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Everyday women around the world are bombarded with new and improved beauty products containing revolutionary ingredients to combat the effects of ageing.

Alpha-lipoic acid, biotin, coenzyme Q10, hyaluronic acid, resveratrol – these are just a few of the ingredients hailed as the new-age power players in the quest for better and younger-looking skin.

But is this all just a very good marketing ploy by the global beauty behemoths to make us buy more products? Or could it be a case of too much care can actually be ageing you?

Experts – such as Dr Donna Marcal, a biochemist and founder of natural skin care range Dermatonics – suggest that too much might actually not be as good as you think.  Dr Marcal is encouraging women to rethink their skincare regime after a recent US study revealed that the average woman is putting 168 ingredients on their face daily.

Here is Dr Marcal’s advice for healthy, beautiful skin:

Healthy Skin Care

We all want that glowing skin with a youthful appearance. We want to look younger than what we are, definitely not older than what we are! We do our best to take care of ourselves both inside and out. Some of us are not doing nearly enough and some are doing way too much to our skin and actually irritating and ageing our skin.

Keeping your skin hydrated is key to slowing down the ageing process. We need to hydrate our skin from the inside and out. It is important to use a really good skin care product that won’t just sit on the top of your skin, but will actually absorb well into your skin. If your skin feels nice and matte after applying a moisturiser, that’s not a bad thing! Your skin has absorbed the product well. If your skin feels greasy after you apply a moisturiser, the product is probably too oily or occlusive. Occlusive products are good only for certain conditions like eczema or severely dry skin. For oily or acne prone skin, occlusive is definitely a bad thing that can contribute to your breakouts.

Knowledge is Beautiful

Get to know your ingredients! Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is an ingredient in your product you don’t understand, find out about it. Not all ‘chemicals’ are bad. Some very safe ingredients that are natural, will have chemical names as well. It’s all about knowing what you are putting on your face. Don’t just be sold by a good story, it’s important to know what is in (or even better, NOT in) your products. Not all harsh chemicals will be dangerous or carcinogenic, but there are many that are very harsh and irritating for your skin. These ingredients can lead to skin damage, trigger eczema or contribute to your breakouts. 

Some key ingredients to stay away from are phthalates, parabens, triclosan, petrochemical-based products and harsh sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate. Phthalates, parabens and triclosan are potential hormone disrupters, so it’s best to stay away from those ingredients. Petrochemical products can also have potential harsh effects, with some ingredients also being potential carcinogens. Sulfates and also fragrances and alcohols can be very irritating to the face. When you irritate the skin, you damage this important protective barrier. This then leads to susceptibility to exposure to chemicals you are normally protected from, infection and also dehydration.

All in Moderation

Moderation is key! Let’s talk not doing enough for our skin. For us time poor women, it is very easy to not take care of ourselves enough. It is so important to remove the dirt and make up from our day and not get lazy and leave it. That is one of the WORST things we can do. Did you know that repeatedly forgetting to wash off make up can possibly age your skin up to 7 times faster! Invest in a good cleanser and moisturiser and wash your face at least once a day before you go to bed, and remember to hydrate it with a really good moisturiser. The icing on the cake would be a really good eye cream to battle those crows feet and fine lines. It’s even better to do this BEFORE you actually start seeing the signs of ageing. Do this for your skin every day and your skin with thank you! It is also key though to make sure we are not OVER treating our skin as well. Getting facial treatments, such as microdermabrasion, are a great boost for your skin. We need to make sure we don’t overdo these treatments. See a good skin specialist to analyse your skin properly and design the best skin care regime for YOU, everyone is different. It’s best, like seeing a good GP, to be loyal to your skin care specialist at they will be able to track the changes in your skin and adapt their treatments to what is going on with not only the skin on your face, with your body as well. A good specialist will treat you has a whole, not just your face, advise you of excellent skin care products to use for your skin, and will actually know what the ingredients are in your skin care products.

Donna Marcal is a biochemist who founded a natural skin care range.

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