by Elizabeth McCarron

Healthy Skin Habits

19 November 2018 It only takes a bit of mindfulness to begin healthy skin habits. Here are three great habits to start you on the road to better skin:

1.  I have an experiment for you: spend the rest of your day mindful of how often you touch your face. It’s amazing how we absentmindedly rest a cheek on our hand, or let a finger linger after a cough or sneeze. Think about everything you touch with your hands during the day. Then think about the germs on your hands being transferred to your face.

2.  Knackered at the end of the day? A few too many glasses of wine? A late night at the laptop working in a project? It’s often tempting to go straight to bed, but leaving makeup on throughout the night can wreak havoc on even the best skin. Always, always, always remove your makeup and moisturise before bed.

3.  Beware of miracles. The billion-pound beauty industry has deep pockets for brilliant marketing in our favourite magazines, newspapers, and websites. We’re desperate to find the fountain of youth, and will believe anyone if they tell us what we want to hear. Be sceptical of everything. There is no holy grail. But we are lucky to have tools that can slow down and sometimes even reverse the skin ageing process and help us look the best we can.

And wear sunscreen! That’s the cheapest and easiest way to prevent skin damage.

Why Bespoke?

05 November 2018 Facials have become ubiquitous; from hair salons to high street shops, day spas to department stores, everyone seems to be doing facials nowadays.

But are these facials actually good for your skin? Sometimes.

For most places, offering facials is a money spinner to complement other services—say, massage therapy or pedicures. They often use products by a company they have done a deal with (which they will try to sell you afterwards) and offer a few varieties or treatments that are crafted to appeal to a broad range of potential clients.

Of course any facial can be helpful to help exfoliate and rehydrate skin. But as every person on the planet is different, so is every person’s skin. Expecting your skin to react to a product exactly like mine reacts is pointless. Our skin tells our story, and every story is different.

Bespoke facials put the client first, not the treatment or the product or the practitioner. This is why I begin each client relationship with a 30-minute consultation where we discuss your lifestyle and your goals for your skin. I explain the treatments that are particular to your needs and we discuss how we can move forward to ensure the best results. This might mean a mask, massage, and a variety of technologies to maximise your results. If you continue treatments, I will assess your skin at each appointment and tweak the routine to get the best outcome.

It’s like seeing a physio, but for your skin. Bespoke is best - and I promise you’ll see incredible results.

It’s Peel Season!

22 October 2018 After months of sunscreen, fake tan, and maybe a little too much actual sun (especially with the cracking British weather we had!), it’s time to give your skin a break. Autumn means wind, rain, and temperatures that can go up or down a dozen degrees in a day. Our skin is easily confused at this time of year, but a few simple steps every night will help skin adjust and prepare for the long winter ahead.

Peels are the perfect way to help skin recovery. They help to decrease pigmentation and prep skin for the upcoming party season.

Peels have come a long way since Samantha in Sex & the City burned her face with a chemical peel. They are gentle, effective, and a great way to freshen up tired skin. The result is an illuminating glow that lasts for at least a month.

New Treatment: Bespoke Lifting Lumity Facial

08 October 2018 I’m aware that some people are skeptical about using facial oils, especially those with oily skin. The ones on the market today, however, have their roots in science and research, combining pure, healing oils to create potions that can help your skin look luminous.

Lumity is the gold standard of facial oils on the market today. It uses a blend of 32 botanical oils and extracts to create a gorgeous, nutrient-dense oil that helps skin maintain hydration and restore elasticity, radiance, and firmness.

Lumity contacted me in early 2018 and sent me a sample bottle. As soon as I opened the bottle, the scent, texture, and lack of greasy residue impressed me. It has become an absolute staple in my own skincare routine and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

I’ve created a facial around this beautiful product that includes inhaling the scent of may chang, mindful breathing, and massaging key acupressure points for deep relaxation followed by a manual sculpting and lifting facial.

You’ll also get a sample bottle of Lumity oil to take home.

Back to School Skincare

01 October 2018 Oh, to have a child’s skin again! Once a child is around 12, it is a great idea to start a skincare routine. Adding skincare to a child’s evening routine will help build a foundation that will serve him or her well for the coming teenage years.

For pre-teens, look for an organic cleanser without mineral oil or other chemical nasties. Follow with an oil-free moisturiser.

Teenage skin is more complex. Again, organic cleansers are the way to go. Skincare for teenagers doesn’t have to be expensive. Apple cider vinegar on a piece of cotton wool re-balances the natural pH of the skin. For moisturiser, look for something oil-free or containing salicylic acid. I don’t recommend facials for anyone under age 14. Young skin is changing all the time and can be overwhelmed by products. Once the skin has settled, facials could help with acne and other teenage skin challenges.

Your Clean and Green Routine

09 June 2018 “Clean and Green” are buzzwords in the beauty industry, so why are so many anti-ageing treatments focused on harsh chemicals, fillers, and even surgery?

