Skin Care

Lets discuss the best way to care for your skin, as well as what products work best, and which to avoid.

Why have a Routine?

There are many things that you can do one day and ignore the next. However, caring for your skin should not be one of them. Your skin needs consistent care and attention in order to maintain health and vibrancy over the long term. Sometimes younger people can get away with not having a routine for a while, but the effects of this will most likely show as they age.

Developing a skin care routine allows you to:

  • Learn your skin and what it needs, especially during different seasons

  • Maintain a healthy cleansing regimen and avoid breakouts and blemishes

  • Regularly and thoroughly remove makeup that can clog pores and irritate the skin

  • Consistently exfoliate dead skin cells and maintain a bright, even complexion

 

Components of your Skin Care Routine

There are four major components to an effective skin care routine: cleansing, toning, moisturizing and exfoliation. Let's examine the benefits of each.

Cleansing- Your skin is your largest organ and is exposed to the harsh elements on a daily basis. This includes dirt and dust, chemicals, sweat, and a host of other things. If you fail to properly cleanse your skin on a regular basis, it will become dry and weathered, the pores clogged, and the overall appearance will be diminished.

Cleansing the skin also helps to improve blood flow below the skin's surface and eliminate waste and toxins effectively. A proper cleansing regimen helps you to avoid blackheads and whiteheads, as well as effectively removes makeup that can ravage the skin over time.

Some tips for cleansing your skin:

  • Wash your face in a circular motion, which stimulates blood flow. When scrubbing your body, use circular motions, moving upwards towards your heart.

  • Avoid the sensitive eye area when washing your face, as the capillaries (small blood vessels) under the eye can easily break and cause a bruised, puffy look.

  • Avoid harsh chemical cleansers that can dry out your skin or cause an allergic reaction.

  • Always wash at least first thing in the morning and before going to bed to remove residue and perspiration.

  • Avoid scrubbing your face hard, especially if it is irritated or has blemishes.

 

Toning- After a long day, there is often a lot of buildup on the surface of the skin that may not be totally removed just by washing. Toning acts as a second round of defense against makeup, oil, and dirt. Toners also contain astringents, which are said to help cleanse pores and reduce their size.


Most commercial toners contain alcohol and can be drying to the skin if used too frequently. Some good natural astringents are Witch Hazel, Sandalwood, and Lemon. Also, if you have normal or sensitive skin, you may want to avoid an astringent altogether and focus more on washing and moisturizing.

 

Moisturizing from the Inside

To maintain optimal moisture levels, it's important to not only moisturize the skin on the outside, but from the inside as well. While outside moisture application is very important, nourishing your skin from the inside is often more so.

Ensuring that you drink adequate amounts of water is one of the most important means of nourishing your skin from within. The body is largely made up of water, which is required to maintain health and vitality in every cell and organ. Drinking large amounts of water hydrates the skin from the inside and gives the skin cells a plump, healthy appearance, as opposed to dry and wrinkled. In addition to drinking water, eating a good amount of watery fruits and vegetables is also beneficial. If you're not a big vegetable fan, blending them with fruits to make a smoothie can be a better option.

External Moisturizing

The goal of applying moisturizer to your skin is to help replenish the moisture that is diminished through exposure to the elements, cleansers that remove oil, and also to help reduce the signs of aging. To produce the best results, it's best to use natural moisturizers.

Using synthetic or chemical moisturizers is not really providing much benefit to your skin. The petrochemicals that many of these products contain actually clog pores and can cause breakouts and rashes. The goal of a great moisturizer includes the following:

  • Penetrates deeply

  • Actually provides moisture, instead of just coating the skin

  • Contains antioxidants that reduce the effect of free radicals

  • Does not clog pores

  • Has soothing or healing properties

  • Does not contain dyes and synthetic fragrances

 

Exfoliation- Removing dead skin is a very important component of your skin care regimen. The top layer of skin regenerates every month and if the old, dead layers are not removed, they will clog your pores and dull the complexion. By exfoliating regularly, you allow the new, vibrant skin to shine through. This can be done with a citrus or sugar scrub, as well as a textured clay mask.

