How to get beautiful skin

03:23, Jul 16 2013
Natalie Portman
NATALIE PORTMAN: Known for her luminous complexion, Natalie has fronted many an ad campaign showing off her flawless skin.

What are the cardinal skincare sins and are you accidentally doing them?

Dr Michelle Hunt, dermatologist at Inner Sydney Dermatology, reveals what skincare mistakes she sees time and time again.

A word of warning though, you might want to read this before you hop into that steaming hot shower on a winter morning...

1. Putting products on in the wrong order (and having too many)

Sienna Miller
SIENNA MILLER: Rumour has it that even Kate Middleton covets Sienna's glowing skin.

Does your skincare routine have some semblance of order or do things go on more randomly than an iPod shuffle? Here are Dr Hunt's suggestions for the best way to layer products.

"If you're using lighter products such as a serum or water-based things, you'd put that on first. Then you'd go heavier, so the cream-based ones second. Sunscreen should go on last or either wear a moisturiser containing a sunscreen, then you can put make-up on top of that. But give the sunscreen a little while to absorb into the skin before your make-up."

For things like moisturisers and serums it doesn't matter if you put them on in the morning or at night, but Dr Hunt advises the best time as after showering because skin will more easily absorb then.

Dr Hunt also recommends keeping your skincare routine reasonably simple. "When you're using lots of things with lots of different ingredients you do increase your risk of getting irritant reactions to it or even sensitising yourself to some products and becoming allergic."

2. Not removing make-up at night

Your mother probably cautioned you about this, and it turns out she was absolutely, utterly right.


"Because of an occlusion effect it can makes things like acne worse by clogging the pores. And some of those products can be irritating if you have them on the skin for long periods of time, so it can make you more prone to sensitive skin and redness from products," says Dr Hunt.

 3. Over-washing and over-toning

These two problems are often seen in people with a tendency towards oily skin. Just because skin is oily doesn't mean it needs to be treated harshly.

"If you over-wash the face, it can have a rebound effect and you can actually stimulate sebum production in the skin," explains Dr Hunt.

"And as I tell my patients, toners are for printers! I don't usually recommend them. They're useful for taking off the last traces of make-up, but people should avoid the harsher, alcohol-based ones. There's really no need for them."

4. Falling for the buzzword 'anti-ageing'

"A lot of the time people get sucked in by the anti-ageing hype," says Dr Hunt. "There are actually only very few products that have been scientifically proven to have anti-ageing effects - sunscreens, Vitamin A products like tretinoin, alpha hydroxy acids and some peptides. But there are a lot of things out there that there's really no good scientific evidence for and they're touted as anti-ageing creams."

You also need to keep an eye on ingredient lists and not just take marketing buzzwords or fancy brand names at face value.

"If you have a sunscreen in a product you can call it anti-ageing because a sunscreen does have an anti-ageing affect, but the product may not necessarily have anything extra than that," says Dr Hunt.

"Don't think that expensive products are always the best. A lot of the time you're paying for advertising and packaging rather than the active ingredients with that."

5. Washing with hot water

Okay, you might not want to hear this one but Dr Hunt advises against having long hot showers and using hot water when washing your face.

"It dehydrates the skin and makes it much more prone to irritation." Instead try to stick to lukewarm temperatures to be gentler on skin.

- Daily Life