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Are you a skin-tellectual?

Want to get your glow on? Start swotting up on your skincare needs. Trust us – your best-ever complexion could be just around the corner


hen was the last time you looked in the mirror? We mean really looked. If you generally just take a quick glance to make sure your lipstick is vaguely in place, then it’s time to check in with your face. Because while you’d be forgiven for thinking that wrinkles are the major offenders in making us appear less than radiant, the truth is there are lots of factors that can dull our glow. Think redness, pigmentation, spots and blemishes. The good news? That old adage ‘know your enemy’ holds true: if you identify problem areas, you can target them effectively – and help welcome back that radiance. What are you waiting for? Grab your compact and get going.


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    Look for pigmentation

    ‘Age spots are common around this area as you get older, because the forehead is particularly prone to more sun exposure. They appear as light brown, circular or oval flat spots that can also develop a roughness,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Ginny Hubbard. ‘Temporary post- inflammatory pigmentation tends to be a more unusual shape.’

    Instant fix: Garnier Ambre Solaire BB Cream Sun Protection, £9.50/950 points (50ml), has SPF50 to help prevent sun spots occurring in the first place, while also evening out the appearance of existing darker patches.

    Long-term skin-vestment: Olay Total Effects 7 In One Instant Smoothing Serum, £14.99/1,499 points (50ml), contains the pigmentation-blurring ingredient niacinamide. Apply the serum after cleansing in order to help fade the appearance of dark spots in four weeks.

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Know your triggers

‘Excessive redness can be caused by lifestyle factors,’ says Debbie. ‘Avoid heat- based treatments and activities such as strenuous exercise, hot yoga and saunas. Look for triggers in your diet, too – spicy food, hot drinks or alcohol, for example.’



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    Look for redness

    ‘There are many types of redness in this area that can make you feel self-conscious, from broken veins to irritation and flushing,’ says top facialist Debbie Thomas.

    Instant fix: Water may cause further irritation, so try a non-rinse cleanser, such as Botanics All Bright Micellar 3 In 1 Cleansing Solution, £5.49/549 points (250ml), which is mild and free from alcohol, which can aggravate red patches, too.

    Long-term skin-vestment: Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream*, £41/4,100 points (50ml), offers a hit of TLC for sensitive complexions, and can help improve skin comfort with regular use.

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For breakouts

‘Products with retinol can help unclog pores,’ says Debbie.



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    Look for blemishes

    ‘Spots and blemishes can appear at any time – not just during your teenage years,’ explains Debbie. ‘Hormones are usually to blame. Typical areas that suffer are the jawline and cheeks, which can become more oily, and a combination of blocked pores and then small white pimples start to appear.’

    Instant fix: Bare Minerals Blemish Remedy Concealer*, £22/2,200 points, has a light texture that covers the appearance of blemishes and redness, for a clearer-looking complexion.

    Long-term skin-vestment: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ Anti-Imperfections Cream, £15.50/1,550 points (40ml), is formulated to target signs of oily, blemish-prone skin. Applied twice a day after cleansing, the paraben-free formula controls the appearance of shine and can help unblock clogged pores.

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Year-round cover

‘Always protect skin with SPF, even in winter, as UV exposure will make any pigmentation darker,’ advises Dr Hubbard. ‘And look for serums and moisturisers that contain niacinamide, as this can help even out dark spots.’



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    Look for open pores

    ‘Enlarged pores appear like small open circles on the skin and can often be filled with oil and pigmentation, making them darker in colour (aka blackheads),’ says Debbie. ‘As we get older, we have less collagen in our skin to plump up pores and push them shut, so they can become more visible.’

    Instant fix: Apply oil-free Smashbox Photo Finish Pore Minimizing Foundation Primer*, £28/2,800 points (30ml), under your usual base to help camouflage open pores without giving a cakey finish.

    Long-term skin-vestment: Clarins Double Serum Complete Age Control Concentrate*, £57/5,700 points (30ml), is powered by plant extracts that help to make pores less visible.

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As we get older, we have less collagen in our skin to plump up pores, so they become more visible

Deep cleaning

‘Regular washing won’t unclog pores,’ says Debbie. ‘Use a cleanser or cream containing salicylic acid, which can help dissolve oil and close them up.’


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    Look for dryness

    ‘Lips, as with all parts of the skin, become drier with age,’ says Dr Hubbard. ‘Plus, sun, wind and cold air can leave them feeling chapped, flaky and sore.’

    Instant fix: Gently rub Dior Lip Sugar Scrub*, £25/2,500 points, onto a dry pout – the sugar grains help buff away flakiness, then melt into a balm.

    Long-term skin-vestment: Lanolips Tinted Balm SPF30 in Rose*, £9.99/999 points, helps protect sensitive lips from the elements (so helps prevents dryness), while also enhancing their natural colour.

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Targeted care

‘It’s worth investing in a product that offers benefits for the neck,’ advises Dr Bell. ‘Apply it with two hands, to cover the whole area.’



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    Look for crêpiness

    ‘This usually appears in your 40s – basically, the skin on the neck area no longer looks or feels as smooth as before,’ explains Dr Mike Bell, Boots skincare scientific adviser. ‘It feels rougher and has fine lines, rather than deep creases.’

    Instant fix: YSL Top Secrets Natural Action Exfoliator, £33/3,300 points (75ml), is ideal for use on the delicate neck and chest areas. Free from abrasive particles, it gently removes dead cells to give skin a smoother appearance.

    Long-term skin-vestment: With a high concentration of anti-ageing ingredients, No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum* £28/2,800 points (30ml), can give a firmer-feeling, visibly smoother neckline and face after two weeks’ use.

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Lip service

‘Always use a lip balm with sunscreen to protect against the drying effects of sun,’ says Dr Hubbard. ‘And try not to lick your lips or pick off dry flakes of skin (tricky, we know!).’

*Available in selected stores.

Words Caroline Brien Photography Ondrea Barbe/August, Pixeleyes

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