I was happily going through life assuming my skin was in perfect nick for my age. Then I had my first (honest) skin consultation and learned the truth...
There I was, going along in life thinking my skin was decent. Trust me when I say there's not a massive amount to give me compliments on (terrible hair, a body that's best left swathed in a triple layer of clothing, features that look great on my dad but no so great on me, a woman), but I've been very lucky to have skin that doesn't give me hassle and that, in general, people comment on and say it looks good.
How wrong I was...
I would have described my skin as a little dry, with a bit of an issue with texture if I don't exfoliate and also a LOT of surface redness. Any bit of heat or embarrassment or exercise or spicy food and my cheeks are instantly red. But apart from that, it don't get spots, my make-up goes on well, and a little bit of Botox once a year has kept a hold on my wrinkles forming.
I've always been pretty okay with skincare - it comes with the job - and so I've been double cleansing, using eye cream and experimenting with acids for a long time. I legitimately did not expect to be told I'm getting it all wrong. But that's what happened... And I'm really glad it did.
An honest consultation
I was booked in for a skin consultation with Renaissance Skin Clinic in Howth. Image Skincare, a brand I really rate, were launching some new products, but they wanted to give me the right ones instead of just sending out any old thing, so I went along.
I've had many similar ones in the past, and I'm not sure if the rest of the skin experts were lying to me, afraid to tell me the truth, or just weren't as good at what they do as Kristina Viskontaite, the aesthetic therapist that saw me at Renaissance.
Kristina cleansed my skin thoroughly and then took a load of pictures of my clean skin in a special machine that shows up oil, sun damage and every other piece of evidence of skin neglect.
"Your skin is angry at you."
Instead of the "your skin is grand, keep up your usual routine and add these new items" which is the line I usually get, Kristina told me my skin was angry at me, and asked me what I'd been doing to it.
She asked me more questions than a bank before they approve a mortgage, and I felt very seen - I was impressed and also a little embarrassed. I'm supposed to have good skin! That's a thing I have! Isn't it?! Well, no.
Turns out, I didn't even know my skin type. I've got normal to oily skin, that's currently dehydrated. All the chopping and changing of products I do as part of my job was causing havoc. To say I was shook to receive this new information would be understating things.
A new plan
But I was relieved and excited - Kristina wasn't just going to tell me my skin problems and send me on my way. She sat down and explained to me in detail what my routine would look like for the next four weeks.
Turns out, consistency is key when it comes to products. Yeswas to use certain things (a balancing cleanser, a youth restore serum, an SPF50 and a retinol night time mask) but using them consistently was what was going to help.
What I learned
Trust me to go into a skin consultation all smug, thinking I'm not going to learn anything new. Scarlet for me, etc. Here are the main things I took from the consultation.
- Never assume you know your skin type, let a professional assess it.
- Consistency is key with skincare.
- You don't have to use all the same brand all at once, but the same selection of products.
- Never, ever, ever neglect your SPF use. Even in winter.
- If you are struggling to get a handle on your skin, look to a professional for advice.
- Trust the process. If you stay consistent, you'll see results.