Advice

 My skin is dry and sensitive (I suffer from rosacea, which is under control without medication) and my skin feels tight by the end of the day unless I use a rich night cream. Why do I get red flaky patches under my eyes occasionally?

This sounds like psoriasis. One of my client gets this when the skin becomes dry, for example from central heating or air conditioning.

First of all go and see your GP or chemist who will give you a steroid cream to calm down the inflammation. Make sure you are using a light hydrating serum around the orbital bone to keep the eye area hydrated morning and night. Put a bowl of water in the windowsill at home to put moisture back into the skin or splash out on a humidifier.

Have anti-malaria tablets made my skin dry? My skin is literally flaking off, especially on the back of my legs!

The anti-malaria tablets stop you sweating because mosquitos are attracted to sweat. The downside is that the body can’t cool down as effectively and the skin dries out. Make sure you use a moisturising sun cream and apply after sun with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to the skin.

Swimming has left my skin dull and tight. I tried putting Vaseline under my eyes to act as a barrier but they still look so tired. My skin also feels itchy over the winter.

Swimming is an excellent form of exercise but unfortunately it dehydrates the skin, leaving it red and sore. Shower straight after swimming and apply a hydrating serum under your sunblock. In the evening apply a hydrating mask and sleep in it.

Why does my face turn red after exercise?

If your face turns red after exercise this is a sign of a sensitivity. Make sure you protect your skin with a good quality hydrating serum followed by a maximum strength UVA sunscreen otherwise you might be prone to what I call ‘weathering’ or redness capillaries. These are incredibly common in British women, but always worse on those who spend a lot of time outside.

I use an SPF lip balm so why are my lips are still dry?

Well done for using a lip SPF – someone is actually listening to me. However, I have found that the SPF lib balms with a high UVA (which is the priority when outside or driving) tend not to be nourishing as well. So make sure you use a really nourishing lip balm like Lanolips after brushing teeth or washing, whenever lips get dry.

Will the acid/alkaline diet help clear up my psoriasis?

I am a firm believer that what you eat is just as relevant as what you put on your skin and I personally follow the acid/alkaline diet to prevent premature ageing and look after the health of my skin. I can’t guarantee that it will clear up your psoriasis, but it is certainly worth a try, as is eating clean.

Instead of getting rid of my dry, flaky skin, exfoliating has made it even worse. Help!

Grainy scrubs can irritate the skin and dry it out, so I usually recommend an AHA, BHA or enzyme exfoliator to gently lift away the dead skin instead of scratching it off. AHAs (glycolic or lactic acid) are great for a dry skin, BHAs (salicylic acid) are great for an oily skin or enzymes are great for a sensitive skin.

My dermatologist has recommended washing up liquid to dry out my acne – will it be too drying?

I used to think that this was an urban myth until I heard the same story from two clients. Both clients were suffering from adult acne that was so resistant to treatment that their GP had referred them to a dermatologist. The dermatologist recommended antibiotics, a sulphur mask and washing up liquid (which apparently cuts through grease) and no moisturiser until the acne cleared up. It worked!

I have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid which has dried out my skin. Which moisturiser would you recommend?

One product alone will probably not soothe the dryness. I would recommend a nourishing cleansing cream, a hydrating serum and hydrating cream both containing hyaluronic acid. Too many people rely on oil based moisturisers which are great at sealing in moisture – but you need to have some moisture to seal in!

Why does my skin flush red after exercising?

Your skin may be rather thin so your blood vessels are showing through and giving you a rosy glow. You may find that your skin reddens whenever your body temperature rises. If you are exercising outside, make sure you use a SPF.

Is it true that Vaseline can be used as a hair serum?

Absolutely! I heard this money saving tip courtesy of my hairdresser several years ago and have used it ever since. Just make sure that you rub the vaseline between your fingers first otherwise it will look greasy.

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