Stop right now and put down that skin cream! Here’s something to think about. Is your skin routine actually helping your skin or harming it? You might be surprised to find out some things you are doing during your skin routine, might actually harm it. For instance, it is counter-productive to apply beauty products to your skin in the wrong order or aggravating an inherent imbalance in your skin by using a product that actually aggravates your skin type. Taking care of your skin properly can even help reverse the effects of photo-aging or damaging “beauty hacks” that you have been accidentally inflicting on your skin for years because you did not know any better.
Here is some advice for taking care of your skin with the same expert care that your dermatologist would.
1. Know Your Skin Type
Your skin type is as unique as you, which means that you should choose skin products that are right for your type. In general, skin types are divided into the following skin categories:
If you have normal skin there are no visible pores, blemishes, flaky or oil areas and your skin appears flawless. Your skin texture is smooth and creamy usually has a natural dewy glow. A perfect complexion is due to a healthy balance of the elements of sebum, keratin, and moisture in your dermis.
Dry skin looks dull and often boasts flaky patches, fine lines, and wrinkles. The skin may feel, tight, rough and chap easily. Dry skin breaks out in tiny bumps, pills like worn-out cashmere and is more prone to eczema. This due to a lack of moisture, which makes the skin feel chapped and distresses the dermis.
Acne-prone skin is often so oily it glistens. The skin erupts in blackheads and whiteheads and sometimes the problem becomes so bad that the blemishes resemble pustules or boils. This is due to the skin overproducing sebum and dead cells, resulting in a painful, contagious and very unattractive appearance. The theory is that acne is actually due to very dry skin, which inspires your skin pores to overproduce oils in a way that causes the blemishes.
Aging skin will often be dry and have a translucent and pale quietly. Aging skin also appears saggy around the eyes and neck due to a lack of moisture and elasticity. These effects are usually due to sun damage and the natural thinning of the top layer of the epidermis.
It is also very likely that your skin is a combination of a couple of these types such as “oily and acne-prone” or “dry and aging.” To make things even more complicated your skin can be a mixture of these types. The most common type of combination skin is an oily T-Zone (forehead and nose) with dry cheeks and chin
Your skin’s requirements can change over time. For instance, oily skin can become dry skin or aging skin can become sensitive skin. In fact, skin types can change according to the season; the skin is dry in the winter and oily in the summer. It is crucial you stay mindful of what is going on with your skin and change your products to ones that are suitable as needed.
A Simple Skin Type Test
If you are not sure what type of skin type you have, there is a simple skin test you can do. Simply wash your face with warm water, cleanse twice and pat it dry with a towel. Wait thirty minutes and then examine your skin in the mirror to see if it has any of the characteristics described in the categories above. If you are not certain of your skin type, then, you can always get your skin assessed by a qualified dermatologist.
2. Always Cleanse Your Face Twice In One Session
Double cleansing your face is absolutely essential because washing your face just once does not get all of the dirt, grime and old makeup that sits on your face all day. Remember too that washing your face is not just about getting rid of make-up. We live in environments that are so polluted that we need to wash our faces more than once at each session. The first cleansing of your face will remove some surface dirt but it is that second cleanses that is going to sweep away any stubborn sebum (oils produced by your skin pores) and leftover dirt.
When it comes to cleansing your face, it is important to remember the old dermatologist’s adage, which is that “you can clean oil with oil.” For your first swipe at cleansing your face use an oil-based cleanser, which will wash away heavier impurities and attract old sebum and sweat. Then use a water-based cleanser (like a gel, foam or cream).
It is also imperative that you avoid harsh cleansers that contain soap detergents or alcohol. These ingredients strip the skin’s moisture barrier and provoke facial oil production. This, in turn, can cause an overproduction of facial oil production.
