My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The 5 best face masks for glowing skin

My obsession with skin care runs to the extreme end of the spectrum when it comes to face masks, but not every mask is made equal – and some can do more harm than good. There are enough masks available to confuse the most seasoned skin care addict, and some target skin function in longer term, while others are ideal prep hours before a big event. I’ve put together a list of my top 5, to deal with the most common skin complaints.

 

  1. Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque: just like Ronseal, this one does exactly what it says on the tin.  Post-exams, post-festival or during wedding season, this one will bring a bit of life back to your poor, ashen face (but please make yourself a cocktail of dioralyte, berroca and vitamin C too).  Those of you with easily clogged pores should be careful with over doing it (although I find I can apply it once a week, after exfoliation, without any issues) and if you have dry skin a hydrating booster or spritz of a hydrating mist can really maximise its power.  A pricey enough one at fifty yo-yos, this has been a staple of mine for about 8 years now and generally lasts a good 10 months each time.
  2. Cien clay mask:  yes, from Lidl, and for a total cost of 69 cent  for two sachets – which I find gives a good six treatments if I use it only on my T-zone (and you’d have to be seriously oily to need it all over, unless god love you, you’re a teenager).  This mask contains zinc and white clay – perfect for minimising the effect of an acute breakout or keeping blackheads at bay for those prone to them. (Note for non-oily skins – I am currently testing out the other ones Lidl has available)My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  3. Patchology posh peel pedicure:  Okay, so this one is actually for your feet, but it makes the cut because it can fully be used in place of a pedicure!  I discovered this recently while in Italy, and I think it may have blown me away more than any face mask to date.  Genuinely.  As an almost daily runner, getting my feet summer ready is not usually something I attempt myself – I leave it to the experts as it involves a lot of heavy lifting.  However, this year I was up to my eyes in studying and thesis-ing, and my exam was in Italy so I never made it to the nail salon (is it even called a “nail salon” in Ireland? I feel not everyone would get the Red lotus reference though) before my flight.  Post-exam shopping involved getting lost in Sephora for a couple of hours, and this was the best reward.  I haven’t ordered from niche-beauty.com before, but it was the first site I found that had this mask and sold to Ireland…and have already clocked up a fair bit of time browsing as I write this.  I would highly recommend using this mask at least a week before you’re planning on parading your feet in public, as there is a bit of a gross, flaky period (apologies again to Aideen, and all of Positano and Sorrento).  But it is worth the manky few days (maybe don’t wear your favourite socks) – you will be left with baby soft feet, I promise.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow
  4. Garnier moisture bomb sheet mask:  just like the Cien one, this sheet mask is a heavy weight champion for under a fiver.  It’s ideal the night before a big event, especially a photo shoot or a wedding, when you need make up to sit onto skin easily, and stay in place all day.  This mask deeply hydrates your skin, and can help prevent any dry, uneven patches of foundation – especially if your coverage is a little heavier than usual.  One worked of warning for oily/easily clogged skins though: once a week max!
  5. Radial snake oxygenating & cleansing mask:  This mask is for immediate use before an event/night out etc and really seems suitable for all skin types.  Charcoal helps unclog and minimise the appearance of pores, without any need to steam/squeeze/pull off a pore strip.  The bubbles (which can be quite alarming, please note that when they say bubbles…they mean bubbles!) have what seems to be a similar effect as an oxygen facial – everything looks plumped and glowy for about 24 hours.  I didn’t find this had any long term effect on the skin,  but the instantaneous result was like an extreme version of Beauty Flash Balm, and lasted all day – so definitely great for a short term boost.My favourite masks for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

As a self-confessed mask addict, I would love to hear what your go-to mask is – or if you’ve tried any of the above? Always on the lookout for a new one to try!

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

The best supplements for glowing skin

While I do try and follow a healthy diet for the most part (weekly Wow burger habit not withstanding), and I don’t believe you should be too reliant on supplements, there are a few things I find hard to get enough of solely from food – and really recommend for that added glow.  And, with Black Friday approaching, it’s not a bad time to stock up on them.

 

Fish oils and omega 3

So what’s the deal with the omegas?  Do you need 3, 6 and 9?  No. Omega 9 is not classed as an essential fatty acid (which means your body can make it from other things), but you do need to make sure you’re getting enough 3 and 6 as your body can’t create these .  The Western diet tends to be heavy on omega 6, but not so much 3.  Omegas 6 and 3 work best when consumed in a ratio of somewhere between 1:1 and 5:1, however, many of us tend eat 15-16 times as much omega 6 as omega 3 – which throws this way out of balance.  Corn oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil and nuts and seeds all contain plenty of omega 6, but you really need to look to oily fish, along with flaxseeds and walnuts to get your omega 3.  (How many times can you say omega in one paragraph?)  I’m not great for cooking fish (or meat for that matter), so I take a fish oil supplement daily with my bulletproof coffee.  Omega 3 helps boost brain function, decrease inflammation (essential for glowing skin, regardless of your initial complaint) and improve skin moisture – sorely needed with the central heating I’ve been blasting over the past 24 hours (how am I so surprised every winter when it gets this cold?).

