Skincare tips: fresh-faced beauty

Liz Coggins

A basic guide to healthy and toned skin



Every year we are bombarded by so many advertising campaigns and column inches extolling the virtues of new and miraculous skincare products that even the most “dedicated follower of beauty” gets muddled by all this technical information.

If we want to keep our skin healthy and toned it does need a little help and some tender loving care. Exfoliating, toning and moisturising are three of the simplest ways to keep skin looking good - whatever its type -–and give the best results.

Exfoliate for a radiant glow 

So why do we need to exfoliate? Exfoliation on a regular basis gives the skin a radiant, healthy glow. It improves the texture of the skin, gives it a more even tone and a smoother surface.

Exfoliators, whatever type they may be, all work in the same way. The skin is constantly producing new cells and shedding old ones. A normal healthy skin renews itself in total every 28 days. As we age the whole process slows down, giving the skin a rough texture and a dull appearance. Exfoliators work by abrading the surface of the skin and peeling away the discarded cells. By doing this the skin’s basal layer is stimulated to produce fresh new cells giving the skin an improved texture and tone and a radiant glow.

Exfoliation also helps avoid in-growing hairs caused by waxing and reduces the risk of blocked pores by getting rid of dead skin cells. The dead cells can form a plug on the pore but exfoliating removes these cells, untraps the pore and stops congestion.

Exfoliate once a week if your skin is normal or dry and twice a week if the skin is oily. Always use an exfoliation product to suit your skin type.

Always avoid the eye area when exfoliating but do include the neck.

The daily use of a face flannel on the skin is also a perfect natural exfoliator to use in tandem with an exfoliation product or when there’s simply no time to fit exfoliation into your busy routine.

Tone to cleanse your pores

What does using a toner do? Toning refreshes the skin, removes any excess oil and closes the pores. Apply your toner with either a pad of cotton wool or decant some into a spray. If your skin is dry or sensitive, choose a gentle alcohol-free toner or a toning water such as Stella McCartney’s Toning Floral Water (around £22) or Lush’s Eau Roma Water (around £6.25). Oily skins should opt for a toner with a clarifying agent that reduces oil such as Clarins Clarifying Lotion for Oily Skin (around £14) or The Body Shop‘s Seaweed Clarifying Toner (around £6.50). Favourite toners for normal skin are Lancome’s Tonique Douceur (around £18.50) and Tesco’s Skin Wisdom Daily Care Refining Toner (around £2.29).

Mineral water decanted into a spray and kept in the fridge makes a wonderful face cooler and toner for hot weather or travelling.

Read more about summer beauty 

Moisturise for hydration 

Why moisturise? The dehydrating effects of summer are over now but central heating plays just as much havoc with the delicate balance of the skin’s moisture, as can taking HRT or other medication.

Skin needs moisture constantly and water is an essential moisturiser for the skin. As we grow older, the protective film on the surface of the skin becomes less effective, giving poorer protection against water loss, whilst soap and detergents can also strip away this protective film and cause the skin to dehydrate.

Moisturising reinforces this protective barrier and prevents water loss.

Oily skin needs moisturising otherwise it can become dehydrated, so don’t think by not moisturising the oily patches will disappear - its just the opposite they will become oilier..

Dry skin is caused by lack of oil and needs a rich moisturiser that will penetrate deeply into the skin and have a strong hydrating effect.

Do remember, whatever your skin type, to let your moisturiser rest on the skin for 10 minutes before applying foundation otherwise the foundation will slip and melt into the moisturiser and not last as long.

Get tips on moisturising 

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.