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Be your own Skincare Guru – A new series on the blog – What is Skin?

April 15, 2018

Skincare. Its a minefield isn’t it? Every product house and brand wants to tell you that their lotion and potion is your miracle you have been looking for. We are literally inundated with the choices available to us in the “must have” products. Trust me, even in my job as a skincare therapist for 20 years, when I went to trade shows, we too were told by providers that we must have this that or the the other in our clinic for our clients. I can see why people get over whelmed and confused. I want to help you become more knowledgable in your own skincare, so you hopefully, can make more informed choices when choosing your skincare. Im not selling anything, Im not focusing on a certain brand or product, just sharing my inner nerd with you all. Im also hoping to get a few of my friends in the trade, that are experts in their field, to do some guest posting for us over time. Im excited to speak skin with you!

me in my full work uniform

I know, Im the ultimate in glamour – full work mode

I get a few messages asking me about skin care, and I am always happy to try to help, but I thought I would introduce a new series onto the blog, trying to break down the confusion, and arm you all with a little more knowledge. Its going to be generic advice and information, as Im sure you can understand, without looking at and analysing your skin, I couldn’t give you specific advise for your skin. Does that make sense? This series is purely to help you understand what you could or may benefit from, what some of the ingredients actually mean and do, and how you could help improve and maintain your own skin. It also, hopefully, means when you go to purchase skincare, you will have a little of your own knowledge and understanding to start with. It wont be brand or product focused, but it will hopefully help you not make expensive mistakes buying skincare not suitable for you. We have all been there!  I thought I would start with the very basics and move on through with each post in the series, so some of this may be what you already know! I aim to post at least once a month on this topic. I am of course, more than happy for you to give me suggestions on what you would like to see covered too. I really hope this series is helpful xx

A little about me.

I trained as a beauty therapist 20 years ago, after deciding I wanted a change of career (I was working as a financial advisor). I had always had an interest in holistic health and alternative therapy, and had trained in massage a few years prior. Working in my first therapist position after qualifying, I knew immediately that skincare was the area that floated my boat. This was further cemented when a cousin that I was close to, broke out in sever acne and it affected her metal health dramatically. It was incredibly upsetting to see a young girl, socially crippled because of her skin. I started looking at ways to help her, and my love of skincare intensified. Even now, problematic skins are my thing, especially in teenagers. It breaks my heart how their confidence is so affected. I have studied with many skincare collages and skincare brands, and have completed a trillion courses and lectures from skin professionals. I am a skincare nerd, I just love it!  I also worked as a trainer for a while, teaching students the basics. I closed my own skin clinic in 2017, but still work 2 1/2 days a week as a skin therapist.

So, what is skin?

Seems a daft question eh? But I think to understand how to treat skin, you need to understand what it is! You all probably know that it is the largest organ in the body. You wear your skin all day, every day, yet sometimes, don’t take care of it. Think of the times you have perhaps, paid more than you want for an outfit for that special occasion, yet paying out for skincare makes your eyes bulge! That dosent really make a lot of sense if we cut to the chase. The dress you may wear once or twice, or the skin you wear constantly. Hmmmm, which one should you look after more……..?

I think in part, some of this reluctance to invest in skincare is because the products you have bought in the past, you haven’t really seen any improvements with? I totally get that. We trust in the marketing, the influencers youtube video or blog post, the latest celeb endorsing a product and spend our hard earned cash, to sometimes feel a little let down and un-impressed. Trust me, I get it! Im hoping that making you a little more informed about the choices you make, might help you find the right things for your skin, but also not believe everything you are told!

Basically, a lot of the skincare available to buy treats skin in a superficial way no matter what the price tag may lead you to think. Its not bad, but it works only on the top layer of the skin. Well, what you may not know is that most of this top layer, will already be dead, so your efforts may smooth, temporarily puff up and soften this layer, but it cant un-dead it! Does that make sense? Whats dead stays dead!

We also have a lot of ingredients in over the counter skincare, that is not found in the skin naturally, so the skin cant absorb it. I mean, our skin dosent have diamond dust, oil from a walnut or crushed rose petals in it, so its not going to allow the skin to absorb these. The lotions and potions will of course smell nice, temporarily make the skin feel nice, feel luxurious and make you feel all fancy, but as to their effectiveness on improving the skin, Im afraid its not going to move mountains. A really simple way of giving you a visual explanation of what I’m saying here, if our skin was able to absorb everything that we put on it, what do you think would happen when we got in the shower or bath? Yep, we would emerge 50 stone heavier where our skin had “absorbed” the water pouring onto it. It aint happenin! The skin is actually there to protect the inside, so is actually a barrier keeping stuff out. Does that make it easier to visualise?

pot of face cream

Photo by Dana Tentis from Pexels

So, the skincare that you should be looking at for improving your skin, and really giving results, is skincare that contains the ingredients that are already in the skin (vitamins, peptides etc, we will discuss these in a future post). The skin recognises these ingredients, and “lets it in” Are you all still with me?? Have I lost anyone yet? So in simple terms, we should be looking at skincare that replicates the good stuff that our skin had in it in abundance, when we were younger. We treat it like the organ that it is, give it the ingredients it recognises and needs, and bobs your uncle, we should see skin improvements!

