beauty

"I've been a beauty editor for 5 years - these are the best skin tips I've learned."

I am a nosy creep when it comes to skincare. I love it. Love everything about it. And as a beauty editor, I spend a huge portion of my time annoying innocent dermatologists and skin experts and asking them absolutely everything: things that I wanna know, things my family and friends wanna know, things that drunk girl in the bathroom wants to know - ALL of it.

Watch: Want to skip to the part about how you can get radiant skin? Here are three easy steps to up your glow game. Post continues below.


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Why? Cause skincare is utterly DELIGHTFUL. And it can do great things to people's confidence - and I'm not talking about having perfectly flawless skin, you silly little squid.

The goal here is all about keeping your skin happy and healthy, and protecting it from the damaging effects of the sun, wind, pollution and all those other jerks.

But y'see, while skincare is 100 per cent wonderful, it's also 100 per cent confusing. There are so many brands, sooo many products, and more wild claims and sneaky social media plugs than ever before.

As such, skincare is now a very loud and overwhelming place, and it's hard to know what actually works.

Because it seems silly to waste a whole heap of expert advice, I'm going to off-load some helpful tips that can hopefully make a difference to your skin.

Let's go! 

Wear sunscreen. Every. Single. Freaking. Day.

I've written a lot of beauty content, and this is the most important thing I've learned.

I can almost hear you say 'Ugh. I already know this.' But do you actually do it?! Huh? Don't lie to me, Rachel.

As you should probably already know, not applying sunscreen in the morning is a big mistake. Huge. Besides the fact that SPF helps lower the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, it also reduces pigmentation and helps prevent premature ageing of the skin.

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Like an insufferable fool, I never used to wear sunscreen. Then I got into the beauty game and almost every expert I interviewed said not wearing sunscreen every day was the biggest, most crucial skincare mistake you can ever make. And apparently over 80 per cent of Australian women don't wear it. What. The. Sh*t. 

Now I wear it every day. Even if I'm tired, hungover, slept weird on my neck and can't be bothered. I slap that stuff on the morning and try my best to reapply it during the day. 

Still searching for 'The One'? Listen to this episode of You Beauty, where we talk about the story behind cult SPF brand, Ultra Violette. Post continues below.

So. If you've been dodging your SPF application, get on it.

Find an SPF you like - something that sits well under your makeup, doesn't make you ghostly - and wear it. Cover your face, neck, chest and ears. Cause when it comes to sun protection, more is more. 

Use a moisturiser. Even if you have oily skin.

Just regarding moisturisers - there's a lot of information floating around saying not every skin type needs to moisturise. There are even some controversial opinions out there that say no one actually needs to use a moisturiser. 

The fact is though, using a moisturiser will make your skin look and feel better. 

Although the most obvious skin type to moisturise is dry skin, oily skin can still get dehydrated. Experts say that no matter what your skin type, moisturising and giving your skin a boost of hydration will help maintain the health of your skin barrier (important).

If you don't moisturise, your skin goes into something called a 'dry skin cycle', where dead skin cells rapidly build up on the surface, meaning any products you're using won't penetrate the skin deep enough.

I remember an expert explaining me to it like this: it's kinda like asking yourself if you can survive on a slice of bread and a cup of water every day, when there’s all of these other nutrients available. Why wouldn’t you do things for your skin that would enhance your skin’s health? 

Touche. 

If you have milia or keratosis pilaris, don't squeeze them.

You guys! Milia (the little white spots on your face) and keratosis pilaris (the red bumps usually on the back of your arms) are NOT pimples and they can’t and shouldn’t be popped. So, mits off!

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Unlike your regular pimpy, these spots don’t have an opening or connection to the surface of the skin. They sit super deep under the skin’s surface and don't contain bacteria and pus (they're actually both the result of keratin build-up). By squeezing and picking at them you’re likely to cause redness, inflammation, and worse, scarring.

Instead, take a trip to your dermatologist and suss out your options. For example, a professional will be able to extract milia and remove the cyst without damaging the layers of skin around it.

Buy skincare for the ingredients.

We're all suckers for some pretty packaging, I get it, but the aim of the game is to buy something based on its ingredients - not all the fluffy claims slapped on the front of the bottle.

Look for skincare that includes ingredients like AHA's, vitamin A, peptides, antioxidants and physical UV blockers. These things are LEGIT. And they have real clinical evidence to support their effectiveness in aiding things like collagen production, increasing cell renewal and promoting younger skin. 

And obviously, expensive doesn't mean better. If I had a dollar for how many times a cheap moisturiser has worked better than a fancy moisturiser, I'd be buying that swanky Maldon Sea Salt instead of the ol' Saxa. So, be a smarty pants when it comes to selecting your skincare.

Don't spray perfume on your neck.

When a dermatologist told me this, it blew my freaking mind. It also kinda broke my heart, because I've been doing it since..forever.

The reason for this is that our skin is constantly exposed to harmful UV rays, so spraying perfume on your delicate little neck means the oil in the perfume can increase the damage. This can lead to things like skin thinning, damaged capillaries and pigmentation - all not ideal. 

What you're supposed to do instead, is just spray it on non-exposed areas, or just kinda over your clothes.

Your face stops at your boobs.

It does! It really does! The delicate skin on your neck, decolletage and chest is just as delicate, just as prone to ageing, and just as vulnerable to sun damage as the skin on your face. 

And so you must treat this area as you would your face. Make sure you always take your skincare products all the way down to your boobs - serums, sunscreen, the whole shebang.

Don't play too hard with acids.

War and pandemics aside, there may not be anything worse than going too hard with your acids. 

More is not more.

Back when I was an absolute psycho, I once used a cleanser with glycolic acid, slapped on a retinol serum and used a cream with AHAs before hopping into bed wondering if I was maybe going to be almost too radiant the next morning. 

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I literally removed a whole layer of my skin that night and woke up the next day with a puffy, red face. It was so. Damn. Irritated.

That week I was interviewing a dermatologist for an article, and before I had even started the interview, she asked me what I had been using on my skin because it looked "sore". Yay! I told her. She told me to stop what I was doing, immediately, and said it would take months to repair my skin barrier.

So, I ran out (like, after the interview) and bought a thick balm from the chemist, pared my whole routine back and started the repair process. 

It took agesss.

What I'm getting at is that yes - active ingredients are great, genuinely amazing things that can transform your skin for the better. But, they are also extremely powerful and can mess with your face if you go too hard, too fast. 

Skincare is a long game, friends. So, start slow and opt for lower strength ingredients before moving on to the hardcore guys. For example, if you're new to retinol, go for something like La Roche-Posay Redermic Retinol B3 Serum - it contains 0.3% pure retinol and is perfect for beginners.

Witch hazel isn't all that great.

Turns out this old school ingredient that we all probably have kicking around our bathroom cabinets since we were teenagers, is actually a bit of a dud. How awkward!

If you use witch hazel as your daily toner... maybe don't. Experts say that daily use of witch hazel is simply too drying and irritating for skin. While it contains anti-inflammatory components, it also delivers a heap of irritants that can make things like acne a lot worse in the long run (even if you're noticing reduced redness at first).

Don't use coconut oil on your skin.

While coconut oil has been hailed as the miracle fix for pretty much every beauty issue, any expert I've ever spoken to has said it's sh*t for your skin. 

Coconut oil is considered a comedogenic product, meaning it can actually clog your pores (it's a saturated fat) and cause your skin to breakout.

So, yeah. Good for food, not for skin.

Feature image: Supplied

Do you have some skincare tips you'd like to add? Do it! Share them with us in the comment section below.

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