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The ‘best beauty hacks’ of 2024- Do beauty hacks work and are they safe?

There is nothing better than feeling the motivation to take control of your skin journey and becoming empowered with knowledge to do just that.

The promise of self empowerment is often what beauty hacks claim to offer. But ask me what I think of influencer led beauty trends and I will generally answer, think twice.  Why? Because everybody’s skin is different and what works for one person may not work for you.

2024 has already seen many viral skin trends emerge on social media. Let’s decode some of them together.

How to start taking care of your skin

Skin health definitely begins at home. So the idea that there can be some easy and indeed free hacks to help with skin health is definately valid.

Before you invest in prescription skin care or aesthetic treatments, look to make sure your diet offers you and your skin all the key nutrients it needs, try to identify irritating triggers for you and  optimise you lifestyle to encourage healthy habits such as prioritising sleep and minimising stress. A healthy body and mind leads to healthy skin.

Does your lifestyle affect your skin?

Whilst the sleepy girl mocktail was definatley lacking in the scientific evidence department there is much to admire about wanting to optimise your down time.

When I am stressed, or sleep deprived my skin definitely shows it. Over the years I have learned, that sometimes it is worth ignoring the fear of missing out and to just listen to my body. Sometimes this has meant I snuggle under the covers at 8pm or skip socialising to hit the gym, but I am very glad I did. Sleep deprivation and stress in the short term leads to puffy eyes and dark circles and in the long run leads to your body releasing inflammatory stress hormones that speed up signs of aging and slow healing. For me, and many others this causes dull and sallow skin, worsening lines and laxity, thinning hair and flares of dermatitis and breakouts.

Trends in skin care; skin cycling, skin flooding and active ingredients

Being passionate about skin health and the science behind it, I cannot deny the lure of adding in a great multitasking active such as a retinoid.  They can, in the right patient, absolutely improve many elements of skin health. However, you only need to consider that another word for active ingredient, is ‘medicine’ and then trends such as the Sephora-tween can take on a more sinister light.

Young skin, generally is very healthy skin. Of course, naturally changing hormone levels often can make breakouts really marked, but from an aging and preventative perspective young skin essentially only needs a good cleanser, moisturiser and SPF. Throwing in actives into the mix, that influence skin on a cellular level, can cause much more irritation and damage over all. Not to mention how forcing youngster to have an unhealthy preoccupation with smooth pore free skin can negatively impact mental health and confidence.

The same fundamental basics are needed for all ages of skin. A great cleanser, moisturiser and spf. If I had to pick one product that I swear by, it would be my Obagi Hydrate and Hydrate Lux moisturisers. Moisturiser are my super star, even over products containing active ingredients. Finding a well balanced moisturiser that provides the right kind of hydration, replaces natural oils and seals them in, literally stabilises your skin.  This in itself quickly can soften the appearance of fine lines and texture, as often these are worsened by dehydration. It also allows the skin the function as it should. It then can heal faster, which amongst many things can lead to less lines and wrinkles, less flares of dermatitis and rosacea and shorter lived, milder break outs.

Some recent trends, such as skin flooding and slugging actually do have some solid science behind them. They focus on layering products that provide key elements of skin hydration, in a way that allows the skin to absorb and then keep them there. For very irritated or dehydrated skin I often suggest finishing a night routine with a layer of Vaseline or adding in an extra hydrating step such as with a ceramide serum rich before using a rich moisturiser such as one with shea butter or avocado oil to seal everything in. However, for oily or breakout prone skin, this can often be too much, and lead to worsening breakouts and congestion.

Whilest understanding how your lifestyle impact your skin and finding a great basic  routine will give you key foundations for good skin health, there is no denying active skincare and treatments that regenerate and repair skin are integral to really rejuvenating or preventing signs of aging.

Much like any medicine, if you use the wrong dosage or overload on products you are much more likely to see side effects and damage. I was actually very please to see skin-cycling getting coverage. This is a method that doctors have been using for a long time to allow patients to add in active ingredients in a way that minimises side effects, which means they are both keep safe and are motivated to continue with products, having not been put off by often very irritating side effects.

Dangerous skin trends; home made SPF, derma-rollers and intranasal tanning sprays

Where I really draw the line is at hacks that actually can lead to long term damage to skin and physical health. At home micro-needling is one such example, where roller devices commonly can introduce infection as well as cause scarring and pigmentation. I absolutely love medical grade micro-needling, for the natural healing that it triggers in the skin and the predictable results it can get for many skin concerns, but the titanium coated sterile precision needles that only enter vertically into the skin are a world away from dragging a derma roller over your face.

Home made SPF is another concerning trend. I commend the fact that these content makers are aware of the need to protect their skin from UV but home made products will definatley not provide an adequate level of cover. The concern voiced over the past few years that chemicals in certain SPFs are linked to cancer is flimsy at best. Opting for mineral sunscreens will steer you clear of many irritating chemical's and one thing is certain UV exposure is definitely linked to cancer!

Potentially the most dangerous trend at the moment are intranasal tanning sprays. Of course, a fake bake is preferable to sitting in the sun but please opt for a spray tan rather than this harmful trend.  The drugs in these products travel in the blood to all cells in your body and are very harmful to your essential organs. They are known to cause symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting and internally cause kidney failure, liver damage and break down of muscle tissue which has lifelong implications.

Learn how skin care works; social media and skin health

I am passionate about getting all of us to understand the hows and whys of treatments and products and love that social media can be a platform to share knowledge. But I firmly believe skin health should be viewed along side physical health and this means that products and treatments should always be chosen to target to our individual skin needs and with a sound understanding of the science behind them. So when you see a viral post on social (even if it is from a doctor!) do not take it as a given.

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