Though it might seem like it, great skin is not simply something someone is born with, even though baby skin is flawless. But, the older we get, the more hormones we have and that generally comes with a change in the condition of our skin. Our daily habits, in fact, have a large influence on what you see when you look in the mirror. There are also many opinions on everything from how to moisturize to how to protect yourself from UV rays (just look at Instagram and YouTube). Nonetheless, the way you take care of your skin is super personal, though there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are trying to implement a skin-care routine.
Three Basic Steps:
- Cleansing: wash your face.
- Toning: balance your skin.
- Moisturizing: Hydrate and soften your skin.
The goal of any skin-care routine should be to find what your “problem areas” are and work on fixing them. This helps to tune up your complexion and get it functioning at its best. This is especially true when considering how your skin changes as you age. Creating a daily ritual can not only help improve your skin, but also ground your day. It’s also important to remember to give it time! You skin-care products (no matter how costly) are not going to be an instant fix to your acne or hyperpigmentation. You will see results after consistent use, generally around 6 weeks.
Everyone skin is different and finding the right formula when it comes to a facial cleanser can take a while. For an everyday cleanser, here’s what you should look for:
- Oily or acne prone: Something with foaming liquid, helps with breaking down dirt and excess sebum from pores.
- Dry, red, or eczema prone: A creamy cleanser formulated with emollients like glycerin or shea butter; these can wipe away impurities while hydrating skin.
- Sensitive: A lightweight oil like argan or almond oil is a great away to cleanse your face. Yes, an oil can clean your face. Something lightweight, moisturizing, and well-tolerating for your sensitive skin.
- Mature Skin: A rich, butter-like salve that melts into a liquid when your rub it into your skin. This type of cleanser can be used without water and helps dissolve makeup. They also tend to be soothing.
- Any skin type: As a staple of French routines, micellar water is a great option as it attracts debris and oils like a magnet. It’s great for any type of skin and unlike other cleansers, you don’t need to rinse it off.
A product that is non-comedogenic means that it shouldn’t clog your pores or cause acne. Common comedogenic ingredients include: coconut oil and cocoa butter. It’s best to avoid putting these types of ingredients on your face and remember that the fewer ingredients a product has, the easier it is to figure out if they will cause a reaction.
Toners are not the same as they once were. A good toner does not contain alcohol, which tends to dry skin. Toners that are used today are thin liquids that give your skin an extra shot of nutrients. They also help the other products you have in your regimen absorb better, while working to balance your complexion. When buying a toner, look for these ingredients:
- Alpha and beta hydroxy acids: gently removes dead skin cells that may clog pores, improves sun-damaged skin, and minimizes dullness in your complexion.
- Hyaluronic acid: boosts hydration, seals in dewiness, and plumps skin, which can help with fine lines.
- Rose water and green tea: calms skin irritation and reduces redness with an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Vitamin E and C: fights daily contact to free radicals that can age your skin.
Toners should be put on after you finish cleansing and before any serums or moisturizers. The traditional application method is to saturate a cotton pad and rub it over your face, though your can save a lot by putting it in your hand and rub it in that way. It’s also important to remember that anything with acids (including vitamin C) should only be used at night and every other day.
Serums are filled with concentrated amounts of active ingredients and work to address issues from dark spots to wrinkles. Your skin has different areas that have specific issues, which means you can treat different areas with different products. Do not mix your serum into your moisturizer, which can lessen how much of the serum is absorbed. There are many options for serums that handle specific issues, these are popular ones:
- Hyaluronic acid: seals in hydration and strengthens the top layer of your skin to help prevent moisture loss.
- Vitamin C: helps brighten dull skin and decrease dark spots with continuous use.
- Retinol, vitamin B3, peptides: stimulate the production of collagen and elastin; proteins help prevent lines and sagging skin.
- Colloidal sulfur, niacinamide: calms redness and irritation in skin by decreasing inflammation and can help improve acne with antimicrobial effects.
A moisturizer’s main job is to hydrate and soften your skin. Moisturizers support the skin in preventing water loss through the outer layers of skin, they can also balance the natural protective oils and other important things within the skin, such as ceramides. The older we get, the harder it is for our skin to naturally retain moisture. Here are some suggestions for moisturizers:
- Oily: Gel, water-based moisturizer that is lightweight and can be absorbed quickly.
- Normal/Combo: A lotion that feels moisturizing and generally absorbs well.
- Dry: A creamy moisturizer that is oil-based and heavier than lotion.
- Inflamed/sensitive skin: A balm moisturizer that has a heavier texture.
This is probably the most crucial part of a skin-care regimen. Using sunscreen Daily and consistently can help prevent the development of fine lines and wrinkles, other textural imperfections, and changes in the appearance of your pores over time. Daily sunscreen use is an important step in helping to prevent the development of certain skin cancers. A daily moisturizer containing SPF of at least 30 is an easy way to get that protection.
Eye creams are made to specifically moisturize the delicate eye area. Eye cream is commonly used to address specific issues like dark circles or puffiness.
Face mask have become one of the biggest and fastest growing skincare products in the last few years. Stores have walls, aisle, whole sections dedicated to them. Masks give the skin an extra boost and though they are not necessarily needed in a skin-care routine, they are extremely beneficial.
- Sheet masks: Used for hydrating skin, they have ingredients and soaked the skin and help give you a higher absorption quickly
- Overnight mask: Generally thick in texture, they help trap the ingredients from your serums and moisturizers underneath. Great for those with mature or severely dry skin.
- Clay/mud mask: They absorb oil and are provide a slight exfoliating effect. These are also great for targeting certain areas.
Knowing what products work together, how they help your skin, and the order in which to use them is very significant when it comes to developing a skincare routine for best results. You should keep in mind that coming up with an advanced routine may take some time and testing to discover which products work best for you. Also, skincare does not end with SPF and moisturizer. You should also be aware that what you drink and eat has a lot to do with the health of your skin. So, it is important to cut back on sugary drinks and foods, as well as greasy foods. Try switching out your coffee for a drink full of green and citrus juices instead of drinking that 5th cup of coffee. Your skin will not only look great, but you will have a lot energy overtime.