The Basics of Skin Care
Let’s face it when it comes to skin care, some of us either understand it or we don’t. Even worse, we are not real clear on what products reduce winkles and benefit aging skin. We get caught up in the hype and the clever marketing which causes us to spend lots of money. Through trial and error, we sometimes get lucky and find a product that works only later, it stops working and then we begin the cycle again.
Because of this, we spend way too much time and money trying to figure out what we should use on our skin. It’s difficult not to become overwhelmed by commercials, infomercials, online marketing, etc.
We have all been seduced by celebrities selling a skin care product on television that states our skin will be beautiful just like theirs and for all those years we damaged it, it can be completely erased.. Well, if you were like me and bought into those empty promises then you too probably have a drawer full of products you need to throw away! Believe me; it can be very simple and basic once you know how products really work.
The great news is that we don’t have to be overwhelmed with skin care and better yet, we don’t have to spend a lot of money on BASIC SKIN CARE. If you have a drawer or medicine cabinet full of products that cost a lot of money or, you have been over promised and under delivered by those expensive skin care brands, then I am going to show you how to throw away these products and never have to stress or pay more money than is necessary for great skin!
Truth be told, there are just four steps to basic skin care. When I say basic, I mean the cleansing of the skin. Anti-aging is last.
These are: Cleansing – Getting rid of grime and chemicals while limiting the stress.
- 1. Daily cleansing 2. Hydrating and replenishing the skin 3. Using Sunscreen – Protecting the skin from harmful UV rays 4. Exfoliation.
The purpose of cleansing is to remove and loosen debris, germs, oils and products from the skin and to remove “free radicals.”
It is important not to over cleanse the skin as it will make it dry. Many think their skin is not clean unless it is dry and tight. This is not true. It is important to know your skin type and use products that are formulated for your skin. It is also important to use them according to the directions.
You have to be careful of the type of cleanser you use because, although they are best for removing dirt and grime, they can also leave your skin dried out and out of balance causing your skin to need more moisture.
Bottom line is you can go to your local drug store and get a mild cleanser for very little cost and they are just as good as the high dollar brands like Obaji, Estee Lauder, etc. With technology today, most products do the job just fine. Just remember if you have oily skin you may want to use a bar soap or liquid cleanser and if you have normal to dry, try a gentle bar soap as well. If you have oily skin, definitely use a toner to remove the last of that last bit of oil.
Moisturizing is an essential step in good skin care. A good moisturizer can stop dry skin from turning into cracked, flaky skin. A good moisturizer can reduce the damage from free-radicals. In one of the next chapters, we will talk about free radicals and how they damage our skin.
“Moisturizers used to be water and wax that worked by trying to hold water in the skin. The only difference between these moisturizers was how they felt. Today, there is actual science behind the new state-of-the-art moisturizers that are available”. Ingredients that you’ll find in a good moisturizer are:
•Glycerol – This helps water and other moisturizer ingredients penetrate the skin.
•Ceramides – Help replenish the skin’s natural oils.
•Hydroxy Acids – Help with exfoliation of dead skin cells
•Niacinamide – Helps the skin produce more natural oils, and may also help reverse the signs of sun-damaged skin, like brown spots” (about.com/dermatology)
You should choose a moisturizer just like your cleanser, one that is formulated for your skin type. By now, we all know whether our skin feels and looks oily, feels and look dry or, feels and looks normal, meaning neither oily nor dry with no issues. Just make sure you pick a moisturizer with good ingredients. Even those (such as me) with oily skin need a light oil free moisturizer. (about.com)
Step 3 – Sunscreen
“Step three in a good skin care program is using sunscreen, but it’s the most forgotten. It’s easy to tell if your skin is dirty or dry, requiring a good washing or some added moisture. We can see or feel that our skin needs some extra care. Unfortunately, most of the damage to the skin from UV radiation is beneath the surface and happens so slowly that we don’t realize how much damage is being done.”
“Most people know that exposure to UV radiation can cause sun damage to the skin, including sunburn, photo aging, and increased risk of skin cancer. But did you know this damage also occurs when you walk from your house to your car or sit next to a window during the day? Even those little bits of exposure add up over the years and can cause wrinkles, dark spots and skin cancer.” (Source: about.com)
You will want to buy a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF. Many doctors recommend higher, this is up to you. I know for me, when I put my foundation over sunscreen 50, it doesn’t look right to me. That’s just me. You have to experiment. There are many foundations out there that have sunscreen in them too. I happen to like both my moisturizer and sunscreen combined into one step before my foundation.
Unfortunately, new information is coming out stating that even a layer of sunscreen doesn’t really protect us like we once believed. The FDA will be releasing more information on better ways to use sunscreen so we can better protect our skin. Until then, use sunscreen no matter what.
It is very important to exfoliate your skin meaning, getting all that dead skin off! You can use a retinoid for this or you can use a simple wash cloth to exfoliate with a little cleanser. We want to remove that glue on the skin that’s holding the dead skin. I use Retin-A and a facial brush.
You can also get microdermabrasion once in a while to get a deep exfoliation as well but that’s up to you. The important thing is you get all that dead skin off so new skin can shine through. We will be talking more about retinoids in an upcoming chapter.
In summary, you need to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and use sunscreen as your basic skin care routine and do this twice a day with regard to omitting the sunscreen at night.