Everyone has had to deal with one skin issue or another at some point in their lives, whether it’s acne, dryness, sensitivity, oiliness, discoloration or wrinkles.Thankfully, most of these issues are easily dealt with, if you’re willing to give your face a little love and attention. Start with Step 1 below for some helpful instructions on how to properly care for your face and achieve fresh, dewy-skinned perfection!
Part 1 of 3: Developing a Skincare Routine
Figure out your skin type. The first step to perfect skin is to figure out a skincare routine that works for you. Everybody’s skin is unique, so what works for another person may not work for you. Take a long, hard look at your skin and decide whether it’s normal, sensitive, dry, combination, blemish-prone or oily.
- If you have normal skin, you’re lucky! Your skin doesn’t get oily, your pores are small, your skin tone looks even and you rarely suffer from breakouts.
- Sensitive skin tend to be very reactive – it may become dry, itchy or irritated depending on the weather, your lifestyle and the products you use.
- Dry skin usually feels tight after cleansing and can suffer from roughness or flakiness, especially when exposed to cold weather or dry air.
- Combination skin means that your skin can be dry and oily. It might be flaky and rough around the edges, but oily along the t-zone.
- Blemish-prone skin is just that – prone to blackheads, pimples and excess oil. Even though you try to keep it clean, it still suffers from breakouts.
- Oily skin can become greasy and shiny-looking within an hour after washing. The oil may even seep through your make up and cause it to slide off.
- In addition, whether you have a light skin tone, medium skin tone or dark skin tone will also dictate what issues your skin is prone to, and should be taken into consideration when choosing skincare products.
- However, many people believe that the more they wash their face, the better – but this is a mistake. Overwashing is just as bad as not washing at all, it dries out the skin and can make it red and irritable.
- Stick to washing your face twice a day – once in the morning to cleanse any oil that has built up overnight, and once in the evening to remove any dirt and make-up from the day.
- Use a cleanser that is suited to your skin type (it should be stated clearly on the bottle). When possible, try to avoid using cleansers that are scented, colored, or full of chemicals, as these can be irritating on your skin, or just ineffective. When it comes to choosing products for your face – the simpler the better.
- To cleanse your face, splash your face with warm water. Hot water can be too harsh and drying on your skin, but warm water is perfect as it opens the pores. Squirt some of the cleanser into your hands and use your fingers to work it into your face using gentle, circular motions.
- Then rinse your face with cold water (to close the pores) , making sure that you get all of the product off. Use a clean towel to gently pat your face dry (rubbing is too rough on your skin). Or – even better – allow your face to dry naturally.
- Firstly, toner helps to remove any remaining dirt, make-up or dead skin cells that your cleanser leaves behind, leaving your skin squeaky clean. Secondly, toner helps to restore the skin’s PH balance to its ideal, slightly acidic level. Thirdly, toner leaves skin slightly damp, which enables it to better absorb any products (like moisturizers, serums and sunscreens) that you apply afterwards.
- Toners are also a great way of adding certain active ingredients to your skincare routine. What these active ingredients are will depend entirely on your skin type. People with blemish-prone skin will benefit from toners containing beta and alpha hydroxy acids which exfoliate the skin, people with dry skin should opt for moisturizing toners containing vitamin E or aloe vera, and people looking for anti-aging benefits should look for toners containing anti-oxidents (to repair the skin) and retinoids (to combat wrinkles). However, it’s important to note that people with dry or sensitive skin should avoid using alcohol-based toners as these can be too harsh and drying.
- Most toners come in liquid form and are very easy to use. Simply squirt a little of the toner onto a clean cotton pad and gently swipe over the face and neck. Leave the toner on the skin, there’s no need to wipe off.
Apply moisturizer. No matter what your skin type, moisturizing is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine. Moisturizers hydrate the skin by holding water in the outermost layer of the skin. They also protect the skin and improve skin tone and texture. However, like with other skincare products, the moisturizer you choose will vary greatly depending on your skin type.
- People with normal skin should opt for a water-based moisturizer which will not upset the skin’s balance. The moisturizer should feel lightweight and non-greasy on your skin. Moisturizers for normal skin usually contain lightweight oils such as cetyl alcohol and cyclomethicone.
- People with dry skin need a heavier moisturizer for deep hydration. As a result, moisturizers for dry skin are usually oil-based, which is better for locking moisture into the skin. Look for particularly hydrating ingredients such as grape seed oil and dimethicone (a type of silicone oil).
- Oily and blemish-prone skin still needs to be moisturized, especially if you tend to use drying cleansers and toners. Look for very lightweight, water-based formulas, and choose products that are labeled “non-comedogenic” which means that they won’t clog pores.
