This Is What I Use When I’ve Gone OTT With Skincare

Turning 30 comes with expectations: you’ll care less what people think, you’ll finally figure out what looks good on you, things will start falling into place. There are loads of positives. But what you hear about less is how transitional this age is. You feel youthful but hangovers make you feel 104. You feel like a fully-fledged adult, until you spend time with friends who have babies and realise you can barely keep a houseplant alive. And then there’s your skin.

By age 30 we’re losing 1-2% of our body’s collagen (the stuff that gives our skin a plump and bouncy appearance) every single year. Fine lines start to look a little less fine and can’t be chased away with a big chug of water. In the beauty industry, brands are shuffling you along into the ‘signs of ageing’ category, but of course skin is never that simple.

Although it has improved with time, my skin is still prone to the odd hormonal breakout, stress spot or ‘yeah, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that’ zit. I know, deep down, that the best way to tackle these blemishes is to relax and treat my skin gently.

Instead my skincare routine starts to look something like this: retinol for fine lines and to coax out deep breakouts, BHAs for stubborn congestion, AHAs for radiance and to fade marks, niacinamide because…ARGH! I need this spot gone tomorrow. Throw in a job that involves testing new beauty products and before I know it I’ve gone way OTT with skincare, and my skin is NOT happy.

There’s no denying these are all skincare wonder ingredients, but they need to be handled with care. I never learn and it seems I’m not alone, there’s even a science-y term for ‘help I used too much retinol’: retinoid dermatitis.

The first step in rescuing your skin is to stop using anything that could aggravate it further – so lock up your acids, exfoliators and rentinols until things have calmed down a bit.

Step two is serious rehydration. Punchy skincare products can impact the skin’s natural barrier and strip away protective oils, making it harder for the skin to retain moisture. To create a kind of temporary barrier and break the vicious circle of breakouts, flakiness and irritation, I enlist the help of the Colloidal Oatmeal + Oat Lipid Rich Moisturiser.

The texture is more cushion-y than the filmy heaviness I’d usually associate with a ‘rich’ moisturiser, but it still feels seriously comforting. After a very gentle cleanse with something like Prebiotic + Avocado Oil Cleansing Gel, I apply a generous layer and my skin lets out a long sigh of relief.

It’s a power trio of plant-based ingredients that make this cream such a dream for stressed out skin. Collodial oatmeal soothes irritation, while oat lipids and squalane replenish the skin’s barrier to seal in much-needed moisture. Squalane and oat lipids also naturally regulate excess oil production, helping to steer complexions back into balance as quickly as possible. 

Used morning and night, it gets my skin back into a happy place within a couple of days. I’ve learnt my lesson…for now.