The city can be exciting; the buzz, the chaos, the late night shopping. The city has something for everyone, but did you ever think what it might have in store for your skin? Do you get home after a hectic day out and about, and aside from the panda eyes, find your skin doesn’t look or feel that great? Yes, our skin is sometimes the last to know it, but the city throws many things our way which can impact the look of skin and cause sensitivity. Your skin faces a lot each day- dirt and pollution, the weather, air-con, even a lack of sleep and eating on the go. In the short term these things can lead to dry patches, redness, blemishes and cause your skin to feel sensitive. In the long term, you’d be surprised but it can increase the sensitivity of your skin, and even cause premature aging! That’s a lot to take in, but don’t worry! Read on to get the low down on skin and the city, and what you can do for naturally healthy looking skin. You can’t take the girl out of the city, but you can take the city out of her skin!
What does your skin face in the city? Read more
Then you have the things which you have more control over; things like your stress levels, and your diet. Let’s start with those environmental factors, the things you find in city around you.
Dirt and pollution
– Things like exhaust fumes, smoke and dust – these can leave your skin feeling irritated and grimy when you live or work in the city. Throughout the course of the day pollution in the air sticks to your skin and is absorbed by the skin’s natural barrier. Over time, it can irritate and weaken the skin’s natural barrier, which means it can no longer do its job properly and leaves your skin feeling more sensitive.
– Hard water you say? Yep, hard water is a pretty common thing in big cities, and as harmless as it is to drink, it isn’t quite as straightforward when it comes to your daily shower or weekly laundry. Hard water contains high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium and calcium, and is highly alkaline. You often see the signs of hard water around taps, sinks and in kettles in the form of lime scale. Fancy that on your skin? No, neither do we! Washing in hard water can actually make skin feel more irritated.
– Cities can go from baking hot, to freezing cold, to wet and miserable in a matter of minutes! Changes in temperature, humidity, wind, sun, air-conditioning and central heating all play a role in the condition of your skin. Extreme conditions really put your skin’s barrier to the test and push it to its limits. It doesn’t always take much for your skin to be at risk of blemishes, dry patches and redness. Sometimes even a change in seasons can irritate the skin and cause it to become more sensitive.
Bet you didn’t think all these things could have an impact on your skin! But wait there’s more! Let’s take a look at the things in the city which you do have more control over.
Lack of Sleep
– Being in the city can take its toll on your sleep, even if you aren’t an all night party animal! Stress from the day, too much coffee drinking, the occasional late night; they can all impact your sleep. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! We produce growth hormones at night, which encourage cell renewal and repair. When you're asleep your body also produces keratin and collagen – proteins that give your skin firmness and a fresh, youthful look. If you haven't had such a good night’s sleep then you might find your skin looks tired and sallow and you may even have dark circles under your eyes.
– We all know that living in the city can be stressful. Whether it’s stress at work, sitting in traffic, or just experiencing the hustle and bustle all around you it’s pretty common. When you’re stressed your body produces higher levels of cortisol, a hormone that helps manage our stress levels. If your body produces enough of it, it can throw your whole system out of balance and one of the first things you might notice (as well as wanting to tear your hair out) is your skin starting to look tired and sallow. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, and can impair your skin’s ability to repair itself. And when skin can’t repair itself properly, it’s more susceptible to damage. As a result it may become dry, irritated or even start showing signs of premature aging.
Quick fix meals
– Food glorious food! City life can get pretty hectic so why not make life easier and grab a quick meal or sugary snack while you’re out? Did you know that when sugar attaches itself to collagen it makes it more brittle and easier to break? We need collagen to help keep skin looking young and plump. High levels of sugar, which you find in some processed foods, make it difficult for skin to repair itself and can cause premature aging.
– It’s just one of those things. When you’re busy rushing from one place to the next, cappuccino in hand and slightly hot under the collar, dehydration can be hard to avoid. When you’re dehydrated the water content in your skin drops, and skin can look sallow, and dry. And after a longer period of time, this can also make your skin lose its resilience, leaving it prone to wrinkling.
