There are days when to one’s utter dismay, the half-asleep wobble into the shower is accompanied by a glance in the mirror, and a horrified shriek. Completely sneakily, and full of turpitude, your skin has decided it hates you. Blotchy, red, angry, probably with spots, and also weirdly dry and tight, these skin days are the worst.
Your immediate reaction is probably to scrub your face, then pile on as many layers of makeup as possible until you resemble a little clay mountain. I’m here, however, to suggest an alternative reaction.
First things first, relax. Stress-skin is real, people. And so is PMTOTF (pre-menstrual-turbulence-of-the-face). Take a few deep breaths. Rinse your face with cold water, and maybe have some camomile tea. Ok. Now. Solutions.
Take an anti-histamine*. This will block the receptors in the skin that are causing the inflammation and redness, and discomfort, just like in an allergic reaction. Next, I suggest you follow my little trick of applying some redness reducing eye drops on the worst spots, to bring them down a bit.
Think about the last few days. Your skin didn’t just do this on its own. Have you changed anything in your skincare routine? Some new night cream? Or, have you spent the last few days eating some real rubbish? Did you munch down on a Nerds Rope, a.k.a. pure sugar, on the way home yesterday, as I did? (Mistake). Rough few days at work, combined with all of the above? There are myriad choices. Reverse them.
Let’s focus on the internal first. Over the next few days, drink a ton of water. If you think you’ve had enough, drink some more. Immediately cut out sugar and dairy, or at least bring them to an absolute minimum. Eat tons of salmon, or take fish oil. Try not to eat too late in the evening. You know all these.
Then external. Wash your face. I’m not talking about the regular little bit of sudsing that you probably do normally, but some real deep cleaning. Morning and night, wash your face twice with a soothing cleanser. Once for the makeup, and once for the underlying impurities. Preferably with a clean washcloth. In the evening, preface the washing with a cleansing oil or balm, to get rid of all the pollution, sweat and most of your makeup. Shu Uemura’s is the gold standard, because it blooms in water and rinses off easily, but it is rather expensive, and there are many others out there. And don’t forget toner! This highly underrated product is exactly what your skin needs to perk up and be thoroughly cleaned.
Don’t stop moisturising – your skin needs nourishment and hydration to heal. It also probably was too dry to begin with, which causes stress and sebum overproduction. During the day, use your regular day cream (without SPF, as this can clog your pores. Use makeup with SPF to get your sun protection fix.) Before you apply covering makeup, use a little bit of Aesop’s terribly clever little product called Control to cover and protect blemishes. Made with a base of Aloe Vera gel, this clear gel goes on slightly goopily, and becomes quite sticky as it dries. It’s packed full of healing and exfoliating ingredients such as niacinamide and a version of Vitamin C, but also soothes, and the texture forms a protective patch over the blemish as well as holding the concealer for longer. Genius.
In terms of concealer, any one will do. A slightly drier-textured one will hold longer, but use what you like. I like to use this Clinique one with salicylic acid underneath foundation, with other concealers on top of the foundation, because it is super matte, super dry, doesn’t move all day, and is incredibly high coverage.
At night, use my secret weapon of Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion. As your skin heals, I would suggest also using the miracle workers of Madecassol and SVR Lysalpha Cicapeel Gel, alternately, to make it happen faster.
Above all, think about what has happened in the last few days, and learn from it! I am not an expert with that, Nerds Ropes being so yummy, but I am pretty au fait at dealing with the consequences.
*I should stress, strenuously, that I am not a doctor. One tablet will bring down the redness and reactive swelling, but don’t be silly. Don’t mess with any other medication, and if you are the slightest bit doubtful, don’t take it.