- Sensitive skin requires a very simple moisturizer that won’t irritate the skin. Avoid colored or scented moisturizers and steer clear from any products which contain acids. Instead, look for soothing ingredients like aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber.
- Aging skin tends to dry out easily, so look for a richer, oil or petroleum based moisturizer. You should also look for added benefits of ingredients like antioxidants, retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids to plump out the skin and minimize wrinkles.
Exfoliate regularly. Regular exfoliation sloughs off dead skin cells and leaves skin fresh, smooth and glowing. That’s why it’s important to exfoliate at least once a week, or more (depending on your skin type).
- However – many people make the mistake of believing that exfoliation means scrubbing skin to within an inch of its life. This is untrue and can actual be harmful to your skin, as intense scrubbing or rough exfoliators can cause micro-tears in the skin.
- Skin (especially the skin on your face) is sensitive and requires a little more love and care than people tend to give it. Therefore, if you decide to purchase an exfoliating product, choose one with small beads, not large granules.
- Alternatively, you can buy cleansers with exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids which remove dead skin cells without the need to scrub. Or you can simply use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your face – this works as well as any product and is pretty cost effective!
- Another option is to invest in a cleansing and exfoliating tool such as the Clarisonic, which has a rotating brush for thoroughly cleansing the face and cleaning out pores. Many people who use Clarisonic brushes swear by them, but with their hefty price tag (from $100 to $225) they are not an option for everybody.
- A final exfoliation option includes making your own face scrub at home. This is so easy to do and can produce results as good as any store-bought scrubs, while ensuring that you expose your face to only natural products. Try mixing brown sugar and olive oil, baking soda and water, or any other homemade face scrub ingredients!
Always remove your make-up. It may sound like the simplest thing in the world, but you should never underestimate the importance of completely removing your make-up every single night. It’s a pain, and there will definitely be nights when it’s the last thing you’ll feel like doing, but your skin will thank you for it!
- If make up is left on the skin overnight it can clog the pores, while also denying skin the opportunity to repair itself from the stresses of the day. This opens the door to blackheads, breakouts, excess oil and all manner of undesirable issues!
- In addition, make up can trap free radicals that your skin is exposed to during the day. If your skin is not cleansed properly at night, these free radicals remain on the skin. This is not good, as free radicals break down collagen in the skin, leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
- Although the full cleanse, tone, moisturize routine is preferable, in case of emergencies you should keep a pack of cleansing wipes beside your bed, along with some eye make up remover pads. Then you just need to give your face a quick wipe to remove the bulk of the make-up before your head hits the pillow.
- On the subject of make up…if possible, you should try to give your skin a break and go bare-faced every once in a while, especially if you tend to wear heavy foundation. This may seem scary, but your skin will feel much better for it. If going completely naked sounds too extreme, consider switching to a tinted moisturizer – it’s much lighter than foundation but will still provide some coverage.
- And finally, you should make sure to go through your make-up bag at least every six months and throw away any products that have been hanging around for a while. Make up is a haven for bacteria, so using lumpy foundation and gunky mascara can lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
Don’t forget the sunscreen! Last but certainly not least, if there’s one change you should make to your skincare routine after reading this article it’s to wear an SPF everyday. The importance of wearing sunscreen cannot be understated.
- Sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays which contribute to a whole plethora of skin issues. For one, sunscreen has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of developing skin cancer – which is reason enough to wear protection in itself.
- Secondly, sunscreen protects against the effects of aging. In fact, sunlight is one of the major culprits behind skin issues such as fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, red veins and discoloration. By consistently wearing suncream, you can slow down these signs of aging and preserve your skin’s youthful appearance.
- You should look for sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, especially if you’re fair-skinned and have red or blonde hair. Many daily moisturizers and foundations come with an SPF already included, which helps to simplify your morning routine.
- Remember to wear sunscreen everyday, not just over the summer or when it’s sunny. UV rays are just as strong when the weather is cold and can even penetrate cloud and rain. You can provide further sun protection by wearing sunglasses and a fashionable hat, when necessary.
- Never use old or expired sunscreen. It’s protective benefits have essentially worn away, so it will not prevent burns or skin damage. In addition, the formulation of sunscreen often changes once it expires and can cause skin irritation and itching.
Part 2 of 3: Troubleshooting Skin Issues
Fight against acne. Acne is one of the of the most stubborn and irritating skin problems out there. Although it primarily affects teenagers, it can last well into adulthood and no one is immune to the odd pimple here and there. Since acne is such a widespread problem, there are many treatments available and with a little trial and error you can find one that works for you.