Lack of exercise
– One of the first things to be thrown out the window when you're running tight on time is your fitness. We’re not sure if walking to get your morning bagel really counts as exercise! The problem is that it isn’t always easy to fit exercise in to your daily routine, especially when you’re living a busy life in the city. The benefits make it well worth trying though! Exercise gives you energy, and energy means you can keep going for longer during the day. Not to mention the added benefit of improving the look and feel of your skin! Skin can look less sallow and more radiant as a result of adding exercise into your lifestyle.
: Women told us that they were interested in how their city impacted their skin and what they could do about it. That’s why we made our video, dramatising the effect city life can have on skin. Pretty shocking isn’t it, when you think about everything your skin goes through over time? A lot of people have asked us how we did it, so here is the low down. We worked with our leading scientists and dermatologist Dr Luftman to reveal how the different factors could affect your face. Now we didn’t want to really put anyone’s face unnecessarily through all those factors all at once, so we worked with a leading production company to recreate the affect using make-up & effects in a studio, under the guidance of our experts. Our video starts with naturally healthy looking skin on both sides, with minimal products and make-up used. Then we’ve used effects & make-up to give a realistic portrayal on how the city could affect your skin over time on the left side of the face (so no skin was harmed in the making of this commercial). Our aim was to raise awareness of just how harsh the city can be on your skin. It’s one of the main reasons we formulate our products to be kind to skin- with no harsh chemicals, we choose only our purest possible skin loving ingredients. The world is harsh enough, we think skincare needs to be kind.
Our top city skincare tips with Caroline Frazer Read more
- Pollution and dirt can impact your natural skin barrier and the way it works and as a result you might experience irritation. Cleansing therefore becomes even more important, in making sure you’re cleaning away the dirt and pollution your skin has come across during the day. Get into the habit of cleansing day and night to keep your skin fresh and clear from dirt and pollution, and keep your skin barrier in great condition. Use the cleanser of your choice and gently massage in upward movements to clear skin of any dirt. At night, make sure you’re taking your make-up off before you cleanse your skin, so as to get a real clean effect.
- When you’re busy, looking after your skin becomes even more important. But it doesn’t have to take too much time. Simple® Skincare expert, Caroline Frazer says “If you’re strapped for time why not try using a daily exfoliator? They're designed to be gentle enough to use every day, and give you great, smooth looking skin - it couldn’t be easier!
- Did you know that warm weather (or those times you’re spending too many hours on hot public transport!) increases the sweat and oil you produce, and leads to speedier cell production and more dead skin cells sitting on the surface of your skin? Bit of a mouthful right? Basically it means that the dead skin cells on your face which don’t come off naturally can mix with bacteria and oil, leading to clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes. Adding into your skincare routine exfoliation once or twice a week can help remove these dead skin cells for healthy looking skin.
- Moisturisation is key in keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. Protect your skin from the drying effects of air-con and heating, and use a moisturiser day and night. You can even try keeping a moisturiser handy, for those times your skin needs a top up during the day.
- Find yourself outside a lot? Use an SPF moisturiser during the day and protect your skin. Even on cloudy days your skin can be affected by UV rays which can damage skin and cause premature aging. So make sure you're protected!
- Too tired to take your make-up off at night? Actually keeping make-up on can help dirt stick to your skin, so there's more risk of clogging your pores. Try keeping a pack of wipes by your bed, for quick and easy cleansing when you eventually cut out of the city and climb into bed!
Our top 3 skincare products for City Skin Read more
- Simple® Cleansing Facial Wipes. Cleanse away the harshness of the day with a wipe. Leaves nothing behind apart from that noticeably clean & fresh feel – Simple ® !
- Simple® Foaming Cleanser. The perfect cleanser for city skin that supports your skin’s own natural protective barrier. Our special foam formulation is super gentle on skin, whilst washing away make-up and everyday impurities.
- Simple® Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15. This moisturiser will boost skin's natural moisture level giving your skin the hydration it needs, whilst the SPF15 protects against harmful UV rays. The perfect antidote for city skin.
Find your zen in the city with Dr. Chris Bundy Read more
Chris gives some of her best tips to manage stress and stay in control in the city, for a better way of living, and of course for healthier looking skin too!