As a beauty therapist and anti-ageing expert, I understand how traumatic the ageing process can be. It is easy to jump on the latest bandwagon in search of the elusive fountain of youth. But plenty of options exist that use elements found in nature that give similar and often better results.

Skincare often falls into the realm of ‘daily tasks’. Consider your skincare routine as a ritual rather than a task. Carving out a slice of time in your day where you’re solely focusing on your skin will be beneficial not only to your appearance but also to your overall wellbeing – it’s forced meditation time dedicated solely to you.

Evening rituals are often the easiest to maintain. Some people light candles, others lock the bathroom door and refuse to open it despite whining from children or pets. My skincare ritual happens immediately after I return from work. The timing is irrelevant; what matters is consistency.

Double-cleansing is a good habit to start, especially for those who wear a lot of makeup (if you don’t, double-cleansing is only necessary a few times a week). Start with an oil-based cleanser; organic coconut oil is ideal. Spend around four minutes – yes, four minutes! – working the oil into your skin in circular motions, always moving upwards. Sweep your fingertips around the eye area, work the oil into the crevasses of the nose, the top of the upper lip, the jaw line. Take your time to massage this into your skin.

Next, use a damp face cloth at a medium temperature (hot cloth cleanses aren’t good for everyone!) and sweep off the oil, rinsing the cloth in cold water and lifting off all residue.

For your second cleanse, follow all of the instructions above but use a cream cleanser instead, and consider using full-fat milk as a toner.

Whilst skin is damp, apply your serum and/or any special actives such as vitamin C, rosehip seed oil (nature’s Retinol), a nourishing oil like Lumity, or a thin layer of organic avocado or thistle oil, or almond oil for more mature skin.

Next, if you’re over 25, apply a moisturizer. Organic almond oil and olive oil make great moisturisers and are likely in your cupboard at home.

Finally, do your best to sleep on your back. If you are a side sleeper, consider investing in a silk pillowcase.

This double-cleansing routine will take around 15 to 20 minutes and will ensure that your face is in excellent shape for the 24 hours until your next double cleanse.

We’re all busy in the mornings and double-cleansing at night means you are able to skip your morning face cleansing. Never wash your face in the shower. Many products you use in the shower include harsh solvents, and the pulsation from the water strips the natural oils from your skin.

Pat your face dry when leaving the shower, don’t rub or pull your skin, then use a rosewater spritzer which is wonderfully moisturising. Next, apply your serum. I recommend hyaluronic acid, which is essentially a fancy name for a sugar that occurs naturally in our bodies. Hyaluronic acid works like a giant sponge as it has a remarkable ability to hold water in the skin, plumping it and reducing the appearance of fine lines whilst improving hydration. This, followed by your moisturizer – again, organic almond and olive oil are ideal – gives you an excellent base for your day.

Always, always, always follow your routine with an SPF. Go for something hypoallergenic and don’t worry about the chemicals – the benefits of SPF outweigh any drawbacks from chemicals. Extend your coverage to include the décolletage (think: my face ends at my chest!).

Your Clean and Green skincare routine continues throughout your day. Happy skin requires at least two litres of water a day. If you’re not a fan of plain water, make an infusion using lemon, cucumber, basil, or mint. There are countless ways to trick yourself into drinking more water; try them all until you find one that works for you.

For glowing skin, add supergreens to your diet. Wheatgrass or barleygrass powder make excellent additions to your breakfast smoothie as they make up for essential vitamins and minerals that may be missing from your diet. Including a collagen supplement is also a great way to buttress your skin health.

Finally, be mindful of your skin throughout the day. Avoid touching your skin, which is harder than it may seem! Be aware when you rest your cheek on your hand, hold a phone up to your face, or rub your forehead or brow.

Also be mindful of what you are eating. Think healthy food choices, especially fruits and vegetables. Fatty fish, avocados, broccoli, nuts and seeds, soy, and even dark chocolate and red wine are scientifically proven to improve skin health.

So what should we stay away from? A good mantra to consider: if it stings, feels harsh, or is abrasive, it’s likely causing inflammation or micro-tears in the skin. Harsh, foaming cleansers do more damage than good. Your hands and a cloth make your best cleansing tools; you don’t need machines for daily use, and some gadgets can be detrimental to your skin health.

Finally, be wary of skincare trends. For example, the currently hot 10-step Korean beauty routine is a great example of a trend that means well but is likely disturbing the natural acid balance of the skin. And just because your favourite celebrity or magazine is singing the praises of a certain product doesn’t mean it is perfect for you; it could just be excellent marketing at work.

Finding a “clean and green” routine that works for you could give your skin exceptional results. Most importantly, be mindful, both during your daily skin ritual and throughout your daily life.

Elizabeth McCarron is an anti-ageing and holistic skincare expert with expertise in non-invasive, non-surgical technology solutions. Her bespoke treatments are available at her spa in Edinburgh’s West End.
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