Beauty: Fair play... TLC for fair skin
Pale skin needs a little more TLC than other tones, but with our expert's easy-to-follow guide, lighter complexions are easily cared for
Our pale, freckly complexions are much loved abroad, almost seen as sacred to many (Asian women have been known to invest in bleaching products to lighten their skin). But the reality of living with pale skin - presented in all its glory by Emma Stone (pictured) - is that we're much more susceptible to skin conditions, and more than any other skin tone, we have to really ensure our skin is well-protected from the sun.
According to Joanna Gardiner, MD of leading Irish skincare brand Elave, one of the most common skin conditions among Irish men and women is skin redness across the face and nose.
"A flat redness is just that, flat, but if the skin looks raised and has pustules it is worth seeing a dermatologist as it may be a common condition known as rosacea, which affects both men and women in Ireland," she says.
Furthermore, Joanna points out that adult acne is on the rise in Ireland. "We are seeing more and more women in their late 20s, 30s, 40s and even 50s presenting with acne for the first time."
For the last two years, I've been using Elave products on my daughter who has sensitive skin and who suffers from occasional eczema outbreaks. However, up until a few weeks ago, I hadn't used them on myself - and, honestly, I couldn't have been more impressed when I did. My skin is blemish-free and in great nick. I can see why the brand is proving a saviour to people with compromised skin.
Dos and Don'ts
● If you have concerns about your skin, don't hesitate in getting a diagnosis from your GP or dermatologist. Treatment is more effective when the skin condition is caught early and will often include a combination of medication and skincare routine.
● Exposure to the sun can be very harmful for skin, particularly for our sensitive Irish skin. Elave's Daily Skin Defence with SPF 45, €22.95, has been carefully developed to provide maximum protection with minimal effort. Also, it contains invisible zinc which means that it is easily absorbed.
● Don't put sensitive red skin directly into hot water either in the shower or bath as this could aggravate it.
● Avoid over-cleansing stressed areas, including acne-prone areas, as it can cause further irritation and strip the skin of essential oils.
● A good oil-free moisturiser is very beneficial for sensitive red skin.
● Avoid using face wipes as they contain harsh chemicals and can aggravate sensitive skin.
● If you have rosacea you may need some medication to help relieve the symptoms. The good news is that with daily care, it can be greatly improved.
● Gentle, clean skincare with no unnecessary chemicals is key to keeping skin happy.
Read the ingredients of your skincare products. Fewer ingredients mean less chance of reacting to something!
How to Treat Sensitive and Compromised Skin
A step-by-step guide with Joanna Gardiner of Elave (pictured)
1. Always remove make-up before going to bed at night. If your skin is red, dry and sensitised, cleanse with a gentle cleanser, warm water (not hot) and a clean face cloth. If you're suffering from facial redness or rosacea, Elave Skin Balancing Cleansing Gel, €14.95, contains manuka honey and soothing camomile extract which will help reduce redness.
2. Everyone should moisturise, whether you have oily or dry skin. If your skin is currently under stress, stick to moisturisers that use as many natural ingredients as possible. For those with dry skin, look out for rich natural ingredients such as coconut and shea butter. I recommend Elave's Intense Moisture Surge, €19.95. Oily skin needs a moisturiser that is light and doesn't clog pores. Look out for oil-free formulas that contain added benefits such as anti-oxidant vitamins and glycerin.
3. Protect your skin. This cannot be stressed enough. UV rays damage our skin and will worsen many of the most common skin conditions. In Ireland, we should all be wearing an SPF 45 or higher every day, especially from March to September. Choosing an SPF with added anti-oxidant vitamins will help fend off environmental stress damage.
4. Visit your dermatologist if you notice skin conditions worsening.
Toolkit for Sensitive Skin:
(1) Balancing Cleansing Gel, €14.95, Elave, available from elave.ie and selected pharmacies nationwide.
Gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive of skin, this cleanses deeply and effectively. Great product. Great price.
(2) Cleanance Expert, €19, Avène, available in selected pharmacies nationwide.
A gentle oil-free daily moisturiser that also acts as a treatment for adult acne and compromised skin. Suitable for sensitive skin sufferers, the manufacturers say that their tests show that more than nine out of 10 people observed an improvement in the appearance of their skin following repeated use.
(3) Daily Skin Defence with SPF 45, €22.95, Elave, available from elave.ie and selected pharmacies nationwide.
Non-greasy broad spectrum UVA/UVB formula protects skin every day from signs of UV exposure such as dark spots, roughness and loss of elasticity. Also, it contains invisible zinc which means that it is absorbed almost instantly into the skin, making it an ideal base to wear under make-up.