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SKINCARE Q & A

with Alice Hart-Davis

Answering skincare queries is one of the most enjoyable aspects of my job. These are the top questions that I am asked by girls who are 25 and under but take a look at my book for more information.
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A

What's the secret of great skin?

Keep it clean and exfoliated, keep it soft and supple with moisturiser, and keep it protected from the sun.
That’s what the Good Things products are all about.

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Isn't soap and water good enough for getting my skin clean?

It's not. Soap and water both have a drying effect on skin and soap is not great at removing make-up.
Use a specially-formulated gentle cleanser instead (try Good Things STAY CLEAR Purifying Cleanser) which won't disrupt the natural balance of your skin and dry it out. Massage the cleanser really well into your skin to loosen dirt (and make-up), then take a clean flannel, dip it in hot water, wring it out and use this to clean off the cleanser. If you're in a rush or have loads of make-up to take off first, Good Things TOTAL WIPE OUT Cleansing Wipes will do the job even more quickly.

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How old do I have to be to start using skincare products and how many should I use?

That rather depends at what age you get interested in the idea of using skincare products. For some people, that’s around 11; for others, it’s more like 18. There are no rules and you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Start with a gentle cleanser and a light moisturiser, use them every day, and see how you go.

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Do I need an anti-ageing moisturiser to stop me from getting wrinkles?

No. Anti-ageing moisturisers are designed to tackle the signs of ageing, like wrinkles and pigmentation spots, that don’t begin to show up until your late twenties or early thirties. However taking care of your skin from a young age will help you to have healthier skin and prevent early signs of ageing. Good Things MANUKA HONEY Daily Moisturiser should help your skin to keep hydrated and healthy; it also contains Echinacea extract to promote skin longevity and Bee Venom to help boost collagen levels.

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Why do I get spots?

Big question. It’s partly genetic (if your parents had bad acne, you might, too), but mainly spots are provoked by hormones, particularly testosterone. That’s the male sex hormone, but girls have it too. As you go through puberty, your hormone levels change dramatically and if you are sensitive to testosterone, this can have the unfortunate double-whammy effect of making your skin produce more oil, and also making your oil-producing cells more likely to get blocked up, which leads to spots.

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Does having a dirty face mean you get more spots?

Technically, no, because those spots are mainly caused by hormones, rather than by dirt or grease. Having said that, the bacteria that builds up on dirty skin can certainly make spots worse. So it is much more hygienic – and more pleasant - to have clean skin.

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If I use a moisturiser, won't that make my skin oilier and more likely to get spots?

It shouldn't: even oily skin needs water or moisture. What oily skin doesn't need is a heavy, creamy moisturiser. If you find moisturiser tends to make your skin break out in spots, try a lighter formulation like Good Things MIRACLE MATTIFIER, which will also help absorb the oil (sebum) that your skin produces, to keep your skin looking matte rather than slick.

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How do I get rid of spots?

Clean your face morning and evening, using a gentle cleanser like Good Things STAY CLEAR Purifying Facial Wash. If you have lots of spots, rinse the cleanser off rather than using a flannel to remove it, in case this irritates the spots. Keep your skin moisturised with an oil-free or mattifying moisturiser. Use an anti-spot remedy on any spots that have emerged – Good Things CLEARLY SPOTLESS Clearing Gel works a treat. If that doesn’t do the trick, get an appointment with your GP, who can prescribe stronger lotions or antibiotics to help control the problem. Your GP can also refer you to a dermatologist for specialist treatment if need be.

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Does what I eat or drink make a difference to how spotty I am?

Not much. You don't get spots from eating fatty foods or chocolate, though sugar often makes spots worse and studies have suggested that drinking lots of milk (more than a pint a day) can make you spottier. A healthy diet – lots of water, fruit and vegetables, plenty of protein and wholegrain foods that contain fibre; less junk, sugar, processed food and fizzy or caffeinated drinks – will help your general health and your digestive health, and that will be reflected in your skin.

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Does wearing make-up over spots make them worse?

Wearing make-up over spots shouldn't make them worse, but it depends on the make-up. If it is clogging your skin, or if you are putting it on with dirty fingers and rubbing more bacteria into the spots, that won't help. Mineral-powder make-up is kind to the skin and helps soak up excess oil, too. Try using an anti-blemish product before applying make-up, or find an anti-blemish concealer which has special spot-busting ingredients. That will help take down the inflammation while covering up the evidence.

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A

How bad is it for me to not take my makeup off at night? I've done it a few times already and I'm scared I'm going to get loads of spots.

Really bad! Well, obviously it's not the end of the world but it is not good for your skin, nor for your pillowcase, come to that. During the day, your face produces oil, and this will blend in with the bacteria on your face, any pollution-based grime that you pick up from the air as well as the make-up that you are wearing, so you really do need to remove all of this at night. If you don't, you might get away with it, but it is more likely that your pores will become clogged and that will lead to spots.

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A

In the summertime, my skin gets really oily and it looks really greasy. It's kind of embarrassing. I've tried washes and moisturisers for oily skin but it still goes all gloopy – help!

Try a mattifying, oil-absorbing moisturiser (Good Things makes a great one called Good Things MIRACLE MATTIFIER – but then I would say that, couldn't I?), and if you wear make-up, stick to a powder (preferably mineral-powder) make-up as this has naturally oil-absorbing properties so it will help keep your skin tone looking even and your face matte for longer.

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I have greasy skin and blackheads and really obvious open pores on my nose, what can I do to close the pores and get rid of the blackheads?

Pores don't actually open and close very much, so there's only so much you can do to reduce their size. When pores are clogged up, the clogs show up as blackheads and then you really notice them. You get more blackheads if your skin is greasy, as blackheads are oxidised sebum (the oil that the skin produces). What helps is thorough cleansing and regular gentle exfoliating - the Good Things DEEP CLEAN Blackhead Exfoliator and our new PORE-FECTLY-CLEAR range will help you with this. Keeping your face clear of excess oil and dead skin cells will help make the pores less noticeable.

Any other top tips for making the most of young skin?

Yes! You may have heard them before, but that's because they're important and bear repeating. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Get enough sleep. Be happy. Try not to get too stressed by exams, work or relationship issues. It all adds up to how you feel and that has an impact on how good your skin looks.

Understanding your skin and its needs

How do you know whether your skin is dry, normal, combination or oily?

The chances are that it's a bit of a mixture: skincare experts have estimated that 70 per cent of us have combination skin, which is drier on the cheeks and oilier in the T-zone of the forehead, nose and chin.

To work out which skin type you have, try the tissue test:

Wash and dry your face, then wait for half an hour

Take a piece of fine tissue paper (you can pull most tissue paper in half, so the paper is really thin) and press them onto your cheeks, nose, chin and forehead.

1. If the paper sticks to your skin and picks up oily patches from it, you have oily skin

2. If it doesn't stick anywhere, your skin is normal to dry (if it feels tight after you've washed it, it is dry)

3. If it sticks to your forehead, nose and chin but not on your cheeks you have combination skin

Whatever skin-type you have, bear in mind that skin can be quite changeable. The climate,
the season, the kind of food you eat, the lifestyle you follow and the time of the month will all
have an impact on how your skin behaves. Once you know this, you can deal with it accordingly,
maybe giving your skin a creamier cleanser or a richer moisturiser if it is having a dry week,
or using a balancing face-mask like Good Things FIVE-MINUTE FACIAL if it's going through
an oily patch.