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

Zinc

Low zinc levels have been linked to acne, as I’ve mentioned before, and whenever I run out of it for long enough I get white flecks on my nails – another sign of zinc intake being less than optimal.  Zinc picinolate and zinc sulphate are the more easily absorbed forms – I’ve stuck to zinc picinolate (out of habit, I know where it is on the shelf)and find it works well.  Certain medications or a copper deficiency can be negatively affected by zinc supplementation, so do check with your doctor first if either might affect you.

 

Gelatin and Collagen protein powder

Vegetarians and vegans look away now – collagen protein powder appears only to come in animal based form (however, if you do come across something similar that is plant-based, please let me know).  It is dairy free though, which I like, as the more common whey based protein powder can cause a skin flare up.  I’m currently taking the Bulletproof brand of Collagelatin, which is sourced from grass-fed cows, and has a similar nutrient profile to the oh-so-fashionable “bone broth” – basically loaded with amino acids and collagen that can benefit your skin, joints and bones, and help with weight management (it fills you up).  But it is a hell of a lot easier to prepare than broth – I blend mine in coffee, and have also made raspberry jellies with it (not quite as time intensive as bone broth – have you seen the advised cooking times for that stuff? 12 hours appears standard.  Ain’t nobody got time for that – incidentally though, Dunnes Stores do a decent one in their fresh foods/fridge section).  Gelatin can also facilitate healing of the lining of your stomach and reduce inflammation – and can reduce wrinkles and cellulite – so once again leading the way toward clear, glowing skin.

Supplements for glowing skin | The Daily Glow

 

Currently I take the above supplements every day (or I will be again as soon as my order from discountsupplements.ie arrives – I am running low) along with magnesium and a B vitamin.  This is the combination that I have found works well for me, after a lot of trial and error – I wouldn’t recommend that recipe as an across-the-board combination for everyone, but I’d love to hear what you would recommend, and please mail me if you’ve any questions about brands or formulations.

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The Daily Glow | The benefits of Turmeric

The Benefits of Turmeric

Following on from my last post, about how to ease aching muscles, I’m making myself feel even better about being sore post-exercise (and feeling old), by reading up about the inflammatory effects of too much exercise.  Yes…you read that correctly, exercise can cause inflammation, if you over do it – even though moderate exercise is widely touted for it’s healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits (especially the effect sweating can have on your skin).

The Daily Glow | Too much exercise can be inflammatory

Turmeric has come up again, and again as an anti-inflammatory.  Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial actions, along with hypoglycaemic (decreasing blood sugar) and wound-healing properties.  Anti-cancer properties have also been found, with curcumin being shown to affect the same targets as chemotherapy in some studies.

Inflammation is a causative factor in countless diseases and conditions, and this study even recommends curcumin as a safe and cheap way to reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease, along with conventional treatment.  Lack of sleep, too much sugar and just generally not taking care of yourself can lead to increased inflammation – so including turmeric in your diet can be an easy way to reduce it.

Turmeric is also a common ingredient in DIY face masks – its anti-inflammatory effects are great for calming down acne, while it also targets hyperpigmentation. You might want stick to buying face masks with turmeric in them though, as home made ones can leave you with a deep Essex glow (and from personal experience, it takes a while to fade – not the best beauty prep for an event or night out!).

The Daily Glow | The benefits of Turmeric

You can add it to curries and stir fries, but I drink it in a tea/hot water as I don’t get the chance to cook as often as I would like to.  I aim to take in 2 teaspoons a day, one in the morning and one at night, in warm water with honey and lemon, as turmeric by itself is not so palatable. I definitely recommend using a straw, unless you’re a fan of orange-tinged teeth.  Have you ever tried turmeric?  If you have any other ideas about how to add it to your diet, I’d love to hear them.

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skin clearing series part 5: treatment of scarring and hyperpigmentation

Skin Clearing Series: Part 5 – treatment of scarring and hyperpigmentation

Apologies for the delay in finishing this series, but work, college and celebrating Ireland’s recent sporting achievements have all been a bit distracting – but finally, here is the last in the Skin Clearing Series.  One of the supposed benefits of growing older, and dealing with adult problems (like rent, career decisions, and deciding whether or not wine constitutes a food group), is the clearing up of acne.  This may not always be the case, which is why I wrote this series, and sometimes the after affects of scarring and patches of hyperpigmentation can be as frustrating and confidence-defeating as the initial spots.  I’ve already discussed how to avoid hyperpigmentation, but unfortunately most of us only worry about it after it has appeared – however despair not! There are number of products and treatments that can really help with the clarity and tone of your skin.