- Follow the normal skincare routine of cleansing, toning and moisturizing, but be sure to use products designed especially for acne-prone skin. Try using cleansers containing ingredients such as triclosan, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Use a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to combat any dryness.
- In addition to the normal skincare routine, it often helps to use a medicated spot treatment, which usually come in cream or ointment form. Some of the most effective treatments include ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, sulfur, retinoids and azelaic acid. Although most of these topical treatment creams are available over-the-counter, some stronger concentrations may require a prescription.
- If spot treatments alone don’t seem to be working, make an appointment with a dermatologist. They can prescribe an array of medications – topical and oral – depending on the type and severity of your acne. Some people respond to oral anti-biotics, some women find that going on the pill helps, and others require more intense retinoid treatments, such as accutane.
Deal with aging. Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging and brown spots are all skin care issues that everybody will have to deal with at some point in their lives. However, with the right care and protection it’s possible to stave off these issues and keep your skin looking young for as long as possible.
- Firstly, it’s important that you follow a skin care regimen using products designed for older skin. These products are richer and therefore more hydrating, which is important as older skin tends to become dried out and papery.
- To combat wrinkles and saggy skin, look for moisturizing creams or lotions containing antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals – which destroy skin cells and contribute to signs of aging. Some common ingredients that contain antioxidants include tea extracts, retinol ( a vitamin A compound) and kinetin (a plant compound that is believed to increase collagen in the skin).
- To deal with brown spots and sun damage, look for products that contain beta and alpha hydroxy acids as these exfoliate the skin, removing the dead, discolored layers and revealing the fresher, smoother skin underneath.
- However, if you’re looking for one magic, cure-all product for lines and wrinkles, there’s only one product that stands up to the task – Retin-A. Retin-A – known generically as tretinoin or retinoic acid – is an acidic form of vitamin A which is extremely effective at reducing wrinkles, firming saggy skin and lightening discolorations, which it does by increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen production and exfoliating the skin. Retin-A is only available with a prescription, so speak to your dermatologist if you’re interested in starting this treatment, or read more information here.
Combat discoloration. Discoloration includes problems such as brown spots, dark patches and hyperpigmentation.
- These problems are caused by the overproduction of melanin in your skin, which can be triggered by a vast array of things such as sun exposure, pregnancy, menopause, birth control pills, other medications and picking at blemishes. Although discoloration will sometimes fade on its own, there are many treatments and creams that can help speed the process along.
- The first step in the treatment of discoloration is to pick up a selection of skincare products containing retinoids and use them on a daily basic. Vitamin A derived retinoids exfoliate the skin to remove the discolored top layers of skin and replace them with fresh, new skin. Skin should improve over a matter of months. If you want a more fast-acting treatment, get a prescription for a cream or gel containing retinoic acid, which produces the same results but it significantly stronger.
- If you’re looking for more of a bleaching treatment (to lighten dark patches or melasma), hydroquinone is an effective option. Hydroquinone lightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production. The 2% formula is available over-the-counter, but you will need a doctor to prescribe the stronger 4% formula. Before using this treatment it is important to be aware that hydroquinone has been banned in large parts of Asia and Europe due to its potential carcinogenic properties.
- If cost is not an issue, you could also look into getting laser or light treatments, chemical peels or microdermabrasion. Speak to your dermatologist to figure out which is the best option for you.
- And finally, the most important thing to remember when dealing with discoloration is to always wear sunscreen. Sunscreen can prevent UV light from triggering melanin production and making the discoloration worse.
Handle sensitivity. Having sensitive skin can be a pain – you need to be so careful about the products you use and how you treat your skin, otherwise you could end up with issues such as excessive dryness or redness, stinging sensations, red bumps or even pustules.
- Having sensitive skin also makes you more prone to developing skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea, acne and contact dermatitis. However, if you can learn to have a little patience and make informed decisions about your skincare, sensitive skin is entirely manageable.
- As mentioned before, when buying products for sensitive skin it is important to avoid cleanser, moisturizers and other products which contain colors or fragrances, as these products are much more likely to produce an undesirable reaction. When choosing, try to go for the simplest products possible – look for cleansers and creams with ten ingredients or less.
- You will also need to avoid products containing ingredients such as antibacterial agents, alcohol, retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. Even though these substances may be beneficial for other skin types, on sensitive skin they will merely cause dryness and irritation.
- Instead, look for products that containing soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients such as chamomile, white tea, aloe, calendula, oats and marine plants.