3. Always Remove Your Makeup Before Bed
Almost every woman alive is guilty of going to bed with her makeup on. However this is one of the worst things you can do for your skin as the makeup, debris and bacteria are left to fester on your skin all night. Sometimes this allows bacteria to push deep into your pores, which leaves your skin prone to blemishes, dirt, oil, acne, dehydration and more. Also, resist the temptation to do a quick swipe with a make-up wipe. Cleanse your face twice, as described above to make sure that you don’t degrade your skin by neglecting to do this.
4. Exfoliate Once a Week
One of the best things that you can do for your skin is exfoliated it at least once a week to help slough off dead skin cells and encourage the skin to renew its. There is no better way to get rid of dead skin, skin flakes, dirt, oily blackhead plugs and hairs blocked by hard sebum. Exfoliation can also brighten your complexion, help get rid of fine wrinkles and allow other skin products that you use to penetrate the skin even further.
The type of exfoliator you use is very dependent on your skin type. Individuals with oily skin can benefit from exfoliation as many as three times a week but if your skin is normal to dry, you are good with exfoliating just once a week.
Exfoliators are available in the form of many different substances: creams, lotions or gels. They can even look like grit or gravel. Mechanical exfoliators contain beads or grains like salt, sugar or ash that help buff away dead skin. Chemical cosmetic exfoliators use AHAs such as lactic, glycolic or citric acid to clarify the skin.
Don’t overdo it when you are exfoliating, as that can end up removing healthy skin cells and expose your skin to bacteria, which makes breakouts more likely. If you scrub too hard or too often it can cause a condition called PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.) If you have exfoliated and note that your skin has broken out as a result, then give exfoliation of your skin a rest from any more friction until it has completely healed.
5. Never Skip the SPF
Applying sunscreen is one of the most effective things you can do to prevent aging, as photo aging causes 90% of wrinkles. Both types of Ultra Violet Rays, UVA and UVBs cause skin discoloration and skin cancer. UVA rays penetrate deep into your dermis and cause long term damage by destroying the collagen in your skin and causing wrinkles and sagging skin. UVB rays cause redness and sunburn. Also, don’t think that you can skip a day because it is cloudy out. Ultraviolet rays pierce through fog, mists and thick cloud cover, causing photo-aging.
Apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF rating or choose a makeup foundation or BB cream that already has an SPF rating in it. Make sure you choose a sunscreen that says “broad-spectrum” as that means that your skin will be protected from both kinds of rays. It is also a good idea to choose a deluxe sunscreen that has moisturizers, skin barrier protectants and vitamins in it.
6. Always Use A Product As Directed
There is no need to ever overuse any product and when layering your products, applying too much can sabotage the effectiveness of the one you are using on the next step. Sometimes leaving a product on longer than instructed in the directions can harm your skin as can not leaving it on long enough.
Often when you apply too much of a cream or a serum to your face, it builds up and sits on the surface of your skin leading to extra oily skin, breakouts and irritation. Your skin could actually feel a bit clogged, like you can’t get it clean enough no matter how many times you wash it. A remedy for this is to apply a bit of toner to your skin to dry and clarify it and then rinse it well. If this does not work, then try applying a green clay mask to your face. Green clay is very effective at absorbing all oils and slick substances from the skin and leaving it clean and soft again.
You can also get into trouble if you wash your face too much. This can lead to dry, irritated skin, and ironically, provoke the skin to produce too much oil. When the oil producing glands in your pores overproduce sebum it can lead to breakouts, acne and shiny skin,
Yet another issue to watch out for is the use of retinoid creams and serums together. Retinoid creams contain Vitamin A and many serums contain Vitamin C. The acids in both products can clash and cause serious skin irritation.
7. Use a Face Mask Once A Week
Applying a face mask once a week can help perk up your skin. You can buy commercial face masks or make one at home yourself. There are many different types of face masks out there on the market and the idea is to choose the one that is right for your skin. There are masks for brightening your skin, making skin look younger and moisturizing dry skin.
Masks are applied on the face as a liquid and then left on the skin to dry. The most hygienic thing to do is apply your face mask with a sponge or paint-brush and then let it dry.
