Transform your skin in 2022
January was made for picking up new habits – and ditching bad ones. When it comes to looking after your skin, sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between the two. It’s not just a matter of remembering to remove your makeup or going for the occasional facial. Transforming your skin is a strategic affair, where you have to balance timing with the right products and treatments for your complexion.
Confusing? Yes. Doable? Definitely – with patience. Nothing good ever comes easy, and your skin is no exception. Too much, too fast will only overwhelm the skin barrier, and transform skin in a very different way. For month-by-month improvement, we’ve mapped out the gradual changes to make in 2022 and beyond, for a New Year, new you, and even newer skin.
Switch up your mindset
Transforming your skin starts within. Fear of ageing, self-judgement, and body negativity all set unrealistic expectations and pressures about the appearance of your skin. Remember that nobody’s skin is truly perfect – and everyone’s changes with age – making it impossible to feel truly happy with your complexion until you embrace a more positive mindset. Get to know your face as it is now and list the concerns you most want to tackle in order of how important they are to you. Be realistic with the results you want. Take selfies and keep a diary to look back on as you progress. Be mindful to switch out negative self-talk for a more empowering tone.
In an ideal world, we’d all get the right amount of sleep, never smoke, and exercise three times a week. But that isn’t always possible. Instead, make the adjustments you can to your daily routine. Cut back on the habits you know are bad for your skin and increase those that are good. Increasing your water intake to 2.5 to 3.5 litres a day will immediately help, and if you’re not already, ensure you’re wearing a decent quality SPF every day.
Sugar, dairy, and refined carbohydrates have all been proven to negatively impact our skin but cutting them out completely is tough. What’s easier is upping your intake of skin-friendly foods rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats, and protein. Do what you can and try to keep an eye on what (if anything) your skin is reactive to.
March and April
Go back to basics
The skincare industry is great at marketing everything as ‘essential’, but less is usually more. An overcomplicated routine – especially one heavy on exfoliants and harsh ingredients – can cause more problems than it solves. Strip it back to basics with a cleanser, moisturiser, and SPF combo. Not only does this make it clear which products your skin needs, but it gives it space to recover from any existing damage.
It’s also worth looking into the ingredients in your products. If you’re acne-prone, comedogenic ingredients – such as argan oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter – can block pores and aggravate existing issues. Meanwhile, dry, or dehydrated skin can benefit from humectants, such as hyaluronic acid or glycerine, which help lock in moisture.
Introduce active ingredients
After around six weeks of your back-to-basics routine, you can start to add in other products on an as-needed basis. To speed up cell turnover – and boost your glow in the process – start with a chemical exfoliant once a week. It doesn’t matter if it’s lactic, salicylic, glycolic, or any other kind of acid, the important thing is to go slow: overloading your skin with active ingredients will land you right back at square one.
If you’re looking to tackle fine lines and wrinkles – or want to get a head start on prevention – this is also the time to introduce a retinoid. Ease in by also using it once a week at first and use it on a separate day to the active ingredients to avoid compromising your skin barrier.
Strengthen your skin barrier
Speaking of the skin barrier, your next project is keeping it strong. Not only will this make it more resilient to future damage, but it’ll ensure you get the most from future treatments. One of the best ways to treat it at a cellular level is phototherapy. With specific wavelengths of different coloured UV lights, it boosts circulation, reduces inflammation, and improves the barrier’s function in the long run with a series of six to eight sessions.
Note that if you’ve recently started using retinoid, you’ll need to wait before undergoing phototherapy as your skin will be extra sensitive. Alternatively, mesotherapy uses multiple small injections of vitamins and minerals to provide some much-needed hydration, as well as improving circulation and collagen production.
Skin needs extra hydration in summer, just like the rest of your body. While you should already be getting a hefty dose from your skincare routine – and monthly sessions of mesotherapy will also boost hydration – regular facials, such as a HydraFacial, can go a long way. To maximise hydration, this multi-step system preps the skin with exfoliation and extraction before delivering a dose of nourishing antioxidants.
Once skin is strong, healthy, and hydrated, you can start looking at the finer details. Regenerative treatments focus on boosting skin function to improve elasticity in the long run. By extracting the plasma from your own blood and injecting it back into problem areas, PRP treatment releases growth factors that stimulate collagen production.
Microneedling does the same, except it uses needles to create microdamage to the skin and trigger a wound healing response. Both will require repeat sessions, but you should see gradual results start from day one.
By this stage, your skin should firmly be on the path to transformation. However, if your skin’s old life lives on in the marks left behind by acne, you can now step up your battle against hyperpigmentation. Microneedling is a start, but combining it with a treatment like laser or a chemical peel can accelerate the healing process.
Dehydration and slow cell turnover can emphasise the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, so hopefully the efforts of the past nine months should’ve made a difference. But if you’re still keen to fight signs of ageing, the next logical step is Botox. Injected directly into the muscle, this paralyses movement to prevent dynamic wrinkles (those that appear when your face moves). Another happy side-effect? Botox regulates oil production, therefore controlling any remaining stubborn acne. It takes an average of two weeks to see your finished result, but after this point results should last for around three months.
It’s one of the most versatile treatments on the market, but there’s a reason why we recommend leaving filler until last. If you’re hoping to reduce signs of ageing, getting it after Botox gives the latter time to potentially smooth out the areas you once thought you needed filler. The same goes for boosting hydration and volume. If you’ve already spent months improving the general health of your skin, you can be more discerning about where filler will benefit you most.
December (and beyond)
Just because it’s the end of the year, doesn’t mean it’s the end of your skin transformation. Long-term change requires long-term habits. Hopefully, the lifestyle changes you made earlier in 2022 are already ingrained in your beauty routine. And while you may still be enjoying the impact of the treatments you tried over the past 12 months, now’s the time to start scheduling top-ups of those you loved most. Consistency is key.
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