Ready to Take Better Care of Your Skin? Adopt This Healthy Routine
If you want to live a healthier, happier life, start by taking care of your body’s largest organ. Regular skin care can provide some substantial benefits that you can benefit from for the rest of your life — from preventing potentially-deadly skin cancer to minimizing wrinkles, dryness, and discoloration. Addressing these issues can prove far more expensive and difficult than simply avoiding them through preventative care.
So now that you’ve established your intentions to keep your skin as healthy as possible, the question remains: how exactly do you do that? Even after you’ve settled on your essential products and strategies, you might not need or want to administer every step of a skin care regimen every single day. Use the following suggestions as your guide for creating a convenient, effective routine.
Every Day: Clean Your Face Gently but Thoroughly
The most critical step in your skin care routine involves gentle, thorough cleansing. Most people should wash their skin twice a day, including individuals who have combination skin, wear makeup, perspire a lot, or produce excessive skin oil. If you have dry or sensitive skin, however, you should limit yourself to one (nighttime) cleansing.
Warm water will do a better job than cold water of rehydrating the skin and removing excess oil. Select a cleansing product optimized for your particular type of skin, such as an oil-free product for oily skin or an alcohol-free product for dry skin.
Every Day: Add a Toner or Moisturizer to Freshly-Washed Skin
Get into the habit of applying toner after every skin cleansing. Toner can help to normalize your skin’s pH balance, which may be necessary to counteract any imbalances produced by the cleanser. It also closes pores, moisturizes the skin, and helps prevent ingrown hairs.
If your toner doesn’t include a moisturizing component, you’ll also want to apply a separate moisturizer to your skin after a cleansing. Moisturizers can prevent dryness, redness, cracking, and other unsightly or uncomfortable skin issues.
Once a Week: Exfoliate to Clear Away Dead Skin
As a living tissue, the skin constantly creates new skin cells to replace old, dead ones. Unfortunately, these old skin cells don’t necessarily slough off on their own; sometimes they require a little help. Accumulations of dead skin cells can clog your pores, leading to acne breakouts. They can also reduce the amount of collagen your body produces, making you more vulnerable to fine lines and wrinkles over time. Exfoliating your skin once a week can make it look healthier and younger.
You’ll find a wide range of exfoliating products and tools out there, from loofahs and pumice stones to special cleansing scrubs and brushes. Try one of these products at a time until you find the one that does the best job for your specific needs. (Don’t then all at once!) Take care not to use a facial exfoliant as a body scrub, or vice versa. Our Smooth-Move Exfoliating & Hydrating Face Mask has papaya, cucumber and aloe vera, making it calming to the face while washing those dead skin cells away!
Whenever You Go Outdoors: Use a UV-Blocking Sunscreen
Unless you spend 100 percent of your time indoors, you’ll want to have a high-quality sunscreen standing by as part of your outdoor skin care routine. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause serious skin damage, from agonizing burns to malignant cancers. UV rays don’t just attack the skin during sunny days, either; under certain conditions, cloud cover can reflect UV energy toward the ground instead of filtering it.
Always choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, specifically blocking both UVA and UVB radiation. As for the SPF rating (which measures the degree to which the sunscreen blocks UV rays), you should select a product with a rating of at least 30 SPF. An SPF-30 sunscreen will protect you from 97 percent of surrounding UV rays. Assume that you’ll need to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or even more frequently if you swim or sweat. Carry a separate UV-blocking lip balm to protect the skin on your lips.
During the Summer: Go Oil-Free
UV radiation isn’t the only threat to your skin’s health as you hit the beach or enjoy other summertime activities. Warmer temperatures and higher humidity levels encourage the oil glands in the skin to work overtime. To combat this seasonal complication, you may need to switch to an oil-free toner or moisturizer. You might also consider a less oily sunscreen than you normally use, as long it provides sufficient UV protection.
During the Winter: Moisturize More
Winter may bring the opposite problem, causing your skin to become especially dry. Along with reduced oil production, your skin may suffer from dehydration due to the drier air (including the drying effects of your indoor climate control system). During these months, you may need to moisturize more frequently than usual (or start using a moisturizer made for dry skin, if you don’t use one the rest of the year).
As the Years Go By: Add Collagen Serums and Creams to Your Routine
Skin naturally changes its composition as it ages. One major change involves reduced production of collagen, the connective tissue that gives skin its elasticity. As a result, lines and wrinkles become deeper and more numerous. You may need to start cleansing and moisturizing more frequently and thoroughly to give your skin every chance to retain as much collagen as possible. You may need more moisturizer (as well as more water in your daily diet) to keep the skin looking plump and hydrated.
Your dermatologist may recommend creams or other topical products that contain retinoids. These products can reduce wrinkles and lines to some extent by boosting collagen production. Take care, however — retinoids can cause irritation and/or dryness, especially if you overdo it with them. Start with the minimal recommended amount to see how much of it your skin can tolerate.
Now that you have a skin care routine to suit everyday life, seasonal challenges, and age-related changes, you’re ready to enjoy a lifetime of healthier, more attractive skin. Go for it!