Skin Care Essentials: 7-Step Skin Care Routine
A good at-home skin care routine isn’t just about pampering yourself (uh … who doesn’t love a luxurious beauty day?). I know, I know … some of you frugal, practical types (like me) may dismiss the idea as self-indulgent and frivolous. But there’s science behind the indulgence.
Your face and body need separate skin care routines
We all know skin is the largest organ on your body (if you don’t, you do now). Also, skin’s pH is the same as your hair’s — between 4.5 and 5.5. So, it’s a good idea to cultivate good skin care habits so your skin will care for you down the road. That means you need skin care routines for your body and face. Why? They have different needs, according to Pharmacymix Blog.
Facial skin is always exposed to the environment — which includes pollutants, heat, cold, UV rays, bacteria and other stuff — whereas body skin is normally covered. So your face needs more frequent pore cleaning you can get from a mild cleanser followed by a pore-closing toner. Your face also needs protection — a light moisturizer with sunscreen acts as a thin barrier from the elements that constantly assault your face throughout the day.
Facial skin is thinner than body skin so it’s more delicate. However body skin has a slower rate of cell regeneration than facial skin. Both require regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells that trap bacteria and block out moisture. But while body skin can withstand a mild abrasive, that same abrasive may be too harsh for facial skin and cause tiny cuts.
Facial skin has more sebaceous glands that produce natural skin oil than body skin. Even if your facial skin is dry, it’s not as dry as the rest of you. So, your body skin needs heavier moisturizers than your face. Your face needs moisture too, but heavy creams and oils can clog your pores and cause blackheads and bumps.
Try these easy-to-follow facial skin care steps
Used to be that proper daily skincare entailed three simple steps: cleanse, tone and moisturize. That was years ago. Research in skin care and disease prevention plus contributions from Asian and French skin care experts have changed the widely-held approach to at-home skin care. The 3-step process has expanded. And that’s actually a good thing.
Here’s a basic prototype (based on personal experience and listed by HealthCentral) to follow for your daily and weekly routine. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Rather it’s a blue-print you can tweak for your specific needs.
- Pre-cleansing for makeup removal. Use an oil-base makeup remover and VERY soft cotton pads. Saturate the pad, then gently swipe it over the surface of your face in short upward strokes to remove dirt from your pores. Your pore openings are angled upward. You may actually clog them with residual dirt if you use downward strokes. Pay special attention to your eyes to thoroughly remove stubborn makeup. Do this repeatedly until no dirt is on the pad. Cardinal rule: never, never, never sleep with makeup on!
- Cleanse. Use a light-weight non-foaming cleanser for normal, dry and combination skins. Opt for a mild foaming or gel cleanser if your skin is oily. Oil cleansing is also a great method for all skin types depending on what kind of oil you use. Again, apply with clean fingers in an upward 45-degree angle. The keyword is gentle. Easy does it. Don’t over-manipulate. Let the cleanser do the work.
- Tone. Toners restore your skin’s pH after cleansing, removes excess dirt, detoxifies, tightens pores and prepares skin surface to absorb moisture. Use a gentle toner that won’t strip your skin of natural oils. But if you have oily skin, a mild astringent will gently sop up excess oil. Never use alcohol or lemon juice on your face … EVER!!! Over drying your skin will signal the brain to increase sebum production. Your skin will actually become oilier. Same goes for the scalp. If you suffer from oily hair, don’t over wash to control oil, it’ll only make it worse.
- Repair. Skin repair preparations include serums, hydrating lotions, emulsions, acne treatments, skin bleaches or specialty treatments for specific skin conditions or deficiencies. Use after your toner dries.
- Moisturize. Besides replacing and locking in moisture, a moisturizer protects your skin’s acid mantle and acts as a sheath, a protective film over your skin.
- Protect. Moisturizers are your skin’s first defense. Nowadays adding sunscreen in addition to your moisturizer is essential for all skin types. Use a sunscreen with an SPF 30. People with darker skins — tan, brown and dark brown shades — use SPF 15 because their skins produce natural sunscreens. But, they still need an additional SPF boost. See “Why Darker Skins Need Sunscreen.”
- Exfoliate. It’s a good idea to exfoliate your skin at least once or twice a week to deep clean, increase circulation and remove dead skin cells. A masque or mild scrub will do the trick.
- Masque: Don’t wash your face in advance. Start by steaming your skin with a hot towel or steamer to open pores. Then, apply your masque. Remove the product with a steamed towel or cloth — using gentle upward strokes and paying attention to corners around your hairline, eyes, nose and mouth.
- Scrub: Again, steam your face before applying your scrub. Apply your scrub with your fingertips and gently massage over your face in circular motion for 30 seconds. Leave on for between 1 to 5 minutes and rinse with warm water.
Rinse with a cool splash after exfoliation. Follow with a pore-closing toner to restore pH, a moisturizer and sunscreen. You can also use gradual exfoliation through toners and moisturizers enriched with alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids.
Optimum skin health doesn’t happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen if you don’t make good skin care a daily habit. All it takes is a commitment and a little behavior modification. It’s worth it!
“Applying Skin Care Products in the Right Order,” Health Central, http://www.healthcentral.com/skin-care/c/1443/158374/applying-order
“15 Skin Care Tips and Tricks You Didn’t Know You Had To Follow, Gurl,http://www.gurl.com/2014/10/14/skin-care-tips-tricks-you-need-for-healthier-better-face/
“3 Differences Between Body and Facial Skin,” Pharmacymix Blog, http://blog.pharmacymix.com/3-differences-between-body-skin-and-facial-skin
“Skin Care Routine,” The Dermatology Review, http://www.thedermreview.com/skin-care-routine/