Post-holiday beauty pick-me-ups: how to get your glow back for autumn
Holidays can wreak havoc on our skin and hair health - but help is at hand...
As much as we love our sun holidays, there are some beauty-related issues that the hotter weather can bring that are not so welcome.
Many of us get blemishes from flying and greasy sun creams; parched, dry and dehydrated skin from too much sun; pigmentation from sun damage - not to mention sizzled, frizzled hair from all the extra chlorine, salt and humidity.
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To combat the changing of the seasons, this is my Post-Holiday Beauty Recovery Guide. I've listed some of the best products around to combat some of the most common beauty ailments, but if you're looking to go a bit more in-depth in addressing skin issues such as redness, pigmentation, dullness, sun spots, rosacea flare-ups and acne-causing bacteria post-summer, one of the best ways to combat these is to invest in an acid peel treatment.
I road-tested the SkinCeuticals Expert Micro Peel 20 Treatment, €150, at The Clinic Suite 32 at the Hermitage Medical Clinic (theclinicsuite32.ie). This is an hour-long treatment that combines a relaxing, anti-oxidant rich facial and very short acid peel (it does tingle but only for a minute!). The level of acid used is dependent on each woman's individual skins needs. There's no downtime with this treatment (zero redness after) and my skin was left much more even-looking and gave me some much-needed glow. (Note: As with all use of acids on skin, use of SPF is non-negotiable as it can make skin more photo sensitive).
Let's get some glow back into our skin, right in time for the busy autumn and back-to-school period!
Six of the best fabulous fixers
If your beauty budget doesn't stretch to an acid peel, why not consider using glycolic pads to keep skin soft and to help disintegrate all that dead, dehydrated post-sun skin? These budget beauts from Aldi can be used daily on clean skin and the small level of glycolic acid will slowly but surely nibble away at dead cells. Just use after cleansing, before applying your usual moisturiser. Lacura Glycolic Pads, €3.99, from Aldi stores nationwide.
If your face, body and hair are all feeling parched, then opt for a multi-tasking oil that can be used all over. Aldi have some great beauty beats in store this September that won't break the bank. I love their Lacura Miracle Oil for Face Body Hair, €5.99, to use as an added layer of hydration over the face and extra dry spots, like legs and elbows.
Use an overnight hair mask to inject some moisture back into your barnet. Some overnight hair masks are so heavy that you have to wash your hair in the morning. If your morning schedule doesn't allow for that, check out this gem - it's like a silky serum for your hair, to be used before bed, with no washing or wetting required. It uses penetrating ingredients (like iris root extract) that disappear overnight. Kerastase 8H Magic Night Serum, €39, from salons nationwide and millies.ie.
For a no-nonsense, effective body moisturiser that all the family can use, try this gem. The spray format makes application quick as a jiffy - just spray the non-greasy and fast-absorbing lotion right after the shower. With zero junk ingredients, this is suitable for dry and sensitive skin, on skin young and old, and it's clinically proven to moisturise for up to 48 hours. Aveeno Daily Moisturising After Shower Mist, €8.15, from pharmacies nationwide.
Flying always results in a spot outbreak for me, so this summer I've been using the new Spot Fader from Dermalogica and find it brilliant. It's a two-in-one brightening spot cream that helps reduce the appearance of active breakouts and then also post-breakout marks. It uses salicylic acid (to clear breakouts) and niacinamide to fade post-breakout marks and scars. Dermalogica AGE Bright Spot Fader, €49.00, from skin salons nationwide, Harvey Nichols and dermalogica.ie and millies.ie.
Ask the expert: Liz Dwyer, Broadcaster
Beauty broadcaster, journalist and founder of the upcoming Future Beauty Show, Liz Dwyer is a fountain of knowledge on all things beauty. With decades of experience, the über-honest, straight-talking expert is the perfect person to advise on how to nail our post-holiday beauty recovery routine…
How can the hot, sunny, humid weather adversely affect our skin and hair during the summer months?
It's amazing how many people have an adverse reaction to sun creams, especially on the face and chest - and often mistake it for heat rash. The chemicals and fillers in sun creams can clog up pores and then when sweat is added to the mix, it's the perfect breeding ground for pimples. I always use a pure physical sunblock - ie one with 100pc mineral filters (like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to prevent a pimple fest!).
What's the best treatment for post-holiday spotty and/or dry skin from all the greasy SPF, chlorine and sun?
Book in to a skin clinic for a glycolic/lactic acid peel, which will literally eat up all the damaged cells on the skin. If you can top it off with an Intense Pulse Light (IPL) session afterwards, even better. IPL is great for blasting pigmentation spots, calming redness, evening out skin tone and obliterating acne-causing bacteria. Plus it stimulates collagen and elastin production - which is what skin needs most to repair all that sun damage.
Are there any tips you can give on how to best adapt our beauty regimes with the changing seasons?
For me, the challenge is to keep my skin from shrivelling up when cooped up indoors, with the heating on full blast all winter. Simple things like placing bowls of water under radiators help keep moisture in the air. Lots of fresh air helps, too, plus good fats and omegas in your diet to help the skin's lipid barrier stay strong and keep water in.
What is the top beauty myth, in your opinion?
Drinking two litres of water a day for good skin. You need to eat your water for it to get near the skin cells - in watery veg/fruit like melons or cucumbers - when you keep drinking, it just flushes through the bowel.
What's your top aim with the upcoming Future Beauty Show?
With Future Beauty Show (futurebeautyshow.com), my aim is to give regular women the access I've had to the aesthetics market, to enable them to research all of the options now available in one place and to educate themselves as to the pros and cons of all treatments, invasive or not. We've also rounded up some of the most brilliant Irish medical experts in the fields of dermatology, plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry and cosmetic medicine to openly discuss and debate the best options for the most pressing concerns that women present with today.