Following up on yesterday’s post Skin Destroyers: Avoid These Pitfalls, I thought I would post some skincare rules we should all be following. As a former esthetician, I’ve seen it all. From people with red, angry skin from leaving harsh face masques on too long, to those with serious scarring from picking at acne relentlessly, skin care is something everyone should fully understand.
As we take care of ourselves by hydrating properly with lots of water and eating nutritious food to keep us healthy and energized, we can boost the positive effects of these practices by taking a few steps to baby and protect our skin. It’s natural to want to pick at a huge pimple in desperation, hoping that squeezing it to death will miraculously make it disappear. It’s also understandable to want to discover that miracle skin scream that will reverse the “ravages of time” and bestow an Adriana Lima-like glow upon us. I think it’s best to just embrace the skin your in and work with what you have. Armed with knowledge, you can indeed transform lacklustre skin into something you’re proud of. Read on for more details!
Professional exfoliations or multi-acid peels can be done on a monthly basis to attain healthy, vibrant skin. Since cell renewal decreases by half as we age, forcing skin cells to turnover more frequently will reveal a healthy glow. The word “acid peel” can be scary and elicit thoughts of Freddy Kruger, but try to think of it as a skin treat. Now, these treatments should be done by a qualified professional such as an esthetician at an accredited medispa. Don’t rush out and buy too-active skincare products and attempt to do this on your own.
Daily SPF protection is something everyone should be aware of by now. Wearing a broadband SPF of 30 to 50 is a must. Be sure to apply your sun protection even on cloudy days and reapply every two to three hours for maximum protection. Want extra brownie points? Throw on a cute hat!
Be smart about how you cleanse your face. Take your makeup off as soon as your get home. This minimizes the amount of time you have makeup clogging your pores and prevents you from skipping the cleansing process when you are too tired at bed time. It also gives you extra time to do it thoroughly and gives you the chance to apply the necessary skin products you use.
As for how to cleanse, it really boils down to personal preference. Some prefer to use their Clarisonics (don’t confuse the Clarisonic for an exfoliating device – it can do a better job than using your hands alone) and others swear by makeup removers (micellar water) and makeup remover wipes (not ideal as they usually do not do a completely thorough job). Micellar water also known as “cleansing water”, are often better choices for those with sensitive skin as they are designed to maintain skin’s optimal pH level. A nice one to try that I have used is Lancôme Eau Fraîche Douceur Micellar Cleansing Water.
Apply any serums first as they have a higher concentration of active ingredients. Moisturizers come second. Basically, always apply your products from lightest in consistency to heaviest.
Moisturization is key. Lack of moisture is often the culprit for wrinkles, sallowness, dullness and sometimes oiliness. Now, moisturization shouldn’t stop at your face – don’t forget the rest of your body! Body moisturizers applied after showering while skin is still damp seal in moisture and lessen signs of aging. Regular moisturization will also prevent itching caused by winter dryness and can help prevent keratosis pilaris – those little reddish bumps that appear on the back of your arms.
Now for some experimentation with more non-traditional methods! Try gently massaging facial moisturizer and face oils into your skin. Rub a small amount of product between your fingers. Using small, circular motions, work the product into your skin at the base of your neck and work your way up towards the nose and out. Keep going to your cheeks and temples. Next, focus on your eye area, which is normally prone to puffiness and gently work from the outer corners of the eyes, inwards. Apparently, this will guide trapped fluids to where they normally drain.
You can also use your fingers to tap your face gently, in a sort of “drumming” motion. This type of massage will increase circulation and believe it or not, relaxes you. People who see you may laugh at you, but you can laugh at them when they are one giant wrinkle. ;o)
Retinol, the skincare superstar, is a treatment that works to diminish signs of aging, fight acne and reduce sun damage. Those who benefit the most from retinol in particular are those with oily skin who are non-sensitive. A form of vitamin A found in abundance in egg yolks and cod liver oil, retinol works to improve cell turnover and boost skin’s collagen.
If you do want to add retinol and retinoids (prescription-strength) to your skincare regime, do so in the spring or fall as skin tends to be more sensitive in the summer and winter months. Those with sensitive skin may want to seek the advice of a dermatologist or general practitioner first as retinol can induce a dermatitis-like reaction – ouch!
So, that wraps up my list of skincare rules. A couple of little ones I follow are those from my momma. My mother swears by rubbing fresh cut aloe all over her face as a masque, and when we take family trips to Barbados, dips in the ocean are considered a must as saltwater is considered a soothing detoxifier and beach sand is a perfect exfoliator!
What are some of your tried and true skincare best practices? Please, please, please share in the comments section!