Basic Skin Care and Why We Need It
Maintaining a basic, daily skin care routine is the first essential step to having healthy skin. It is recommended that a person starts this routine around puberty and continue it throughout adulthood. Daily skin care includes four basic steps: cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and protecting. A good home care regimen combined with a balanced diet, regular exercise, proper rest, and limited exposure to the sun will result in healthy, glowing skin.
Don't know your skin type?
Check out this article - What's Your Skin Type? - to learn about the 5 skin types and how to identify them.
Cleansing is the first step in a daily skin care routine that is designed to remove any dirt, oil, makeup, and environmental pollutants that may be acquired throughout the day. Cleansers should be chosen based on skin type and/or condition (i.e. sensitive skin and acne). Using ordinary body cleansers on the face is never recommended because it can overly strip the skin of its natural moisturizers, and lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Cleansing should be performed twice daily – morning and night.
After cleansing, applying a toner or astringent is the next step. Toners are an extension of your cleanser because they remove any left over residue, as well as balance the pH of the skin and close pores. There is some debate whether toners should even necessary for everyone to use. But, most don’t realize that, just like your cleanser, toners should be chosen based on skin type. For those with dry, sensitive, or mature skin, toners with little or no alcohol that have more hydrating ingredients, like rose water, are best suitable. Astringents are toners designed for those with oily and acneic skin because they have higher concentrations of alcohol or witch hazel that can easily strip away more dirt and oil. Those with normal or combination skin may have to go between hydrating toners and astringents depending on how oily or dry your skin may feel.
Moisture vs. Oil
Some people don't realize that applying moisturizer to your skin is different from applying oil. The oil (sebum) that our skin produces, makes the skin soft and pliable. Moisture, which comes from water, conditions the skin to maintain the overall health and keep up cell renewal. If you apply oil to dry, dehydrated skin, the skin will eventually absorb all of the oil and fast. Apply oil to damp skin, and the oil will trap in the moisture, preventing it from absorbing as fast and it will stay softer longer. All skin types need moisture
Moisturizers are used to replenish and balance the skins moisture and oil content. The first ingredient of a moisturizer is usually water, followed by oils and humectants that help to trap in the moisture provided by the water. There are moisturizers that contain sunscreen that should be used during the day to help protect against the sun. Moisturizers that contain more vitamins and nutrients that promote cell renewal are best used at night because as we sleep our skin cells renew 30% faster than when we are awake. Just like toning and cleansing, moisturizers should be chosen based on skin type and condition and may change based on season.
The last and most important step of the skin care routine is protecting the skin by applying sunscreen. Sunscreen protects are skin from the harmful UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun that cause skin cancer and premature aging. An estimated 90% of all wrinkles are caused by sun damage and natural aging causes only 10%. As previously stated, most daytime moisturizers already contain sunscreen, but usually have a lower SPF (sun protection factor) of about 5-30. During spring and summer months, it is recommended that additional sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or above be applied because there is more participation in outdoor activities during these months.
Trying to maintain a proper skin care regimen to keep your skin looking healthy and radiant can seem like a very complicated task. Luckily, most cosmetic lines sold today group their products based on skin type and condition so that they can be easily purchased and used together. If you don’t want to purchase an entire line of products at once, select only one or two items at time to buy until you have a full line that will give you a successful regimen. Once you are in the habit of using all of these products regularly, taking care of your skin will no longer seem like a chore.