- Is the stress of the day getting to you? Don’t let it! Take 5 minutes for a quick breathing exercise. Take 5 slow, even deep breaths. As you inhale focus on areas where your muscles are feeling particularly tense. Then exhale slowly and work towards making them feel soft and light again.
- Think positive! Think of issues you are having which are causing you to stress by thinking of them as challenges rather than threats. Sometimes looking for the silver lining can really help to give you perspective and show you alternative solutions.
- A balanced routine is essential for your wellbeing and will have a good effect on your skin too. “Make relaxation and routine a priority for you to ensure you get the rest and relaxation your body needs in order for you to feel at your best and to look your best too.” It could be anything from a run round the block, to a night in with a book; the important thing is to find something which you enjoy and helps you relax.
- Sleep is a big stress factor, which can impact the look and feel of your skin. Chris says, “You need to have at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night to allow your stress hormones to adjust to normal levels, as it’s these stress hormones that cause breakouts.” A calming and gentle routine before going to sleep won’t just help you drift off, it’s good for stress too. Take off any make-up and massage a good moisturiser into your skin for about five minutes, this will tell your brain it’s time to start relaxing. Make your sleep routine technology free too. “Working before bed or using a laptop or smart phone in bed will give ‘wind up’ signals to your brain and start the stress process going again”, say Chris.
Making the right food choices with Fiona Hunter Read more
We know it can be difficult to make the right food choices when you’re in the city. A recent study though showed that women with diets significantly lacking in certain nutrients, like protein, Vitamin A and C, and healthy oils, had more wrinkled skin than those who had healthier diets. Finding a healthy balance in your diet can help improve your skin’s condition, for a healthy and brighter looking complexion, today and tomorrow. So it’s definitely worth making a few small changes now, your body will thank you in the long run. Here are some of Fiona’s key tips to keeping up a balanced diet when you’re out and about.
- Skipping breakfast is a big no no! Breakfast helps set you up for the day. Try taking something to work with you, like a piece of fruit or a bag of nuts if you’re pushed for time or just not that hungry when you wake up.
- Forget missing meals! You should always try to eat your three meals a day, it’s more important than you might think! When you skip meals, you’re more likely to reach for the junk food later on. Make some pre-planned choices to help you through the day so that you can avoid those unhealthy options later. Fiona suggests On the go, healthy snacks are quick and easy to prepare for those times in the day when you need a little snack. Preparing lunch the night before is a great time saver. It’s also great using leftovers from the meal the night before.“
- Don’t stop eating out altogether if that’s what you love to do. You can still make healthier options while you are out. "Most restaurants now offer healthier choices so if you're going to be eating out regularly it's worth thinking about choosing the healthier options”, say Fiona.
Make the city your gym with Anna Reich Read more
Our Fitness expert, Anna says “Stress and tension can be a lot higher in the city, and exercise helps to release those tensions that you harbour in your body. Not to mention the added benefit of improving the look and feel of your skin!”
Fitting exercise into you busy day might sound like an impossible task at times. So, why don’t you use your city environment as your own personal gym? There are lots of ways you can start adding a bit of exercise to your busy day – from getting off the bus, tube or train a stop early, to taking the stairs instead of the lift at work. “You’ll be amazed by the difference you can make to your fitness and the look and feel of your skin by adding in small steps into your day” says Anna. “You could even try some short bursts of exercise at your desk, like some bum clenches!” No one will know!
Here are some nifty ideas to get you feeling more active, even if you find exercise hard to fit into your busy day
- Power walk to the shops, to work, or even around the house! – use ankle weights to make it a little more challenging
- Compete against yourself and make any daily task a challenge. Beat your time walking to work, by power walking, or even jogging. Take the stairs to your floor instead of the lift, or go for a lunch time walk around the block. Anything that gets your pulse going a little more is progress!
- When taking the stairs, take two at a time if possible for a deep gluteus workout
- If the stairs are clear before you, go fast, but don’t forget to watch your step!
- Try some triceps-dips and press-ups as you sit at your desk. You shouldn’t get too sweaty from doing one set of each at random times throughout the day
- If you are feeling really active, try taking a quick 20-minute run around your work block. The great thing about jogging in the city is the added workout you get from people dodging! It works on your proprioception and agility (in dodging) - a very important aspect of health and fitness