Skin Lightening Agents
There are a range of ingredients with skin lightening effects and they can be found in over the counter products and prescribed in greater strength by a dermatologist.  Vitamin C and retinol target pigmentation, as do liquorice extract and kojic acid.  Hydroquinone is possibly the most effective skin lightening agent, but must be used with caution as it comes with some pretty undesirable side effects.  All skin lightening agents have the capacity to make your skin more sensitive to to sun damage, and of course further hyperpigmentation – so (and I know I’m a broken record) wearing suncream is essential.  I use retinol at night time only to avoid UV exposure completely while it’s on my skin.

skin clearing series part 5: treating scarring and hyperpigmentation

Chemical Peels
There are a variety of these, and some are medical grade, while others can be performed by a beautician or aesthetician.  Samantha from Sex and the City did no favours for the facial peel’s reputation – but do keep in mind that’s not exactly the typical result!  A few hours after a low strength glycolic peel, my skin looked perfectly normal.  Chemical peels range from very gentle mandelic acid peels, to deeper, 2 weeks-of-a-paperbag-over-your-face types.  Salicylic acid is used frequently in the treatment of acne itself, as it targets excess sebum, while glycolic acid can be used to target ageing, hyperpigmented skin.  There is a limit to how much a peel can do – what essentially happens is the very outer layer of skin is removed, it works as a liquid exfoliator.  If there are areas of uneven pigmentation these can be lightened, but it may not eliminate more stubborn patches.

IPL
Intense pulsed light is sometimes inaccurately referred to as “laser” when used for treating unwanted hair growth – and is not as effective as an actual laser when it comes to hair reduction on most body areas.  However, it is very useful for treating areas of uneven pigmentation.  As with anything, IPL comes with its risks – further hyperpigmentation, along with hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin – basically the opposite of the dark patches, which can be particularly problematic in darker skin types) and scarring – although this is also very rare.

skin clearing series: treating scarring and hyperpigmentation

As with most skin related issues, prevention is key, as unfortunately these patches can be difficult to get rid of completely.  There are a couple of things you can do to limit the progress of any established pigmented areas.

  • Protect your skin: this involves suncream, peaked hats when playing sport or running and not overdoing the exfoliation, serums or vitamin C products – all of which can sensitise your skin. Those lovely (cold!) blue skied winter days can be just as damaging as the week long Irish summer.
  • Do not squeeze your spots or blackheads: trauma to the skin surface increases the likelihood of scarring and pigmentation.  If you have very congested skin, a professional facial is the best solution – even with the strictest skin care routine, you can’t beat a facialist that knows what they’re doing.  Julie in Nu Essence is my go-to lady in Dublin, but I will trek all the way to Cork for an appointment with Adoré’s Janice.
  • Avoid sun beds like the plague: I tried these once when I was much younger, as a treatment for acne and whatever you choose to do is up to you. If you add a lightening cream like hydroquinone to your skincare routine, you absolutely must avoid them while using it, and I would advise avoiding them altogether, but if you insist, please, please, please cover your face and neck.  The tan here doesn’t last very long anyway, and I promise you hyperpigmentation is far worse than a white face.  The pigmented areas also tend to darken with fake tan, so a white face with brown spots is your future anyway if you’re not careful.  St. Tropez do a daily self tanner specifically for the face, which is amazing if you don’t break out with it.  The Chanel bronzing base (which is now available in Boots) and Hoola’s liquid bronzer are excellent, non-cakey, alternatives for the more sensitive skinned of you.
  • Watch your medications: a number of antibiotics and medications make your skin more photosensitive (sensitive to sunlight).  One medication that slips below the radar however, is the contraceptive pill.  Any oestrogen containing pill (some are progesterone only), while certainly helping with spots and breakouts, can increase the likelihood of pigmentation – so skin protection is even more important.

skin clearing series part 5: treating scarring and hyperpigmentation

The forehead and cheeks/cheekbones are common areas for hyperpigmentation (hence the obsession with a peaked hat) but it can occur anywhere, including the backs of your hands.  Age spots, liver spots, brown spots – they really sound about as much fun as they are, and can be more ageing than wrinkles.  Certainly in my experience, people tend to get more frustrated with hyperpigmentation than wrinkles as it can be hard to hide, and doesn’t always have a quick fix.  Have you tried any of the above with success?  I would love to hear how you deal with these annoying patches!