In the 1950s a psychologist called Abraham Maslow proposed a hierarchy of needs that described the parts of a human’s existence that must be met in order for them to grow and be happy. The hierarchy was expressed as a pyramid with the bottom larger area containing fundamental needs such as food and warmth. As the pyramid rose, other important needs such as safety, love and self esteem built towards a pinnacle of self-actualisation - the need to become the best one can be.
Here I propose a new kind of hierarchy, one that describes the building blocks in order of importance to build skin that is the best that it can be. I have modestly named it Driscoll’s Hierarchy of Skin Needs. Let me talk you through it.
Diet is the foundation of good skin. Even if you weren’t genetically blessed with good skin, you know that poor diet can make it worse. The skin, like any other organ, needs the correct blend of vitamins and minerals in order to function optimally. Be sure to feed you skin with a combination of anti-inflammatory fatty acids from vegetable oils, nuts and fish, vitamin C to boost collagen production, vitamin E for its antioxidant properties and B vitamins to help even your skin tone.
Moisturising effectively has many benefits for the skin. It protects the skin from the stresses of daily life and pollution, it moistens dry and cracked skins and dilutes the sebum of overly oily skin. Moisturisers are often packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that help feed and stabilise the skin structure. The outer layers of your skin are constantly shedding and lower layers need moist conditions in order to manufacture healthy new skin cells.
Gentle cleansing is important for skin health. It removes old skin cells and bacteria that can clog pores and cause acne. It removes a layer of grime that helps prepare the surface of our skin for other active or moisturising ingredients.
We know we can get skin cancer from exposing our skin to the sun. This is the worst kind of damage UV radiation can wreak on our skin, but regular exposure to the sun will cause cause accelerated aging. The warming sun’s rays , while having the ability to tan us and even skin tone in the short term will eventually lead to damaged elastin, sagging, wrinkled and blotchy skin.
Exfoliating is great for removing dead skin cells allowing you to feed new cells with moisture and nutrients. It also helps remove blemishes and even out skin tone. However, you should exfoliate no more than 2 times a week or risk risking the delicate skin biome which will lead you on the path to problem skin.
Toners are usually acidic products that help remove stubborn dirt and polluted oils from the skin. The low pH can help balance the skin’s naturally acidic levels keeping and the friendly bacteria that inhabit it healthy. Be sure to use an alcohol free toner soa as not to unnecessarily strip the skin of too much oil and moisture.
There we have it, a helpful guide to all the parts of skin care routine that will have you glowing and dewy. To finish off here’s a fun little adaption of Mazlow’s hierarchy showing what we really all need out of life.