An exclusive extract for VIP from The Skin Nerd Philosophy: Your Expert Guide to Skin Health
After years of thinking about skin and talking about it with many, many experts and clients, for me this has definitely emerged as the most helpful approach: the Skin Active Movement (SAM). This means actively assessing your skin and its needs, actively accepting your current skin state and actively working to improve it by whatever means best suit your concerns, your own achievable goals and, not least, your pocket and schedule.
This is all part of my desire to change the language around skin and skincare so there are no longer ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days or ‘good’ skin and ‘bad’ skin. These ideas put pressure on people, so I want to call a halt to them. You need to think only of the best and healthiest version of yourself at any given time, taking all factors – extrinsic and intrinsic – into consideration. Read all about them in Book 1 (I jest!). It means achieving what’s really possible, not chasing a fantasy.
The BS-free truth is that for various reasons, including good old genetics, which bow to no product, theory or fervent wish, your skin can achieve a certain point of healthiness, its own ‘best’ (one that will be different from other people’s) and you have to accept that.This is your key challenge: active acceptance. But this is the important part: acceptance doesn’t mean kicking back on the sofa surrounded by chocolate wrappers, declaring yourself immune to improvement so, hey, I’ll just indulge every tasty whim that comes my way … although wouldn’t that be simply divine?! (Sidebar: dark chocolate is rich in powerful antioxidants!) I’m afraid that’s not going to cut it here either.
Acceptance means loving your hard-working skin every day but also turning up for your skin and working every day to help it achieve its optimum level. That’s it, Nerdies, true skin love. There’s that thing people say sometimes about someone, and always with quiet admiration: ‘they’re comfortable in their own skin’. It means someone who is at ease with themselves, doesn’t judge themselves or others harshly, physically or otherwise, forgives themselves for their imperfections and feels good about their wonderful bits as often as they can. It’s someone who picks themselves up when they have fallen off this thought process and mindset. Comfort is an undervalued word most of the time, but it shines in that idea: comfortable in your skin. One way or another, we all aspire to that. And that’s exactly what the Skin Active Movement wants to help you reach – that point of self-acceptance where you’re comfortable with your skin, but also comfortable with working to improve it.
One of the recurring problems I see with making skincare a priority is the perception that it is an expensive investment. A lot of people feel uneasy about spending money on skincare, either because they can’t afford it, or see it as unnecessary, disliking the connotations of it as a luxury indulgence. Or maybe they simply can’t afford to spend much on it – as a result, many people just won’t go there. But it doesn’t require excessive spending to make healthy choices. I think a huge stumbling block is the misconception that expensive is superior. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you’re making the very best, very healthiest choice if you shell out a wodge of cash for a product – like it’s a guaranteed elixir. But that is not necessarily true.
That’s why it’s so important that you equip yourself with the tools to be able to assess what products are offering beyond their sales pitch, so you can weigh up the pros and cons. Look for the data, statistics and clinical trials. (See Chapter 5 for tips on how to do this research.) Nerd it out! I really learned this while formulating the Skingredients range, which is designed to be results-driven yet accessible. If your skincare budget is tight, this doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of options available to you to help achieve optimum skin health. It’s important that the products you buy are ones that can be used every day rather than ones you feel you need to save for as a once-in- a-while treat.
With advice from experts in the fields of dermatology, healthcare, psychology, nutrition, wellness and beauty, The Skin Nerd Philosophy is your multi-disciplinary guide to accepting the skin you’re in while taking care of its health. Published in hardback by Hachette Ireland, €17.99