Let’s face it – there are a fair few decades that should be resigned to the bottom of the pile when it comes to fashion. Whilst I wasn’t alive to recount any fashion faux pas from the swinging sixties, the seventies and eighties ushered in a whole raft of interesting looks that frankly didn’t suit anyone! Bell-bottomed flares, tank tops and perms were certainly a staple, which swiftly made way for crop tops, neon and back combed hair as we were asked to ‘Relax’ and ‘Pump up the Volume’ through the eighties!
Skincare like fashion was at best limited and at it’s worst a concoction of heady smelling perfume and industrial grade chemicals. Manufacturers of skincare products targeted mature ladies with hopes of having dewy, soft focus skin to match their Farrah Fawcett waves and teenagers were offered a blemish free existence, in exchange for a layer of chemical paint stripper. There was no male influence to skincare other than ‘Old Spice’ or ‘Brut’ aftershave, where it was positioned as a masculine effort to ‘splash it all over!’ which frankly, most did!
Whilst fashion thankfully then moved on, the idea of a skincare routine took some years to catch up – leaving us without the bad perm and backcombed hair but still wanting for a fresh complexion. Thankfully the technology was limited and the pictures more forgiving, however, today we expect more and have access to experts, influencers and media to help us navigate our way into better habits.
Whilst we could of course have listened to our mothers or grandmothers on the rights and wrongs of skincare the truth is, good or bad, habits are hard to break and we want better for the next generation, for our children and grandchildren. Building good habits from the start after all is better than spending several years trying to break them and whilst my mothers advice to pour vinegar on our hair has left us with shiny locks, fish and chips will never be the same again!
Generations of research thankfully have driven a much better understanding of tween and teenage skin issues, the most common of which being acne. No longer is the advice to use alcohol and stringent types of solutions or to lance the spot, the opposite is true and big steps towards monitoring the skins PH levels through those tricky pubescent years has gone a long way to reversing this old-fashioned and often painful view.
There’s also a lot to take on board as a young adult and let’s face it – no pun intended – your skincare routine isn’t right there at the top of the list! However, bad skin can cause all manner of confidence issues through these tricky times, so any help on navigating this wilderness could save a lot of unnecessary heartache! So the essentials are to keep it simple and start young with good habits and disciplines that will see you through well into your 20’s and beyond…
Here’s our top 5 tips to starting as you mean to go on…
Tip One: Make-Up
OK – we know there’s a massive market for make-up and we love it – who doesn’t like a pop of red lip and a smokey eye, but the best years of our skin’s life is during our teenage and early twenties – so don’t cover up – show it off! And, once you are done – cleanse it off!!
Tip Two: Sun
We’ve all been there – wanting a luscious tan when all we get is single red burn stripes, so accept that not all skin tans and no skin tans safely without sun protection.
Also, get into the habit early and always try and find sunscreen that doesn’t contain a shed load of chemicals (look out for oxybenzone, octinoxate (octylmethoxycinnamate), homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone, many of which are endocrine disruptors)* and not good in particular for bodies going through development.
Tip Three: Water
Do not wash the face with water that’s too hot or too cold. Hot water makes the pores expand and enhances sebaceous excretions. Cold water constricts blood vessels and leads to a lack of supply to the skin.
Tip Four: Environment
A generation that’s more in-tune socially and culturally with the environment than ever before most teenagers are aware of the impact of cosmetics, essential oils, plastics and chemicals into the environment so this is one habit that may come very naturally. Always look out for waterless products that are organic so you know where the products come from. Consider how the products will get to you and how they will be recycled after you. Pass on this habit to your mothers and grandmothers, they will be investing in your future!
Tip Five: Screen Time
The effects of screens on the skin have only just started to be monitored but what we do know is that the blue light that emits from screens can cause all manner of skin problems. With millennials checking their phones an average of 150 times a day – most people, on average, spend three hours and 15 minutes on our phones a day, with the top 20 per cent of smartphone users having daily screen time in excess of four and a half hours, we’re certainly getting a lot of ‘face-time’ with our phones. So wherever possible limit your time, turn off at a reasonable hour and choose to meet up rather than to dial up!
*Endocrine disruptors are scary because they’re most harmful in small doses, as they mimic the hormones that our bodies create daily and can interfere with everything from our reproductive system to our metabolism. They’re particularly bad for young people whose system is rapidly developing.