How did becoming a mother result in dull, grey skin? Well, I’ve been sat here for an hour now charting what happens to your skin and all the factors that weigh in against the glow, AND I BORED MYSELF. So I’ve deleted it all and all you really need to know is this:
SLEEP DEPRIVATION = less time for cells to regenerate and churn out nice fresh new skin cells + possible excess oil to make up for dryness + shitty hormones spiking + all sort of other pants stuff. = dullness, congestion, grey complexion, i.e. buh-bye, glow.
But there is hope. Nothing that will make you appear 10 years younger or cheat the sleep, but several things that actually shock me everytime I do them. Products that I use and then feel I ought to contact the maker afterwards to ask, “DO PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THIS?” And I’m a fairly cynical / dried-up old bird. Basically, the answer is exfoliation, but the methods are various and so here’s a quick round-up of my favourites so you can find the one best suited to your skin, your budget and your window of opportunity.
- THE MASK – no scrubbing required but does take around 10 minutes. My favourite is the GLAM GLOW TINGLEXFOLIATE, which is the only one to illicit the yell, “OH MY GOD EVERYONE COME LOOK AT MY FACE!” The tingle can be quite intense so this is not for sensitive types – I have combination skin with a sensitive chin (i.e. it hates people saying how big it is) and I can still brave the world straight after a dose. It is £49.99 for a teeny 50g pot, so if that’s too much (understandably), try Caudalie’s Instant Detox Mask instead – £22 for 75ml, similar tingle just not quite as deep down, jaw-droppingly thorough.
- THE CHEMICAL EXFOLIANT – I have this generous 200ml tube of AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser £34 in the shower – there are tiny jojoba beads in here, so it’s almost a granular scrub, but they’re barely perceptible so I think of this more as a chemical alternative. Salicylic Acid hoovers pores, while Glycolic and Lactic Acids clear surface debris and clarify the skin. Good for congested skin.
- THE TONER – PIXI Beauty Glow Tonic £18 is the fastest of all. Simply douse a cotton pad, wipe over the face and you’re done. It too has Glycolic Acid but in a fairly low 5% dosage so it shouldn’t irritate. I still like to rinse afterwards, just because I’m a bit scared of Glycolic hanging around for too long, especially if I’m heading outside where the sun might show itself.
Always be sun aware when you’ve been using exfoliants, especially Glycolic Acid – keep that SPF high.
PREGNANT or SENSITIVE – If you’re pregnant your skin will likely be more sensitive than usual, and more prone to redness, in which case I’d recommend the REN Skincare Clear Calm range – they tackle imbalance within the skin is a cool, soothing way, and their clay cleanser will still work on congestion without stripping skin of all it needs. It’s also ideal for sensitive skin. During pregnancy certain ingredients such as retinol and salicylic acid are best avoided according to dermatologist, Dr Ariel Haus – check her full list on an older post here – it’s probably worth observing this ban if your skin is super sensitive the other side of pregnancy, too. There are some more useful products here for you, especially the Avene masks. Finally, you can’t beat Emma Hardie’s Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm for a gentler deep-clean sensation, and it’s entirely safe to use during pregnancy I am assured. Massage off with a flannel or her own microfibre cloth = gentle exfoliation.