Clear, beautiful, healthy skin doesn't just 'happen,' it comes effort and a good skin care routine.
Surprisingly, many women today rely on cosmetics and surgical procedures to hide or repair the damage that has occurred from years of improper skin maintenance.
While we can all appreciate a good concealer or botox, ignoring the underlying problems by covering them up is no answer. Truly beautiful skin can only come from a good basic skin care routine.
Most dermatologist and skin experts recommend consistently following a daily skin care routine. This does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. Your daily routine can be performed in as little as five to ten minutes.
Four Simple Steps for Skin Care:
1.Cleanse 2.Tone / Treat 3.Moisturize 4.Protect
A typical skin care routine includes the following steps: washing/cleansing, toning / treating (optional depending on skin type), moisturizing and sun protection.
Optimize for your skin type
The steps of the basic routine should be adjusted to fit your skin type. Your skin type may change with the season, diet and age. Skin tends to be oilier in the summer and drier in the winter. Menopause often brings about a change from oily or normal to dry skin. Conversely, a shift from a low-fat diet to that rich in certain fats (particularly essential fatty acids) may turn dry skin to normal. Skin pigmentation affects the degree to which you need sun protection. While sun damages any skin, the damage is far less in dark-skinned people. Conversely, fair skinned people need to be particularly meticulous about sun protection by minimizing sun exposure, choosing an effective sunscreen and applying it frequently and consistently.
Depending on your skin type, you may want to use your routine once in the morning and again before you sleep. Those with dry and/or sensitive skin may do better with once a day washing/cleansing while moisturizing two or more times a day. Exfoliation, to remove excess oils and prevent acne or blackheads, is also recommended in some cases, but exercise caution as daily exfoliation may be excessive and can lead to chronic irritation. Exfoliation once or twice a week is usually sufficient. Younger skin, like that in your 20's and 30's will have a fast natural epidermal turnover may need little to no exfoliation.
Cleaning facial skin is even more important than cleaning your body. Your face, unlike your body, is exposed to elements all day long. Dirt, pollution and oil from hands all accumulate on the epidermal layer and can clog pores and cause acne eruptions or inflammation.
Like all skin care products, the best cleanser for you will be determined by your skin type. If you suffer from oily or acne-prone skin, you may benefit from an oil-free gel cleanser or one containing salicylic acid. Mature or dry skin will do best with a cream cleanser to help retain moisture. Once your face and neck are cleansed, rinse with lukewarm water and pat your skin lightly with a towel.
Toning / Treating
Toning can consist of using a store-bought toner, astringent or simple Witch Hazel. Toning or treating will balance the ph level of the skin and remove any residual dirt or oil not picked up from your cleanser. For those over the age of thirty, adding a well-selected treatment or two with scientifically proven active ingredients can further improve your results.
Treatment can mean anything from skin rejuvenation products, skin discoloration items and oil absorbing agents to applying medicines for acne or eczema. If you suffer from multiple skin conditions, select an initial treatment aimed at the broadest improvement and then fine tune things from there.
Be aware of applying products to un-cleansed skin as the penetration of active ingredients will be greatly reduced. If you cleanse, moisturize and then apply advanced products, the penetration of active ingredients may still be reduced because the moisturizer has blocked some the entryways.
Moisturizers are essential to keep skin cells plump and hydrated. Hydrated skin will show fewer lines, wrinkles and imperfections. Even if you have oily or acne prone skin, you may still need some hydration. Look for gel-based moisturizers or lightweight formulations. Many medications and treatments appropriate for dealing with acne or oily skin automatically are drying.
Don't make the mistake of drastically drying out your skin until it is a challenge to repair. During the fall and winter months your skin may be even more vulnerable thanks to reduced humidity from indoor heating and excessive hot showers or baths.
Apply your moisturizer when your skin is clean, warm and still slightly moist. Since many active treatments have moisturizing ingredients, you may be able to skip a separate moisturizer. If you feel that you need additional moisturizing, wait a few minutes for the active treatments to absorb, and then apply your favorite moisturizer over it.
Wearing sunscreen or sun protection EVERY DAY is the proven best way to block harmful UV rays and diminish formation of wrinkles, skin discolorations and to reduce your chances of developing skin cancer. A good UVA+UVB sunscreen should be applied on top of your moisturizer or other treatments as a final step of your routine whenever sun exposure is expected. Sunscreens come in a wide variety of bases, from those meant for oily skin to hydrating versions.
Those with sensitivities to chemical sunscreens can choose natural Zinc Oxide formulations. Protective clothing can also now be improved thanks to new laundry treatments with UV protectant for widespread areas of the body mistakenly thought to be protected by your clothing.
Some skin care products or cosmetics contain added UV blockers, but they may not be enough, using a separate, specially formulated sunscreen is proven to be more effective.
And that's it! Cleanse, Tone / Treat, Moisturize and Protect. Use these four simple steps to achieve beautiful, healthy skin. For a lifetime of skin care that can help leave your skin looking its very best, see your healthy skin as a clean canvass upon which to paint any improvements.