bronwyn Conway, answers The Irish Times’ readers’ skin issues and weighs in with simple solutions.
Q: I got very anxious during the last lockdown and suffered from insomnia which really impacted on my skin negatively. Any advice for dealing with my skin during these new restrictions?
A: In times of stress our breathing naturally quickens which can result in our mind racing, and then sleep evades us. A simple method I find to help with anxiety is to control the breath while inhaling essential oils. Essential oils have been proven to have an immediate soothing effect as they go directly to the limbic centre in our brain - our emotional brain – and help minimise feelings of anxiety.
Clarins Relax Body Oil contains chamomile, which is great for relaxing tense muscle fibres. I love to rub a couple of drops into the wrists and onto the soles of the feet at bedtime to promote a more restful sleep. To calm the mind, take a few drops of the Clarins Relax Oil into your hand and then warm the oil in your hands by rubbing them together. Bring your hands up to your face and inhale deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of four, and then breathe out through your mouth for a further count of four. Repeat this action eight times and it will have an instant comforting effect.
Q: I am 48 and I really want to use Retinol, however my skin absolutely hates it. I have tried many different forms in different concentrations, but it just makes my complexion red and angry and I don’t seem to come out the other side. Any suggestions on how I can help this?
A: Retinol is lauded for its proven ability to speed up the skin’s cell cycle and re-densify thin, ageing skin, but a side effect of using it is irritation, redness and peeling until you build up a tolerance. However, for some people, like yourself, that threshold is simply never reached. But there is a natural wonder ingredient called harungana, which is used in Madagascan traditional medicine to heal wounds that has been shown to work more effectively than retinol at re-densifying the skin, without sensitizing or compromising it.
The Super Restorative Day and Night range from Clarins, which has become a beauty cupboard saviour for many, is powered by harungana, and should give the same bright, tight and bouncy complexion effect of regular retinol use, without the payoff of enduring irritated, red skin.
Q: Since I’ve been working from home I barely wear make-up, but am now much more conscious of my skin tone and texture. It’s quite flat and dry looking but I don’t want to be adding loads of products to my routine. Is there something simple I could try?
A: I’d incorporate a good serum which addresses all aspects of the ageing such as Clarins’ hero product, Double Serum. Now in its eighth generation, it is a brilliantly efficient one-stop-shop for minimising lines and pores, regulating skin tone and is great for boosting luminosity.
It’s bursting with antioxidants such as edelweiss and ginger lily to neutralise the effects of pesky free radicals and is great for preventing dehydration. There are also 21 active plant extracts in the formula to ensure cells get maximum nutrition and oxygenation for a plump, healthy complexion.
Q: I am 45 and I am becoming very conscious of my neck, it looks loose and crepey, am I not too young for this? I expected this at over 60, not 45.
The neck is very vulnerable to ageing as it has less sebaceous (oil) glands than the face. This combined with sun, pollution, gravity and muscle movement can result in loose, ageing skin. Tech neck is also now a real culprit for accelerating the ageing process here – due to people’s posture when on devices, so try to remember to keep your neck neutral if possible.
The skin on the neck is structurally different to the face and tends to be thinner and more sensitive so a different product is advisable. Prevention is better than cure and a specific neck cream should be used from age 40. Clarins’ Extra Firming Neck Cream contains sunflower extract and kangaroo flower to increase the elasticity and firmness of the skin on the neck. Always bring your SPF down onto the neck and don’t stop at the jawline.
Q: I am age 40 and experiencing heaviness in my upper lids and puffiness under my eyes, what would you recommend?
With any eye product or cream, application is half the battle. My advice is always to apply one pump to your ring and middle finger, warm the product and apply in a press-release motion under the eye from the inner corner out, and then just under the brow from the inner corner out. This will decongest the eye area. Place your middle and ring fingers from your right hand between the brows and press release three times to destress and finish by closing your eyes and placing your ring fingers over your eyelashes.
Clarins Total Eye Lift will lift and smooth the eye contour thanks to the duo of organic harungana and cassie wax. It also stimulates circulation, combatting dark circles and puffiness and contains panthenol to condition eyelashes and stimulate growth too.
Q: I have to wear a mask all day at work and it is irritating my skin and also causing breakouts, how can I help this?
The constant use of face masks can be very irritating on the skin and can also result in maskne. Try and wear minimal make-up under the mask and if possible, opt for 100 per cent silk masks to minimise their effects. Clarins Beauty Flash Balm also contains an algae complex which is very repairing on the skin. Apply a layer of it just before bed to soothe and repair while you sleep and help minimise blemishes by using Clarins SOS Pure Mask as needed.
Q: I am worried about blue light as I am at the laptop all day, how can I protect my skin from any harmful effects?
There is a lot more awareness about the effects of pollution on the skin now, but Clarins has been talking about pollution since it developed its first anti-pollution complex in 1991. This complex is in all creams, foundations and primers. Clarins UV Plus is a mineral SPF 50 that offers daily protection against UV rays and pollution. It is a botanical shield of antioxidants to reinforce the skin’s defense against free radicals. It has the added bonus of acting like a primer before make-up application and is oil free so it will not induce breakouts.
Clarins is available in selected pharmacies nationwide and on Clarins.ie