One of the things I am focusing most on this year is learning to be my own best friend. Your relationship with yourself is the most important one you have, and the only one you are guaranteed to have for life, so well worth investing the effort in. Whilst I don’t subscribe to the notion that it’s as simple as whacking on a 99p charcoal packet mask from Superdrug whilst watching Grace and Frankie on Netflix (despite that being essential to my sanity), I believe that spending time on yourself is one of the most important things you can do.
Setting aside regular time in your schedule is a great way to make that commitment to yourself, whether that be to meditate, curl up with a good book or whatever it is that makes you feel your best self. Recently, for me, that has been skincare. It seems like a simple enough proposition: as it’s already part of our daily routines, taking a little longer and using the right products that make us feel good can turn a necessity into something to look forward to.
Skincare was never something I thought a lot about until recently. In my younger years, I was lucky enough to have fairly clear skin. Despite the odd patch of dryness that flared up from time to time, it was nothing that couldn’t be solved with an overnight caking of thick, white Nivea crème (that was always a treat for the neighbours when the fire alarm went off in the middle of the night – shout-out to the assh*le who decided to smoke inside every night). I was blissfully ignoring the needs of my skin.
In 2016, I changed my contraception from the implant to the pill. My body didn’t react well to the changes and I found myself with angry spots all over my cheeks. All of a sudden the foundation I’d used for YEARS wasn’t right for my skin, the skin care I used was making things worse, and I found myself absolutely clueless with regard to new products or regimes. I turned to a heavy coverage foundation to hide my blemishes, and ended up making it a hell of a lot worse.
My self-confidence was really low when my skin first changed. I turned to the internet for help, spending lots of money on fancy sounding products that promised to turn my skin around. Unsurprisingly, without an understanding of the problem (or a reasonable solution for that matter) it didn’t work. With my self-esteem and confidence hitting an all time low earlier this year, and my 24th birthday around the corner, I decided it was time to do something about it.
So when I received an invitation to visit Saks beauty on Park Street in Bristol for a complimentary skin analysis and facial, the timing was perfect. I headed down there feeling desperate to find out what was going on and excited to make some changes.
If there is one thing you do for yourself this year, go for a skin analysis. It is such an interesting and eye opening experience, and understanding your skin a little better not only makes you feel empowered to improve it, but also means the money we fork out on skincare is actually going on the right stuff (which FYI – mine wasn’t. Go figure).
Following the analysis, I was taken through to the treatment room to discuss my skin, the right skincare regime, and the facial that would kickstart that and meet my particular needs. Becky, the salon manager, was incredibly knowledgeable, helping me to figure out what was working, but more importantly what wasn’t, about my current regime. After our discussion, it was clear that the treatment most suited to my skin was the Aquatherm facial; a hydrating deep-treatment to condition the skin at its inner-most layers.
The facial itself was incredibly relaxing, and included a shoulder, arm and hand massage whilst the products worked their magic. Afterwards, my skin looked visibly more plump and glowy, and my redness had significantly reduced. To see such an improvement so quickly made me feel so reassured that I could turn my skin around given the right routine. The experience overall was incredible and I would highly recommend the salon. The girls were so lovely and incredibly skilled, and for anyone with ongoing skin complaints, they can work with you to identify the problem and propose a treatment regime to get your skin back on track.
Top tips for healthy skin
Becky also shared some tips that I wasn’t aware of when it comes to looking after our skin that I will definitely be taking forward:
1) You need to cleanse your skin in the morning as well as the evening. Even though you haven’t had make up on, it’s a good idea to wash off the dirt and grime that has built up on your skin overnight before reapplying make up the following day.
2) You should wear an SPF all year round, not just in the sun. The damage that occurs due to UV rays occurs in all seasons, not just when it’s sunny. Using an SPF 50 every day is recommended to prevent this damage.
3) Every product you use should treat the skin. By that, I mean every product in our skincare regime has the potential to improve our skin. Finding products such as cleansers and sun protection that also contribute to the overall condition of the skin with the addition of other ingredients such as oils means you are really getting the most out of your regime.