There are two main types of skincare available to us. Cosmetics and Cosmecuticals. A cosmetic range, is on the most part, the products that you can freely buy over the counter, in Boots, department stores etc, or without any skin consultation. They work on the skin in a cosmetic, superficial way, and generally speaking, dont have high levels of active ingredients in.

Active ingredients are the ingredients responsible for making a product work. In a cosmetic range, the active ingredients can only be low level and strength. A product may for example, inform you it contains peptides” loud and clear on the label, and yep, it may well do, but it could literally be 1%.  A cosmecutical range will contain high levels of active ingredients, be medically graded, and have been clinically proven to improve the condition of the skin. These higher levels of active ingredients can have side effects, and should be used with guidance, which is why they can only be bought after consultation. I am not saying all cosmetic ranges are rubbish, not in the slightest, but, if you are serious about skincare and improving your skin, a cosmecutical range, especially in moisturisers and serums, will give more bang for your buck (and often a similar price). Winner!

Phew! We are there! I hope that I have made this easy to understand? I am going to leave this first part here as I don’t want to over geek out, (I did warn you Im a nerd). My aim is to strip everything right back to basics, and build up from there so it all, hopefully makes sense when we get to the nitty gritty! The next post in the series will be about the different skin types and some common conditions.

Please, feel free to ask any questions or tell me what you would like to know about. Did this make sense? Have I broken it down enough? Please give as much feedback as you like. Those of you that know my blog know I am all about the honesty and appreciate your input. This is a new series to the blog, but one I am passionate about so want you to get what you need from it.


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30 responses to “Be your own Skincare Guru – A new series on the blog – What is Skin?”

  1. Lise says:

    Already loving this series, Kerry! I don’t know a whole lot about skincare because when I was younger my skin was doing fine on it’s own, but now as I’m nearing my 30’s (and having the lineage I do with women who turn grey when they’re very young and age quickly) I can tell that my skin needs some more TLC. Looking forward to your future posts xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhh thank you so much! This makes me happy. Thats the thing with skin, it can be ever changing, and affected by so many factors. I hope I help with future posts. Im so excited for this series xx Thank you for your feedback x

  2. Great post Kerry. I’m that person who is standing in front of skincare products looking slightly bewildered with the rows and rows of jars and bottles that claim to work wonders. Years ago you bought a cleanser, toner and moisturiser and that was it. These days it seems that I need to fill my bathroom shelf with serums, oils, exfolliators, eye creams, night creams, masks etc etc. I don’t have a big budget and I could end up spending a fortune if I bought it all! Thank you for demystifying skincare and products. You’ve explained things perfectly so that anyone can understand. Can’t wait to read more posts. xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhh that is so good to hear! You are exactly the person that I really, really want to aid to make those decisions. I KNOW how overwhelming it can be. I have made costly mistakes in the past myself, so know exactly what you mean. I promise to try to take the mystery out of it all for those that want me to. I have the second and third posts written already! Its like I have been given permission to release my inner nerd on you all haha! Thank you for reading xxx

  3. This is so useful. I am really looking forward to your next post. I am having real trouble with my skin at the moment. Having had no problem at all in the past (and only the occasional spot as a teen) my skin has had a breakout ever since January and my face feels constantly dry. I think the skin even feels thinner. I am putting it down to the severe and ongoing stress that I have been under for some time (hence my blog!) and the fact that as I am very nearly 30 my skin will probably be starting to change anyway but I have no clue about how to make it feel and look better. I will be watching your series eagerly for any clues you might provide! Thanks for sharing your expertise 🙂 🙂

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      oh thank you so much for the feedback. It can be so frustrating when our skin starts to misbehave for what seems like no reason, but, in almost all cases, there is always a reason! Stress can play a huge part in how our skin behaves, and the ares of where the breakouts occur can give clues to what the problem could be. (I studied Chinese face mapping and Dermalogica face mapping) I really hope that I can help people be able to make better, informed choices when it comes to their skin, and am so excited to write this series. I really hope it is of use xxx Thank you for reading, go back t basics a little and make sure you get enough sleep, drink enough water, and are using a good moisturiser xxx

      • Sorry for late reply…i’ve been on holiday (woop!). Thanks for your advice. The more sleep part is impossible with my son but a girl can always dream! It is so nice of you to be sharing all your knowledge. Hopefully my skin will clear up soon…got a very important appointment on Wednesday which has been stressing me out for a couple of months.