- If there is a particular product you want to use, but you’re unsure of how your skin will react, then it’s a good idea to do a patch test first. Start by taking a small amount of product and rubbing it on the skin behind the ear. Do this for five nights in a row, and if no irritation occurs, try applying it to a small patch of skin beside your eye. Repeat the process and if there are no signs of irritation, it should be safe to apply the product to your entire face.
- In terms of make up, look for silicone-based foundation as this is the least likely to cause a reaction. Stick with pencil eyeliners and brow fillers, as their liquid counterparts tend to contain latex, which is a common allergen. Don’t use waterproof mascara, as it requires a special type of cleanser to remove which is too harsh for sensitive skin.
Part 3 of 3: Making Lifestyle Changes
Eat healthy. Make sure you follow a healthy diet, enriched with the vitamins and minerals your skin needs.Vitamins B, C, E, A and K all help keep your skin fresh and glowing.
- Vitamin B forms the basis of skin, hair and nails. You can find this vitamin in foods like oatmeal, eggs, rice, bananas and even Vegemite.
- Vitamin C protects your skin against sun exposure, keeping you away from skin cancer. Vitamin C pops up in citrus foods such as lemons, limes, oranges, bell peppers, cranberry/grape juice, cauliflower, and leafy greens.
- Vitamin E also helps protect your skin against sun exposure, and can be found in foods such as olives, spinach, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.
- Vitamin A is essential for repair of the skin tissue-without it your skin will look dry and flaky. Vitamin A is found in fruits and veggies-so load up.
- Vitamin K helps reduce dark circles under eyes, as well as bruises. Vitamin K is hidden away in leafy green vegetables, dairy products, and meats such as pork and liver.
Stay hydrated. As you probably know, drinking water is important for clear, healthy skin. This is due to the fact that your skin – like most other cells in the body – is composed primarily of water.
- Without enough water, your skin can become dehydrated and look dry, tight and flaky. Over time, this can lead to the appearance of wrinkles.
- Drinking water also helps to eliminate harmful toxins from the body, which would otherwise build-up and wreak havoc on your skin and overall well-being.
- Although there’s no exact scientific measurement of how much water you should be drinking a day (it varies from person to person and according to climate and physical activity) a good base would be 6 to 8 glasses.
- If drinking water isn’t your thing, you can substitute by drinking plenty of green or herbal tea, or coconut water (which is said to be extra good for your skin). Alternatively you can add a slice of lemon to your drink to give it some flavour. Lemons are also extremely beneficial to the skin so you’ll be killing two birds with one stone!
- You should also try to eat lots of fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, grapes, iceberg lettuce, celery and radishes.
Get enough sleep. Sleep is essential for healthy, fresh-looking skin – they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing! As you sleep, your skin repairs and renews itself, replacing old cells with new ones.
- When you don’t get enough good-quality sleep, your skin can look dull, pale and sagging the next day. This is partly due to the fact that your blood doesn’t circulate as well when your tired. Lack of sleep also causes blood vessels under your skin to dilate, which leads to dark circles beneath the eyes.
- So for fresh, healthy looking skin you should aim to get 7 to 8 hours sleep a night. You should also try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day, as your body likes routine. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol before bed, as this affects the quality of your sleep.
- Aside from the sleep itself, you can make some adjustments to your sleeping conditions which will benefit your skin. For example, it’s better to sleep on your back than on your front, as your face is not pressed up against the pillow (which can contribute to wrinkles).
- You should also change your pillowcase at least once a week to avoid the build-up of oils, dirt and bacteria, and opt for white sheets instead of colored ones, as the dyes can irritate sensitive skin.
Exercise often. Exercise not only keeps you in shape, but it helps your skin maintain a fresh and healthy glow by regulating the flow of oxygen to the skin.
- Be sure to avoid wearing make-up when you exercise. Sweat and dirt will get trapped in your pores and cause you to break-out.
- Avoid leaving sweat on your face after you work-out. Take a shower or at least thoroughly cleanse your face as soon after exercise as possible.
Avoid stress. Stress is bad for your skin on every level – it can contribute to excess oil, breakouts, redness, sensitivity and wrinkles. It can also aggravate skin conditions such as rosacea and eczema.
- In terms of your body’s chemistry, stress causes an increase in the hormone cortisol, which triggers oil production and leads to acne fare-ups. It also causes blood vessels to dilate which causes redness.
- On a physical level, constantly furrowing your brow and frowning causes a loss of collagen and can lead to premature wrinkles.
- Therefore, by reducing your stress levels you can improve the quality of your skin. You can do this by making time for yourself and doing things you enjoy – like going for a walk, taking a yoga class or just spending time with your loved ones.
