If you’re like most people, a weekly facial does not fit in your budget. But healthy, glowing skin doesn’t have to be the exclusive possession of those who can afford professional skin care. Developing a routine that keeps your particular skin clean, hydrated, and protected can help you look your best. A good daily skin care routine shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes a day.
Following is a list of some steps you should incorporate into your daily skin care routine that will help to keep your skin looking and feeling healthy, clear, and youthful.
- Determine Your Skin Type and Pick Appropriate Products
- Step 1 – Cleansing
- Step 2 – Toning
- Step 3 – Moisturizing
- Step 4 – Protection
- Feeding the Skin
Determine Your Skin Type and Pick Appropriate Products
- Normal – Skin is velvety, with small pores, and no visible acne.
- Oily – Skin has enlarged pores with shiny patches. Frequent breakouts may occur on the face, back, arms, and possibly the chest.
- Dry – Skin has very small, invisible pores with possible dry and itchy patches. The cheeks, arms, legs, chest, and belly may be particularly dry.
- Combination– Skin is dry across the cheeks and oily on the forehead, chin, and nose. Arms may be dry and back may be oily.
- Sensitive– Skin is either oily or dry with irritated and itchy patches. Skin may also be blotchy and reddened with frequent breakouts.
If you’re not sure what type of skin you have, ask your dermatologist or a skin care professional. Note that skin on the body may be a different type than facial skin.
Once your skin is classified, you should choose products formulated for your skin type and use them in your daily routine. The four steps in your daily skin care routine should be cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and protecting.
Step 1 – Cleansing
For the face, any type of soap works fine to remove dirt, but may not work as well to remove make-up. Instead, choose a facial cleansing agent in cream, water-based emulsion, lotion, or gel form that’s formulated for your particular skin type. There are many different products on the market so you may want to try a few brands before you settle down on one that works best for you. Those with drier skin may want to choose cream or lotion products; those with oilier skin may want to use gel or water-based products. Those prone to breakouts may wish to use medicated soaps or lotions designed to reduce breakouts.
First, splash your face with warm water to open the pores. Apply your cleansing product to the skin in gentle upward strokes (to avoid stretching the skin and aggravating wrinkles), rinsing thoroughly with warm water for several minutes. If you use a product that must be applied with cotton balls or a cleansing towel, again, use gentle upward strokes and rinse thoroughly with warm water. Finish with a splash or two of cold water to close the pores.
This routine is same for the body. Cleanse your skin in the bath and shower with a cleansing product formulated for the body. Rinse with warm water and finish up with a dip or splash of cold.
Step 2 – Toning
Follow-up your cleansing routine with a facial toner, which removes any residual greasiness still left on the skin from your make-up or your cleansing product. It also closes the pores, stimulates circulation, and gives the skin a porcelain-like quality. There are a variety of toners on the market so try to choose one that’s formulated for your skin type. Apply the toner with a cotton ball, using the same gentle, upward strokes that you used to apply your cleanser.
Only those with very oily skin need to use a toner on the body. If you have oily skin and breakouts on areas of your body, try using a toner formulated for use on the body. Otherwise, skip to moisturizing.
Step 3 – Moisturizing
All skin types, even oily skin, need a moisturizer everyday. But like toners and cleansers, there are different types of moisturizers for different types of skin. If you have dry skin you should choose a moisturizer containing oil (such as petrolatum); if you have oily skin you should choose water-based creams and oil-free formulations. You may also wish to choose different moisturizers for the face and body; facial moisturizers tend to be more expensive and complex for your most delicate skin.
Many moisturizing creams contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are fruit- and milk-based acids that help to remove the dull layer of surface skin and expose fresh skin below. AHAs can reduce the appearance of pores and fine wrinkles. If you have sensitive skin, you may wish to avoid these products since they can cause breakouts.
If you have sensitive skin you should look for hypo-allergenic products, which are usually free of perfumes and dyes that can cause skin irritation. If you go out in the sun daily, it’s a good idea to choose a moisturizer containing a sunscreen.
The moisturizer should be applied to the face in upward strokes. Apply to the body in gentle strokes, applying the most moisturizer to your belly, chest, calves, thighs, and forearms.
Step 4 – Protection
The most important step you can take to protect your skin is to apply a sunscreen everyday. Use at least an SPF 10 to your face and exposed areas of your body whenever you are going to be out in the sun. Many moisturizers contain SPF 10-15 sunscreen, or you may wish apply a separate product that is specifically a sunscreen with a higher SPF level. Whichever option you choose, make sure you buy a sunscreen suitable for your skin type.
Feeding the Skin
A critical step required to get healthy and glowing skin is to eat a balanced diet containing plenty of Vitamins A, C, D and E. Vitamins C and E help to prevent skin damage from free radicals which can cause visible lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps the body to produce and maintain healthy collagen levels. Vitamin A helps to prevent sun damage and Vitamins C and D (which is applied topically) help with skin healing. The following table lists some common food sources that contain these essential vitamins for your skin.
Common Foods than Contain Vitamins A, C, D and E
|Vitamin A||Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, whole eggs, whole milk, and liver|
|Vitamin C||Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, green peppers, cantaloupe, and strawberries|
|Vitamin D||Only a few foods naturally contain significant amounts of vitamin D, including fatty fish and fish oils. Milk is usually fortified with Vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight is another source of vitamin D, but exposure to sun should be limited.|
|Vitamin E||Vegetable oils, nuts, and green leafy vegetables and many fortified cereals|
Essential fatty acids found in vegetable oils, fish such as salmon and tuna, and nuts help to nourish and hydrate the skin, and give it a glowing complexion.
It’s also important that you get enough sleep daily — 8 hours or so — and find at least a little time to exercise. Improving circulation improves the complexion; just a 20 minute walk daily can keep skin luminous.