In the early 1980's I was financing my post-grad degree course by working for Estee Lauder in Kendal Milne department store in Manchester (This was the 'posh' store before the city had a makeover and Selfridges moved in) I was put through the Estee Lauder training programme for skincare - Clinique - and makeup.
To be fair, it was pretty good training; I suppose this was when I discovered my deep interest in skin and how it worked, and where I learned the basics in terms of cleansing, toning and moisturising. Kendal Milne was fairly close to the Granada TV studios on Quay Street, and it's where the great and the good of TV royalty came to buy their cosmetics - not really relevant to this piece, but when you've given skincare advice to people you've only ever seen on the telly before, you tend to remember it!
Since those days, skincare has moved on and become a lot more scientific, and there are more brands coming on stream all the time. I was introduced to Environ Skincare in 1998, when I first met Dr Des Fernandes, who is the founder of Environ, and is now the scientific adviser for the brand. He trained me in the role of Vitamin A for skin health and improvement before I went on the road to train others in the benefits of skincare that was based on science, rather than how nice it smelled or how fancy the packaging was.
But to get back to basics...skincare may have moved on and become an exciting world of Vitamin A, peptides, serums and masks, but if you're applying your high-end, scientifically-developed skincare on top of skin that hasn't been cleaned properly, you won't be getting the best out of it.
THE 4 GOLDEN RULES
I mentioned cleanse/tone/moisturise as a basic skincare regime, but there's actually a 4th step to the sequence, and it comes at the beginning of your cleansing routine (usually at night when the skin is loaded with moisturiser, serums, makeup and SPF) - PRE cleanse.
What, cleanse before you cleanse? What's that about? Maybe you have read or heard about double cleansing, maybe you're already doing it, maybe you're not. When clients first come in to see me about their particular skin issues, I always take them right back to these basics before helping them with other issues. I want you to get results, simple as that.
So if you're going to pre-cleanse, what should you use? I recommend Environ Skin EssentiA pre-cleansing oil. Now before you step back in horror at the thought of using an oil cleanser on your skin, let me assure you that this light oil has been formulated to gently but thoroughly take off your makeup (eye makeup included) without disturbing the natural acid mantle of your skin. It won't leave an 'oil slick' on your skin, in fact it's been shown to remove oil debris, acting as a decongestant to prevent pore blockages.
Remove with your preferred cleanser and rinse or wipe off with a clean washcloth. You'll be amazed by how much debris is lifted off your skin without drying or irritating it.
Cleansers - The Skin EssentiA range has a Mild Cleansing Lotion or a Low Foam Cleansing gel. *Don't be looking for a 'bubble bath' on your face when using the cleansing gel - the clue is in the name - Low Foam. Good if you like to wash your face rather than use a lotion. Preserves the skin's natural barrier - no 'stripping' please!
The Youth EssentiA Hydra Intense cleanser is formulated for more mature or dryer skins - feels soothing and luxurious on your skin -
leaves your skin feeling soft, not dry or tight (no cleanser that is well formulated will dry or leave you with a feeling of tightness)
Toners - or more correctly, prepping lotions. In 'the old days', toners were largely alcohol-based; sometimes called 'astringents', they were very harsh on the skin and inevitably would lead to problems. Today we use acids as our go-to for prepping and treating the skin, helping it to retain a healthy pH. Acids typically used are Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids. In the Environ range, we're using acids to enhance the penetration of active ingredients and refine the skin's appearance, whilst restoring/maintaining the skin's protective barrier.
The skin likes to exist in an 'acid' environment, and the ideal pH of the skin would be around 3.5 pH. All the acids have the capacity to help rebuild collagen.
The acids we're using in our toners are:
Lactic - nice and gentle on the skin, promotes hydration and helps to even out skin tone by munching dead skin cells. It's a water-soluble acid.
Glycolic - great for a more mature/dry skin or skin that needs a bit more 'oomph' in the resurfacing department. Great for sun damage (pigmentation) it's good for allowing better product penetration. Another water-soluble acid.
Salicylic - this one's an oil-soluble acid, so it's great for oily and acne-prone skins. This one works harder on the pores by helping to exfoliate. It's also great at eliminating bacteria.
The idea is that you can 'mix and match' with the Environ toners, using one type in the morning and a different one at night. It might be too much for your skin to use the same toner twice a day, so mixing them up is fine and gives your routine (and your skin) more flexibility.
The Youth EssentiA vita peptide toner is more of a treatment lotion, formulated for more mature skins. It contains a combination of peptides that act together to help reduce wrinkles, smooth the skin and improve tone and elasticity. Clears the way for great penetration of your active serums.
Moisturisers - Vitamin A and Peptides - Slowly Does It! Step-Up from level 1 to 5
Environ skincare is based around Vitamin A (a retinoid derivative) - you could almost say it's like a 'magic' ingredient for the skin. It's certainly seen as the gold standard of skincare, and scientific studies have proven its effectiveness both for reversing ageing and skin damage, as well as for prevention. Vitamin A acts on the DNA of the skin cells, that's why it can be considered to be the magic ingredient. AVST - Active Vitamin Skin Therapy - contains a formulation of vitamin A and a full brigade of antioxidants and peptides. Environ's unique step-up system ensures that your skin will acclimatise and accept the higher doses of vitamin A.
The danger of using a retinoid formulation that's too strong straight away is that your skin will almost certainly have a retinoid reaction - redness, dryness, flaking are common - which is why Dr Des Fernandes
developed the 'step-up' range to avoid this. You can't buy Environ skincare without having a consultation first with a qualified skin professional. If you follow our guidance and use the products as directed, you'll start out on a skincare journey that takes you to where you want to be in terms of skin improvement and appearance. The best thing? You can use it without a break - I've been using it since 1998. My skin is healthy, younger looking (and grateful)
Just a word on over-the-counter moisturisers and serums; they will certainly help if you haven't been using anything advanced on your skin, but eventually you will hit a wall before you get the results you're after. This is because there are limits to the strength of retinoids that can be sold without a consultation or prescription. The formulations at this level are based on science but not scientific - there's a lot of hype out there unfortunately, and big mainstream cosmetics companies are not afraid to use it!
If your skin is showing more pronounced signs of damage and ageing, then the Youth EssentiA range will deliver in spades.
These premium advanced serums contain a powerful combination of ingredients that work together to produce improvements quickly - a turbo charge for your skin. There are two types of retinoids in the formulations, Retinyl Proprionate and Retinyl Palmitate. The peptide complexes added to the Youth EssentiA range are Matrixyl 3000 and Dermaxyl. Peptides are important active ingredients that perform a range of functions within the skin including stimulating and promoting collagen production, as well as smoothing out lines.
So that's our 4 steps covered - if you adopt these steps into your skincare routine, you will be well on the way to the skin improvements you're looking for.