Quit smoking. Smoking is bad for your skin. Period. If you want to improve the appearance of your skin and prevent early signs of aging, then cigarettes should be the first thing to go.
- Smoking is bad for your skin in many ways. Firstly, cigarettes contain carbon monoxide, which limits the amount of oxygen that gets to the skin, and nicotine, which reduces blood flow. These two factors can leave skin looking dull, grey and dry.
- Secondly, smoking disrupts the body’s absorption of nutrients such as vitamin C, which is necessary for the skin to repair and renew itself.
- Smoker’s tend to have more fine lines and wrinkles than their non-smoking counterparts, as smoking causes accelerated aging due to reduced blood flow to the skin.
- Giving up smoking is not the easiest thing in the world, but with some determination and support from your friends and family it is possible.
We could really use your help!
- Instead of wearing a lot of foundation, you can mix it with your moisturizer.
- Put some olive oil, coconut oil, or Shea butter on your face if you have dry skin (coconut oil is recommended). Put the hard oil in the microwave to turn it into liquid and at night, put it on your face after you wash with a cleanser. You can get these oils/butters at your local farmers market/grocery store.
- Consider switching from thick foundations to mineral make-up, to avoid clogging the pores.
- If a cream or moisturizer is giving you a rash, stop using it and switch to another one. Also let your face rest for a while after the rash by not wearing makeup for a few days.
- If you have acne prone skin, avoid consuming products that contain Narraganset which could increase oil production and cystic acne. Its an ingredient extracted from red algae and found in many products including most ice creams.
- Always test products before using them. To test a new product, apply a small amount to your wrist or arm and wait 24 hours. If you don’t come out in rashes, hives, or any allergic reactions, the product is most probably safe.
- Don’t touch your face. It’s tempting to pick at spots and scabs, but there is a lot of bacteria on your fingers and it can transfer to your face very easily to make small spots much worse or reinfect a healing spot.
- Don’t slather on lots of lotions and give your skin a hard time. A pea-sized amount is ideal. Too many chemicals can simply increase pimples and oiliness. Keep your routine simple and easy. Just washing your face with warm water, patting it dry and applying some simple face cream can do wonders.
- Keep your hair clean, especially if you have bangs or a fringe. Consider keeping all hair completely off your face. If you have oily hair, make sure you keep it off your face and wash it regularly and don’t use conditioner on your fringe just on the ends and mid lengths on the back of your hair.
- 3-4 cups of green tea daily help a lot in having a clear smooth skin.
•If you have oily/sensitive skin like me I recommend washing your face with a mild but effective foaming cleaners, and don’t just apply cleaners and rub it on your face, get a wash cloth or a facial brush and get the make-up off your pores, if you don’t clean foundation good enough it will stay in your pores and increase oil, create black heads and all sorts of bad junk. Use a non scented, light gel or cream lotion afterwards.
- Don’t pop your pimples because your nails have bacteria.
- Use 1 egg white and take a 2-ply tissue and rip it and put it everywhere expect the eye or mouth area.
- If you have acne, Don’t use too many products at once and confuse your skin. Just use a face wash for acne prone skin, toner, and if needed, a lightweight moisturizer. If you need too, use salicylic acid on your spots.
- This method will not work for everyone.
- If you have severe problems with acne or pimples, such that you are extremely self-conscious, you should consult a doctor or dermatologist. There are medications available that may considerably reduce or cure acne.
- If you are dark-skinned and live in a country that does not get much sunshine, you may want to reconsider using sunscreen. The melanin in your skin blocks most UV light, so if you use sunscreen and block it out completely you could be at risk of a vitamin D deficiency.
Sources and Citations
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/14/toner-necessary_n_2124513.html
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-skin/in-depth/moisturizers/art-20044232
- ↑ http://skincare.about.com/od/skin101/qt/Exfoliating-Your-Face-Tips-And-Product-Tips.htm
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/18/sleep-in-makeup_n_2289084.html
- ↑ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/19/sunscreen-benefits_n_3464687.html
- ↑ http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/aging/anti-aging-tips/how-to-care-for-aging-skin3.htm
- ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/30/fashion/30skin.html
- ↑ http://www.skininc.com/skinscience/ingredients/41973632.html
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/beauty/sensitive-skin-20-questions
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water?page=2
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/beauty/skin/truth-about-beauty-sleep
- ↑ http://www.marieclaire.com/hair-beauty/trends/skincare-tips-for-stress
- ↑ http://healthyliving.msn.com/diseases/quit-smoking/15-ways-smoking-ruins-your-looks-3