This might come as a shock but having great skin is neither miracle nor luck. Great skin needs the right care to stay healthy and glowing. The reality is that our lifestyle and environment have such great influence over the general health and state of our skin. One great example of an environmental factor is sun exposure. Overexposure to the sun's UV rays may cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin and liver spots. Luckily there are steps you can take to repair and manage what is in actuality, the largest organ in the human body. Read on for the ultimate guide to building a the best skincare routine possible.
A. Know Your Skin: Skin Types Explained
The first step towards healthy skin is knowing your skin and opting for a skincare regimen accordingly. You are unique and so too should be your skin care routine.
Here is a brief look at the FIVE skin types and their characteristics:
Dry Skin: tight, rough and sometimes flaky
Oily Skin: oily, greasy, most likely large visible pores
Normal Skin: neither dry nor oily. It is clear and balanced
Combination Skin: dry in some spots (cheeks) and oily in others (usually the T-zone: forehead, nose and chin)
Sensitive skin: redness, itching, overly dry, may burn with the application of certain skincare products or makeup.
B. The Skincare Routine
The best skincare routine is the one that is easy, quick and effective. There are FIVE daily crucial steps that must be followed in order to achieve healthy, glowing skin. Then there are TWO weekly steps that should also be implemented if you truly want to kick it up a notch. Here’s is a quick glance at these steps listed in the order in which they should be done.
1. Cleansing: For Different Skin Types
Cleansing is the first and most important step in any skincare routine. It removes dirt, dust, makeup residue and excess oil from your skin. Proper cleansing also prepares your skin for the next set of products in your skincare routine.
An IDEAL cleanser should be:
Foaming ingredients in cleansers often interfere with your skin's natural pH and can damage your skin. Opt for a mild foaming cleanser that is clean, natural and free of harsh chemicals.
Your skin should feel squeaky clean and fresh but not dry and tight. Make sure to choose a cleanser that does not strip away the moisture from your skin.
Deep Cleansing ( but not over cleansing)
A cleanser should deep cleanse to remove dirt and debris from your skin, but not over cleanse. Learn the difference. A deep cleanser should not remove the skin’s natural oils. Over cleansing usually disrupts the skin's natural barrier, making it prone to bacterial infections.
Tip: Use your cleanser twice-a-day as part of your daily skincare routine. Once in the morning and once in the night before bedtime.
Best Cleansers for Dry Skin
Cleansers for dry skin should contain ingredients that have a moisturizing effect on the skin. You don't want to dry out your skin further with the use of harsh cleansers. Pick a cleanser that has hydrating ingredients like Aloe Vera, glycerin and essential oils.
Cleansers for Oily Skin
Oily skin is a result of excess sebum production in the skin. An ideal cleanser for oily skin should control sebum levels. Pick a cleanser with non-comedogenic ingredients (such as Aloe Vera, green tea, citric acid, grapeseed oil, charcoal and neem oil ) to avoid clogged pores.
Cleansers for Sensitive Skin
Opt for natural mild cleansers with a fragrance-free, sulfate-free formula. If you can, avoid foaming cleansers as they can remove too much natural moisture. Ingredients like soy protein, glycerin, Aloe Vera and cucumber are soothing, cleansing and moisture restoring.
Cleansers for Normal and Combination Skin
Any type of cleanser works for normal and combination skin. Pick one that does not have a high pH and is not stripping off the oils from your face.
Toning balances your skin and is the second step in your skincare routine after cleansing. It restores the pH balance in your skin and makes your skin ready for other skincare products as well as makeup.
Toner is applied using cotton pads, but a lot of the liquid is lost while doing so. Applying toner with clean hands is the most efficient way of doing it. Take a few drops and then just spread them evenly on the face.
Ingredients to Look For in A Toner:
Witch-hazel: tones, cleanses and moisturizes
Rose water and Aloe Vera: soothes skin
Hyaluronic acid: provides hydration to the skin
Vitamin E and C: slows down the skin aging process
Lavender and Clary Sage: anti inflammatory properties
Tea Tree and Willow Bark: cleans pores, removes dead skin cells, anti inflammatory.
Serums are skincare products infused with concentrated doses of active ingredients. They are used to treat skin concerns such as ( but not limited to) dryness, dark spots, wrinkles, acne, pimples and scars
Don’t have any skin concerns? You should still use some sort of moisturizing antioxidant serum to guard your skin from daily exposure to UV rays.
A scar and spots serum reduces the appearance of post acne scars, blemishes, and spots. Ingredients like Tamanu, Helichrysum and Grapeseed oil contain high amounts of Vitamin A, antioxidants and inflammatory agents that play a crucial role in collagen production and wound healing.
An Acne Serum is non- comedogenic, balances oil production, unclogs pores and stops bacterial growth.
Nobody likes to age faster and thanks to anti-aging serums, aging is delayed. Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) are the super ingredients in anti-aging serums that increase collagen production, rejuvenate and renew skin cells.
Your skin’s outermost layer acts as a barrier and protects the underlying tissue from external aggressors.
The amount of water that this barrier holds is directly related to the strength of the barrier. Hence, it is important to keep your skin hydrated or moisturized at all times.
Moisturizers for Different Skin Types:
Dry skin - Serums, Creams
Oily + Acne-Prone Skin - Serums, Lotions
Normal / Combination - Serums, Gels
Sensitive Skin- Serums
There are day moisturizers and night moisturizers. The latter is usually thicker and heavier and is designed to be absorbed over the course of several hours.
Sunscreen is non-negotiable today. Our skin is subjected to constant damage from the sun.
It is crucial to use a sunscreen that can prevent wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots and skin cancer too. Sunscreen is the last step in your skincare regimen.
Experts recommend using a daily moisturizer with a built-in broad spectrum SPF of at least 30.
Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at least every two hours.
Weekly Addition to the Routine...
Weekly exfoliation can help you get rid of dead skin cell buildup to reveal new, youthful-looking skin underneath. Fruit scrub, coffee scrub and sugar scrub are some of the many scrubs available in the market to get you smooth skin.
2. Facial Masks
Sitting back and relaxing with a face mask on is so good for your skin. You can choose from a variety of face masks like clay, charcoal, mud, honey, etc. Apply an even layer of any of the face masks to clean, dry skin. Leave on for 10-15 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water.
NOTE: Skin Care Dos And Don'ts
Do eat a balanced diet
Do get adequate sleep
Do physical activity or exercise
Do drink a lot of water
Do remove your makeup before sleeping
Do cover yourself with stoles, hats, sunglasses, etc. while you are out in the sun
Do use clean pillowcases
Don’t use the wrong skincare products... this one is very important!
Don’t stress too much... we know it’s hard but try anyway!
Don’t keep touching your face
Don't take overly hot showers
Don't squeeze pimples... resist the urge!
NOTE: How To Layer Skincare Products
Besides the timing and consistency of skincare products, layering is an important aspect of a good skincare routine. Applying your skin care products in the right order ensures that your skin receives the full benefits of each product. Remember the right order is cleanse, tone, apply serum, moisturize and then put on sunscreen.
There is no secret method to achieving healthy, well-cared-for skin. It's really just a matter of knowing your skin type and then building the right skincare routine to bring in those desired results. But remember consistency is key! You've got to stick with the routine no matter what because there is no such thing as an instant fix. In general, you want to aim for at least six weeks of consistent use, twice- daily to see noticeable results. So the question is: what are you waiting for? Get started today!