  4. Susanne says:

    Thank you for a very good post! I’ve always had skin problems, with acne, except up to 10 years when I only had acne around my menstruation, after I had had a couple of courses of Roaccutane. Since at least 2009-ish I’ve had adult acne, but never used any specific products because everything I’ve ever used was, well, useless. Now I’ve started using a brand that a lady in church works with and this is the only series of products that has ever worked, my skin has been clear since around February until about a week ago, which hasn’t happened since I was.. 20 (when I was on Roaccutane)? Right now my skin is a disaster again and it can either be because of that time of the month (let’s hope) or because I’m recovering from a very bad IBD flare and started eating certain things again, so it can also be because of that. I guess I’ll see in a week or two if my skin goes back to being nice and clear.
    Just like the people you mention, my skin issues have caused me a lot of misery and during the time my skin has been good, I’ve seen a huge effect on my self confidence and generally how I see myself. I don’t think I’ve understood that correlation earlier because I’ve been so used to having bad skin.

    It’s very interesting to read your points about skincare and I will definitely follow and read the rest of the series!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      No one should ever underestimate the debilitation that skin issues can cause. Honestly, it is so upsetting to see, as well as suffer from. Its what fuels my passion for skincare. I am treating one of my sons friends at the moment as he has totally lost his confidence due to his skin, and very rarely goes out, it makes my heart ache. I am hoping that in this series, I can help people understand their skin a little, break down some of the mystery, terms and ingredients, and maybe help stop them making costly mistakes! We are bamboozled, absolutely inundated with information and product recommendations, its so hard for people! I really hope this series helps a little, Im excited to write it xxx Thank you so much for stopping by, I hope your skin settles in a week or two. Diet can play a huge part, and as boring as it sounds, going back to basics, non-processed food etc can help xxx

      • Susanne says:

        Non-processed food is the best and least boring food in my opinion!! The only processed food i eat is my bread (unless I bake my own) and possibly something else that I can’t think of right now. I guess time will tell if it’s hormones or something I eat.

  5. Jean says:

    WOW Kerry, such a wonderful informative blog, talk about make things easier in understanding all the hype that goes alongside skin care products. I feel when next purchasing skin care items I know what to look for and will be armed with a good understanding. Can’t wait for the next blog.

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhh Im so happy you found it useful. I try to reign back my nerdiness, so I am so happy you found it easy to understand. I really hope the series helps people with the mystery of it all! Thanks for reading x

  6. So happy you decided to do this series and I’m looking forward to what else you have to share!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Thank you my lovely, and thank you for your support. Im so excited to write this series. I get to release my inner nerd on you all haha!

  7. Love this kerry. I already know quite a bit as I’ve loved everything skincare since my teens but always eager to learn more so can’t wait for the next instalment

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Oh thats great that you already know so much. Maybe you are already your own guru! xx Thanks for reading xxx

  8. Susanna says:

    Great post Kerry. Skincare is such a minefield out there and I’m like a headless chicken choosing what’s best for me..! Looking forward to the next post. Susanna xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Hi Susanna, thank you so much for stopping by x. Im so glad you enjoyed it and I totally agree, choosing the right skincare can be overwhelming and confusing. I really hope this series helps you with decisions etc. Thank you for reading xx

  9. Sandra says:

    Love your post! I learned so much and can hardly wait to read more!

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ohhh Im so pleased to hear that! I can get a little over excited about the whole skincare subject, so have to reel myself in haha! Im excited to share with you all xx Thank you so much for reading xx

  10. I’m so excited for this series Kerry! I’m sure each post will be super interesting and helpful. Skincare is something I don’t know a massive amount about, I only started having a proper skincare routine about a year ago!xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Well you have made a huge step in the right direction by even starting a routine, so well done you xx. I really hope it is a useful series, Im excited to share everything with you all. Thank you for your support xxx

  11. This is incredibly useful information. ♥️ looking forward to reading the next one. 🙌🏼

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Thank you so much! I am happy you found it of use. I am so excited to talk skin with you all! Thanks for reading x

  12. Clayaa says:

    Love this post Kerry! I am so so excited for this series and I’ve always wanted someone to just explain everything Skincare related! You’re going to help a lot of people with his and you explained it all so well! Can’t wait for the other posts 🙂 Clare xx | https://www.clayaa.com

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Ahhh thank you so much! That is so good to hear, and Im so pleased it was easy to understand. I can get a bit carried away with skincare talk haha! I really appreciate the feedback, thank you xxx

  13. Ahh I thought I’d already commented on this! I’m so happy you’re starting this series, I agree that skincare can be so overwhelming with the sheer number of products out there, but it’s so nice to hear about it from someone who knows what they’re doing and has lots of experience working with actual clients. Can’t wait to read more! xx

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Thank you, Im so happy that you think it may help. Its difficult with skin as there is such conflicting advice everywhere. Thats why i thought ok, break it all down, people can make up their own minds then with a little knowledge behind them. Thanks for reading lovely lady xxx

  14. Such a fab post! Skincare is something I’m trying to get better at so this series is very much what I need! It really can be so overwhelmingly stressful trying to work out long words and chemical composition and what my skin actually needs 🙈 I’m really wanting to curb the lines before they become a permanent fixture xo

    • kerrylifeandloves says:

      Im so glad that you think it will be useful. Skincare is so tricky as we are literally bombarded with product recommendations wherever we turn! Thats why I want to go back to basics, people can make choices then with a little more knowledge, (hopefully) haha! Thank you so much for reading, Im excited to talk skin with everyone xxx

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