To prepare your skin for the application of a mask, double cleanse your skin thoroughly, using warm water to remove any makeup, dirt and oil. Do not apply any serums or moisturizers, as it will affect the effectiveness of the mask. However, it is a good idea to exfoliate your face well before applying the mask. Before applying the mask also consider steaming your face with a hot washcloth, to open your pores, so the nutrients from the mask are better absorbed.
Once the mask has been left on for the amount of time (use a directed on the package or for at least 15 minutes for a homemade mask) you can remove the mask with warm water or if it is gel-based, peel it off your skin. After this let your skin rest for two hours before applying any other product or makeup.
8. Try a DIY Lymphatic Massage
To keep your skin clear, glowing and blemish-free, take your fingers and massage your face in an upward direction from the base of the neck. This encourages your arteries to bring fresh blood to your complexion. Continue massaging in gentle circles upwards, towards the jaw and up at the sides of the eyes. Keep stroking your face gently until you feel your skin tingling. You then perform the same gentle massaging motions, starting at the top of your hairline and stroking downwards to your neck. This will help to draw the waste away from your skin and help you look younger and more refreshed.
9. Stay Hydrated
No matter what your skin type is, it is important for it to stay hydrated. When you are dehydrated your skin looks less resilient and even saggy. When you drink enough water every day, every cell in your body is plumped up, including those on your face. Hydrated skin always looks younger so be sure to drink up!
10. Eat Foods Rich in Beta-Carotene
Beta-Carotene is a highly bioactive form of Vitamin A that directly nourishes our skin. That is because our skin needs Vitamin A to support collagen production. It is collagen that helps us look younger. It’s best to get your collagen from fresh organic sources such as apricots, cantaloupes, carrots, and spinach. Bone broth and gelatin are also rich sources of collagen.
11. If You Want to Look Younger, Work Out
Working out boosts your circulation, and that includes the fine capillaries in your skin. If you want more a more luminous complexion you need to do more cardio, as that helps to bring the blood to skin cells. Accelerated blood flow brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin and carries free radicals and poisons away into the body’s detoxification system. Exercising also gives your complexion a pinker, more youthful tone.
12. Get Enough Rest
If you want to have flawless skin, then make sure you get to eat at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night. It is also a good idea to use nourishing night creams at night, your skin’s natural protective barriers are at their weakest, allowing for greater penetration of the product into the dermis.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Finally, be aware of these few things that people often do as part of an everyday skincare routine that can actually make your skin worse.
- Never pop a pimple or blackhead using your finger, tweezers or any tool. This is a good way to contaminate the dermis area and cause scarring. When you rupture the weakened follicle the bacteria spreads under the skin, which can cause discoloration.
- Don’t use water that is too hot when washing your skin. You might be thinking that you are opening your pores and loosening the sebum from your pores, but you really do risk burning your skin. Use warm, temperate water on your skin at all times, when cleansing and rinsing your face.
- If you constantly break out into acne, eating too much dairy might be the culprit. Cut out dairy and see if the ruddiness and breakouts reduce themselves.
- One way to get more beta-carotene in your life is to drink more green juices, preferably with vegetables such as carrot, kale, peppers or avocado every day. These ingredients help stimulate lymphatic drainage under the skin.
- Stop drinking so much coffee! Caffeine has been known to exacerbate breakouts as well as interfere with the skin’s natural ability to cleanse itself.
- Don’t wait too long to treat a pimple or blackhead. Apply a therapeutic spot cream, ideally recommended by your dermatologist, to stop the infection from getting worse or possibly spreading.
- Avoid using abrasive cleansers with plastic beads suspended in gel. The beads do not disintegrate well after they are sent down the lake and end up polluting our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
Above all, be consistent. If you take care of your skin every day and give your cleansers and moisturizers a chance to work, you will be pleasantly surprised by how well they work to prevent as well as reverse such problems as acne, dryness, and aging.