 

The Four Basic Categories of Skin Care Products


No matter how much you take care of the inside, the largest organ of the body – your skin – does need some TLC as well. To help maintain its health and appearance, Bodemer explains there are four basic categories of over-the-counter skin care products we can use:

  • Cleansers

  • Moisturizers

  • Sunscreens

  • “Anti-Aging”

 

Cleansers


When it comes to using cleansers, there are a few basic rules:

  • Cleanse no more than twice a day

  • Use warm water and a gentle cleanser

  • Avoid abrasive cleansing devices and scrubs

“Rubbing your fingers gently in a circular motion is all you really need to achieve clean skin,” says Bodemer. “It is important to avoid over-cleansing or cleansing too harshly.”


Cleansers that are too strong or abrasive can affect the health of the skin and result in dryness, irritation and inflammation, which in turn can result in flares of chronic skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Unless otherwise recommended by your physician, it’s also best avoid harsh antibacterial cleansers. Instead, look for gentle cleansers, particularly those that promote having a pH closer to normal skin.


Moisturizers


Like cleansers, Bodemer recommends a few basic rules for moisturizing:

  • Liberally apply thick creams, ointments or oils especially after bathing while the skin is still slightly damp

  • Use something that you scoop out of a tub or squeeze out of a tube—not from a pump

 

Most moisturizers don’t actually add moisture to the skin, but instead help draw moisture from deeper tissues and help prevent the loss of moisture from the surface, which is why the thicker the moisturizer, the better. She offers a caution about lotion, “Lotions are essentially a band aid. While they feel good at first, they have high water content and in the long run contribute to more evaporation of moisture from the skin, which we are trying to avoid.”

 

When shopping for a moisturizer, look for ones that contain the following ingredients:

 

Ingredients that slow down evaporation (also called occlusive):

  • Beeswax

  • Lanolin

  • Various oils like coconut oil

  • Shea butter

  • Cocoa butter

Ingredients that that help attract water to the skin (also called humectants):

  • Lactic acid

  • Urea (ureic acid)

  • Glycerin

  • Propylene glycol

  • Alpha hydroxy acids

  • Panthenol

 

Among the benefits of food grade oils is that they are easy to find, unlikely to cause allergic reactions, don’t contain preservative and have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant qualities. Although she does add a caution about shea butter.

 

“Shea butter comes from the shea nut. They have a very low protein content and while the protein present in Shea does not appear to trigger allergic reactions, if someone has a tree nut allergy, I would watch carefully for reactions.


Anti-Aging Products


One of the best ways you can keep skin looking and feeling great is to avoid exposure to UV radiation.


Most of the skin changes we associate with ageing are not necessarily factors of simply getting old, but actually induced and accelerated by UV radiation, so doing whatever you can to minimize this will give you a huge advantage—both for skin health and appearance.

 

There are some ingredients that may have some anti-aging benefit, including:

  • Retinol—helps increase cell turnover (or exfoliates the skin), stimulates collagen and elastin, helps fade dark spots

  • Vitamin C – may help minimize photo damage (must be stored in an air-tight dark container)

  • Hydroxy Acids – (alpha-, beta- and poly-) gently exfoliate the skin—removing upper layer of dead skin and stimulating the growth of a smoother more evenly pigmented skin layer

  • Coenzyme Q – may reduce fine lines and wrinkles and have some UV damage protection

  • Tea Extracts (black, white or green) – have potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties

  • Grapeseed Extract – anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory

  • Nicatinamide (B3) - anti-oxidant, helps reduce water loss from skin and may improve elasticity

  • Igredients that help lighten brown spots:

    • Hydroquinone

    • Kojic acid –from Japanese mushrooms

    • Arbutin –from bearberry, mulberry, blueberry, cranberry, wheat, pear

    • Azelaic acid – from grains

    • Vitamin C

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